Life is God’s gift to you.The way you live your life is your gift to God.
It wasn’t just another trip this time. I would rather call it a very unique adventure of a lifetime. For our July 4th long weekend we had planned our trip to Alaska long long ago in November 2012 but was uncertain if we ever would be able to make it.. me being 6 months pregnant. But having got the green signal from my Ob/Gyn we decided to go ahead as planned but Barrow was a long shot. I had no knowledge about the place but hubby dear had done some research and was very enthusiastic about it. However he had left it entirely upon me to decide whether to go ahead or not.After a hectic bus ride at Denali National park, we headed to our Mckinley creek cabin to rest for the next day’s flight. I was all wobbly and dizzy the next morning and was distressed that we wouldn’t be able to make it. However, after a little rest I managed to convince myself that all was well and am glad we could make it.
Our flight from Fairbanks took a break at Prudhoe Bay airport.It was an extraordinary sight to view the 800 mile pipeline from the air,a true testimony to engineering feats, that allows contraction and expansion of the 48″ pipe on the tundra. We also got a glimpse of the famous Dalton Highway, one of the most isolated roads in the United States. My hubby has the greatest desire to drive through this road someday specially during winter when the road is frozen.The view of the permafrost terrain (permanently frozen ground) from the air was exhilarating.
As soon as we landed in Barrow, the whole scenario changed. It was a totally different world from the rest of Alaska or US. The airport was pretty small with just one room used both for departure and arrival as well as check-ins etc. Once we stepped out of it everything seemed to be isolated and rustic. I felt at a loss at first as the streets seemed to be desolate and not many people or vehicles were around. Following hubby out of the airport, we at first thought of picking up our rented car but didn’t know which direction to go. The google map too wasn’t working and it was pretty cold outside after having come from 70/80 degrees F at Fairbanks. Fortunately we sighted our hotel(Airport Inn) and decided to check in first. The hotel wasn’t that fanciful but had a warm welcome atmosphere with all the modern amenities except for the outdated TV set and two small twin beds.
After resting for awhile we walked through the town in search of our car rental agency. I was desperate and irritated as the place was all empty and desolate and the cold wind added to my vexed feelings. I was wondering if the trip was worth it. To make matters worse, when we reached the agency, (a worn out unpolished house rather just a room in some small building) not far from the airport, no one responded to our calls and the door was locked too. I was in no mood to keep walking and was literally angry with hubby. Just then as if god saw our desperation, a car stopped by and inquired if we were looking for rental cars. He was the owner of the car rental agency. I was so relieved that I immediately jumped into his car and we headed to his office.
Barrow isn’t a big place and one can see around mostly on foot too if you are good at it. It is located 300 miles (480 km) north of the Arctic Circle on the Arctic Ocean. The tiny village holds the distinction of being the northernmost settlement in the United States, and the northernmost settlement on the North American mainland. The residents are primarily of Inupiat (“Eskimo”) descent.(courtesy wiki travel).
Because of its extreme location Barrow receives 24-hours daylight from May 10 to August 2 as well as 24 hours darkness from November 18 to August 22.
Barrow wasn’t a very welcome sight at first with the unpaved roads and the desolate looks of dark and gray with no greenery around except for the small grasses. after picking up our rented car, we headed towards the Tundra Top of the world hotel where we were to join the tour group. We boarded a small bus with 15 other tourists. The driver took us along the beach road to as far north towards Point Barrow as you can go without a permit. We were about 4 miles away from point Barrow, the northern most point of the American continent.We learnt that the hunters dump all their whale bones at Point Barrow in order to keep the Polar Bears out of downtown Barrow but they still come into town during the winter months. One need to pay extra to go to point Barrow as well as hire a private ATV or car to get there along the rugged unpaved road.
To be able to make to the top of the world is a thrill unexplainable in words.It was pretty exciting to be so close to the arctic ocean.It was a sunny afternoon and the water was gentle. There were several icebergs floating around though most of it had melted away by now. We also saw some pretty big colorful jelly fish. Amidst the excitement, one tourist suddenly stripped naked and dived into the icy cold ocean water while we all stood on shore not daring to even dip a finger.Everyone started laughing and clapping. Definitely, he made to the polar bear club membership, a tradition of some people to swim in the icy waters. We were a little disappointed to have missed seeing a polar bear though.
We continued our journey as the driver narrated stories and showed us almost every part of the town of Barrow,including the one and only gas station and grocery store, the lagoons and fresh water lakes,the hospital, the two local cemeteries, the elementary school, middle school, and high school, the Barrow High School football field on the road towards Point Barrow, the local government buildings, the Will Rodgers/Wiley Post Memorial and the airport named after them and the Inupiat Heritage Center, which provides information on the history of the Inupiat people as well as displays of artifacts and cultural events. We also got to see “Satellite City”, an area outside the town where all of the satellite dishes are located. Interestingly the dishes point at the horizon, instead of up in the sky. In order for them to work properly, there can’t be anything in front of them. Luckily finding empty space isn’t much of an issue.
