How I Honeymooned Your Father, Part IV: Falling Off the World

If you’re just tuning in to our Alaska adventures, here are the links to Part I, Part II, and Part III. Where did we leave off last? Ice Giants. Ice Spiders. Crampons. And Cassidy was about to defy gravity, which is what you do when you’re in Alaska!

Are you wondering if he made it up to the top? Obviously you know he did!

With seemingly no trouble at all. He just scurried up like a confident Ice Spider.

Alaska

I didn’t follow him up. I know. Right?? It actually wasn’t fear-based. Well, it WAS fear-based, but it wasn’t the fear of falling off and getting hurt. I knew this was safe. It was the fear of spazzing out and flailing from a rope and needing to be rescued, but not before becoming the comedic fodder between the tour guides later that night. It was the fear of not getting it. Sometimes, I’m directionally impaired. Is that the right term? I generally know when something isn’t going to work, and that happens when I don’t have the confidence NOR the interest. And to be honest, it took a really long time to set up the rope for Cassidy and I really wanted to go out and find some Ice Giants. Cassidy said, “You have to go up!” And I kept exclaiming that I had zero interest in it. Then Nick (guide) cracked me up by using funny metaphors and analogies for how disinterested I was, but sadly, I don’t remember them. All I know is that I had zero interest in this. If my life passes me by, and I never do this?

Matanuska Glacier

Matanuska Valley

I think that’s ok. Or maybe I’ll do it next time? Yes, next time.

glacier

glaciers

It’s sometimes fun just to watch, no?

Alaskan life

So then Cassidy shimmied down like someone who shimmies down ice hills a lot, and then we were FINALLY all on safe, solid ground. We could just lie back and enjoy the view. Right? Well, wrong! For one, I really wanted to sit down and take an ice nap, but apparently even in 65-70 degree weather, that can cause hypothermia after too long. I also wanted to take my crampons off and hurl them into one of the abyss puddles of everlasting sadness, but they were kind of saving my life.

Alaskan Life

Alaska

I think the correct term here is, “Are we having fun yet?” And the answer is a resounding YES, but..

..but it wasn’t getting any easier and I wasn’t getting any younger.

The most heartbreaking and fascinating thing you can really talk about on a glacier – of which we saw and/or traveled quite a few – is that they are receding at an alarming rate. Nick told us about where the start of the glacier was years before, and it’s sobering. There’s also the fact that things can change BY THE DAY. By the minute. We certainly saw ice chunks falling off before our very eyes. Nick described paths that were safe the previous week and not then. Or that were not safe the previous week, but which we were now treading. I had to wrap my head around that one a million times over, and I may have even had an existential crisis or two. I HATE those. I try to have my existential crises once every five to ten years. In the least.

A glacier can take your life breath away, and then blow it back with more vigor than ever before.

What else can you say? Life is beautiful. Life should be preserved. With crampons and even bigger things.

I’m starting with the (wo)man in the mirror.

I was so adamant about going to Alaska, NOW, mainly because I had the money and I hadn’t had a honeymoon. It was also the fear of everything changing and it never being quite like this again. It could get better, yes, but we’ll find out next time.

You bet your crampons there’s going to be a next time!

And will it look so different and break my heart into a million ice shards? Probably.

We’re probably at the point in the story in which I can lighten it back up and tell you that Nick took pictures of us, among the sleeping Ice Giants, and I think Elsa was there too, but sometimes I wonder if I’m actually Elsa, so there’s that too?

I kept thinking we were about to turn around and make our way back to non-ice, but we kept going farther out.

And we went higher and higher.

That’s only metaphorical if you’re talking about getting high on life, which I am and I do.

Cassidy also went surfing a bit.

Not a shabby view, eh?

Here’s the King of the Ice Giants.

While I had relative comfort being lower on the ground, that was starting to change with the terrain.

I kept looking ahead and thinking, “Oh HELL no.” Then Nick would cross the divide or gap or bridge or tunnel or small mountain, Cassidy would then follow, and I’d do it with relative ease – with no help at all – in the beginning, anyway.

