An ol' friend of mine from my days back in AZ told me she was traveling to Alaska, and invited me to join her.
I thought about it, for about 3 seconds, and then went straight online to book my flight. Me? Miss this
opportunity? I mean, how often does one get to go travel? And how many times are you really
going to have a chance to go to Alaska?! I'll finally have a chance to see a real live moose!
So on a whim, i visited Alaska. The final frontier. The largest state in the union, and part of the Arctic Circle. Pretty friggin' AWESOME!
Landing in Anchorage around midnight, i caught a cab back to where we were staying. It was quite a large house, not far from the airport. The owner, Bill, rented out rooms on AirBnB, and couches on CouchSurfing. The place was essentially a hostel, with people from ALL OVER staying there. It was pretty sweet to meet different travelers, find out where they were from (Columbia!) and learn of their adventures.
My first day there we went glacier hiking. I borrowed some boots, and rented crampons, and we drove about 2 hours NW to the Matanuska Glacier. It's quite accessible, for a glacier. You just start hiking!
The thing that most amazed me is that my entire life experience, every time i've seen or walked on something completely white, it was snow. Crunchy, cold, snow. Well not here! Glaciers, for those that don't know, are solid ICE. So when you go glacier hiking, you are essentially rock climbing - on a magnanimous ice cube. So if you tripped and fell, you wouldn't land in a white soft, fluffy snow bank as if you were skiing. No. It would be like falling on the sidewalk. Ouch.
BUT! With the crampons, they dig into ice giving you some serious traction on what otherwise would be, quite literally, a slippery slope. This allowed you to run and even jump, without fear of falling into one of the many chasms. So cool!
The scenery was simply jaw dropping beautiful, with lakes and trees and mountains. Just had to take it all in.
I even saw a Walrus! His name was Paul.
After a hard day's climb, we hit up downtown Anchorage with a bunch of our "roommates." Now downtown Anchorage consists of a mere handful of bars in like an 8 block square, but somethin's better than nothing.
The next day we dove down to Whittier. Now Whittier has got to be one of the most isolated places on God's green earth, with the only road in being a single lane 2.5-mile long tunnel carved through solid rock that you shared with a train. Yes. An actual train. It's the longest tunnel in North America!
Aside from that, the only other way was by boat or sea plane. The "town" consisted of one hotel, about 6 shops, and loads of boats. Most of the people that live in Whittier all live in one giant building, albeit a building with an incredible view.
So why would we go to this desolate place? Two words: Glacier Tours.
We booked a 5-hour cruise on a ship that traversed around Harriman Fjord, allowing the opportunity to visit real live active glaciers up-close, and to experience all the amazing Alaskan ocean life on the way.
This was by far the highlight of the trip! The cruise line was Philips, and it was their "26 glacier cruise." Check it out Here
On their massive 3 level catamaran they offered a complimentary hot meal (sea food, of course!), indoor seating, and a full-service bar. The best part was the narration by a U.S. Forest Service Ranger. This guy knew everything
. And he talked almost non-stop for the entire 5 hour trip. Me head was so full of knowledge. So, SO, SO
Sadly, there were no whale sightings this time. But i got more than my fill of seals and sea otters!
That night after we returned to Anchorage, we went to the Rustic Goat for some amazing pizza and delicious Old Chub beer. Cheers!
Day three was our culture day. We spent the day in the Anchorage Museum near downtown. 4 stories full of awesome exhibits, Alaskan native cultural heritage, and a bunch of fun science activities for kids and adults alike.
And that was it.
I wanted to see some real live animals up close and in the wild, but didn't have the chance. Luckily for me, the Anchorage airport is a beautiful work of art in-and-of-itself, and had many real stuffed full-sized animals for photographic purposes. such as this musk ox and brown bear.
And yes. I finally got my moose.
Thank you Krisite and Katie for the adventure of a LIFETIME!
Today marks the official end of summer, and the start of fall: School!
Maggie is starting her first day in real "school" as a preschooler. Isn't she just thrilled?
And Alexander is still smiling at the end of his first (albeit short) day. Yay third grade!
I hope they learn BOAT LOADS about the awesome world around them, and interactions with other people.
Good luck, kiddos!
3 days in Alaska, followed by almost 48 hours straight with the minions (their "summer vacation" with me). Almost ZERO sleep.
Wednesday i started to feel a tickle in my throat. I knew then something was coming.
Thursday a bit more. I took evasive action and gargled with salt, along with tons of vitamin C, emergenC packets, and plenty of fluids. Made sure to get LOTS of sleep (~10 hours)
Friday, today, i've got a light and occasional cough, and my nose is running. It's all clear, so far. Let's hope is stays that way because tomorrow I've got the minions again...