Archive 2015 May
Travel Tuesday: Valdez, Alaska – Kayaking Trip

Travel Tuesday: Valdez, Alaska – Kayaking Trip

Where do I even begin with this breathtaking trip to Valdez?

Almost every moment left me speechless, inspired, and aching to see more. We had some unfortunate car trouble so it was cut a day short, but in the 48 hours we spent there, I fell in love.

Every majestic mountain and picturesque view was a bittersweet reminder of our time in Alaska drawing to an end.

When we realized we couldn’t just turn to each other and say, “We’ll be back later this summer!” or “We’ll definitely check that out next time” my heart sunk.

Alaska you have driven me absolutely crazy in the depths of your fierce winters, but your summers have apologized ten-fold. I am overjoyed that I was able to call these views my backyard for two years.

Today I’m sharing some photos from our kayaking trip to the bay of the Columbia Glacier taken with Anadyr Adventures. I highly recommend using this company! The guides were fun and easy-going and willing to explore any areas the guests were interested in. It’s important to note this trip is not to the actual glacier. We weren’t entirely clear on that before we went. This glacier is massive and retreating quickly, so giant chunks of ice are constantly breaking off and getting too close with inexpeirenced kayakers isn’t really encouraged. There are day-trips to actual glaciers (Shoup Glacier and Valdez Glacier), but our trip was to the iceberg fields, islands, and area around Columbia’s bay. We also had a one-hour water taxi ride to where our kayaking started (2 hours on the boat total) and we were able to see lots of wildlife and stunning views during that taxi ride as well.

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Sea lions! Lazy on land, but unbelievably graceful in the water. These guys growled at us the whole time we trolled past them.

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The start of our Kayaking trip at Columbia Glacier’s original terminal moraine. The glacier once extended as far out as where our kayaks sit but has been receeding at an unprecented rate since 1980. It has lost over 13 miles in 35 years along with a sizable amount of its breadth. Below you can see the start of the iceberg fields. These pieces break off daily in tiny and huge pieces and are carried to the terminal moraine (and even farther!) by high tides.

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Icebergs are incredibly unstable and due to that, we had to kayak as far away from each iceberg as the iceberg was large. The saying “the tip of the iceberg” is no joke. For most icebergs, only about 15% of it is visible. So 85% of that iceberg could still be under the water and if a piece wiggles loose due to the salty sea water pounding away at it and shoots up to the surface and your kayak is above it……

(Don’t worry mom & dad, we didn’t witness any ice shooting up from the water!)

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We did however hear icebergs crashing apart and breaking off and spinning in the water all afternoon. We were able to watch one in particular (unfortunately not caught on camera) break apart and crash into the sea. It was incredible.

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The shelf of the Columbia glacier is now that white line at the edge of where the mountains seem to be rise up from the water. From where I was standing to take this picture, that line is about 11-12 miles away. It once enveloped the whole island I stood on, and now it’s just a tiny* blimp in the distance.

*This glaicer remains the largest tidewater glacier in the Prince William Sound, despite how much it’s receeded.
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Yes, all the views are this dreamy.

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Kayaking the Columbia Glacier bay in the Prince William Sound was an incredible experience. It also happened to be the last item to check off on my Alaska bucket list. I am thankful my husband is always up for my crazy ideas, like fulfilling bucket list items right before we leave. This trip was a sweet reminder of how much fun we always have together.

Today is actually our anniversary. 2 years of adventuring and loving and growing. We are still just a pair of kids trying to figure it out, but in moments like this weekend, I swear we have it down. Despite the trials with the car and the serious lows that accompanied those trials, we could still look out at the mountains and smile in spite of ourselves.

Blessed. Spoiled. Lucky. Whatever it is, I am thankful and humbled after a beautiful weekend with this great guy.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”
John Muir, Our National Parks

Camille Mae (2)

P.S. A blog post with pictures from the drive to and from Valdez will be up next week.

