Seeing Alaska For The First Time - At The Right Time

My first trip to Alaska came at a time when I needed it the most. I was navigating through a crucial period in my life where I needed to discover myself again. I needed to reset my brain and let my spirit run free. And Alaska, It seems, has a funny way of sneaking up on you.

I have heard many stories, much like my own, where a person is experiencing a struggle in life or going through a period of transition. Somehow, the stars align and they get the opportunity to head into the wilderness of Alaska, surrendering to her force and allowing her to cleanse your soul and free your spirit.

There’s a reason why so many people share the same story—because there’s no feeling quite like the one you get when you see Alaska for the first time.

Looking out the airplane window on my way there, I could feel the emotions start to kick

in. “It’s finally happening, I get to see my Alaska!” I felt like a little girl on Christmas morning. (Yes, I was the type of kid who wouldn’t get any sleep the night before Christmas, due to the sheer anticipation of what the morning might bring.) I felt the same way in seat 9A. I couldn't contain my excitement for what was to come. I was flying above a landscape so raw and virtually untouched. I felt a spiritual awakening forming. The kind that only happens when you’re in the wilderness. Looking down over that vast and rugged landscape, I knew that I was about to touch down in Alaska when my soul needed it the most.

I am one of those Energizer Bunny-type of travelers. You know, the ones who hit the ground running and go hiking before unpacking. So the second we touched down in Anchorage, I wanted to get out in nature. I didn’t care about getting the rental car, checking in to the campsite, or finding a place to eat. I just wanted to meet wild Alaska for the first time.

I can remember every detail about the events surrounding my first emotional photograph in Alaska: How fast I jumped into the car to start driving toward a hiking trail, driving south out of downtown Anchorage, and stopping at the very first overlook I spotted.

I pulled into a parking lot overlooking the Westchester Lagoon, where I could see water and mountains in the distance.

I walked toward the water and stepped into the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen.

The sky was clear, lit up in a vibrant shade of blue. There were low clouds hanging over snow-capped mountains, painted a lavender color usually only seen in distant mountain peaks. There were reflections of spruce trees dancing on the water, with native grasses swaying in the breeze. I could smell the freshness in the air and inhaled deeply, taking in every second of my first Alaskan landscape. I had no idea these moments would keep getting better.

This experience was my first of many more to come. I stepped foot in Alaska for the first time in July, 2020. Come March 2022, I will be going back for the fourth time. In between, I’ve let Alaska continue to guide my thoughts and inspire my decisions. I let her bring me back when I need to find myself again—when I need to take a deep breath and surrender my thoughts to the wild.


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