Alaska Cruise: Part Deux

Even now, when I look back on Juneau, it seems surreal-- the crisp air, the towering, misty mountains, and most of all, the blue ice.

Before our trip, I'd told J that if we could only do one thing in Alaska, I'd want to see ice caves. I found a company called Above & Beyond Alaska that guides challenging 6 hour hikes up Mendenhall Glacier, where you don crampons and marvel at the caves created by the melting ice. But it was $200 per person, and after J's car broke down {for the 2nd time!} in the weeks before we left, I knew it wasn't going to be financially feasible.

We decided to hike on our own instead. It was a grey day with a constant, spitting rain. We took the shuttle to Mendenhall and took a {paved} trail to the waterfall overlooking Glacier Lake. It was gorgeous, if not physically challenging. The lake was filled with icebergs caused by the glacial calving, and even from shore, they were a bright turquoise blue.

And then I saw the kayakers. 

Just two of them gliding along the lake and navigating the ice alone, so close to the blue, they could touch it. 

The day before, I'd discovered in Icy Straits how much I loved to kayak. The power of using my body to propel myself thru the water; the serenity of being so near the surface; the exhilaration of exploring nature in a way that seemed silent and unnoticed and one-- all of it combined to create a supremely zen experience. 

I saw those kayakers and turned to J with my eyes alight. "I want to go to there," I exclaimed.

As it turns out, the same company that guides glacier hikes {Above & Beyond Alaska} rents the kayaks. They outfit you in rain gear, give you a quick safety rundown, and then drop you off for 4 hours of self guided exploration on the lake. HEAVEN!

It was breathtaking. Awe-inspiring. Thrilling. Every similar adjective you can think up, it applies. It was absolutely the highlight of the entire trip, and by the time we were finished {sweating, sore arms, and with manic grins plastered to our faces} I declared, "Give me an ocean and a kayak, and I'll be a happy woman!"

And that was just Day 4. Pinch me!


merelyLooking said...

So cool! (I guess literally!) I await the next five days with happy anticipation!

Joy said...

I am so pleased to see you are back to posting! Even though I don't know you personally, I so appreciate you inviting me (and the blogging world) into your life- I love your aesthetic nature and it makes me smile to know you are finding happiness more often. I'm glad you had a wonderful trip with your husband. Thanks for sharing and all the best to you!

(I blog too, but more about food with just a touch of my life thrown in - you are a such a brave and generous soul to share about your joys and challenges in your life and the ways you tackle them- you are providing great lessons to your audience

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