If I could describe it in words, I would have a best seller with my name on it. If my picture taking abilities could replace the thousand words that I would like to say, I’d never have to speak again (That swwwishhh was Pi rushing to enroll me in a photography class). For now you have to make do with a short summary of the trip and mediocre photos.
Day 1/Seattle: SIL, thanks for the hiking pants handed to me in the Seattle airport. We were inseparable. I spent the rest of the 10 days farting in it. Will return it to you soon.
Day 2/Seward: Portage Glacier wasn’t one of the 50 glaciers we saw on the way and called out, ‘Look Look, Wow Portage Glacier.’ It was the one we saw after paying a substantial amount for a cruise that took us right to it through the back alleyway.
Day 3/Anchorage: Blamed Pi for not explicitly telling the Bed & Breakfast lady that we preferred vegetarian breakfast. Considered smearing all the bacon pieces in Pi’s underwear out of abject hunger.
Lost one sock. So kept the other one visible to trap the thief. I still possess only one sock. N looks at a lame guy crossing the road with crutches and exchanges meaningful glances with us. Jeez, how insensitive!
Day 4/Talkeetnas: We were feeling at home on Ruth Glacier with the majestic Mt McKinley looming over us. Blissful moments cut short by bitchy pilot, Erica, who wanted to go home early.
Day 5/Talkeetnas: Café Mitchell was the best food we had in ages and when the bill arrived, we agreed that pleasing our palates shouldn’t be our highest priority.
Day 6/Denali National Park:
Backpacking tip- Make loud noise so that you won’t encounter or surprise a grizzly bear.
Us: ‘Hey Bear! Hey Bear! Lalaala. Dumdeedadum! Kaliaa, Kitne bhalu the?’
Suicidal person in our group: ‘Shhh..Shut up, you are scaring them away! I wan’t to see one.’ Day 7/Denali National Park: Wish I didn’t have to burn right glove by lifting scalding water off the stove. Now I have one glove. N doesn’t say a word about single handed people, but does give me a helpful suggestion. ‘Cut the fingers off so you can scratch your head.’
I spot a bear cub rushing across. Since I was the only one who spotted it, the fact remains under contention among the group.
Day 8/Denali National Park: The sun setting at midnight was rather disturbing. Not to mention, rising at ungodly hours like 4 am. Add to this phenomenon, Pi's snoring. Sleep deprived? Nod.
Day 9/Denali National Park: No more Ptarmigan sightings, Judy. No please! The bus driver pulls over to show us squirrels this time. ‘Oh, look look, The squirrel is chasing a Ptarmigan.’ Judy is the most patient when it comes to these idiotic creatures.
Author’s note: Ptarmigan is a fancy name for a bird that looks like a quail. It just sits with it’s family on the roadside waiting for eager tourists to look out and click pictures with their 20X zoom digital SLR. When the picture is visualized with bated breath, the bird looks like a freaking bird. When you don’t see grizzlies by the dozen, you get a bigger aversion to these innocent birds, like I did.
We saw Alaskan Huskies leading a sled. New words learnt- mushing, Iditirod race, Susan Butcher, Balto, Yukon Quest
Day 10/Fairbanks: Nothing to do in Fairbanks. We eat in Thai place.
Day 11/Fairbanks: Why the hell are we still in Fairbanks? We eat icecream.
I get chased by 2 extremely ferocious pit-bulls on the road. I survive to tell this tale.
Day 12/Enroute to Anchorage: Met hikers at the airport and exchanged stories. I did brag about the cub sighting. At least they seemed to believe me. We agreed wholeheartedly that there is no place like Alaska in the whole world. Breathtaking, simply breathtaking and yeah, just breathtaking. They didn't get to see Mt McKinley (Denali) the whole time they were there because the mountain was covered by clouds. I quickly pulled out my camera and gloated about my luck and how close we were to Denali. I showed her this picture.
She invited me to London to come and stay with her...maybe to poison me out of sheer jealousy.