Places

Returning from Alaska

Returning from an Alaskan retreat, I am different.

Nothing earth shattering and most likely not noticeable to most people I come into contact with.

Back home, the sky has not changed, the trees stand tall against the summer blue, and the grass is coarse from overdue rain.

Obligations, bills, demands, job – waited at the front door for the week to pass and my return.

Emails arrive in the overflowing inbox and the phone still rings.

Lines form at registers waiting for morning coffee.

But something is different.

I left here in a chaotic state, doubts of the pathway I built and have stayed on, despite the uncertainty. I was clinging to the next day or week, hoping that it will be different from today, that if I just hold-out, the answers and next direction will reveal themselves.  I had become complacent and stagnant.

How many years was I going to relinquish control of my path to outside forces with unknown names and unfamiliar faces?

Something is different now that my feet are on the ground here. What happened up there in the Alaskan wilderness?

I walk to the backyard and stand on the cement patio with coffee.  The morning sun rays begin to touch treetops and the golden glow is stark against the deep blue sky.  But I do not see this and I do not hear the ravens playing in the fields beyond the hill.

Lost in some thought I cannot place, my eyes close and I am back in Alaska with a river stretching to the base of distant mountains.  I am flying above glaciers and standing so close I can taste the cold.  I am riding an ATV through forest and open fields until I stand overlooking the river valley and and lose myself to the silence, the beauty, and the immense landscape.

That is what I see now that I am back home.  Now that I have returned from an Alaskan retreat, the burdens I left here with have been replaced with nature, tangible things I can see, touch, smell, taste.  Things that will my mind and push everything else out.  In return for this gift, I am more silent, thinking before I speak, and keeping more calm and control of myself as I attempt to cope with the present and push for a different future that I create.

 

Knik Glacier, Alaska – Flightseeing Tour

On 2017-08-08, we stepped out of comfort zones and took to the air for a flightseeing tour with Alaska Air Service, based in Anchorage, AK.  Our pilot was Bill who is also the owner.  We flew into the Chugach Mountains and were treated to awesome views of the Knik and Colony Glaciers.  Also included was a gravel landing with a hike to get closer to the water, glacier, and icebergs.

Glacier View, Alaska – ATV Tour

We spent August 7th with Glacier View ATV Tours at mile 99 of Glenn Highway in Glacier View, Alaska.  We were fortunate to have the trails to ourselves and be guided by Tommy, one of the owners, for 2.5 hours of ATV riding through open fields, forest and to the top with a view over the Matanuska valley.  The weather was perfect for trailing riding with temperatures in the 60’s, no rain, and no wind.

If you are in Alaska and looking for a fun way to spend time in the Alaskan wilderness, these is a great outfit to go with. Tommy is down to earth, easy to talk with, and provides a lot of knowledge and history of the area. One detail we were impressed with is Tommy stopped a few times to pick-up trash near the trail.

Whittier, Alaska – Past and Present

On a recent trip to Alaska, we visited Whittier. Accessible by auto through a one-way tunnel also servicing the railroad, tourism and fishing call people to visit and enjoy the gateway to Prince William Sound. Of note is the Buckner Building, a remnant of WWII that is off-limits.

Photos from Colorado, 2009

Some long overdue photos from a 2009 road trip to Colorado.
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Alaska Adventure Tours

A sincere post for my friends that own and operate Exposure Alaska. They have been in business since 1999 offering true Alaska adventure tours.  New this year is the Chugach Challenge offering: Fast paced and fueled by adrenaline and coffee. You’ll raft Class V rapids, ice climb on a glacier, ride the fastest zipline in Alaska and backpack in the wilderness.

Here is a review I wrote in 2013 after the last expedition I took with them (first was in 2007).

https://williamricci.com/2013/09/09/alaska-2013-guiding-company/

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Poem – Dreams

Children in the summer
Chasing dogs through
Fields open to the big sun.

Thoughts free of burden
Free of time they explore
Worlds beyond this one.

Always a step ahead
And pushing forward
They become the stars we see.

So what happened?
Where did our dreams go?

The older we become
The more experiences we obtain

It seems our dreams become fantasies
And we become rooted in reality.

Yet we will continue reaching
Back to reach out to those stars

Through reminiscing and visiting
The places of childhood.

We know something is missing
We always know the child was right.

The child was free of outward voices
And able to reach deep within and

Hold close the energy the fuels and
Drives who we truly are.

Never let go of dreams
Never let go of your true being.

Dogs of Summer #2

On a somewhat grey and dreary day we headed north to the fields and trails near the Wild River, the St. Croix. Alone on sandy trails well suited for horses, we circled the empty field through the forest and made our way to the river. Beneath the grey sky, we felt the presence of life, animals, and trees absent of sound. The two deer that crossed our path did so leisurely as I assured them we are guests here, just passing through.

In previous journeys here through the thick woods, I knew that John Haines was here walking with us, with an eye for details and subtle nuisances. Today he was here also, but we took this in as a whole, all of the nature seen and not seen, all of the light passing through us, with us, and a part of us.

The empty field, the river, forest, trails, sand, and the animals all served as a reminder that this is home, this is birth, this is where we came from.

The Empty Field We Visit

The Empty Field We Visit

Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch Also

Keeping Watch Also

Sisters Resting

Sisters Resting

The Wild River

The Wild River

 

Poem – Reminiscent

As the months melt away
into weeks and days
the memories become stronger
bouncing from everywhere
fast and furious they
fill waking thoughts
and serve as a reminder
that reminiscing not only
keeps someone’s memory alive
but reminds you of the path
they created for you
of the person they believed you are.