Alaska will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the last vacation my family went on before life became extraordinarily hectic. It was the majestic scenery that I needed in my life in order to realize that I could attain all of my goals. It was the breath of fresh air that my body needed and it was the place that completely shifted my focus.
There was one part in particular that took my breath away. Kenai Fjords National Park.
We took a boat ride set up through the Alaska Railroad that departed pretty early in the morning and lasted a half day. It wasn’t enough time, I could have easily spent a lifetime in those waters.
Time seemed to be nonexistent; the lazy waves idly crashing against ageless glaciers, the rocks so smooth from decades of movement. It was surreal.
Kenai Fjords National Park is place that makes you feel micro on such a macro scale. Not in the “I’m insignificant” way but rather the “world has so much to offer and I could have the opportunity to see it all” way.
The way that the Grand Canyon makes you feel like there’s something so much bigger than all of us. The way that mountains make you a little weak in the knees just realizing their power and prowess.
That place is one of the only places on earth that I’d like to see every day. Like an old friend, I could see myself sitting with the glaciers and occupying such a small amount of space but I know I’d feel right at home. I’d feel safe surrounded by gaping crevasses and jutting ice, like the earth itself is opening it’s doors to you; like it’s saying, “Look what I have to offer. This is me, raw and unpolished.”
My best friend and I were recently talking about how tangible pictures have become so uncommon. So uncommon, in fact, that I have known her 5 years and neither of us has a “real” picture of the two of us. But in my room, I have 3 pictures that I hold dear to me.
One is of my sister and I on that boat ride. We’re sitting at the front of the boat with the glacial water splicing on either side of us. The snow capped peaks of the mountains are behind us and our hair is in every which direction. We have these genuine smiles that only seem to come when we’re traveling together. It’s one of my favorite pictures of all time.
The other two are of my whole family; big jackets and hats and all goofily smiling and close. A closeness that can’t be easily replicated and I love those pictures both dearly.
There’s a point in the boat tour where you’re taken to the Aialik Glacier. It’s size is easily confused because you’re required to stay back at least a half mile from the glacier itself. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see it calve.
We did. And I can’t put into words the thunderous, roaring, splicing noise that it makes. It starts with a crack, more sharp than thunder, and it generates this low rumble. You can see it falling before the sounds reach you so you know what’s coming next. The rumble turns into a grating, and the grating turns into the sound of water ripping as it makes way for this ice sheet within it’s depths. It’s awe-inspiring.
I went to many places within Alaska but my favorite was by far Kenai. It will always, always hold a special place within my heart.