There are things I really don’t like about living in Alaska. Like the fact that if I want to leave the state it’s going to cost me 700 million dollars. One way. Or the fact that in the summer there are bears, everywhere. Or that Sarah Palin lives here. All these things make Alaska a little less desirable in my eyes.
But then there are all these other things about living in Alaska that make this state the most amazing place I could ever dream of living in.
After living in this state for less than a year (we hit the one year mark May 3rd) I’ve already fished for salmon until 11pm on the longest day of the year and had it still be perfectly light out as we packed up to go home. Backpacked in country so beautiful you start to wonder if you are imagining everything. Gone halibut fishing. Hiked to the top of a glacier. Seen orca whales in the wild. Kayaked next to a humpback whale! (Which by the way turns out is really sort of terrifying. Something they don’t tell you when you’re making an Alaskan Life List). Seen a moose. Times 12. And on and on and on.
Before we moved here Adam and I had an amazing afternoon where we played the, “Things I Want To Do In Alaska” game. It seemed impossible to stop as we listed trip after trip. Activity after activity. Once in a lifetime experience after another.
This weekend I checked another big one off the list.
Watch the kickoff of the Iditarod.
You know how sometimes the idea of something is so much greater than the reality?
For me a moment that didn’t live up to its expectations would be going to the top of the Statue of Liberty. Sure, I was stoked to see her from the ferry. Loved standing beneath her thinking of how at one time my Great-Grandmother signed her name as she passed through Ellis Island. I found myself wondering what my Great-Grandmother felt when she first viewed Lady Liberty. Was she scared? Hopeful?
But after climbing for what felt like days I finally reached the top of her crown and the, this is it? feelings hit me. As I stood in her crown, before me were a few tiny windows. I would have a moment to look, snap a picture if I dared hold up the masses below me, and then back down we’d go. Spiraling our way back to the bottom after 30 seconds in her brain. Turns out, there ain’t much to see up there. I felt a little cheated to be honest. Is it weird that after all these years I’d imaged I might have been able to get a coffee up there? Possibly a sandwich? I fear we’re not capitalizing on something.
So, as with any experience big enough to make it onto your Life List / Bucket List, I worried about the Iditarod. Could it possibly live up to my expectations?
Turns out I had nothing to worry about.
It was all I’d imagined and then some.
People. You have to come check this state out. I am trying really hard to be the unofficial Alaskan tourism board here, but some of this you can only believe when you see it with your own eyes.
As I’ve said before, I have a guest room and lots of wine.
Get here, yesterday.