Sunday, August 19, 2012

When a City Girl Goes Into the Wild

Wearing my new pair of spandex leggings and Alaska emblazoned sweatshirt, I hoisted the backpack I borrowed from my sister onto my shoulders and embarked upon my journey. Outside appearances seemed to convey that I was ready for the great Alaskan wilderness. So as not to lose all of my identity, I juxtaposed a pair of keen shoes with a glittery handbag. The pink rolly suitcase that I usually fill with cute dresses and flowy tops, was instead packed with every last item that might be suitable for hiking, fishing and such. Including, despite my sister's advice, a pair of cargo pants. Packed and dressed for the part, my journey began where it left off 23 years ago. 

Born in Alaska, I was raised everywhere else. I made the journey from the last frontier, to Seattle grunge, to Southern Californian, to New Yorker, and currently live life as a Chicagoan with intermittent visits to Oklahoma. But everyone needs a place to call home. And even though my life in Alaska didn't last long that was where it began, and that is where my roots are still firmly planted. 

When you hear the call of the wild, you answer it. 


Roommate Cousin and I, both native to Alaska, decided that this year our summer trip would bring us back home, back to the place where our roots still hold strong. 




For all intents and purposes, I am a city girl. I'm good at riding public transportation, wearing impractical shoes, and sitting for hours in coffee shops. I like the great outdoors, but that hardly means that I thrive off the exhilaration of climbing a mountain or catching a fish.


But with my heart attached to the base of a mountain, I can breathe in a safe and sure breath.


Our visit took us everywhere. Anchorage, Eagle River, Delta Junction, Talkeetna, Kodiak, and on Glacier Tours. We went hiking, fishing, driving, training, and canoeing. We saw moose, bear, marmots, and lots of ducks. We visited family and friends. We ate like queens: pizza, salmon, traditional Vietnamese cuisine, and more salmon. 

Overall, we had an amazing time. So much so that the mere act of leaving brought us both to tears as we waved goodbye to the mountains. 


Alaska is a place that you want to fall asleep with your eyes wide open because you don't want to waste a moment of the beauty. It is a place where stillness is perfected. A place where living to the fullest isn't jam packing every moment with something to do but stopping to drink from the fresh spring or gaze at yet another scenic view. A place where hours spent in a car means hours driving through mountain ranges and valleys. 

I might not live there anymore and may never again, but it will forever be home.


When a city girl goes into the wild, she might huff and puff up the mountain, but once she reaches the top, she will certainly appreciate the view. 

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