(sorry the recaps are taking SO long. we're off to cape cod this weekend and i'm preoccupied with packing toys and clothes for a 14 month old.)
i completely nerd out on nature things. i was practically crying when i found out that we wouldn't be seeing the aurora borealis in alaska (i didn't cry too hard since in order to see the aurora it would probably be 30 below zero and dark for 20 hours a day). i'm a geek about the stars, i think the grand canyon is the most amazing wonder in the world and i like to learn the names of flowers. so when we had the chance to visit a glacier i was ecstatic. the matanuska glacier is a valley glacier twenty four miles long and four miles wide decending twelve thousand feet to the terminus. (wikipedia has a great entry on glaciers.) it was so surreal to stand on something that was a gajillion years old and so enormous. you had this sense of being totally dwarfed by nature and feeling completely insignificant. i think it's the quiet power of the glacier. i mean, a glacier is what carved the grand canyon and to say "carved" is funny - like it took a couple swipes here and a couple jabs there and voila, it carved the earth. it was eery standing on the matanuska since you could see the deep blue ice below you and tiny little rivulets of crystal clear water ran by and it seemed permanent but in reality it was moving and melting and crushing the earth below our feet. i could just feel mother nature shaking her head at mankind and saying "wars? bee-yotch puh-lease. have you see the way this glacier is making chopped liver of this mountain? it could kick all your fighting butts in a second."
so alaska was beautiful but not THE most beautiful place i've ever been. colorado is nice, washington state is nice, upstate new york is nice too. but i think the thing with alaska is that there is so much of it. it just goes on and on and on and so much of it is still untamed and unreachable and pristine and that thought makes you feel tiny. it makes me feel like north carolina is about a mile wide especially since i'm still absorbing the fact that one park in alaska is the size of new hampshire. that's just one park!
you know what is beautiful? nuggety moose poop:
and me and craig with denali in the background:
and a smiley face to come home to after a long trip (that's craig dead in the background):