You either have Alaska inside of you or you don’t.
Alaska is bigger and wilder than the soul can take. The people you meet there are mythological; they all have real, tall tales to tell. The wilderness is frankly overwhelming and incomprehensible to your soul. This is exactly what I wanted.
The mind can’t even comprehend the size of Alaska. Only 742,000 people in a state the size of 2.5 Texas-es. (The city where I live in Tropica is one million.) Denali National Park is the size of the state of Vermont.
I finally “got” that I’m trespassing against the bears; that they aren’t there to bother me. To kayak in Pacific waters with seals popping their heads up to take a look at me, saying, “Uh oh, who are you? Whaddya want? I’m scramming right now,” and down they’d pop. The pod of whales not so far from my kayak was a bit unnerving as they spouted air and flipped their tales. My guide gently steered us away from them. We were on their turf.
Alaska was my “Heart of Darkness.” (Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novel which inspired the film, “Apocalypse Now.”) I got inside the heart of a wildness and wilderness I had always dreamed of. Now I know something and — nothing. What made it possible was my trip on Uncruise.
After lots of buses, taxis, flights and too many airport hotels, I’m back in Tropica with a very bad cold I caught from my traveling companion. I always get sick after a big trip. I fill my house with supplies before I set off on a trip — cold meds, juices, tissues, soup, tea and crackers — and then tumble right into bed.
Here are my notes as I unpack. I went to a cold climate where I participated in adventure activities. There was no glamour on this trip. Whilst I couldn’t travel with my usual carry on bag, I did travel lightly, with only two pairs of footwear — the modern variety of water/boat shoes,(below) and hiking boots. The cruise ship lent me wellies for all our tundra and water activities.
Thanks to modern technology, cold weather clothes is all about super thin layers. Using packing cubes, the inside of my suitcase was tranquil and functional. I was able to pack thermal underwear, fleece pants, rain pants, down vest and jacket, rain jacket, hats, gloves, scarf in addition to jeans and fleece. Another good thing about the modern technology of this super light thermal clothing is that it dries really fast. I washed it at night and it was dry by morning.
When I pack I usually don’t worry about covering every scenario. I can always buy something if I need it. However, on this trip I followed the packing guidelines I was given and that was very important for my comfort in the middle of nowhere. I also learned that if you pack right, you won’t hate your clothes by the end of the trip. Packing right for me means standard, chic classics that make me feel good and stylish every time I put them on.
Okay. Alaska? Check! I have no idea what the next bucket list trip will be. It will have to grow in me, make itself known. For now, it’s back to the joy of daily life and the particular glories of fall in Tropica.
P.S. I’ll write more about my trip later as it sinks in, and my thoughts on cruising — as this was my first cruise. That’s my ship in the photo above, the Wilderness Explorer.