Solo Chick Alaska Adventure

I'm making one of my dreams come true by doing a solo chick adventure to Alaska. I’ll chronicle my trip here.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Arriving in Fairbanks

Fairbanks is different than Anchorage. It’s a sweet, pretty, more laidback place. There’s a strong community feeling here and pride in its treasures. Thursday I checked into Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, an oasis right near the airport. And I really do mean oasis! It’s located right on Airport Way. But, the back of it is on the water, so it feels like it’s in the country. The rooms are lovely and they have Aveda products instead of brands I've never heard of!

I’ve been in a cabin for 4 nights. It was comfy like home! I love it here! When I arrived, I realized that I’d left my folder with important papers by the phone in the airport office. My car wasn’t ready yet and I asked at the desk whether I could walk over and get it, as it seemed close by. Betty, who was on duty, said that yes, I could walk, but she’d do one better – she handed me her car keys to drive there quickly! I was floored. I hadn’t even checked in yet. What a nice thing to do! I was quickly able to retrieve my folder, which had my tickets, itinerary and travelers’ checks – a big relief! The friendliness here is widespread.

That afternoon I drove over to the University and met Jo Scott, who runs the Fairbanks Arts Festival. Jo founded it 26 years ago. She came to Alaska 53 years ago to teach English until she turned 25, the age required to teach abroad. But she fell in love with Fairbanks, and her husband of 52 years, and never left. Jo says the community spirit and support makes her festival so special. It began as a jazz festival and grew into a multi-dimensional event that includes other areas of music and the arts.

Jo is such an inspiration! At 77, she has the energy of someone less than half her age. She organizes the festival every year. It includes a variety of classes that allow people to learn new skills in music, art, dance, healing arts and more. People come from all over the country to teach the classes, that include well-known musicians and professors from top schools. They arrive for 2 weeks each summer. Jo took me to see her lovely home. There was a profusion of flowers everywhere. People in Alaska sure do make the most of their 3 months of summer by having more flowers than most people have in a year!

Thursday evening I hooked up with some members of The Fairbanks Area Hiking Club. I spoke to their contact person, John Risser, a few weeks before I left. He was very helpful and gave me info on Fairbanks. The club is run by volunteers. They have a hike every Thursday night that’s free to anyone and longer ones on the weekends, including overnights. They were so welcoming that I felt comfortable joining them and enjoyed the hike. There’s a lot less activity going on here in Fairbanks. I found it very serene.

Fairbanks is referred to as being in “the interior” of the state, as opposed to being one of the coastal cities. I found a very strong sense of pride among its residents. The ones I spoke with are here because they love it. The long, dark, freezing winters (sometimes as much as 60 below zero) don’t bother them much. They assure me that Fairbanks doesn’t have a lot of wind, which makes it easier to tolerate the frigid temps. Somehow, I don’t think it would any better than I felt in Phoenix when it was 129 degrees but not humid. Freezing is freezing! But I admire the passion Fairbanks’ residents have for their city.

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Awesome Wilderness Experience @ Denali Wilderness Lodge

Can you imagine being somewhere practically untouched by man? A place with no roads in or out – over 30 miles from the nearest area that a car can reach? That can only be reached by bush plane? Surrounded by mountains, trees, tundra and sky, with a river and lake accenting the area? And a family and staff waiting to make you as happy as possible? I just finished two days in Alaskan heaven!

I came to Alaska for the outdoors. Every experience has been exhilarating. But my two days at the Denali Wilderness Lodge is in a class by itself. On Tuesday morning, Sean Crotty, the owner, loaded my bags and I into his plane. I’d never been in one so small and was a little nervous about what it would be like. No need to worry! I felt great taking off, flying fairly low over gorgeous scenery and then around some mountains to this enchanted place. He let me sit next to him and I wore headphones with a mic so we could communicate. Sean flew planes in the Air Force for 15 years, including being shot at in war zones while bringing our troops supplies, so I knew he’d get me there safely.