Because of the permafrost, no vegetation could thrive in the region. The houses too were built raised from the ground to prevent from melting the permafrost.There were junk piles and old boats and broken down snow mobiles everywhere. We also saw a water truck that constantly splashed water on the road to keep away the dust during the dry season.
After the tour, we picked up lunch from Pepe’s Restaurant, took our car and headed back to our hotel. We rested for a few hours and then decided to tour around on our own. It was quite astonishing to see the sun quite above us even after 9 pm.We went back to the Bowhead Whale jaw bone Arc point and Welcome to Alaska, top of the world sign and took several more pictures. The ride was even more bumpier in the car than was in the bus. The weather was cool and sunny but thanks to the chilly wind from the Arctic ocean,that made it impossible to stay out of the car for long.
We also went to the grocery store mostly to check the prices and also get some water and snack bars. I can understand why the prices were so high there as definitely it wasn’t that easy to get all items to such a remote area. The price of things up here in Barrow were way higher than anywhere in the world, since everything had to be flown in or brought in by boat.
We ordered a medium size pizza for dinner from Arctic Pizza restaurant, which we found bigger than our normal large size pizza. It was quite tasty and sumptuous for dinner. Exhausted from the day’s rides, we soon fell asleep even when the sun outside was high above us. We woke up next morning and got ready to catch the flight back to Fairbanks. We left the place with a sense of achievement of seeing a unique and historic destination and being above the Arctic Circle.
” I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.” ― Jack Dawson
The blue color shows the states I have visited.
|1||Grand Canyon National Park||Arizona|
|2||Antelope Canyon Navajo Park||Arizona|
|4||Rocky Mountains National Park||Colorado|
|7||Royal George Bridge||Colorado|
|8||Great Sand dunes National Park||Colorado|
|9||Mesa Verde National Park||Colorado|
|10||Starved rock state park||Illinois|
|11||Indiana Dunes State Park||Illinois|
|14||Maquoketa caves State Park||IOWA|
|15||Pictured Rock National Lakeshore||Michigan|
|16||Silver Lake State Park||Michigan|
|19||Tahquamenon falls state Park||Michigan|
|21||Porcupine State Park||Michigan|
|22||Blue Mounds State Park||Minnesota|
|23||William O Brian State Park||Minnesota|
|25||McCarthy State Park||Minnesota|
|26||Frontenac State Park||Minnesota|
|27||Minneopa State Park||Minnesota|
|28||Mille Lacs State Park||Minnesota|
|30||Scottsbluff national monument||Nebraska|
|34||Atlantic City||New Jersey|
|35||Niagara Falls||New York|
|36||New York City||New York|
|37||Badlands National Park||South Dakota|
|38||Mt. Rushmore||South Dakota|
|39||Custer State Park||South Dakota|
|40||Crazy Horse||South Dakota|
|42||Jewel Cave||South Dakota|
|43||Needles Scenic Byway||South Dakota|
|44||Great Smoky Mountains National Park||Tennessee|
|45||Zion National Park||Utah|
|46||Bryce National Park||Utah|
|47||Glen Canyon National Recreation Area||Utah|
|48||Monument Valley Navajo Park||Utah|
|49||Arches National Park||Utah|
|50||Canyon lands National park||Utah|
|52||Peninsula State Park||Wisconsin|
|54||Yellowstone National Park||Wyoming|
|55||Grand Teton National Park||Wyoming|
|56||Everglades National Park||Florida|
|60||Kennedy Space Center||Florida|
|61||Denali National Park||Alaska|
|63||Kenai Fjords National Park(Exit Glacier)||Alaska|
|66||Chugach National Forest||Alaska|
This is one of the most magnificent place I have ever visited.On our way to Yellowstone national park we stopped at this spectacular place The Grand Teton national park. It is located in northwestern Wyoming just south of Yellowstone national park and just north of the town of Jackson.
Rising more than 7,000 feet above the valley of Jackson Hole, the Teton Range dominates the park’s skyline. Natural processes continue to shape the ecosystem against this impressive and iconic backdrop.
The Tetons are a prime example of fault-block mountain formation. When the earth’s crust cracked along a fault millions of years ago, the Tetons rose into the sky. The exposed crystalline rocks give these mountains their dramatic appearance in any season. The Grand Teton rises to 13,770 feet above sea level and 12 other peaks reach above 12,000 feet elevation.
Running north to south, the Snake River winds its way down the valley and across this amazing scene.
