Wide open spaces and rugged wilderness - Alaska is the perfect place for some outdoor adventure

North to Alaska

 

Last weekend I managed to conquer something I’ve been putting off for a verrry long time…rock climbing! My flatmate Shevaun (@Kafka was a Climber) is an avid climber and has been relentlessly pestering me to give it a try for, oh, about 4 years. And so, in keeping with my ‘outdoors enthusiast’ reputation, I finally I decided enough was enough! Admittedly, I have an ulterior motive.
 

Man absieling down a rugged mountain face

This isn’t me and it isn’t Mountain Quarry…but what a great photo! Pic by Lamie

My long-awaited Alaska trip is looming. Two and a half weeks of travel and outdoor adventure: white water rafting; hiking in Denali National Park; kayaking to the Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound; exploring the northern interior; hopefully catching a glimpse of the northern lights; and…a full day of ice climbing on the Matanuska Glacier. I don’t really have a fear of heights but I do have a teeny tiny fear of falling. So I figured it was probably best to give outdoor rock climbing a go before scaling a icy crevasse a few stories high with a couple of ice picks and a pair of crampons. Right?

With that in mind, we headed out to Mountain Quarry in the hills outside the city, strapped on a harness and scaled a one of the high rock walls. It poured with rain the whole time so the rock face was muddy and slippery. It was incredibly challenging. But moreover, it was the most fun I’ve had in ages! I was so busy figuring out where to put my feet and hands that I totally forgot about the idea of falling. Well, almost. We’re heading out again in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait!

aerial view of a man ice climbing with ice picks and crampons

Ice Climbing. I must remember to NOT look down! Pic by Andreina Schoeberlein

In eight weeks my friend, Jess, and I will kick off our three month journey through the USA and Canada with an independent trip around Alaska. Heading ‘north to Alaska’ (am I the only one who wants to break out in song…?) takes on a whole new meaning when you are departing from Australia. The total transit time for my trip to this northern region is approximately 30 hours, with about 22 hours of those spent flying. Makes your head spin doesn’t it? I have done long-haul flights from Australia more times than I can remember, but that feeling of dread prior to the trip never seems to get any less for me. It’s what’s awaiting you on the other side that keeps you focused. And in this case, it’s the wide open spaces and rugged wilderness of the 49th state. It’s no wonder I keep dreaming about glaciers.

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