We are again on the edge of an epic road trip. Kate and I are celebrating the first of 37 days off from work and really excited for the upcoming trip as we pack up and get ready to hit the road. This trip is going to be a really neat way to wrap up our time in Alaska. Before getting back to the lower 48, we will take a 10 day water ferry down the coast of Alaska seeing glaciers, sea life, and stopping in a few smaller Alaskan towns along the way.
Today, I really just wanted to share with you some of my favorite memories from the last 6 months. Alaska is a must-do for any experienced travel healthcare worker. As I’ve shared previously, getting set-up here was tougher than most assignments, but the adventure and experience was well worth it.
During our time here, “Champ,” the RV we bought for chump-change, became our access portal to weekend adventure and camping without fear of rain, cold, or bears. Champ drove us as far south from Anchorage as Homer, a small coastal town at the tip of the Kenai Penisula, “where the land ends and the sea begins.” Down in Homer we met up with a nurse friend, Anna, that I had met on assignment in Colorado. She has found her way out hereto the great north the way a lot of other nurses and PTs have, working for the Native Hospital Corporation… If you’re open to being in Alaska for a couple years and paying off some loans, look into it, but that’s a whole other commentary for a different time. We knew Anna had adventurous plans for the weekend, but the end result was the coolest weekend this summer. The weather was perfect, 70 degrees and flat seas. We hopped on a water taxi that took us across the bay to a marked trailhead on a rocky and secluded beach. Feeling like we were exploring untouched land with bear spray strapped on each of our hips, we hiked into a glacial lake with ice bergs floating in it that had recently broken off the glacier at the opposite end. Past the lake, we hiked out to another isolated trailhead on another beach where we had tied off kayaks to paddle a couple miles over to the town of Halibut Cove. On the way to Halibut Cove, we paddled our kayaks across the flat bay seeing sea otters at close range, halibut swimming right underneath us, and giant starfish latched onto the bottom in more shallow water. Before taking the water ferry back to Homer from Halibut Cove, we explore the isolated community of 37 people that I think is best described as a super-rugged artists’ commune. One girl managing an art gallery told us about how in the winter she takes her snow mobiles across the bay to play hockey on the glacial like we had come from. Now that’s Alaskan.
Champ also took us as far north as Denali National Park where we visited when my parents visited in July. In the park, we managed to not see a single bear, but did see a caribou up real close. One of the things I love most about our national parks system is how quickly you can be way, way away from all other people. There’s a fact out there that goes something like: only 10% of visitors to National Parks ever go more than 1 mile from paved roads… that’s not the exact fact, but in Denali National Park with 7,370 square miles and one main road, you get the point. On the trip back down from Denali, we spent the night in Talkeetna, a fun outdoorsy town, but more importantly we spent the night all together in Champ. And slept like rocks. Anyways, that was another great weekend away in Champ.
My other favorite adventures that were a little closer to home were climbing O’Malley Peak which is one of the most prominent peaks visible from Anchorage, seeing the Northern lights from our apartment several weeks ago, and several weekend trips down to Girdwood including when we skied at Alyeska our first weekend here.
But, it’s time to go. We get on a ferry on Wednesday and do the ghetto version of an inner passage cruise before an all-corners of the country trip visiting family and couch surfing with friends. Eventually in mid-December we’ll land back in Colorado and do the usual and extraordinary winter gig back there.
Also, in exciting HoboHealth news, Amy Sheridan, a friend who has recently started working as a PT in Doha, Qatar will be sharing her experiences on this blog. I know Amy has stories for us, and I can’t wait.
Stay tuned, many, many updates in the next few weeks!
(Click the photos below to enlarge!)