Northern Lights and glaciers were points of interests both Alessia and I wanted to see. Boxing Day, December 26, 2017 we pack up and head for Alaska. Anna was actually thinking of tagging along, but she felt under the weather several days leading to our departure. Bad flu symptom was lingering around the whole family and luckily Alessia and I escaped it…….for the time being that is!
Our first flight from Montreal to Minneapolis was perfect. As we boarded the direct flight onwards to Anchorage, I started to feel cold, shaky and congested. First time ever that being contained in a tube for several hours became bothersome. During the decent, my ears started hurting and the congestion was unbearable. Our landing couldn’t have happened sooner. Nothing like being welcomed by a large moose. Walk to our rental car kiosk and after inspecting the car in complete shivers, we head to our hotel.
Fever hit hard that evening, but I couldn’t let Alessia down. We didn’t fly 5000 miles to stay in a hotel. Morning comes and what we realized was that sunrise in the month of December was at 10:30am. I usually complete a full research of any place I travel to, however noting the area’s sunrise was never one of them. Have breakfast, head to our car and our touring starts. We planned out that the first day would be visiting the Matanuska Glacier. A great stop and shoot scenic drive. The Matanuska River Valley is sandwiched between coastal and interior mountains that after every stretch, we find ourselves stopping to take in the beautiful scenery.
The dark green trees in contrast with both the glacier white snow and the aqua blue skies made every picture post card perfect.
We finally arrive at this little quaint wooden shack after descending a series of twist and turns and notice we’re at the bottom of a mountain, in between a valley in which the start of the Matanuska Glacier peeks through high snow filled trees. In speaking with the local and noticing we’re not fully equipped to head to the foot of the glacier we opt to glance at the glacier from afar. Basically bad timing to get a real great view of the glacier since the river was filled with snow.
Equally scenic drive back and after supper retrieved to the hotel. Sleepless night of tossing and turning with a fever, I make it through the night and round two starts. This time, we head south on the Seward highway. A highway that hugs the dramatic shorelines of Turnagain Arm. On our left side, the Chugach’s State park 3000 foot mountains and the right with sprawling four mile flats of the Turnagain Arm. As the towering vertical mountain ledge appears, Dall Sheep are hopping along with absolutely no fear of plummeting to their death. Just miraculous on how they climb the mountain sides with only inches to spare.
Wanting to get a closer look, we spot a family on a much more even terrain and quickly get out of the car and follow them. They definitely saw me as a threat and start to retreat to higher ground. Not too far, Alessia spots a great mountain cave with ice formation.
It was quite funny that during the day, my flu symptoms were tolerable but as the night approached, the fever and body aches were taking a toll. The last sleepless night, and this time, Alessia starts with some discomfort. Return our rental and make all three flights back to Montreal. Some last-minute changes due to heavy loads resulted in going from Anchorage to Seattle, Seattle to Atlanta and finally Atlanta to Montreal.
We never got to see the Northern Lights and despite the bad timing, any trip away with my daughter just keeps adding to memories and conversations we will have in the future.