North to Alaska…

The getting to Alaska is quite a feat, and basically takes an entire day of travel, especiall when you “cash-in” airline miles.  I should have known better, but I’m cheap so what can I say.  It’s kind of a pisser when you go to use your airline miles.  They seem to purposely limit your available times of travel and routes.  Direct they are NOT.  Orange County to Seattle.  Seattle to Anchorage.  Anchorage to Juneau, with anywhere from 1- 3 hours of layover.  What was interesting for me was flying over the route we walked on the PCT.  

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Crater Lake, Oregon

As I pointed out to my son, from this vantage point it really strikes you as a daunting feat both in distance and terrain to have walked all that way.  It didn’t seem like that while we were actually walking it (besides the fatigue and sore feet) as the view of your surroundings is relatively limited.  As we leave the lower 48 from Seattle, I can’t help but notice a striking difference in the terrain.  Compared to the lower 48, whose hills and mountains are made up of a patchwork tapestry of tempered greens and browns, Alaska’s craggy mountains and carved valleys are seamlessly covered with a lush and endless sheet of deep green crushed velvet, while its’ glacial spread of ice and snow tenatively retreats in the seemingly forever daylight, that is summer.  

image As we fly overhead towards Anchorage, forests are replaced with glaciers that stretch like frozen lakes and fjords leaving mountainous islands frozen in time stretching to the sea.  

image In areas where they have receded, deep scars like tire treads streak the landscape.  A hard landing shakes us out of our dreamlike state. The last time I had such a hard and bouncing landing I was on a bush plane, and I expected that.  We have now landed in Alaska proper, however we are not “there” just yet.  In Anchorage we will have what proves to be a 3 hour layover, as the airplane we are to fly into Juneau on has a flat tire, of which I am not surprised based on the hard landing we had on our touchdown in Anchorage.  
image Here we see our first moose, and the bulk of our layover is (not surprisingy) spent in a bar that exclusively serves the local brew.  (And very fine brew I might add at 8.6 Abv).  
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After a hard banking hairpin left turn over sheet glass water and marshy lagoons, we land in Juneau as the sun sets and the evening morphs into twighlight that lasts until morning.  Alaskan time is an hour behind from home, which explains the heaviness of our eyelids.  Sleep falls over us effortlessly.

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