What did I take away from Alaska? What did I learn, why was I meant to go there?
When we went to the Seychelles I knew it was about being together with family, celebrating my dad's birthday and life so far. Letting him know we would go anywhere for him. Letting each other know we will always set aside time to be together. Seeing a really remote part of the world was the bonus (and of course, so were lessons in patience after being on a boat together for 13 days).
I guess Alaska was about being together too. All family vacations have that underlying purpose of binding you to each other with the kind of memories that stay.
Maddie and I laughed on the plane because I was (accidentally) talking really loudly and (purposefully) singing songs that get really stuck in her head, just like I was the last time we were on a plane together. We shared i-pod ear buds and talked about our goals.
Danielle and I snowboarded together for the first time in years. We learned when she was probably eight and I was eleven, turning our skis in to try out the newest trend. It's been a while since we've been in the snow together. The day we went snowboarding in Alaska it was raining at the lodge, but snowing sporadically at the mountain top. She hadn't brought any glasses or goggles. I was happy to be able to give her mine, even though they didn't really help. It made me feel like a big sister. I wish I could have prevented her from breaking her wrist in two places on the last day. She was practicing something I tried to teach her.
We spent a lot of time this trip sleeping. I haven't been able to wake up early without a great struggle since we got back. I'd wake up at sunrise in Alaska with ease, but of course sunrise wasn't until 10:30 am.
I think that might have been one of the reasons for this trip. I really needed to hibernate. You don't quite get the same opportunity to do that in Southern California. It was nice to do a puzzle in my pajamas with my mom and dad until noon and not feel guilty about it.
Scott and I had a nice snowboard session together on our last night (night being 4:30 p.m.). We practiced going off a few jumps (you can see me above getting a whole three inches of air) just as it started to snow. When that happened I thought for a split second that if I had snow, I might survive without surfing. Of course I'm regularly convinced I couldn't. But maybe, maaayyybe, if I had been born near a forest, I might yearn for trees instead.
When I went wandering on New Years Day alone, I walked my way back into a clearing. Being surrounded by those big, white blanketed evergreens with bristles reaching so high I thought they might comb the clouds, I felt I had left the earth for a minute. Some snow fell then too, as if to say "remember me".
I guess Alaska was about a lot of things.
Notes and Recommendations:+Hotel Alyeska: Ski in- ski out, on-site tram to take you around the town, ski, snowboard and snowshoe rental shop, access to great trails for hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
+Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center: takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides spacious enclosures and quality animal care.
+Concerts and drinks at the Sitzmark
+Flight Seeing, which I will share pictures from soon.
+Vegetarian food is harder to come by. As my friend Costa said, "There's not a lot of spinach growing up there right now." At the airport my vegetarian pizza was called "The UnAlaskan". JackSprat was one of our favorite restaurants.
p.s. the puzzle pictured is actually made from a picture of our family on our last trip. Scott and I gave it to my parents for Christmas. We used this company. It's a fun gift, but next time I would make a puzzle out of a picture with a lot less sky!