Flying over some of Alaska’s most beautiful wilderness was an experience I’ll never forget. I felt like a kid in a toy plane! ☺ There were trees and mountains everywhere I looked. And some moose! And there I was sitting in the cockpit watching it all from above! We landed on the airstrip just next to the lodge and were greeted by Sean’s lovely wife Lucy. I was deep in the heart of the wilderness!

This place is so special! There are cabins and also some rooms in 2 lodges. Each has a unique theme in its décor. I had fun getting the grand tour. Lucy and Sean bought the place this year but each room is furnished with antiques and furniture from the original lodge. One lodge is designed after a brothel and has a piano and lovely old sofa in the common area. It’s adorable. I was in the Sheep cabin. It was recessed into the woods a little so I was really alone. Since daylight lasts so late, I never had to walk back in the dark. I’d worried about their plumbing but the bathrooms were modern and I had a heater that I could control.

Denali Wilderness Lodge is run with love. Many of the people working there are friends/relatives of Sean and Lucy who came up for the summer to help them succeed. Their 3 kids help out too. Aunt Mo seemed to work all the time, with a happy smile and energy to spare. She’d come all the way from upstate NY to be part of the staff. Everyone was out to please. They couldn’t do enough for us. Lucy just kept looking for how she could make someone’s stay better. Guests became part of the family.

Lucy says they bought the lodge because she and Sean had a dream when they first got involved – to open a place in the wilderness and make people happy from the experience. She works almost all the time but wouldn’t trade it for anything. They put everything they had into this lodge – sold their home and burned old working bridges. They’re determined to succeed! The response from the guests indicates they will. A honeymooning couple from NYC said they couldn’t imagine a better place to be. I met a couple who’ll get married there in August. Everyone there seemed as delighted as I was.

And the food is fantabulous! Everything was homemade and yummy. They even had dishes for vegetarians. The desserts at each meal added many calories that I didn't need but didn’t regret. Breakfast was a treat with freshly baked treats and interesting egg dishes. They even had baklava one night! Kudos to those who pitch in to prepare meals! And every late afternoon there are wonderful hot hors d’oeuvres and drinks served by staff members in the cozy sitting room in the main lodge.

I did a long hike into the mountains on both days. Andy took me out when I arrived. Originally from Texas, he joked that the Crotty’s inherited him with the place as he’s worked there for 7 years. Since the lodge is only open from the beginning of June till early September due to the long winter, Andy works on a ranch in Texas with horses when it’s closed. We had such a good time hiking. Andy’s very knowledgeable about the history of the place and also is a naturalist for the lodge so he knows all about the plants and wildlife. We hiked for over 2 hours to above the tree line. At one point, Andy said if I step off the trail –not very far, I’d probably step where no one has stepped before. It felt wonderful.

Andy’s best friend Matt and their girlfriends also work at the lodge and are all lovely people. Matt and I went hiking on day 2. When we got above the tree line, we sat and chatted awhile as we enjoyed the panorama. These hikes are rustic. No well-maintained trails like at parks. The trails are just vaguely visible and we pushed through brush most of the time. We also had to go through water. Andy and Matt hike over the mountains without any trails. The air was so fresh that my sinuses rejoiced! And while I don’t usually celebrate water, I was conscious of how good it was to drink.

My mind and soul have been cleansed and rejuvenated from being at the Denali Wilderness Lodge. When I flew out on Thursday, I was sad to leave my now extended family. I once again enjoyed a ride back with Sean in his plane and hope to return one day!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Exploring Denali State Park

My visit to Denali National Park continued my delight with my Alaska experience. I stayed at the Bluffs hotel in Denali, which is located with a bunch of others just outside the park. It’s part of Denali Park Resorts – typical of a park type of room, though it had a small wooden balcony that I could sit on for a view of trees all around me. I’d sit there and write while breathing in the fresh mountain air, reminding myself how blessed I am to have the opportunity to experience all of this.

