Friday, July 11, 2008

Alaska Travels....A Reflection

I have 2 days with internet access before I'm gone again, so I'm going to reflect on our past 2 weeks of travels in case I don't get all the pictures uploaded and blog entries written before I'm gone again...

I think of all these pictures I have on my blog so far and places we've been that are beautiful, wild and incredible, and it all seems so small and puny next to the grandeur, beauty and wildness we have encountered in the past 2 weeks. We drove to 1100 miles to Skagway, backpacked 33 miles on the Chilkoot Trail, hopped on the ferry to Juneau, spent 2 days exploring the state capitol, rode the ferry back to Haines, drove to Valdez, spent a day on a glacier and wildlife cruise, then cruised home after many hours in the car.

Life in Homer is such a tiny, microscopic part of this huge state. I am trying to find words to express the bigness, the awesomeness of Alaska. I just keep shaking my head and saying "wow" to myself.

Everywhere we went, there were people from all over the world and from all over the U.S. We spent a few hours on the ferry chatting with a couple from Switzerland, and I said to them, "Switzerland has got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world," and they looked at me doubtfully until I added, "except Alaska," at which point they nodded enthusiastically. When I asked them how the mountains in Switzerland are different from the mountains in Alaska they had a hard time putting a finger on it, except to say that in their country the mountains are squished together, mountain after mountain, and in Alaska they are spread out, there seems to be more space. Yes, space there is. Even I was struck by how far apart everything is, and how remote.

Alaska is a land of mountains, oceans, glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife. It is a land of great extremes and superlatives. It is a young state, by U.S. standards, yet has a rich and romantic history. It seems to me be a place of dreams, a place of searching and exploring. I left on this trip expecting to enjoy some great scenery, and what I have gained is a sense of the richness of what life in Alaska is like--the people and the place. I find myself fascinated and enthralled with all Alaska has to offer and am eager to go off exploring some more. It is a big place, and it may take a lifetime to explore it all!

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