STATUTORY WARNING: Alcohol impairs your decision making abilities!

A few months ago, while sitting at a local brewery, we made a decision which I regretted and reconsidered numerous times since then. Fueled by the extra hop bottom fermented goodness fresh from the tap, we decided to give up all worldly comforts for a week in exchange for  some time in the Alaskan wilderness. Though I have done my fair share of hiking and camping, I am the sort of person who never runs the risk of being mistaken for an athlete.  Consequently, I rated Alaska a good couple notches above my comfort level. In the intervening months I was excited, I lamented, I imagined the worst  and in moments of pure desperation I even vowed to work my ass off (literally and figuratively) all in preparation for the great Alaskan vacation. 

Finally when June rolled in, we set off on our adventure to Wrangell- St. Elias national park- a huge ass park which is roughly one and half times the size of Kerala and bigger than Switzerland.  Here is what this trip taught me

  • Most people need a whole bottle of Hajmola to digest the fact that someone could go on a non-cruise trip to Alaska. Here in Washington, as I learned recently, Alaska is synonymous with cruises and hence people are ready with suggestions for cruises and tips to battle sea sickness when you so much as even mention Alaska
  • Alaska isn’t all snow and ice. Alaska was always white in my mind. I was surprised to find Anchorage occasionally warmer than Seattle
  • Wilderness doesn’t necessarily mean a thick growth of trees

Treeless Wilderness is no oxymoron

  • Norway isn’t the only land of midnight sun.  We packed enough flashlights and candles to light up a stadium only to reach there and find the sun never really sets in Alaska in summer. Dusk meets dawn around 12:30 am and they hang around for an hour and then go their own ways.
  • No matter how much you have read about small aircrafts, the sight of a single engine Cessna reminds you of the airplane rides at the carnivals. That patch of duct tape on the wings do little in the way of reassurance (Yeah! I know it is aviation tape and all, but it belongs to the family of duct tape nonetheless)

The Cessna

  • Tough times call for tough measures. Who would have known that a sachet of crystal light raspberry flavor in a shot of vodka with a dash of Gatorade lemon makes a swell cocktail? The drink was christened Chelle Lake in honor of our water source during the trip
  • A pack of huskies out in the rain can keep you awake all night with their ‘singing’
  • Judy Cooper of Earthtone Huskies B&B makes the best homemade muffins ever
  • On the first few days, backpackers in Alaskan wilderness think every single rustle in the bush is a bear.  They hope against hopes, wish, pray and strike deals with God for the rustle to not be a bear.
  • Towards the end of the trip when hopes of bear sightings wears thin, backpackers in Alaskan wilderness think every single rustle in the bush is a bear.  They hope against hopes, wish, pray and strike deals with God for the rustle to be a bear- a big grizzly one or at least a small black one
  • You can never visit Alaska just once. We are planning on going back again to see the northern lights in winter. Time for more lamenting and excitement