It may not be on your top 10 list for a meetings or incentives destination, but I just fell in love with Alaska on my trip there this past week. Cruise West, the company that handled our group of 16 celebrants of my parents' 50th anniversary, did a fantastic job and, not to sound to googly-eyed about the whole thing, our 49th state is one amazing place. Especially in the summer, when even now as fall starts its (way early) approach, the sun didn't go down until almost midnight.
After the redeye flight this morning to Chicago, where I'll be for the next several days attending the ASAE and the Center's annual meeting, I don't have it together enough to explain what it was like. Not that you can, really. So, here's a taste of what it was like (ha! between digital photos and blogs, now everyone gets to see my vacation pics. I won't be too obnoxious—I'll just post a couple of them):
The Mountain, aka Mt. McKinley, highest peak in the land, and quite a handsome fella when he chose to show us his face as we chased down the highway to get to the airport on time last night.
Me in front of Surprise Glacier in Prince William Sound. It calved (dropped off house-sized chunks) twice while we were watching, sounding like a crack of thunder, then keening and groaning and, well, I can't begin to do it justice. Amazing.
I took some great shots of some moose we saw at Denali, but unfortunately they were on someone else's camera. Anyway, I was just enchanted with the place. One of our drivers said that there are a number of great little incentive getaways, like one near Denali that Mrs. Bush and some pals recently hung out at. Another driver said that the convention center in Anchorage is about to triple its size. He said that they currently have about 30 conventions booked annually, and have to turn down many, many more because they just didn't have the capacity. But they will soon, it sounds like.
OK, I'll stop gushing, except to say one thing: The people there, every single Alaska resident I met, were warm, inviting, and all-around just great folks. If it weren't for that no-sun, 50-degree-below winter, I'd be seriously tempted to try living in a more northern latitude than Massachusetts. Even with the harshness of the winter, I'd like to go back in February or March when the Northern Lights are at their most active. I saw them once when I was a kid at camp in Maine, and it was pure magic.
Oh, Chicago's nice, too, and it's a hot and sunny change from the cool rain and mist of the Alaska mountain range, but I already miss the sense of space, of my place in nature, and the peaceful solitude (well, maybe not so much when all 16 of us were on a bus together, but you get my drift) that I felt in Alaska.
I'll be back.