Friday, January 10, 2014

The Reasons for Alaska

I catch myself trying to think about the point of things often. I found myself trying to put my finger on what the purpose of us going to Alaska was this morning. I'm one of those people who is fairly certain there is a reason for everything and so, I sit and search for what it might be. 

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 Centertakes 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! 


  1. Holy cow, that bear! I can't believe animals like that just roam around like deer do here. Alaska is gorgeous, and it sounds like you had a wonderful time. I am also jealous at your surfing/snowboarding abilities because I am terrified of both of those things haha. Wonderful pictures!

  2. As much as I too believe that there is a reason for everything, I think that relaxation and stillness can never be, and should never be, underrated. I'm glad you had a great trip :)

  3. Wow what a trip, I'm in awe of your pictures, as always. You must have an incredible zoom lens, or else you got really close to that fox and bear. Great reasons for going to Alaska, sounds like a wonderful trip... hibernating in Alaska sounds perfect. I really need to go one day, it looks like it would be fun. Sorry to hear about your sister's wrist tho.

  4. Alaska sounds and looks much like Finland! These photos are really great :) I'm having hard time this winter too with being sleepy(but isomniac), as the sunrise is at 9am and sunrise 4pm, no snow and just gray/raining at the moment. I think you are right, when you are born near a forest, you yearn for trees - I'm like that! I don't have the same feeling for a beach life than I have for wandering in a forest.

  5. I love your writing so much!

  6. Gorgeous pictures! Loved every single one of them. I love that puzzle idea for presents! But you're right...puzzles with a lot of sky are so difficult!

  7. This sounds like such an amazing trip! A great way to recharge and enjoy hanging out with each other. You got serious air snowboarding! That is so cool! It sucks that your sister broke her wrist:( Poor thing. I think you would always yearn for the ocean. I do, and I don't even live near one:) I think it just holds so much mystery. It can appear limitless and serene, but there is so much going on under the surface. Kind of like people. A forest is a nice place to get lost in thought, too, though:) Now I want to be near both!

  8. Y'all really do go on some pretty awesome family vacations! Oh and I ordered that book from amazon on exposures and cannot wait to get it!! Not quite sure I'd be as inclined to get all up next to those wild animals though ;) hope you have tons of amazing memories to take away from your trip.

  9. and just like that, I was homesick.

  10. sounds like a blessing of a trip :)

    the pictures make me want to go visit just that much more,too!

    i want to frame some of your amazing photos :)

  11. Such great pictures! Looks like you had a great trip. I was born in Vancouver, B..C. where the mountains and forests are just like Alaska. Some of the areas I used to hike and ski were so remote that like you say it felt like I had left the planet! You almost make me homesick looking at this pictures. Have a great weekend.

  12. What an amazing trip, it looks like you had a wonderful time. I'd love to sit down and do that puzzle for a bit. There's something about doing puzzles with someone that is so calming, so peaceful, such a celebration of time. Taking it slowly and enjoying the seconds as they tick quietly past. How wonderful to see you in snow instead of sunshine. I can imagine how much fun you had snowboarding. Sorry about your sister's wrist, I do hope it heals quickly. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures. You are right about the need to hibernate a little when it's dark. I've overslept twice this week, which is unheard of for me - I'm normally awake and up really early. I hope you both enjoy the rest of the weekend Devon. CJ xx

  13. Oh wow, this looks amazing. Glad you had a nice trip!

  14. seriously with the bear?! i have camped dozens of times and NEVER SEEN A BEAR. its always like "oh there was just one over there!" and i always miss it. that is too cool.


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