Grand Teton National Park has abundant wildlife, but it is most famous for its populations of elk, bison (buffalo), moose and bald eagles. We were fortunate enough to see a herd of bisons.
This stunningly jaw dropping mountain peak is a wondrous playground for climbers, hikers, skiers, and nearly all other outdoor enthusiasts.
If you visit Yellowstone, this place is a must see. The park is definitely overshadowed by its big brother – Yellowstone NP. However, its magnificent panoramic views of the Grand Teton, Eagle Rest, and other peaks, beats even the Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Snow and glaciers on the steep slopes add to the range’s breathtaking beauty.
Crystalline alpine lakes fill glacial cirques, and noisy streams cascade down rocky canyons to larger lakes at the foot of the range. These lakes, impounded by glacial debris, mirror the mountains on calm days.
The weather was a bit cloudy that morning as we started and we also met with some heavy rains on the way but finally the sun did show up.
The weather can change rapidly in this mountainous region. Temperatures can plummet with little advance warning. Lightning is a real danger. Watch the skies, and if you hear thunder, take shelter within a structure or lower your profile to the sky.
After being stunned by this majestic natural beauty, we headed towards Yellowstone national park.
You registered on WordPress.com 1 years ago!
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!
Feels like a dream but its true. Time does fly. A year ago on this day today, I started my blogging journey on WordPress with my first post https://paharidotme.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/my-rendezvous-with-sunrise-4/. However, I re-posted it later on another date.
With 19,609 hits and 625 followers and 150 posts, it has been an incredible journey for me, a milestone that I am very much proud of to have achieved with the love and affection that WordPress community has showered upon me.
Like a flowing river time passed by but I enjoyed every moment in blogging, meeting some incredible people , reading many outstanding stories, poems, articles and also learning immensely from my fellow bloggers in a variety of topics of interests. I would like to extend my gratitude to all those that stopped by my posts and left wonderful comments that encouraged me every time.
Happy BLOGIVERSARY to ME!!!!!
A heartfelt thank you to everyone for joining me in this wonderful journey and hope to continue together even in the years to come.
Time is like a river.You cannot touch the same water twice,because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life….
You and me together we’ll be
Forever you’ll see
We two can be good company
You and me
Yes, together we two
Together, that’s you
Forever with me
We’ll always be good company
You and me
Yes, together we’ll be
You and me
Together we’ll be
Forever, you’ll see
We’ll always be good company
You and me
Just wait and see
John Muir rightly said “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
Never did I venture out alone during my 3 yrs stay in the US. I was always accompanied by someone in my evening or morning walks. It’s not because I was scared or something but it just happened to be so. Earlier, when we lived in Chicago, 2 years back, I happened to meet a lady with whom I became friends and together we used to plan our outings after hubby left for work. Then, when we moved to Minnesota, for a while I had stopped my exercises due to my back pain and soon became sickly. Hubby decided to motivate me to walk again and joined me in my evening hikes. He would drive me to different lakes near our home (after all Minnesota is a land of 10,000 lakes) and then after parking the car we would walk round the lake. But that didn’t last long as he often had to come late from office. So my walks stopped again.
But after many a distressful shopping blunders, the realization daunted on me that I need to do something of my ever growing potbelly. So, I decided to take advantage of the good weather and start my morning walks after hubby left for work. So, bidding him adieu, the other day and armed with a water bottle and my Samsung galaxy, I stepped out of my cozy den. I could feel the fresh air against my face after being inside the warm heated apartment. A cool breeze was blowing and I was glad I wore the thicker sweatshirt. You don’t know the outside temperature unless you step out and very often I had suffered because of my miscalculations.
I felt confident and happy to have taken the decision and with a hidden smile on my face I took the familiar path round the lake just behind my apartment. There is a small wood at the very entrance of the path where I often went with hubby to click photos.
But today was slightly different as I was alone. I was expecting more people to be running and jogging but perhaps I was one of those few who stayed at home while others rushed to work at that hour. However, I started my walk speeding up my pace and slowing down in between not to get tired. As I reached the densest part of the wood, some creepy feelings disturbed me thanks to the horror movies and thriller serials that I was addicted to. As I approached a fork, I heard voices and saw two men approaching. All the weird and crazy images from the Criminal minds serial came into my mind and I even had visions of my battered lifeless body lying amidst a huge pile of fallen autumn leaves. I held tight to my phone and water bottle in case I needed them. Unaware of my thoughts, the two men walked past me as they chatted away with each other. I caught my normal breath only when the men disappeared in the opposite direction.
