When you think of summer vacation, what comes to mind? If you think back to childhood, you probably remember the days when school felt like a distant memory, when your days were filled with games and your time was yours to spend as you wished. As an adult, you might think of a tropical getaway, complete with white-sand beaches and drinks with umbrellas in them. Or maybe, if you’re anything like me, you think of something a little more adventurous.
This year, my husband and I opted to spend our summer vacation exploring Seattle and Alaska. By the time this letter comes out, we should be there! Now, I know what you might be saying: “Rain and wilderness? What kind of vacation is that?” And I get it. To a lot of people, that doesn’t sound like much of a break. I have no problem with the laidback type of vacation, and there can be times when a chance to get away and recharge is just what’s needed. I love the idea of sitting on the beach for a few days, in theory. The problem comes with the fact that I burn like I’m coated in butter, and it never lives up to my expectation.
We’ve always preferred a trip that lets us investigate a new culture, learn a little bit about history, and do activities we couldn’t do anywhere else in the world. That’s why this trip has us so full of anticipation. After a week in Seattle, we fly into Anchorage. As much as I’m looking forward to spending a week in a city I’ve never been — hiking Olympic National Park, sampling coffees, eating Pacific seafood as opposed to the Atlantic fare I’ve come to know and love — it’s the Alaska portion of the trip that has me most excited. Our schedule is jam-packed, and I’m sure it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
One portion of the Alaska trip that I cannot wait for is the visit to Happy Trails Kennels. Happy Trails is where the pups that will grow up to race in the Iditarod are raised, making it a kennel unlike any other. My husband and I are both dog lovers, so you can bet we’re looking forward to meeting the most amazing sled dogs in the world. If those animals weren’t enough, we’ll also be traveling to the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.
Of course, Alaska isn’t just known for its wildlife; it’s also known for its breathtaking landscape. Spending a few days in Denali National Park will allow us to take in the full wonder of the wilderness. We’re going to do some white-water rafting while there, which, I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about. Riding the Alaska Train, panning for gold, seeing the glaciers…I’m sure our guides will be experts, though,we are planning to do it all! and it will end up turning into a highlight of our trip.
I’ve always heard about the long summer days up in Alaska, so I’ll be curious to see how 18 hours of sunlight actually feels. I guess no matter where we choose to vacation, spending time in the sun is unavoidable. Hopefully I’ll return with only lifelong memories and leave the sunburn for next summer.