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picstitch 3Earlier this week, J and I returned from our 12-day trip to Alaska.  Unlike most people who seek out fun in the sun over spring break, J and I decided that we’d spend the time away from work visiting our dear friend in Fairbanks.  J had been to Alaska before, for work, and had raved about how much he loved it and what a gorgeous place it was, and couldn’t wait to take me there.  So, this presented a perfect opportunity!

Due to all of J’s work travel, we were lucky to fly to Anchorage using airline miles.  Nothing like two seats for $23!  We got in relatively late to Anchorage, and were exhausted due to the time change, so we spent the night in Anchorage before heading to Alyeska Ski Resort the next day.  And let me tell you, the ski lodge was AMAZING.  Beautiful accommodations, wonderful views, and food to die for.  We stayed at Alyeska from Friday – Monday morning, and had an amazing time.  Unfortunately, due to Alaska having an unseasonably warm winter, the snow on the slopes wasn’t the best, and I ended up having a pretty bad fall on the first day.  J continued to ski for the next few days, but I decided to see what else the resort had to offer.  Needless to say, I was not disappointed in the least!  The spa had more treatments than I’d ever seen before (J and I partook in a couples massage by candlelight, and I could have been rolled to my room after, I was so relaxed), the gym was well equipped, and the heated indoor pool and salt-water hot tub was blissful (and perfect to soak my pretty damaged knee).  There were also several restaurants and cafes throughout the resort, each serving delicious meals and some pretty amazing drinks.  I had awesome sushi with a sake martini one night, and baked fresh salmon another.  I could have stayed there for weeks without getting bored!

After spending a few days at Alyeska (and a day trip to Seward, Alaska), we made the journey north to Fairbanks, and our friend.  The drive along the Parks Highway was visually stunning…mountains in every direction, snow-capped like a perfect landscape painting.  The drive was nearly six hours, but we stopped often for photos and lunch, and even tried to make our way into Denali National Park.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make it too far in, as it was closed for the season, but we still saw some of it (and managed a quick hike to stretch our legs).  Eventually, we made it to the interior, and arrived at our friend’s house in Fairbanks.

Once in Fairbanks, our friend made sure that we had every typical “Alaskan” experience possible.  We ate fresh caught sockeye Salmon for breakfast, met his friends who own Black Spruce Dog Sledding (and competes in the Iditarod), went cross-country skiing and stopped for a dip in Chena natural hot sprints (absolutely divine), and even hung out with other friends in their “dry” cabin.  For those of you not in the know, dry cabins are pretty typical in parts of Alaska.  Many people live remotely, off the grid, and don’t have running water to their cabins.  They bring in jugged potable water to cook and drink, and have outhouses outside for use.  Many of the places throughout Alaska have public showers for use, because so many people live in these dry cabins, which I found to be quite interesting.  Needless to say, I can now claim to have experience both a fur-lined toilet seat (I didn’t dare ask what kind of fur it was), as well as a blue foam-board insulation sheet toilet seat.  Both were surprisingly warm and comfortable, though I’m not exactly willing to sign up for life with an outhouse any time soon.

We were also amazingly lucky to spend our last evening in Alaska chasing the Aurora Borealis (otherwise known as the Northern Lights).  The weather was particularly great for the lights, so we had quite a show!  It was absolutely amazing to see, and we watched for hours.  It was such a perfecting ending to a great trip, and I’m so glad to have those memories for life now.

Overall, Alaska was stunning.  A great time with amazing friends (both new and old), and a completely different experience than anything I’ve had before.  Worth every minute, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Much love,