From then on I relaxed and decided not to listen to my thoughts and enjoy the scene along the way. I realized that Fall was not yet over and there were colorful trees all around. I took out my Samsung and started clicking photos. Seeing me do that, a cyclist stopped to comment on the view. This time fortunately my mind was cleared off of all the thriller scenes and happily responded to him. I even clicked a photo of him riding away which made a great picture.
I continued my solitary walk and was just halfway through when I heard a gagling noise overhead. Through the leaves of the trees, I saw a flight of migratory birds in a skein. I was so mystified and fascinated by this aerial spectacle that I forgot to click and by the time I could, they were out of range. I was almost depressed when suddenly I could hear them again and this time I didn’t want to let go the chance and quickly got a few pictures. I felt as if they heard my sadness and returned to make me happy. I felt so thankful to them.
Happy at my accomplishment I continued my journey enjoying everything I saw.
A man was cleaning away the fallen leaves.
The bushes along the roadside seemed to fire up.
I was tempted to rest for a while on the bench when I saw the following sign. It seemed to indicate that if you want that size then go ahead and sit. I felt a kind of sarcasm on whoever had made that drawing but also felt thankful and my desire to rest vanished immediately.
It was a 3 ½ miles walk round the lake and at first I was doubtful of completing it. But I didn’t realize how time flew as I was busy clicking pictures all through my hike.It seemed even nature around me was inspiring me to go on.
‘The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.’ Charles Dickens
Now the darkness falls
and the moon is full;
now the creepies crawl
and the ghouls all rule.
Now the killer clown
circus comes to town
and the were-things howl
cause they’re on the prowl.
Because it’s Hallo
Yes, it’s Halloween!
So shout ‘Hello!’
Witches ride their brooms;
zombies rise from tombs;
mad masked murderers
stalk you through the gloom.
And those evil dreams
start to fill your head
so you try to scream
but you can’t …you’re dead!
Because it’s Hallo,
Yes, it’s Halloween!
So, shout ‘Hello!’
My heart was touched by your glorious greetings
As I stood numb admiring your first strokes on the earth.
I feasted on your magnetic beauty
As you rose from beneath the sky.
An unspoken communication took place between us
As I tried to capture you through my lenses.
With a mystical smile thou beamed through the turf
Glazing out hues of orange and red.
A precious privilege for the early risers
A blessing from the angels above
A celestial song buzzed around
Even in the stillness of the dawn.
Walk hand in hand with me through all eternity
Have faith, believe in me, give me your hand
Love is a symphony of perfect harmony
When lovers such as we walk hand in hand
Be not afraid, for I am with you all the while
So lift your head up high and look toward the sky
Walk hand in hand with me, this is our destiny
No greater love could be, walk hand in hand
Walk with me
Be not afraid, for I am with you all the while
So lift your head up high and look up to the sky
Walk hand in hand with me, this is our destiny
No greater love could be, walk hand in hand.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
Nature alone has the power to embrace all creatures equally without any discrimination. She cares not for any race or gender. Her blessings or fury are equally dispensed upon all Gods’ creatures. In this tumultuous world of hatred and crime what better place to find solace than a solitary walk amidst nature?
One’s tryst with nature need not be in the hills or mountains or the woods. Nature’s beauty exists everywhere. It only seeks an eye to behold and appreciate. While walking down the bustling streets a tiny sprout emerging from below the concrete road startles a nature lover. He quickly pulls out his mobile to capture the moment and acknowledge its beauty. Releasing a sigh for the happiness he got unexpectedly, he walks off with a smile oblivious of things or people around.
Sipping through the evening coffee, he looks out of his window and sees a flight of birds heading homewards. That reminisce him about his family far away. The hustle and bustle of the city life had disassociated him from his near and dear ones. He had become a sophisticated ‘troglodyte’ of the modern world. He recollects a poem by W H Davies
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
He walks down the lane to the street where he had seen that tiny little sprout early that morning. Gently he pulls it out and puts it in his pocket. He then turns and hurries back home, unmindful of the people staring at his strange act. He pulls out the dried stems of his dead plant from the pot he had placed some years ago. He cautiously places the sprout into the pot and pours in some water. Another sigh leaves his heart as he sees the sprout stand upright.
All through the evening he kept staring at it as a lover would. As he bit through his meal he felt a kind of connection with the tiny sprout as he had never felt before. This sudden tryst made him relive the life he had lost in the mundane city. Flashes of memories rolled through his mind of him as a kid running through the meadows catching butterflies, listening to the chirping of birds and rolling his hands over the blooming flowers. The fresh cheese that he chewed from his grandmother’s hands, the long hikes he made with his grandfather to the mountains seemed to be lost in some dreams.
Tonight he felt relaxed as he lay to rest unlike his other stressful nights. He felt he was reunited with his true love. A tryst that brought bliss into his life; which is the nature of NATURE.
“Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral.” John Burroughs