BNT Grand Alaska Tour Reflections 2017
There’s a reason everyone dreams about seeing Alaska. Something magical about the massive land formations…whether they are mountains, glaciers, or the many streams formed from the glaciers. It’s a place where you can truly see God’s handiwork in the natural world! Stunning, beautiful, amazing, awesome, incredible…these are all words to describe Alaska—and honestly, they don’t fully cover it. Alaska is a place to experience, dream about living “off the grid,” and appreciate and enlarge our vision of who God is. Our BNT Grand Alaska tour (land trip to Alaska) is the perfect way to get a taste of the Alaska’s grandeur.
Thousands of miles on a tour bus…
We traveled over a thousand miles on the tour bus, yet it seems a drop in the bucket for what this beautiful state holds. Winding through the country, we were impressed by the vast spaces and diversity of landscape. I don’t think we ever got tired of the view! The “permafrost” makes you wonder how anything grows there. Permafrost is a layer of ground that has been frozen for more than two years and covers much of Alaska. It causes one to wonder how Alaskans build on this kind of terrain? And, how do they live in such isolated places, not to mention how they built the pipeline through the wilderness, given the obstacles of temperature and terrain?
Our days viewing wildlife amazed us. On the Valdez cruise, we saw whales, seals, otters, and flying puffins all around us. How fun to watch them in their natural element! Denali was also remarkable; we saw a grizzly bear so “up close and personal” that I had to remind myself that we weren’t visiting a zoo! Alaska is the place they live and exist. As we move through the park, we spotted several bears, reindeer (caribou), a bald eagle, and a spectacular display of wildflowers. How do they grow amidst those rocks in such high places with such brilliant colors? The sun really didn’t set while we were touring, so the petunias and vegetation were huge.
Only three hours of darkness!
Even though we were there in Summertime, the sun only disappeared for three hours! It was still up at midnight, and so, it never got completely dark. Only on an Alaskan tour have I seen a hotel advertise: “Blackout Curtains.” They worked!
We had great —a perfect escape from the heat in Pennsylvania. The trip excursions offered a lot of variety. I went ATV-ing. Our views after climbing up dry streams to the tops of the mountains was spectacular. One of our travelers flew North to the Arctic Circle in a small plane—a memory she says she will never forget—and, we visited a family, originally from New England, who raises dogs for the Iditarod. The excursions offered great experiences, and because the sun never set, there was plenty of time.
Communing with other travelers…
One joy on every tour is to meet people from all over the U.S. This always makes our travels more interesting as we talk about life in different parts of the “Lower 49,” as well as coming home with a few new friends. Sharing a place like Alaska draws travelers together in special ways.
Thank you BNT for “taking us there!”
~Karen Kuch, Tour Director