Goodbye Anchorage

At 6pm, we were finally en route headed out of the city. A desired departure time of 10am, we should have known it would take longer to leave our home of 11 months even though we had been organizing, packing and shipping boxes for the l ast two weeks. I do have a new love for the Postal Service after having shipped 15+ boxes and ~200 pounds of stuff back east (thanks mom and Ann for collecting our boxes for us!)

It worked out perfectly – in the end, our car (home for the next four months) is beautifully packed with all the essentials in easy reach, the perfect amount of utility and comfort included in our belongings: pots and a camp stove, a french press for coffee, some basic spices (how could Chris survive without them for four months!), our tent, sleeping pads and bags, toiletries and first aid kit and some great Audobon nature books. We were also lucky enough to be gifted some food that was left over from the summer immersion program we worked for the two weeks prior, and so we are well stocked with granola bars, trail mix, and other assorted snacks (Thanks Take Wing!)

Our apartment clean and the last of our things shoved in the car (with skis bungeed on top), we said goodbye to our home. It was harder than I thought and as we shut the door behind us some tears filled my eyes. It has been such a comfortable haven for the last 11 months; a bright, warm place to escape the winter darkness, a workshop for arts and crafts, with music and movies and tea drinking, and a family who, for better or for worse, adopted us into their busy, crazy lives.

But it is time to leave. So goodbye Anchorage. I cannot say that I loved you, but you have certainly become a part of my life story. I think I will remember you as a city in an identity crisis, not quite sure of its culture. A place with too many strip malls and box stores, too many inhabitants coming and going, and too many tourist gift shops. I think you might be trying too hard to be cutting edge and cosmopolitan when really you’re just a small city, practically in the Arctic, where there should be no tall buildings made of glass, no grocery stores with fruit imported from Peru, nor paved roads that inevitably are destroyed with every season. (I’ve heard many times in my stay here – “Alaska has two seasons; winter and raod work” – it seems to be true)

I will not, however, be able to say goodbye as easily to Alaska and I will have to thank Anchorage as serving as a gateway to the seemingly never-ending adventure that the state has to offer. It has been a gateway to the Kenai peninsula, to Fairbanks, Denali and Talkeetna, to hikes all throughout the Chugach. Alaska will prove harder to leave behind and I am sure it will be rather wistfully that I cross over its border into Canada. I am so thankful for this amazing experience, for the wonderful, adventure-ful people I met up here and for all the incredible opportunities I had. In reflecting on my time here, I would say Alaska has changed me in a great way — Nature now seems so accessible to me. I can hike and camp and explore the outdoors (I can even help catch, prepare and cook my own dinner), and while I may never be ready to hike Denali, I will certainly spend the rest of my life actively seeking outdoors adventures, not afraid to stray from the paved roads of society to discover the beauty that our earth has to offer.

And now, onwards! to four months of adventure! to meeting new friends! to hiking and camping and learning about our country and ourselves!

One Response to “Goodbye Anchorage”
  1. Ann Ives says:

    So proud of both of you!!! and so happy and thrilled for you both, that even though you are still so young, you have experienced so much!!

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