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It was about as big as a car. Its impressive size was not a comfort but it was our chariot for our tour of Alaska’s glaciers. It was small, red, and full of possibilities with a splash of terror.
Luckily, there were plenty of windows to distract from the realization that our pilot was recently licensed.
Alaska, the largest of the fifty states but, yet, it has the same amount of roads as Rhode Island. It’s about as wild as it gets.
As an wild spaces nerd, it’s at the top of the “acceptable places to live” list. It contains many things that excite my inner nature nerd including a plethora of wilderness, Aurora Borealis, and glaciers.
Living a few hours from Glacier National Park, I have seen a few glaciers but it’s always more impressive in Alaska. It reminds me of Montana but on steroids.
Our flashy helicopter took us to dizzying heights where we drank in glacial views and spiraling mountain peaks. It also sparked my fear of “worst-case scenario” which I save for moments of travel via small aircraft.
Similar to the anxiety I felt with our hot air balloon ride, I tried to redirect my mind to the views and the moment. Reminding myself that this will be over in an instant and our moment in the sky will be over. Even if the worst plays out, there would be little I could do about it besides enjoy the ride. Dark humor to the rescue!
Glaciers are natures’ special ice. These icy behemoths can carve landscapes and leave new vistas in their wake. It takes humans ingenuity, money, and massive manpower to alter the landscapes at the same rate as a glacier.
This isn’t the same ice in my freezer. It takes years of compression under its weight before it turns “normal” ice into a more dense and grainy ice. It even has a special name – firn. It’s like water’s version of a diamond. It’s so sparkly!
Though it’s frozen, it moves similar to its formerly liquid state in an oozing, sliding kind of way. A few centimeters a day is the top speed of most glaciers but it is capable of destroying trees, hills, even mountainsides.
Because glaciers, similar to freedom, can’t be contained.
My best explorations have usually entailed stepping outside my comfort zone. My most spectacular experiences have rarely occurred during work, adulting, and more work, even though I love my job!
There is something to be gained when my typically routine is put on hold for something larger. Typically, I have to take an inner moment to disconnect from the fear, anxiety, or doubt so I can enjoy the moment.
A helicopter tour of Alaska’s glaciers were worth the discomfort!
After landing our speed wagon, I walked cautiously over to the frozen behemoth. The immense size gave me a quite pause that I reserve for bowels of ancient tombs or the echoing halls of a centurion cathedral. The spires tower above my meager human form and its soft blue beckons my eyes into its ancient depths.
My thoughts tumble around while I drink in the beauty and try to ponder it’s past. I end up returning to the bladed speed wagon forgetting my fear and settling into content. It felt like Alaska’s glaciers took the heat out of my anxiety and left a pool of content in its wake.