Now that I am settled back at home and my customary headache from traveling and flying has subsided, I have a few thoughts and observations. This was my third trip to Alaska, and the first with Patricia. My first two were with guided services (Exposure Alaska, and Alaska Mountain Guides) and involved hiking, kayaking, glacier climbing, within a semi-set itinerary. This time we rented a vehicle and planned each day as we saw fit, based on how we felt, the Alaskan weather, and how much coffee we could consume. This time of year, the sun never sets, and 3:00 AM feels and looks like 8:00 PM back home.
While traveling and experiencing other parts of this wonderful country and the rest of the world is a privilege and something I will not take for granted, there is nothing like being back home. It provides a base to savor and integrate the experience back into each day, to enhance, and further appreciate what we have.
I was also further reminded of how much I disdain flying, and think the next few vacations will be road trips. We would then be able to take our puppy with as she does love traveling.
On the flight to Fairbanks, I was marveling at the technology and craftsmanship it takes to design and manufacture a plane, and how it is able to lift us off the ground and transport us 2400 miles across the wild and varied landscape. With that, I was thinking about fuel, and wonder why they do not have solar panels on airplanes, to help compensate the required fuel.
As much as I love Alaska, it is time to start thinking about visiting other places, and collect new experiences.
Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to be back home, even though the sun will now set, and the temperatures are 20 degrees warmer? Every time I travel, I go through a phase and say the same thing “I could live here. Let’s move here.”. And this trip was no exception. However, reality sets back in the moment the plane touches down at MSP and I think that the experience would be much different, maybe more harsh, to live there, then to visit and experience as an outsider. Speaking of that, I personally did not feel like an outsider, even though I had never been to Fairbanks, but have been to Anchorage, Juneau, Haines, Palmer, Whittier. Each of these places feels different, looks different, sounds different, but underneath, is Alaskan in a way that is familiar. I felt more at home there, and like I belonged.
We did keep in mind that this was probably the only time we would get to this part of Alaska, and got in whatever activities we could. Even though this was a busy time for visitors at Denali National Park, we made the trip and had an awesome hike near Savage River.
By the last day, we both felt we were done with this trip, and it was time to get home, and pick up the puppy from the dog sitter.
Some highlights and recommendations if you visit Fairbanks:
- Big Daddy’s BBQ, the northern most southern BBQ
- Ah, Rose Marie bed and breakfast
- Cookie Jar, awesome and filling breakfast
- Chena Hot Springs road, great opportunity to see moose from mile 35 to 50
- Chena Hot Springs resort for burgers
- Denali National Park
- Chena Dome hiking trail
- River City Cafe & Espresso
- Fountainhead Antique Car Museum