So long Alaska – until we meet again!

Amazingly, my Alaska adventure has come to a close. We spent our last night in the backcountry last night outside the town of Skagway. Once the very heart of the Alaska gold rush, today Skagway is a famous cruise ship destination. Tourists flock there to buy stuff, take helicopter rides to glaciers, and ride dogsleds, and buy more stuff. The Alaskan gold rush story in Skagway is an amazing one that is worth looking up on the internet if you have the time. I highly recommend it! Which reminds me of a story I meant to share earlier.

Early in our trip, we hiked to some ice caves at the base of a glacier. I can’t remember the name of the glacier, but walking into an ice cave for the first time was a thrilling experience. At one point, I was sitting on a rock taking pictures on the edge of a stream at the mouth of the ice cave when I saw three tiny flakes in the water with a glittering gold color. I’m sure it was gold. The flakes were too small to pick up, but they so shiny that they had to be gold. And it makes sense: the water was runoff from a melting glacier, water from ice that formed thousands of years ago, water running over rocks that likely had never been seen by a human. That’s pretty cool when you think about it. And there I was sitting on that rock pondering those last three sentences when I saw gold flakes at my feet! I tried to pick them to no avail. No gold rush for me!

But I digress. We returned to Skagway this morning and Juneau late this afternoon. After gorging myself on some well-earned Alaskan King Crab for our last meal together, I’m packed now and ready for an early flight in the morning back home to Knoxville. It’s hard to believe it’s over, but I’m looking forward to getting home.

Many thanks to my friends and comrades on this trip. Aman, Amit, Anil, Jennelle, and Scotty: what a pleasure to share this experience! I’m already looking forward to the time our paths cross again. Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without Marc Adamus. Shuffling us all around the southeast Alaskan Coastline on jets, propeller planes, helicopters (with and without doors), boats, kayaks, taxis, shuttles, and rental cars. It was a tour-de-force of logistics. I don’t even want to know what goes on behind the scenes of a trip like this. Thanks, Marc!

Sitting here in my hotel room, dozing off as I write this, my mind is already turning to the next project: the eclipse! I haven’t forgotten! Give me a couple of days of respite in Knoxville and I’ll be on the move again chasing down totality somewhere between Tennessee and Nebraska. I’m actually leaving Alaska a couple of days early so I can finish my last minute preparations before leaving. I’m often asked where I’ll be watching the eclipse. I still don’t know. Hopefully, somewhere where there are no clouds. Stay tuned for that adventure and wish me luck!

Here is the view from our last campsite. Epic views. That’s Alaska! I’m already looking forward to my next adventure here in a year!! Until then Alaska!

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