Walking through places like this became almost commonplace to me:

Then things started to look like this:

There was only one wall that needed a rope to climb up and down. I said, “NO” quite firmly. They asked again and I said it again. Then I totally went up anyway without a second thought and without trouble. Boy, the air up there!

Then we had to go back down with the rope!

I watched Nick demonstrate and I watched Cassidy do it and I knew what I had to do but my brain wasn’t reaching my feet, and I fell spectacularly twice. On the ice. And at the time I worried about hypothermia, even while hanging down off a glacier to a rope and to my poor guide. I was reassured about the hypothermia, but my brain would NOT tell my feet what to do. My hands did some of the work and Nick did most, and Brrrr… even in 65-70 degrees, that ice is cold. I want to tell you that I survived wonderfully but I had bruises on my butt and my arm and they took nearly all of the trip, or all of the trip, to fade.

Still worth it.

If you’re going to hang off from a piece of the world, it might as well be here:

And what’s next, do you think? What happens after hanging off part of the world? Obviously you have to get yourself down, and then more down, and then across, and then down, until you’re on that dirt that is still actually over ice, and then until you’re actually off the ice and wondering, “What’s next?” Let me tell you – SPOILER – it’s not disappointing. There are cold beers and cold ice creams and cold tongues and warm rain and warm rainbows and warm hearts. Oh, it was GOOD!

See ya SOON!

Part V


Comments

How I Honeymooned Your Father, Part IV: Falling Off the World — 61 Comments

  1. I loooove this! This is definitely where we are going for our next honeymoon. Bravo for doing as much as you did, and I would not have climbed that steep ice wall either, and I would not have had any regrets. These pictures!! I’m excited for y’all that you got to do this.

  2. Well it is sad that you saw ice chunks fall in real life. 🙁 And that it could possibly not look the same next time you go 🙁 But the pics are beautiful! So is the hike in a big circle or do you have to double back and do everything in reverse?

    • I was just out at a sugar shack (maple syruping New England thing) and the owner and I were talking about the need to get them for regular use. Even my driveway is dangerous without them.
      Now don’t you wish you lived here???

  3. OKay- I need to go back to III, but I couldn’t LOOK AWAY!! Oh my GOSH THESE PICTURES ARE AMAZING!!!

    But I need to learn about this word: “Crampons”.

    So off I go!

  4. That surfing picture is too cool!!! Once again Alaska is so beautiful. I don’t think I would have any interest in climbing a glacier either. Climbing up anything with ice using a rope is not really my thing.

  5. Well, definitely, if you have to fall somewhere, that looks like a gorgeous place to do it. I don’t know how you keep topping your previous posts with more and more beautiful photos. Alaska was just added to our list of ‘must visit’ places! And don’t hate me if I tell you that climbing the side of that glacier kind of looks like fun!

    • I can’t wait to post more! I believe tomorrow will be part 5, as long as the morning goes swimmingly.
      There were two chances to climb those walls and it does look fun with the ice picks! The one with just the rope was not so fun on the way down for me, but I survived!

  6. THESE PICTURES AND MEMORIES ARE STUNNING!! You have to get these pictures published somewhere they’re amazing like magazine and travel channel amazing!! That picture with Cassidy and the “wave” AWESOME! You guessed it, I’m showing this one to my hubby. 🙂
    I’m so happy for you, Tamara.
    XOXO

  7. That’s an amazing experience. Amazing photos too! That “surfing” photo is sooo cool!
    Having a great tour guide is a good thing. I’d totally do a glacier tour if given the chance or if I can go to Alaska or a “similar” place in my lifetime. 🙂

  8. Wow. Wow. It really does look like the sides of my driveway in January. HA Maybe I’ve been training for this my whole life, with all the driveway shoveling I’ve done. My kids climb up the banks and sled down. Oh yes they do. I truly think Alaska could be my home away from home.

  9. Again (dead horse, I know), amazing pictures. I can’t believe Cassidy only had a T-shirt on. Then I read it was 70 – but still. BTW, I wouldn’t have climbed either. And I missed something, what are crampons? Maybe it’s in part 3. Off I go…

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