My Seester is here! My Seester is here! Well, she just left, , but she was here! In Alaska! With me!
I’ve been slowly acquiring airline miles over the years and finally had enough for a plane ticket so I used it as a birthday gift for my Seester to fly her up to Alaska. Although I was slightly selfish about it and made the dates of her visit over MY birthday (which is about two weeks before hers). In my defense though, I flew across the country to celebrate her 30th birthday, so I thought it was only fair that she fly across the country (of Canada) for my 30th birthday.
Brian picked her up the morning that her flight flew in and they met me during my lunch break for a quick bite to eat. I could have easily cried I was so happy my seester was in Alaska – with me! Anytime our guests fly up here to visit us from anywhere but the PNW, they’ve been through several hours of flying multi-leg journeys and are usually pretty wiped out their first day or two here. Kristen was no exception to this so I gave her a ‘rest day’ to relax before I subjected her to my definition of the word vacation.
a period of suspension of work, study, or usual activity, used by the weak to rest but otherwise used to step outside one’s comfort zone. Usually combined with sleep deprivation, copious amounts of Tropical Red Bull, handfuls of Gushers, adrenaline, frequent photography breaks, and a heightened sense of adventure.
On Thursday I went to work while my friend Cally showed Kristen around Anchorage a bit as well as JBER. Kristen confused Cally’s son because he thought she was me. (She used this same witchcraft on Bucket)
After work Brian met me at out vet’s office for Kray’s puppy socialization class. Afterwards we met with a local doberman breeder (who also happens to own the only other beauceron in Anchorage, but that’s a completely other story) to help us properly tape Kratos’ ears.
It was late by the time we were finally headed for home, but I walked into my house and was surprised with cake and showered with gifts. Apparently turning 30 is a big deal. Perhaps it’s more about the fact that I have actually survived up until this point? I dunno, that seems more like a question for my family.
I woke everyone up around 5:30 Friday morning and had them lulled back to sleep in the Jeep by 6am. Actually, both Brian & Kristen were good sports and stayed awake with me for the entire drive to Talkeetna despite the rain and heavy fog.
The entire drive was a blanket of white cloud surrounding us. I was disappointed that my Seester traveled all the way from Ohio and might not be one of the ones lucky enough to see Denali. As I rounded a corner on the Talkeetna Spur Road I pointed out to Kristen that right about now is when you would – on a clear day – get your first clear view of the tallest mountain in North America. Not thirty seconds later, as if stepping into a portal into another dimension, the fog suddenly lifted and we were thrown into a sunny, clear blue sky day with uninhibited views of the mountain herself.
We spent about an hour walking around the tiny town of Talkeetna before meeting up with our adventure guides, Sean and Willow, for a morning of zip lining with Denali Zipline Tours. I can honestly say Kris did better than I thought she would with the heights and was a master at the line by the end of our trip (although I thought we might lose her again at the rappelling portion).
O our way back to Wasilla we made a quick stop by the Iditarod Headquarters to give Kris an official tour and say hello to some sweet little future Iditarod puppies.
Once back in Wasilla I kissed Brian goodbye then Kristen and I headed into the Alaska State Fair. Brian got us tickets to the X Ambassadors concert that evening so we decided to spend the afternoon wandering about the fair before the show.
Although the Aurora Borealis theatre is not very big I still wanted to have a good spot so we were the first people in line. As we waited for the gates to open a woman from a local radio station came up and handed us pre-party passes! Happy birthday to me! We excitedly headed into a VIP tent and were treated to a catered meal, drinks, snacks, music and contests for even more prizes. The best part of it was that we then received entrance into the theatre before anyone else and managed to get front and center seats for the concert. We were so close Sam Harris literally sweated on us during the concert. Cool?
I had more plans for Kristen that night, but when we arrived back at the house after the concert for a quick change of clothes she threw up the white towel and begged for mercy. Given that it was well into the wee hours of the morning in her time zone, I caved and allowed her to crash back onto the couch she was slowly sinking further and further into.
We slept in a bit on Saturday morning before once again heading north. This time however, we set our sights on Matanuska Glacier for the once in a lifetime kind of adventure of trekking on a glacier. This also came with a complimentary (and gourmet) spaghetti lunch made with melting glacier water. Eat your heart out Aquafina!
The weather was still holding out as we started home from the glacier so we detoured to the top of Hatcher Pass to walk around an abandoned gold mine. Here we took in a little history before returning home for the night (where we were greeted with a homemade halibut dinner waiting for us on the table when we walked in the door!).
On Sunday morning my Seester and I were once again out the door early in the morning. We had tickets for a 6 hour wildlife cruise out of Seward and needed to beat the tour busses down the highway. We were just heading out of Anchorage south along the Turnagain Arm when I spotted a beluga whale in the waters just off the shore. I found the first pullout and screeched to a stop. We raced across the road and jumped the guardrail. I was excited to point out a single beluga whale to Kristen when suddenly right before our eyes were a dozen or so juvenile and adult whales splashing and playing. I never grabbed the camera from the car as I was in awe of the display they were putting on for us. After about thirty minutes we, fearing that we were going to miss our boat, pushed on for Seward.
We parked the Jeep and jumped onto our boat that quickly departed into the Ressurection Bay. We spent the next 6 hours taking in the local wildlife including a few whales and watching glaciers calve. It’s amazing to be at the face of a glacier as it sloughs off. It sounds like you’re in the middle of a great thunderstorm despite there not being a cloud in the sky.
On our way home we stopped in Girdwood to make the short trek to Virgin Creek Falls – a place I needed to share the magic of with my Seester before she left Alaska.
At home we gorged ourselves on fresh king crab dipped in a delicious homemade lemon-butter sauce.It was a feast for a king and a splendid way to end a fantastic trip. Unfortunately even the best of things must come to an end sometimes and this afternoon I was put my Seester on a plane bound for Ohio. While I LOVE playing tour guide to my friends and family, it’s always so hard to say goodbye.
Safe travels Seester and never stop exploring.