Monday, May 12, 2014

As the excursion comes to a close...

Alaska is everything and more than I imagined it would be.  As the days are winding down (and tomorrow is our last day), I am starting to reflect on everything we’ve done and how much we have experienced as a group, as well as individually.  From day one, the nature and wild life has been breathtaking and becomes even more so with each day.  It is SO crazy that it never gets old!  I am so lucky to have gone to so many unique places such as Anchor Point (where we have been staying), Seward, the Homer Spit, and Soldotna.  With each week comes a new place and a variety of activities.
            So far the two biggest highlights of my trip out of many would have to be kayaking on Kachemak Bay and dog sledding in Seward.  Both to me are once in a lifetime experiences that I will always remember.  Kayaking was amazing and we went at a time of a unique low tide, which was awesome due to the fact that we were able to view sea life we may have otherwise gone without seeing.  The sea stars are brilliantly beautiful as well as the other species such as anemones.  We kayaked around Yukon Island, which totaled to be about 7 miles.  I was tired but the beautiful things I saw (sea caves, otters, birds, sea life) made it well worth it!  As for the dog sledding, I have been obsessed with the Iditarod since we learned about it and acted it out in fifth grade.  Seavey’s kennel is very well known since they recently won the Iditarod and have a couple times in past years.  The dogs are precious, however I can see how they could not be pets in a normal household.  We were able to hold three day old puppies and naturally I wanted to pass away because they were so adorable.  However, the actual dog sledding was insane.  We went race speed and Spencer, our guide, called out commands as he would in a race. The experience was awesome for sure.

            Hiking, touching Exit Glacier, swimming in Glacier Lake, tide pooling, Halibut fishing, shopping, listening to speakers, just to name a few, has made this trip special and unforgettable.  As my time in Alaska comes to an end, I could not be more grateful for the memories I have made with people I will never forget.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Today's glacier hike to the Grewingk Creek tram and Grewingk Glacier. Total distance: 9.3 miles
Hike path map

Sunday, April 27, 2014

So far, so great!

So far, I have greatly enjoyed this trip in Alaska. My favorite activities have been going to the beach and whale watching. Going down to the beach was so peaceful and such a joy to find shells, rocks, and other forms of oceanic life. Today I found one clam shell, two brightly colored pieces of clam shells, a distinctly defined but broken piece of shell, a piece of sponge, a piece of coral, and a rock with a piece of coral still attached. I am so excited to bring these trinkets home as a way to remember this unbelievable experience. Two of my peers actually found starfish, which just made the whole experience at the beach that much more special. I actually really enjoyed that the beach was not made of sand but actually pebbles. The beach was such a calming and lovely experience.

The other activity that I have enjoyed very much so far was the whale watching. I have never been on a whale watching tour before so this was a brand new experience for me. I was actually a little nervous for this activity because I tend to get motion sickness, but thank goodness I did not end up getting sick. The first animals that we saw were bald eagles, closely followed by our first occurrence with dolphins in the first straightaway, which I completely did not expect to see. Both these animals just showed me how vast and incredible Alaska really is. Sadly, we did not see any whales within the first straightaway. We turned around to go through the second straightway, but on the way back we saw mountain goats, which were very unique looking with their horns and their ability to climb the mountains so effectively and swiftly. The animals we saw after the mountain goats were sea lions and a great handful of birds. The sea lions were much bigger than I anticipated! After the sea lions, the dolphins from the previous straightway gave us a source of entertainment by swimming under the boat and then jumping out of the water for us to see in a playful manner. Towards the end of the tour, we were finally able to see whales. The whales were so graceful and majestic that I could have watched them all day. This tour really opened my eyes to new experiences and to not be afraid to try new things.