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.

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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