As I said we’d be, we are in Alaska. This land is vast. This one state is a fifth the size of all of the others put together. It’s not only the northernmost state and the westernmost state, it is the easternmost state, since some of the Aleutian islands stretch into the Eastern hemisphere. And much of this land is virtually inaccessible. If you look at a road atlas of Alaska, you will see one red highway like an artery circling around the middle of the state, plus some capillaries around Anchorage. And that’s about all the highways there are. (You will also see a road headed up to the far north. That’s the one featured on Ice Road Truckers.) You can’t even drive to the state capital. The only way into Juneau is by ship or by plane. The main way to get to the little towns and other sites in the vast northland is to fly there. In Anchorage you can see huge parking lots of private planes, some of them ancient little Piper Cubs, plus float planes in the lakes docked at the piers like boats.
The parents of a former student have been very, very gracious in showing us around. We went two hours inland into the mountains and hiked on a glacier. One might think that a glacier would be like a sheet of ice, smooth like a skating rink. In reality, as we learned, the surface of a glacier is utterly irregular, with slants and hills and holes and streams and crevasses. Also patches of rocks and silt as well as ice that is sometimes white, sometimes clear, and sometimes an eery glowing blue. You had to watch every step. It was extreme hiking.
Thanks to our guides to Anchorage for your hospitality, for your driving, and for your bringing such adventure into our usually humdrum lives! Later today we get on the ship!