Alaska, Day Four

Doing my best to actually sleep in one day on this adventure, poor excuses for blackout curtains let reflections of the early morning crepuscular rays into our quaint cabin and tell my body that it’s time to wake up. Adhering to a strict obedience to an early morning workout each day on the floating chuck-a-rama, I’m grateful for not needing an alarm clock, albeit wishing once again for just a little more time nestled in the sheets. A few stretches, a few moments brushing my teeth, I’m off to the gym hoping to give my body a good warm-up to the week’s itinerary.

Before heading out of our cabin, I decided if nature is going to wake me up, I’ll give it the benefit of doubt and see what the fuss is all about. Moving the curtains slowly, I see the image above and find myself in awe.

I’ve always said I’d rather not take a cruise ship to see Alaska. Knowing what I know about backcountry flying, and knowing who I know in backcountry aviation, many attempts have been made to learn how to properly fly in Alaska from seasoned veterans in the hopes that one day I’ll return and see Alaska from the inside out. The last time (and first time) I was here, I was relegated to a winter’s pandemic experience in brief 12 to 16 hour windows. Speaking with the men and aviators who call this place home, I longed to return.

But yeah, cruises aren’t my thing. And I’ll keep saying that, but there’s some innate calling in my soul that makes the ocean feel home. Perhaps it’s the backcountry pilot in my soul who appreciates the journey and the sights enjoyed while traversing from point A to point B in a less than straight line. Surely a cruise around southeast Alaska suits that fancy, with picturesque vistas right outside my cabin. Maybe it’s the added difficulty that comes with the journey, with ample pre-departure planning, preparations, and parrying weather and other potential roadblocks along the way. Honestly, I think it’s more about my mantra of “less is more,” the idea that one can visit the world with nothing more than a sail pushing them along. A step back in time to a more pure, more intimate way to not only see what Mother Nature has to offer, but to learn to love her even more.

Another hour in the gym pedaling off last night’s barrage of appetizers, main courses, and desserts, my body finds joy in the misery of strenuous exercise, my mind builds an alternate reality of my elliptical machine being replaced by some thirty-plus foot sailboat, and my heart warms with the thoughts of returning home in a few more days to see our children.

I’m wondering if these last two days (and those to come) will push me further into learning more about sailing. Stefani knows the last thing I need is another hobby. Surely I know as well. Maybe I can talk enough sailing to my kids and one of them will get the bug.

Til those precious moments where we replace time putting money into our retirement accounts with time pulling money out of our retirement accounts, I’ll dream of the open seas and the infinite adventures contained therein. Finding brief moments throughout our days ahead staring into the realm of possibilities, hoping my mind can conjure up tall tales of venturing into the unknown.

Cruises aren’t my thing. But maybe they are a springboard for my thing. Whatever that may be.