Alaska, Day Two

Our first day in Alaska was one that I’ll treasure beyond all others, which makes me chuckle because our cruise hasn’t even started yet, and is the real reason we’re up here in State 49. But technically it’s our second day and after an evening of serving others in the House of the Lord, an early morning walk across the boardwalk of Potter’s Marsh, and enjoying sacrament with Brother Crandall and his Temple View family, we’re finally on a boat floating southbound back towards home.

Again I found myself taking picture of Bryan scanning the mountainsides one way while a hundred other tourists stare in the complete opposite direction. A glacier nestled in the slopes of the nearby mountains didn’t fancy Bryan…he wants to see critters! Nonetheless it’s been two day watching him sway the crowd’s attention, and I’m certain it’ll continue throughout the week.

While most of today’s plans consisted of transitioning from Anchorage to Whittier to board our ship, my mind is still in awe of the infinite beauty and grandeur of the Alaskan wilderness that we randomly found ourselves deep within the day prior. Having thought of walking around Lake Hood staring at airplanes the day prior, meeting up with three-fourths of our party and inquiring about a hike, I spent roughly two minutes opening the AllTrails app, selecting “waterfall” and “hike” in the filter options, and scrolling to find one nearby. Waterfalls were chosen much to the chagrin of T-boz, Left Eye, and Chili as Bryan wanted to show his wife some of them for her birthday (the actual waterfalls, not TLC (RIP Left Eye)).

Having R.Patt and K-Stew share with us that a hike they chose the day prior to accomplish the same was “underwhelming,” I was nervous selecting our destination. I could have spent more time reading trail reviews, reviewing the map of the route, and scanned satellite images of the area, but in no manner besides pure randomness, I chose Crow Pass and without any dissenting votes, we made our way up the Alyeska Highway to begin our adventure.

Randomly we found ourselves in an area littered with bears, berries, and Bryan once again looking the other way. Nearly four miles in with over 2,000 feet of altitude climbed, it was not hard to say no to Rob who pushed us to continue on the trail just a little bit more as the trail began to level off. A backpack full of lunch, water, jackets, and more, a break beyond the pass in view of the Raven Glacier was a nice reprieve, although the wind had a different effect on me this time now that I wasn’t climbing anymore.

Randomly, we found ourselves in a breathtaking place. And yet, I’m certain wherever fate would have taken us, Alaska would not have disappointed. Even if it had tried, I know our company would have filled in the gaps.

Interestingly enough, random encounters of great trails were not our only random encounters this day. A former colleague from college, fellow vintage airplane owner and steward of backcountry flying was helping a friend reposition a classic Taylorcraft from California to Alaska. Having enjoyed the coastal route during the start of his journey, the weather gods enticed him with more great weather and he continued on the scenic route and as we exited the tunnel to arrive into Whittier, our tour guide said “…and on the left you’ll see Whittier Airport…” which featured only one airplane. It just happened to be that Taylorcraft. Rushing to get my camera out of my pocket, I sent a message to Dustin and immediately he called back and we laughed at the serendipitous nature of our random meeting.

I’ve called Ibex a magical place and will continue to do so. Now I can report Alaska is one too.