Sunday I had to get up at 4 MA as my Tundra Tour of Denali began just after 5 AM!! Tough to make but worth the trip! Since daytime arrives early in Alaska (like 3 hours after it leaves!), it was light when I left. Felt tired at first but woke up fast when someone called “moose on the left!” It was a baby moose but we had a great view of it grazing right there on the side of the road. From then on I stayed alert.

John, our driver, was the best I could imagine. He loves Denali and his passion was strong as he gave us many details about its history and the park itself. One thing that makes the park special is that it’s trail-less. Most parks have well defined trails that hikers and backpackers can follow. Not Denali. They try to keep it as true to its natural state as possible. This includes limiting how many can stay overnight to just a few. Those who run the park don’t want animals to change their habits by following man-made paths. But as John said, for serious hikers, there’s nothing like being in one point, wanting to reach another and having to figure out how to get there on your own.

They do whatever they can to protect the animals from humans. This includes scrupulous methods of keeping any food from reaching them. Backpackers carry special containers for food that bears can’t rip open or smell the food through. Because they don’t get food from people, they leave most alone. Most vehicles can’t go in further than 14 miles. They have many bus tours and shuttle buses for those who want to walk around or hike. But hiking can involve crossing rivers so cold they can kill you and finding your way without trails. So I wouldn’t recommend it for novices. I'm told that there are 4 lodges 96 miles into the park that can be accessed by air taxi or hotel buses.

The views we saw were spectacular. I’d been warned that Mt. McKinley isn’t often visible due to cloud cover. It’s so big that it creates its own weather system. But oh my goodness! My staunch faith continued to reward me as we saw the mountain’s head clearly in the distance, not long after entering the park. It was just a snowy peak, 80 miles away, but John said it’s unusual and warned when we got to the better view point, it might be gone. But it wasn’t! We had such a clear view of the whole mountain that people who work here were coming out to see it. Another blessing manifested by faith in great weather! It felt like the mountain was very close but it was actually 40 miles away.

We saw bears, caribou, and sheep at a distance in their natural setting. And trees and mountains. It was 8 hours, which got a little tough for my back to deal with but John rarely stopped telling us interesting stories as we drove. Since we went back the same way we rode up, I took some catnaps toward the end. I just loved being in the middle of the mountains and seeing all the green.

Monday I just relaxed and walked around until it was time to catch the train to Fairbanks. This time I went Goldstar, which is the first class of trains. We sat in a nice high car with a see-through dome at the top. There was a free beverage bar. The train was far from full so it was a nice spacious ride. I got into Fairbanks after 8PM so I didn’t have time for more than checking into my Extended Stay hotel at the airport and going to sleep. I needed to get up early to have breakfast and meet the bush plane taking me to the Denali Wilderness Lodge on Tuesday.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Alaska Railroad to Denali State Park

Friday was my day for some needed downtime. I’d checked into the Sleeping Lady Bed & Breakfast the night before and was delighted with it. Rick, the owner, is a former music DJ so we had some interesting conversations and shared memories. He’s also a fabulous cook and runs an awesome place. The B & B overlooks the water and I had a fantastic view from my room. They have a deck with a view and I enjoyed sitting out there, writing.

The room was beautifully decorated. I enjoyed paying attention to all the lovely touches. My bed was comfy and breakfast was a treat. Rick bakes fresh coffee cakes. I had to leave early Saturday morning and I got some wrapped for the train. I just relaxed on Friday, wandering around Anchorage and doing some writing. Saturday morning I got on a train for Denali Park, home of Mount McKinley. It’s now called Denali, which means, “Great One.”

The train ride on the Alaska Railroad was long but lovely. Eight hours did a job on my back but at least I had a seat with lots of legroom and no one next to me. The train was very comfortable for a train. We rode through dense trees with all sorts of lovely scenery. Alaska is such a beautiful state. There was a dome car up high that offered even better views. I stayed in The Bluffs, part of Denali Park Resorts. I had a nice room with a small terrace that I enjoyed spending downtime on. The scenery is so green. : ) This city girl really appreciates being surrounded by trees!

