Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Alaska: Wild and Free

When I was growing up, my very best friend Maria (hi, Maria!) and I used to spend pretty much every minute together. Maria had a horse, an old gray gelding named Silver. We rode Silver everywhere, two little girls riding double, roaming through pine woods and palmetto fields. We'd even take Silver swimming with us in the many lakes that dotted our neighborhood. This was the best part of my childhood, a semi-idyllic part that helped me escape from the not-so-idyllic parts.

But Maria lived a rather nomadic existence. Her parents were divorced, and she was always being shipped off to a different relative, a different city, a different state. I, never having lived anywhere but the place I was, found all this travel exotic and exciting, never realizing how hard it must've actually been for her. We never lost touch, remaining pen pals no matter where she was, writing each other letter after letter after letter. And it was when Maria moved to Anchorage, Alaska that my burning desire to go there was born. For a girl from a flat state full of heat, mosquitoes and alligators, the idea of a place where snow-capped mountains were the norm, where ancient rivers of ice formed glaciers and iceburgs, and where bear, moose and whales roamed free, fired my imagination like no other place on earth.

And I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed. Captain America and I finally took a long-awaited Alaskan cruise last month, and here are a few highlights:

This is the view from Glacier Bay. Isn't it gorgeous?

Here are some actual glaciers, and an iceberg:

And yes, it was cold!!

We went hiking and saw a gorgeous waterfall:

But I think my favorite day was the day we went rafting. We saw fresh bear prints in the woods as we hiked to the spot where we launched the raft, and once we were in the water, we watched bald eagles soaring over our heads as they searched for salmon in the river. It was glorious.

And then, my husband and I took another of the famous "one-handed" photos that we do every trip, and sealed our great time with a kiss.

(See how multi-talented he is? He can kiss and still get a great shot while holding the camera out with one hand!) :)

So where's your favorite spot? Where's the best place you've ever been on vacation?


Honey said...

Oh, look at those gorgeous blue skies over Glacier Bay!! It was so cloudy when we were there in July, but we still loved every minute of it. I'm so glad you had a wonderful trip! Wasn't the glacier color just amazing? I could've stayed and stared at it all day long.

Which ports did you go to?

Terri said...

Yes, Honey, they told us we were experiencing unusually beautiful weather while we were on the cruise in August. We went to Ketchikan, Skagway, and Whittier. All those jewelry stores!! But I did break down buy a cool ring in one of the them!

Mary Ellen said...

You asked about favorite vacation spots and I've just recently returned from my second trip to Charleston SC. Both times I enjoyed the planning stage prior to vacation and our time there was a dream come true. My husband and I took a Ghost tour on the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, very nice, the scenery was worth it. We enjoyed a daytime carriage tour of Charleston on an Adult Passengers only tour with Classic Carriage. Sometimes you just want to get away from all the tots! Toured Patriots Point, Fort Sumter and the South Carolina Aquarium. Had some Carolina cuisine to die for! Visited famous Poogan's Porch (it's supposed to be haunted!) Had broiled swordfish with butter and Carolina seasoned rice. Yummy! This most recent time was with a military reunion for my Navy ship, but in 2003 we went with family and stayed in a haunted Bed and Breakfast (sensing a theme?) The house had a lot of character and charm. If you get the chance, go visit Charleston, you won't be sorry!

Anonymous said...

I hadn't seen these pics yet. Alaska is absolutely breathtaking.


Terri said...

Hi, Mary Ellen! I've been to Charleston, and it's just so charming, isn't it? My husband and I took a walking tour where we got to go inside several of the old mansions. We'd love to go back.

Terri said...

I have so many great pictures, Lindsey, it was hard to pick just a few! Glacier Bay was incredible.