Where did we leave off? Well, everywhere. My Facebook photos show a large span, but I always knew I’d save many of my stories for the camera pictures. It’s actually super hard to get started with these photos, because in a way, I don’t quite believe it’s over. Then I get “Don’t Dream It’s Over” in my head, which is ok, because it’s a fantastic song, if we can we agree on that? Yes. I thought so long about how I was going to let this miniseries play out, and I realize a strength of a writer is to show more than tell, but heck, I can break my own rules. Also, I’m going to show as much as tell. All I can do is start.
There’s a disturbing part of me that felt disconnected and numbed over for part or all of the trip. At least that’s what it seemed like during the spaces between the moments that made up the honeymoon adventure. I’m certainly prone to thinking I’m feeling nothing, even when I’m feeling everything. And the only way I can feel nothing, is because there’s too much to feel, so I turn off a piece of my heart. I shut off a piece of my brain. There is absolutely no pride in this, but it’s ok to just say that sometimes and mostly, I feel too much. In retrospect, I felt a lot and I feel a lot and nothing was really numbed at all.
It’s a Tamara song, if you will. Most songs are not Tamara songs, so I pay special attention to the ones that are. The last time I flew on a plane for more than 2-3 hours was six years ago. I was a bit apprehensive now. I’m the type who might not be able to breathe on a plane, but no one would know, and then I’d just simply get my breath back on my own time. I’m the type who might not be able to eat on a plane, and maybe someone would know, and then I’d just simply get my appetite back on my own time. I’m a terrible flyer and that’s when I’m not going to my #1 travel bucket list destination. This was different.
I decided I wanted to both breathe and eat. The first flight was only 2-3 hours to Minneapolis but we had to circle for a bit because of air traffic. From there, it was then 5.5 hours to Anchorage. I had the middle seat. We taxied for a full hour before takeoff. The flight was bumpy, I was too excited to be numb, and too numb to be fully exposed, so I just sat and watched all of Mother’s Day and The Jungle Book. Then we got close, and then closer, and I could swear I’d see a moose running with the plane from the window, because you land right next to some of the moosiest parts of Anchorage anyway, and it was still light out at almost 10pm. So we got our “bride” and “groom” luggage, met up with a lovely family member – Cassidy’s mom’s husband’s daughter – and saw two moose from the car before even really leaving the airport. As one does in Alaska, right?
We peppered Erika (her name, obviously) with questions about Anchorage and moose and food and Wi-Fi, then she brought us to her home for the night, and we got to pepper her husband, Steve, with just as many questions, while we ate delicious bean soup. Then we fell into the deep sleep of people whose bodies are four hours in the future, and who have just spent nine cumulative hours on two planes, and have just seen two moose before bean soup. I dreamed about.. moose, of course.
Then we got up at a rather normal time, even though our bodies were still on east coast time, and Erika took us to get our rental car. We said our goodbyes, knowing we’d see her again in a week, got our Subaru, and drove straight to Kincaid Park.
This is a high moose area, and we had already seen two around here, and would see more to come, but this early morning at the park was just about hiking and getting used to all of the beautiful Anchorage plants and trees. The air felt amazing.
I was fascinated by the colors and plants, the moose hoofprints, and all of the bushes that were clearly flattened by large mammals passing through. Any ideas what?? Of course. Moose. I was also impressed that whenever the weather forecast said rain in Anchorage, it was always warm sun. I’m beginning to wonder what Anchorage is like when it’s forecasted to be sunny?!
After tromping around for awhile, not unlike a moose, we were hungry and went to Snow City Cafe, at the recommendations of many locals. While we waited for our food, (Country Benedict for me, but not with reindeer sausage – you’ll see why soon) we met a mother and daughter visiting Alaska from Pennsylvania and Utah. It was the mother’s life dream to visit Alaska so her kids – including the daughter with her – had saved up for the trip. We high-fived for life dreams and told them if we saw them again in Alaska, we would buy them dinner. SPOILER. After eating, we checked into our cabin in Eagle River, Alaska. No time for pictures that day – we had a glacier walk/hike scheduled for 2:30, so we went on our way.
Hey, do you know the difference between caribou and reindeer? They asked us on our tour and someone said it was that reindeer are domesticated and that caribou are wild. The guide said it was actually that reindeer can fly, and caribou can’t.
A kid who shall remain nameless, mostly because I forgot his name, ran around amok, and that is why we have tour guides. Kids who run around and yell and startle reindeer, and knock down gates. Smart reindeer see the opportunity to escape.
I take slight umbrage with keeping pets that are meant to fly – in cages or on the ground – but after visiting this reindeer farm, I changed my tune on reindeer. (but not on birds) These were happy reindeer, and they are not used for meat here.
We had to separate from the tour at the end because of our glacier schedule, and since we weren’t running amok like that nameless kid, we were allowed to see the elk on our own. Although they gave us some pretty dirty looks and ducked away.
And boy, did this get long, and this was only up to about 1:00pm on our first full day in Alaska. Stay tuned for Part III, which will tell the icy tales of falling down part of a glacier and bruising my butt really well. Or really badly. No photos, sadly.