Arriving at Denali Park I knew how blessed I was to be there. Clean air and trees and mountains everywhere!

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Sunday, July 23, 2006


Thursday began on a not so upbeat note. I had to check out of my hotel for my last 2 days in Anchorage. I was sad to leave the Historic Anchorage Hotel. The people who work there are delightful so I’d been very comfortable. And the location is right in the heart of downtown so it was convenient. I got in late from my hike the evening before and had to pack so sleep was minimal – I left at 6:30 AM (to me still nighttime!) to go kayaking.

I’ve seen kayaks – those colorful little boats bobbing in the water and wondered what it was like to be in one. They always looked a bit unstable but I was assured they’re safe and decided to have an adventure in one. I’m thrilled that I did! Alaska Sea Kayakers runs a great operation. I was nervous about being out in a kayak for an entire day but it went smoother than I could have imagined thanks to our guides, Misty and Kelly. I signed up for the Blackstone Bay tour.

As I said, I was nervous. Didn’t know how I’d like it. What if it tipped? The water is freezing as it’s got icebergs running into it – kind of like how drinks stay cold when there’s lot of ice cubes. And it’s always a little awkward when you travel solo and join families on these types of activities. But I got into a fun groove quickly. The people were all nice. There were 7 of us – one family of 4 and a father and son, plus Misty and Kelly. Blackstone Bay is a distance from our starting point in Whittier. We took a charter boat for 45 minutes. I was concerned about getting queasy but not at all! We were dropped off on a beach and they unloaded the kayaks and gear.

Misty instructed us on how to get in and out of the kayaks. We were prepared for almost everything. The guides for Alaska Sea Kayakers are certified and considered “on duty,” instead of just being escorts. On duty means they are required to do everything they can to help the health and safety of those in their care. While all guides would most likely do it, these guides are obligated to. They’re trained in CPR and if someone falls in the water, they know how to rescue them and warm them up.

Before we left, we stowed our shoes in the office and put on rubber boots. Life vests too. I got a raincoat for later. They said it’s almost always raining in that area. Sunny days actually create rougher water. Blackstone Bay has several glaciers and they greatly affect the water conditions. Sun on them makes the water rougher. The closer you get to one, the colder you feel. I used my faith to keep the rain that they get most days away. It was a bit overcast but bright.

Kelly rode in a double kayak with me since I was solo. She’s a fun and informative chick so I enjoyed our interactions. The others were also in pairs. Misty was solo and led the way. We paddled around glaciers and boy were they calving. Sadly, that refers to pieces breaking off of the glaciers regularly. It’s a nice tourist attraction but means the glaciers are shrinking, which will lead to them eventually disappearing. Such a shame!

As pieces break off, they create thunder-like sounds. Booms! Scary to first hear it when you’re sitting in a little kayak but I got used to it fast. We sat and watched for it to happen and weren’t disappointed. The glaciers had a bluish tinge and we’d watch them intently, getting excited when a piece came down. Then the boom. Kelly explained that the boom comes after so looking when you hear it is too late. It happens fast but I finally caught some falling in a photo.

Kelly said we’d be very lucky to get through lunch without rain. As Misty’s gourmet spread got set out on a checkered tablecloth on the beach we stopped on, the sun actually peeked out and warmed us up. Misty rocks! We expected peanut butter sandwiches and instead were treated to a feast of smoked salmon, homemade macaroni salad, fresh cheese, yummy spread with crackers, fresh fruit and veggies cut up, and granola bars. AND – Nutella! I’d never had that before and it’s yummy! They even had hot water for tea and hot chocolate. Misty and Kelly served up a lunch beyond our expectations.

After the break, we embarked for more. As we approached another glacier, mist hit us from it. It felt good as I’d been a bit warm from the sun. It was very light. Then the clouds got a bit darker and drizzled lightly for the rest of our trip. I put my rain jacket on and felt warm and dry under it. We took another break under a glacier and hiked up just next to it. We climbed on rocky trails and over boulders, made a little slippery by the drizzle and clunky rubber boots with little traction. But it felt good to stretch and satisfying to actually do it. It was another thing I felt nervous about but conquered it.

