With our recent trip to Seattle and Alaska, Dad and I can now cross another item off of our bucket lists, and for him, he has now visited all fifty states. I am jealous, because I am only at 32.
Our visit to our two northern-most states filled us with both wonder and sadness—wonder at the beauty and vastness of Alaska coupled with sadness at seeing climate change in action with the burning of the California wildfires, which filled the air around Seattle with what looked like heavy fog, and the viewing of the melting glaciers.
Alaska is a lonely state, with some towns so small that they have access to a physician or dentist only once a month. Food is expensive because it needs to be brought in by trains or boats, and winters may see up to 20 feet of snow in some areas.
While I don’t fear heights as much as Casey and Jamie, there are some circumstances which cause me great unease, which is why I purposely sat on the right side of the Gold Rush train heading down the mountain.
We were warned that the train travels perilously close to the edge of the mountain, so I wanted to put my fears to the test. Despite traveling over some rickety old wooden bridges, I was able to look thousands of feet down and out the window of the right side of the train.
Learning the stories of the people of the Gold Rush Era was sobering. Thousands of people packed up their bags and traveled to the Yukon Territory of Canada in hopes of discovering gold. They were not prepared for the brutal winter, which prevented them from continuing their travels in search of riches until the end of winter. Thirty thousand people were stuck in tents for months with only the food that they brought with them. I will have to think of them the next time the temperature hits the teens here and I have to go outside of my heated house into my heated car. I would never survive a single Yukon winter in a tent.
Walking around the top of Seattle’s Space Needle was a height test which I did not pass, since I was unable to stand on the glass floor. While I could stand adjacent to that floor and peer downward, only Dad and Flat Cocky had the guts to actually stand or lie down on it.
I need to work on my height problem.