A friend asked me to accompany her and another of our friends on a one-day, round-trip of about 4 hours each direction. We were going to a place I’ve always wanted to go, so I immediately said I would go. Three women, a little heeler, and a trailer! What could possibly go wrong?? LOL!
I have to say, Alaska is so beautiful, it doesn’t matter where you go, you encounter more and more natural beauty. Those of us who live here, we still are in awe. And it never gets old. I have had friends actually tell me it is wilderness overload. I just do not get that. In my mind, you can never have too much wilderness! But I suppose if all you are ever used to is asphalt all around you and scripted living situations (master planned communities and highways connecting you to everything, with no break in city after city – aka SoCal) it would overwhelm you. So in that respect, I do get it. And one of the most ironic things for me about living in Alaska is that almost every driveway has some sort of recreational vehicle in it; even it if is a fishing boat or a stack of kayaks, 4-wheelers or snow machines, or even sheds filled with tents and gear – Alaskans sense that they want even more of the paradise we live in. Our neighborhoods are filled with trees and brush and so many homes have driveways that, if you don’t know the exact location, are completely hidden from the passersby on the roads. We reside in this wilderness and embrace it fully.
On our road trip, this was a mandatory stop. Above is Isabel Pass. It is named after a miner’s wife who was strong and independent and established a homestead in this vast wilderness. I cannot imagine the hardships she faced, trying to establish a home with absolutely no amenities – and weather that is sometimes overwhelmingly cold. There is also a glacier up in the center of the photograph.
There is a thing I recently learned called “Boondocking.” That is camping with no hook-ups. For those of us with tow-behind trailers or big RVs, it’s something you need to know in order to plan ahead. We can carry enough water and fuel to be fine boondocking, but it sure is nice if we don’t have to, as your gas mileage is much better when you travel empty! Isabel Pass is a boondocking location. But look at that vista!!! You can camp right next to the glacier. And there are streams all over the place. Camping near a glacier is its own adventure as the climate is particular to the glacier location. It can easily be 20-30 degrees, even more, colder near a glacier. Even in the summertime. This photo was taken a week ago. And it was drizzling and pretty chilly, but the beauty was incredible.
As I turned back towards the truck, this guy was sitting on the treetop across the road from us, just watching. My girlfriend has a mini-heeler and so we kept an eye on him. Eagles aren’t above sweeping down and grabbing dogs! But to have a wild eagle so close just gave me such peace and a thrill as well. He’s not in a cage or a zoo – he’s freely flying around in the wilds of Alaska. We were blessed to see moose, as well, roaming freely and munching their way across the forests. Like I said, I cannot see why you get wilderness overload! I have eagles flying around my house and have a mamma moose and her twin calves in my yard. But I never tire of this. Never.
Most gals travel to the local mall. Not us. LOL. We drove roughly 350 miles to retrieve 100 bales of hay. And back again. In one day. The conversation was stellar. The friendships more cemented. And the journey was unforgettable. We kept laughing that we were like the cast of Gilligan’s Island – a 3 hour tour that ended up being more than 22 hours. LOL. So much for a quick trip! Why? Roads, weather, dinner at a brewery, friends, Alaska! LOL.
Our destination was reached. The farmer loaded the hay for us and we tied it down and set off. Long story short, we made some stops along the way. We altered our return route to avoid road closures, only to discover roads were out there, too. Denali was pouring rain. The road home was fraught with 1 lost bale of hay and extreme tiredness. We stopped and napped for an hour from 2am to 3am. We finally got into my friends’ place about 6am. Exhausted. It took this grandma two days of fuzzy brain to recover. I no longer do all-nighters! LOL! I literally have an alarm on my phone to remind me to take my diabetes meds and to drink my “Golden Milk.” The alarm is set for 8:30pm. So hilarious – we were just finishing dinner in Delta at 8:30pm! It messed my system up big time. I didn’t get my meds or Golden Milk. Blood sugar was all over the map. Whew. I am back to normal, but it was a project! LOL.
Even with all of that chaos and rain and crazy company, I’d seriously consider doing it again. For my friend, yes, but selfishly, for myself. I just can’t seem to soak up enough of God’s bounty and beauty in this place called home. Alaska. I am beyond blessed.
“And it’s into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”John Muir