The Last Frontier

I looked over the wooden railing covered in fresh droplets of water and witnessed the fingerprints God left on His creation. The mysterious nearly black sea below and around me was calm and flat as an ice rink while the massive ship cut through it. As I scanned the horizon 360 degrees, dark, masculine mountains encircled me from afar. They stood jagged and stiff, never ending from left to right. The tops jutted straight through the clouds and the valleys presented the masses that were farther inland.

Dense clouds were whimsically painted across the multi-colored sky, sometimes in splotches, sometimes spread very thin like a cotton ball pulled apart. Some were dark gray, some were lighter, and some blushed a gentle light-purple as the last bit of sun reflected from it.

The breeze was subtle and consistent. The air refreshed me, and the wind left my cheeks a light pink from its kisses. I retracted my hands inside my fleece sweater and crossed my arms to protect the heat from leaving my body. Though it was midsummer, the humidity was minimal, which increased the slight bitterness of the ever-flowing breeze.

I reclined in the rubber outdoor lounge chair outside the deck’s doors, which provided waves of room temperature as people passed through. Closing my eyes, I listened to the never-ending patting of waves against the boat. From afar, the preadolescent voices of innocent children were yelling and giggling. I could not make out words, but their noises echoed off the ship’s structures and through the outer docks. The pool splashed as children jumped and smacked the water. Occasionally I’d pick up on a conversation between a couple as it walked passed me, taking an evening stroll on the squeaking docks, which were covered in a thin sheet of precipitation from the day.

I breathed in heavily through my nose to smell nothing but crisp freshness of the open seas. I was surprised at the absence of reeking fish or palpable salt in the air. The boat was once again out at sea. It felt freeing, and for once there wasn’t a condensed swarm of people, stuck together like sardines inside a can.

I day dreamed of the discoveries of the previous day: the towering evergreen pine trees, bear-proof garbage cans, and tan, squinted-eyed faces of the natives. Each port consisted of a single four-block strip of multicolored pastel shops replete with key chains, T-shirts and jewelry advertising towns only reached by boat or plane. I dreamed of the eagles elegantly soured above the roofs and spied from towering needle covered branches. With dignity they reminded me of the unseen territory beyond the shops, ships and skylines, the feared but beautiful Alaskan frontier.

This summer I had the privileged to attend an Alaskan cruise with my family through the inside passage (islands of Alaska). We visited Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway and Anchorage. I have to admit I was not thrilled at the idea when it first came about (I’ve never been a fan of the idea of cruises since watching Titanic), but I couldn’t have been wrong in my assumption of beautiful Alaska.

From Seward to Anchorage, scenic train route.
From Seward to Anchorage, scenic train route.

I was not prepared for infinite, tall mountains, flowing waterfalls and ferocious glaciers. I didn’t expect to witness the graceful bald eagle elegantly souring above and snatching dinner out of the water from nearly 20 feet away. I would have never imagined kayaking with seals in Juneau or zip-lining over a mountain-side waterfall in Skagway. We witnessed salmon swimming upstream and a glacier breaking apart in thunderous roars,

The weather may not have been ideal for a traditional get-away, somewhere between 50-60 degrees and misty rain, but Alaska is not a traditional place. The weather did not prevent our family from walking though small towns with colorful buildings, catching crab on the water or simply exploring the shore and snapping pictures of the mystical land.

The scenery and nature of Alaska was a picture only God can create, and I cannot wait to see what else God has in store.

View more photos in photographs page, here.

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Hubbard Glacier. View from ship.
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Wild mushroom after rainfall. Skagway, Alaska.
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Catching Crab in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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The main transportation.
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Welcome to Ketchikan, stop number one. View from ship.
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Island of sea lions. Ketchikan, Alaska.
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From shore. Icy Strait Point, Alaska.
From Seward to Anchorage. Scenic train route.
From Seward to Anchorage. Scenic train route.
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Waterfall at zip line course in Skagway, Alaska.
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Seward, Alaska.
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Morning train from Seward to Anchorage.
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