Been there, done that
Valdez is our healing, cleansing, and salvation. Every time we breathe in the very air of this place we know this journey is worth it, every fight, every tear, every last scrap of exhausted pushing has brought us to this place. Waterfalls, green, towering cliffs. Glaciers to climb, no guide ropes or lawyers of American Safety issues. Cracking, shifting, dripping, raw ice, thousands of years old, rugged paths, panting us, clear air. Holy Goddess and wonder and beauty. Valdez is proof of heaven on earth, the ultimate existential argument to do your good here on earth, silly fuckers. If Good Christians visited Valdez they'd realize that, unless they'd moved to Valdez, their dead relatives were not actually in a better place
We trudge down this gorgeous highway, the euphoria and celebretory 40 dollar a bottle wine absolutely GONE. We snipe and ignore each other, feel completely alone, freak out the dogs, threaten to run away with the debit card, purchase a plane ticket, and leave the other spouse with the van and the dogs. Not, not, not a good scene.
And then Valdez happens. 45 minutes past sane time we start looking for a campsite; we find a tiny alcove off of a road to yet another glacier. The earth huffs up a field of cold steam, the water mists against the greenery, covers the mountains, turns the light world white. We go to bed (the first night) only partially recovered, and wake to find The World We Left Looking For.
We drive around. We talk to locals. We cook lunch in the van on the pier, ocean lapping underneath us. We take the dogs for walks in a city park where they chase rabbits for twenty minutes. This, I think, is the reason we both have that silly Marine Biology degree. This place.
We end up staying days, returning each night to our same safe little place. It's weird being so far from the tiny city of Valdez, on the outskirts, past the suburbs (yes, in a wilderness like Alaska, we are still making the same stupid suburbs), we worry about bear, we worry a little about lynx (after the Yukon experience, can you blame us). Because of the dogs. Because of our babies.
Our Goddess Serendipity strikes again at a gas station, a super-sweet attendant tells us about the Stan Stephens wildlife cruise, a chance advertisement on local radio points the way to a pet shop, we board the dogs and take a ten hour wildlife cruise. Superlative. Epiphanic. Brilliant. See the pictures. Visit Alaska. Give Stan Stephens 120 bucks and do this thing.
I am so into coastal Alaska. I love the ocean, I love the smells of charter boats and restaurants. I love everything but the RV parks, the RV's themselves. We are so tired of RV's we're almost violent.