Touring while self-reflecting

Omaha, I’m home.

I’m still incredibly exhausted, but delighted that I’m slowly re-entering into my normal routine (like sleeping in my own bed and showering every day).

As usual after every trip, photos start to appear on Facebook. My friend Morgan has  an album on Facebook with the caption, “When in Alaska, you take selfies.”

That’s so true, especially with our group, who was surrounded by gorgeous scenery over the weekend.

Starting Friday morning, we became tourists. The trip shifted focus from learning about others to learning about the nature and landscape of Alaska while snapping a few selfies here and there.  We ended our vacation with a “real” vacation.

We traveled to Seward, which meant we flew to Anchorage and were picked up by our tour guides. We then drove for four hours in two big vans to Seward. It’s usually a two to three- hour drive, but we made several stops along the way.

We stopped at an airfield, watching planes take off and land in the water. We stopped at several places with great views of the mountains. We stopped at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, where we got to see seals and sea lions swim and interact with each other.

I liked seeing all of that, but it was a joy to get back in the van to move on. I loved sitting by the window and watching mountain after mountain and river after river pass us by. I still can’t get over how magnificent those mountains are.

Yet another view of those mountains.
Yet another view of those mountains.

Saturday by far was one of my favorite moments of the trip. We spent all day on a boat, touring the Kenai Fjords Natural Park. The boat had a seating area to warm up but both standing and sitting room towards the back, outside. Saturday was one of the rainiest days of our trip, but it was worth it to stand out in the rain.

We saw sea lions, sea otters, porpoise (which are like dolphins), humpback whales, orca whales, tufted puffins, horned puffins, as well as a bald eagle during our six hour tour.

We then floated past the Aialik Glacier and watched parts of it crumble and fall into the water. If you need proof that global warming really does exist, you don’t need much more proof than that.

Standing in front of the Aialik Glacier, holding a chunk of it that has melted off.
Standing in front of the Aialik Glacier, holding a chunk of it that has melted off.

The next day, we climbed to the edge of Exit Glacier, also in Seward, before visiting a little town called Moose Pass, the Wildlife Conservation Center and returning to the airport.

It’s incredible to see the Exit Glacier up close, but it’s even more remarkable to think about how much of it has melted. Along the trail up to the edge of the glacier, there were signs marking where the edge of the glacier was in past years, for example in 1964 and even in the 1800s. It’s nothing now compared to it was back then.

Exit Glacier today
Exit Glacier today

In the past, I have had my doubts about global warming. The issue surrounds politics and so many politicians are involved; it’s hard to know who to listen to. I guess it took a trip to Alaska and to this glacier to truly confirm that global warming is real.

We took selfies by this glacier and now that I look at it, it was almost too appropriate for me to do so. It helped me take a look at myself and what I believe, while letting that glacier appear in the back of my mind, like it did in the back of our pictures, forming my opinion to match what I see.

Leah, Hayley and I near Exit Glacier.
Leah, Hayley and I near Exit Glacier.

 

 

 

 

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