If you have been following this blog, you know, that about 2 weeks ago I went to Alaska. It was great. As I reflect back on this trip, it was kind of a gutsy thing to do. I flew there on a whim, to meet a woman I had never met, and travel with her for a week. This could have turned out three ways; 1. We meet and click and have a terrific time. 2. We meet and get along OK but we will never be in touch again. 3. We meet, dislike each other on site and wonder how the heck we are going to get through the week. I am happy to report it was #1.
Jane and I had more things in common than we knew. We knew we had the deaths of our husbands in common (though each adventure into this arena is very different) and we both own small, very cute Roadtrek Agile SS’s (RV’s) and we love to travel. What we found out is that the last trip that Jim and I did together, May 2012, was a 15 day tour of Peru. Jane is going on the same trip, with the same company, this May. Small world.
We traveled together for a week, starting our trip in Fairbanks, AK at Chena Hot Springs. There are no bad hot springs in this world. Some are just better than others. This one was terrific. We had a very short walk from our room to these very nice outdoor springs. And since we were there we could use them any time we wanted. Not bad. It also did not hurt that the rest of the resort was exceptionally nice as well. Nice rooms, good dining and many trails to get lost on. I was hoping for a good Aurora Borealis sighting but it was just so-so. Now that being said, since I never see one in southern CA, it was great. I was expecting colors and waving lines across the sky and that just did not happen. I did, however, see them.
The adventure continued to Fairbanks to see the International Ice Carving Competition. It was so warm that day (42 degrees F) that the sculptures were beginning to melt and the organizers were praying for colder weather. It was really interesting and amazing to see these sculptures. How do they do that? I am not sure. The sculptures came from all over the world to compete in this competition. It was a marvelous thing to see.
The next part of the adventure was by rail. We boarded the Alaska RR in the morning and traveled for 12 hours south to Anchorage. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was breath-taking at times. This RR travels down through the Mountains along the edge of Denali National Park. I love mountains. One of the fun facts about this train is that if they see Dall Sheep or Caribou they stop the train so we can get our pictures and observe the wildlife. They did twice on this trip and it was to see the animals mentioned above. Now that is my kind of trip. I just love nature.
We spent a part of a day in Anchorage, and then flew to Juneau, AK. This is Jane’s home. It is the capital of AK and one of its larger cities. The one full day I spent there I went with one of her renters, Marshall to see the Ice Cave under Mendenhall Glacier. This was the culminating event of the trip. We hiked across a frozen, glacial lake over a section of the Mendenhall Glacier and into the ice cave. It was as if I was in a National Geographic special. I have never seen anything like it. It was even made more special because Marshall and I and one other person were the only ones there. It was one of those unique moment’s in time. It was snowing like crazy which only added to the mystery of it all. I would encourage anyone to go and see an ice cave. It was amazing.
Jane was a great tour guide. She had planned the whole trip and it ran like clock work. This is the kind of guide anyone needs. I enjoyed her company and we talked a lot because we had a lot to learn about each other in a short time. It was not forced, just very natural and easy. I hope that we continue being long distance friends and if she is ever traveling the lower 48, I would be delighted to meet up with her and go camping in those cute little RV’s.
If you would like to view all the photos from this trip click this link.
One of the hardest things when traveling is getting sick. I came home with a whopper of a cold. After a week of sniffling around the house I am back to a level of normal. I am not always sure what normal is but I am in there somewhere. I love going away. It helps me get out of my normal life and open up to adventure and experience. I find that in the grief process this helps me so much to lighten up and not have to make decisions, even if it is just for a week. I continue to feel my heart very close to the surface of my life. I am glad it has remained there although that presents its own challenges at times.
I thank all of you for your continuing support. I love that if I don’t post for a while I start getting Facebook or e-mail messages asking about my adventures. It makes me feel cared about. For all of you I am grateful that you are in my life, every moment of the day.