As we rode to our final destination, there were flocks of seagulls roosted along the shore. As we got close, they flew away en mass. I wanted a picture but couldn’t get to my camera in time. No problem, Kelly reassured. She explained how the gulls play a game by flying away and then roosting just a little ahead. Then they fly off as we get close, to just a little down the way and it becomes a cycle. I had my camera ready as we got close the next time and caught them in flight. Funny birds!

We got to Willard Island where arranged to meet the charter for our return trip. It was around 5 but he wasn’t due till 5:30 - 5:45. We were early because we had a great group and got in and out of the boats quickly without wasting time. Just as we stepped out of the kayak, the sky opened up. Kelly had just told me how it rains every day there, but rarely more than a drizzle. This was a lot more! But she and Misty were quick to action, getting out a big tarp and using paddles to stand it up as an awning. Good thing, as we didn’t know it yet but the charter boat had a problem earlier and was running late. We waited almost 2 hours, sitting on big rocks laughing as Misty and Kelly broke out some snacks to cheer us up.

It’s hard to get radio transmissions in that area so we were never sure when Josh would arrive to get us. The rain poured down but we stayed dry. The only uncomfortable part was the mosquitoes, often referred to as the bird of Alaska. They’re fine when you’re moving so during kayaking they weren’t a problem. But, they attacked us on shore. Two days later I still have a few bites that itch. We were all relieved when Josh radioed that he was right around the corner. It took some more time to load the kayaks and gear and then a 45-minute ride back.

The big concern was returning in time to go through the tunnel that connects Whittier to the mainland. It’s only one lane and is used by trains too, so you can only go through it out of Whittier once an hour. We were supposed to return between 6 and 6:30. Instead it was close to 8 when we were on our way to the tunnel to make the 8PM time to go through. I was sad to say goodbye to everyone that I’d shared this magical day with, especially Kelly, my kayak buddy and Misty, our leader. Both were skilled and strong. Nothing fazed them. Their good cheer and sense of fun was contagious.

Kayaking was definitely an adventure that was both fun and taught me how to get past my fears to enjoy the fun. I’d challenged myself when I signed up for it. I could have done a short trip but pushed for the all day one. It was worth it for an amazing day and a shot of confidence for having overcome fears!

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Hiking in Alaska’s Rainforest

Today is my day “off.” I didn’t plan any activities and am just relaxing and enjoying the fresh air and natural ambience. This whole week has been an adventure but an exhausting one. My body clock seems confused by all the daylight. I can fall asleep fine – pass out from all the energy spent during the day. But I wake up at 5 and can’t go back to sleep, which is annoying. Yet still I take in all that I can of Alaska!

Wednesday I hiked the Winner Creek Trail through the rainforest in Girdwood in a small group with a terrific guide named Shannon. You may be surprised to hear that there’s a rainforest in Alaska but there’s a big one – North America's Northern most rainforest! It gets enough rain to qualify and the growth is lush, like other rainforests I’ve seen.

I got there early and took the tram with Turi, who I met here, high up onto Mount Alyeska. It originates in the Alyeska Prince Hotel and Ski Resort near Girdwood. It provided a gorgeous view of the surrounding area. Then we took the tram down in time for our hike.

Shannon was the guide for 4 of us. She’s originally from Connecticut but considers herself an Alaskan after being here for 11 years. She was a terrific guide, pointing out all the details that I’d have never noticed had I just hiked on my own. We could feel the ambience of a rainforest as we walked and saw all the greenery that’s special in a rainforest. We could also feel Shannon’s passion for all of nature’s bounty in this forest and got excited with her.

