Alaska feels like it’s on a different planet. But really, it’s attached to worlds I’m more familiar with. #AlmostAdjacent
There are so many new faces here. My first moose sighting stopped me in my tracks. My first red-necked grebe and my first harlequin duck both took my breath away. And I still haven’t gotten used to the opaque blue of glacial water. Yet familiar friends can be found as well. Cottontail rabbits make fast work of the blooming dandelions. Lupines are making an appearance (fat, squat nootka lupine). Robins, golden-crowned sparrows, and bald eagles ensure that I’ll always having some measure of success on my birding forays. And the so-green aspen-like birches transport me to the Eastern Sierra.
Regardless of if a moment finds me entranced by a new sight (like lungwort lichen) or wondering just how an orange-crowned warbler migrates so very many miles, there’s no question that Alaska is a beautiful place. My explorations thus far have been mostly limited to my immediate summer home base. Long rambling strolls, either alone or with some housemates, always on trail (no bushwhacking through prickly devil’s club and brown bear-concealing willows for me), have yet to fail at yielding a learning opportunity or an arm-pinching reality check. A slow crawl with tree and wildflower field guides, a stop-and-go walk with binoculars, a blood-warming hike to a glacier viewpoint, a dash back to the indoors while flailing ineffectively at hordes of Alaska-sized mosquitos.
It’s a pleasant mix of comforting knowns and stunning unknowns. Wonder is a great salve (though certainly no cure) for homesickness.