After nine hours, I finally stepped off the small, confined plane into the cool Alaska breeze. Gorgeous mountains, peaks covered with snow surrounded me. The picture perfect scenery, as if painted on the sky, blues, greens and white. The air was crisp and clean. My journey had begun.
While driving through beautiful Anchorage, the mountains seemed infinite. It was as if someone built a miniature town out of Legos and placed it in between enormous mounds of earth. My first destination was Wild Berry Farm. Upon entering, I was overwhelmed by the delightful aroma of rich, sweet Alaskan chocolate steaming down the side of one wall in an enticing fountain. My sweet tooth danced for joy.
The next day, my uncle and I, the only ones daring enough to hike the mountain, started our trek deep in the humid, luscious valley. While walking through we spotted several bear tracks and we were swarmed, attacked, and eaten by pesky mosquitos! It seemed like it took an eternity to climb up the rocky mountain side. Exhausted and out of breath, finally we reached the last peak of the mountain, a cool breeze blowing my hair. I felt strong yet so small compared to all the beauty surrounded me. Dinner that night I experienced, a caribou burger. It had an unusual color but the taste was mouth-watering.
My journey continued the following morning when we visited the shops downtown. The first place we went to was the famous Ulu Factory where they make traditional Ulu knives, extremely sharp, half-moon shaped knives, used by the Eskimos. We also met with some local Eskimos who handmade earrings out of mineral stone. We stopped to eat at a Phyllis’s Café and Salmon Bake, where I had my first bite of Alaska King Crab. I am not a fan of seafood, but I tried the crab anyway. Not surprisingly, I still wasn’t a fan of seafood. I couldn’t wait to spit out the slimy, butter coated, meat. I decided to stick with caribou.
Day five took us on a tram ride at the Alyeska Resort. While surrounded by glass on all sides, the tram took us to the top of the snow covered mountain, and we had the privilege of seeing a moose playing in the snow. Once we got to the top, the inlet was perfectly placed between two mountains. The snow, still piled up high, was glistening in the sun. My grandma kept her eyes closed, but I couldn’t stop looking and taking it all in.
Of all my adventures, glacier hiking was my absolute favorite part of the trip. A curvy road around a mountain, led us to the Matanuska glacier. As we began the hike, the thick snowy ice crunched under my feet. I couldn’t help but stop and think how lucky I was to be here in this moment surrounded by sheer beauty. Farther over the glacier, it began to look like a giant bowl of ice cream covered in chocolate syrup. The ground peaked through the ice creating the appearance of a delectable dessert.
The hike was definitely the dessert of my trip to Alaska. Unfortunately, my trip had to come to an end. As I boarded the plane, I took a piece of Alaska with me, not in trinkets or souvenirs, but in my heart. I made a promise to myself that someday I would return to this scenic wonderland. There is still so much more left to be discovered.
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