The hiking wasn’t hard, though there were some steeper portions. Once special thing was that in places that would have been very muddy, crews put down wooden boardwalks that made it easier to walk on. They want even people in wheelchairs to experience at least part of this lovely hike. We saw mushrooms growing on trees and interesting formations in the bark of some. Shannon was very knowledgeable and explained what everything was. It was fun to get out for some exercise in this lovely place and learn so much about this rainforest.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Water Adventures

Posting this the next day after I wrote it. No time to write until as I returned with just enough time to get to bed and get up early for another adventure. The days are VERY long. Since the sun doesn’t go down till after 11PM I get confused when I want to go to sleep early. I’ll think it’s very early but the clock says 10:30 PM!

I’m discovering that Alaska isn’t what many people assume it is,
yet some aspects are as expected. While Fairbanks does have very cold winters (well below zero), it has hot summers. Yet surprisingly, Anchorage’s seasons aren’t too extreme. Winters are usually in the 20’s, which we can get in NY. I’ve seen much worse in many other states. I’m told it’s been cooler than usual – in the low 60’s with a nippy breeze. It went into the 90’s here recently. I prefer cool so I’m happy.
The operative word here is layering. If you choose to come, I highly advise bringing a fleece jacket and a light waterproof jacket for when the weather changes suddenly. You can drive 10 miles and find different conditions. I brought hiking boots and sneakers.

There are so many gorgeous places in Alaska that can’t be reached by car. This is a state where treats are accessed by boat, train and plane. It can get pricy if you don’t plan ahead and choose carefully the sights to indulge in. I’m exhausted right now from doing so much but I want to see as much as I can! This is a land of beauty, splendor and what I think of as God’s unique natural artwork. Can’t get enough of it! : )

Yesterday I went canoeing to Spencer Glacier. The Glacier Discovery train ride was short. We were given sturdy, somewhat clunky rubber boots to wear. Then a bus took us on a short ride to Spencer Lake. Set in the mountains, it was dotted with big chunks of ice, many with a bluish tint. On the other side was the Spencer Glacier.

We had 8 in the group + our guide Dan. They had a lovely lunch set-up on the shore – make your own sandwich and hot soup, a chocolate brownie cupcake for dessert. Yum! After lunch we got instructions, put on life preservers, and got into the canoe. Dan explained how sturdy it is. It wobbled at times but we were reassured that it wouldn’t tip. We got paddled to power the boat while Dan steered.

The boat went between the icebergs, something I’d never been so close to. Living in NYC, I’m usually surrounded by buildings. It was hard to paddle and be in awe at the same time so I sometimes cheated as I was in the back. : ) I’d never been in a canoe before. Everyone was nice and we worked together to move quickly across. I was hope this made up a little for not going to the gym since I arrived. My lower body gets a work out but this really pushed my upper muscles. I was sore after!
When we got the other side of the lake, we left the canoe and hiked closer to the glacier. It was a bit steep and the ground was loose stones, which made it a bit tough to hike, especially in the rubber boots. Balance was important to me since I didn’t want to end up in the river, which was freezing from the glacier ice. We then paddled back to where we began, which should have been easier since the wind was with us, but our arms were sore from the trip out, even though we all switched sides. But we made it back to the train in time.

Today I had to get up at 5:30 AM (still nighttime to me!) to go on a jet boat safari with Glacier Jet Alaska on the 20 Mile River corridor in the Chugach National Forest. We had to do it early as this river has one of the fastest and highest tides anywhere. When we returned, Corey, our guide, said that the water would make rise quickly in the next hour making it impossible to go anywhere.

Six of us rode in a speedboat. I loved zooming down the river and around curves into places that aren’t accessible by land. This forest is gorgeous. We saw a rainbow behind us. It got a little cold, especially when a light rain began. But the trip is less than 90 minutes so it was fine. We couldn’t reach the glacier as the river to it is still frozen! Mother Nature doesn’t accommodate tourist season but the lake was beautiful on its own. It’s incredible to be in true natural settings. Plus, I LOVE speedboats so that part was fun, especially seeing things I’d never seen before.