Food & Fitness Fridays: Ultimate Running Playlist

Food & Fitness Fridays: Ultimate Running Playlist

Running has been my jam lately.

These Alaskan winters keep me so cooped up when the sun starts to shine consistently and the snow melts off the trails, I am itching to get outside…

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Not just for sunbathing! Although that was glorious this evening. Can you believe this photo was taken at 8 pm? Alaska, ladies and gentlemen.

Itching for the outdoors has translated to miles and miles of running and I am loving it.

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My pace average might not be improving immensely, but I am feeling stronger and more at-ease each and every run.

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But one of my favorite parts of running – outside of the endorphins, killer workout, and health benefits – is the music.

Every good run needs an even better playlist. Here’s my ultimate compilation of songs to motivate and keep the pace while getting your next run or jog on.

I want to note this is not my preferred taste in music. I’m more of a Weepies, Postal Service, Hozier, Lumineers kind of girl….but none of those artists make me want to get outside and kick ass working out. 

Running Jams

1. Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida
2. Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammar
3. Lose Yourself – Eminem
4. Dog Days Are Over – Florence & The Machine
5. Shut Up & Dance – Walk The Moon
6. GDFR – Flo Rida
7. Time Of Our Lives – Pitbull
8. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
9. Freaks – Timmy Trumpet
10. Starships – Nicki Minaj
11. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
12. Feel Again – One Republic
13. Electric Love – Borns
14. Hey Mama – David Guetta
15. TTU (Too Turnt Up) – Flosstradamus
16. Sleepyhead – Passion Pit
17. Harlem Shake – Baauer
18. I Can’t Stop – Flux Pavillion
19. Shakedown (LOUDPVCK Remix) – Jackal
20. Levels – Avicii
21. Domino – Jessie J
22. Tipsy – J-Kwon

Hope this list can inspire you to get outside during this sweet summer!

Camille Mae (2)

Needed Reminder

Needed Reminder

How is it already May? I have been wishing for time to speed up ever since the first snowfall hit the end of September, and now I wish I would have been more careful about what I wished for…

We leave Alaska permanently in almost 60 days. 60 days. I am trying not to panic.

Firstly, because I am immensely excited about this move and I want that giddy feeling to stay with me through all the trials were bound to run into when picking up our life and moving 2,000 miles away. Secondly, because of the conversation I had with my husband the other night while lying in bed.

He was trying to fall asleep as I laid wide awake, rambling aloud about job prospects and whether I want to stay in this career field or move towards other passions of mine when it hit me:

Life is short.

I know, soooo philosophical.

But the time we get on planet earth with the people we love is cruelly numbered. There is never enough time to be everything and do everything and see everything. I can not work at Amazon and Microsoft and Boeing and every fancy advertising agency in Seattle and write a book and be an event planner and work in government and all the ideas and dreams that were racing through my mind the other night. I can not work at every interesting job position and live every life I can imagine.

I can’t. You can’t. None of us can.

I have only this one, precious life. Whatever I choose to be or where I choose to work will be the right choice because I made it so. I will choose and that choice will be right for me because this life is what I make it.

So then, why was I worrying and agonizing over what job to apply for and how long unemployment may last and what we’d do if we can’t live the perfect two-income lifestyle we live right now when it’s all just so…trivial.

[[Back to the conversation with my husband]]

“None of this matters, huh?” I had asked, rolling on my side so we could get into our habitual cuddling position to sleep.

“The jobs, you mean?” Was his reply as he wrapped his warm arms around me, and I breathed in his minty aftershave.

“Yeah,” I felt a wave of relief overcome me as I said it out loud, “It doesn’t matter what job I choose, does it? This. This moment is the only thing that matters.”

“Yep. But I was just going to let you figure it out,” he answered quietly.

“You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts.

You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth.

But that’s all.”

– Sugar (The Rumpus)

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