Some would say taking 13 members of someone’s family on a cruise would be lame, but then again, in my experience, putting the words cruise and Alaska together is the makings of the greatest trip anyone can have. Even with an age gap of 17-82, all of us managed to find something fun and exciting to do every day. My mother’s side of the family decided to take this adventure, consisting of trains, buses and a large cruise ship.
This was the farthest I’ve ever traveled away from Stockton, Mo., and for the longest time — 10 days. Our family has slowly become more separated over the years. Most of the children have grown into young adults and branched out into college or the working field. I’ve never personally been very close to any of that side of the family.
I’m the youngest and none of my cousins seem to find me very interesting. This trip, even though it lasted less than two weeks, brought all of us closer to each other. We had life-changing experiences on every event that took place throughout our expedition into the great Alaskan north, or as most of the family liked to call it, ‘Awaska!’ The beginning of the trip consisted of enjoying an 8-hour plane ride into Alaska with my cousins.
Looking out of the windows of the plane, all of us anticipated an amazing vacation. We flew over the Colorado Rockies, Canada and some of the Pacific Ocean. All of us enjoyed each other’s company and excitement.
We stayed in a hotel at Denali that night and prepared for another long day. The next evening, I took an ATV up a mountain trail with my cousins, along with their mom and dad. During this excursion, I felt like my male cousins began to understand that I was growing up and could actually be a fun guy to be around.
All of us had an incredible time being with one another, taking in the high-adventures, and saving me from getting lost on the course.The cruise we went on lasted seven days. My sister and cousins spent a lot of time in the beginning venturing and exploring throughout the boat. Everything around us felt like a dream because none of us were used to traveling like this, never this fancy.
We all were grasping new experiences with each other. The crew had many activities scheduled throughout each day. We spent the first three days in open sea, taking in the scenery.
The food was one of the best parts about the trip. The experience was like eating at a 5-star restaurant. Everything was perfect; none of us wanted it to end.
On Wednesday we docked in Haines. The cousins and I scheduled a kayaking excursion. We paddled along a melted glacier and watched eagles, spawning salmon and flying fish. The scenery around us was spectacular and we used up large amounts of card memory on pictures, well worth it. The ship didn’t stay in Ketchikan very long, just long enough for my cousins and I to go zip lining. We zip-lined over the canopy of some Alaskan forest. There were a few lines that extended over 800 feet! We were usually about 1,000 feet up above the forest floor. Everything we did throughout the trip never let us down, I never imagined having this much fun with my cousins. We were much more alike than any of us thought. I felt included with all of them because I wasn’t scared to do anything wild and crazy. Everything that took place during this adventure is so hard to describe to its full extent.
I’m glad my grandparents decided to take all of the family on this trip. We all became so much closer as a family, and I think that was their goal for us all. I definitely grew closer with my cousins. All of us are about 7 years apart through the six of us. They finally accepted me as not being a little kid anymore.
I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for all the memories I gained from that trip. We were all very sad to separate from each other on that Monday when our family returned to Missouri. By remembering all these spectacular moments from this summer, the laughs and the stress, I know I could not have even dreamed of a better family trip.
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