I got back in the late morning and am chilling, having lunch at the Snow City Café. I had some really good food here for a reasonable price, and very friendly service. Taking it easy as tomorrow I hike into an Alaskan rainforest.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm in alaska! :)

I’m in Alaska! Now I have only 4 states that I haven’t been to. I LOVE my country and it’s so awesome to be here!

As I stepped out of the airport, the skies opened up. This is highly unusual for Alaska. Normally it drizzles on and off, typical Pacific NW weather, like Seattle. I didn’t care, as I just wanted to get to sleep. I’m staying at the Historic Anchorage Hotel for 6 nights. It’s right in downtown and old in a pretty kind of way. I have a nice room and can see the mountains from my window. The people are very friendly and the hotel has a very good continental breakfast, which provides me with good nutrition to get through my day.

It was raining when I woke up yesterday, which I believe was God’s way of making me take it a little easy. : ) I visited an outdoor market right around the corner from my hotel. Then I wandered around downtown Anchorage. The city is all dressed up. They take advantage of the warmer weather to plant a profusion of flowers. So it’s very cheerful. Another lovely treat are the decorated salmon that dot the town. NYC has had artists create designs on cows and lately apples. Here, replicas of salmon are uniquely decorated and placed around downtown. They’re so pretty!

After a long walk around the coastal trail and lunch, I took a cruise to the Portage Glacier. What a spectacular site. Alaska is known for its glaciers. This one is quite big, and has a blue hue. It was a bit nippy on the water but well worth standing on the outside top of the boat to see it clearly. All this gorgeous nature is a far cry from my usual environment in NYC. The air feels so fresh! I’m loving it!

The sun goes down close to midnight. Not sure when it comes up as I’m sleeping and there are blackout curtains. But it’s crazy for it to be light so late. Gets so confusing when I try to go to bed early.

Today I decided to chill. I was running around so much before leaving that I left very tired. Travel day was exhausting. And yesterday was long and full, and being outside in the chilly temps also wore me out. So I relaxed and then went for a long run around the coastal trail. It’s so pretty along the water. And it’s easier to run in this air. My week is very full so I needed this day. Tomorrow I go canoeing. Stay tuned!

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Flying into Anchorage

I’m writing this from the plane. It was a long trip. Had to fly to Dallas and then get a flight to Anchorage. I’ve been super-tired but now I’m getting revved. Normally all you can see is clouds when you look out the plane window. But the white I see is snow – capped on top of mountains! It’s a mind-blowing sight – one mountain range after another looking majestic and close enough to touch. I feel so close to God right now.

We’ve been seeing the mountains on and off for about 2 hours, since we got above Vancouver. But now they’ve been completely visible – I mean clear as a bell visible – for quite a while. I wish I hadn’t packed my camera in the bag I checked. Didn’t expect to see any sights worth snapping from the plane. But oh man, it’s almost surreal. Big peaks speckled with white veins, sometimes clouds floating atop of them. Then they peek out over a sea of clouds. Like a fluffy ocean with the mountains amidst them. How blessed I am to experience this and the 18 days to come!

I’ll be in Alaska in less than 2 hours! Stay tune for further details and hopefully photos.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I leave tomorrow!

I've been so busy that I didn't have time to post. But I'm so excited about going to Alaska tomorrow that I can hardly stand it. When I returned this weekend from Dfest, the music conference, I met a woman in the airport who was returning from Alaska. She said she'd never seen so much beauty. You just have to open your eyes and it's there. Just step out the door and wow! I've got an itinerary somewhat set. It's awesome! The trip is long - 12 hours, but I'm using miles to go first class so it could be a lot worse.

18 days in beauty! I'm so overwhelmed. I write about making dreams come true but can't emphasize enough how glorious that feels. The idea came into my head years ago that I had to get to Alaska. Been talking about it for years. People humored me like they humor most people who have big dreams that they don't expect to come true. But I did it!

I'll try to post every day but no promises. Some of my days are very long. Yowee! I'll be in Alaska tomorrow night!