Alaska is just too beautiful to describe

Published 8:34 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words.  What do you do when a picture won’t adequately capture the sheer beauty of a place?  Such may be the case as Mary Lou and I finish the first week of our trip to Alaska.

Today we have cruised in Glacier Bay.  The sun has finally come out and brilliantly captures the snow on the mountains as the rivers of ice empty into the ocean.   Even as I write this article, there are a dozen glaciers on either side of us as we sit bundled up on the front of the ship.  Yes, while my home town swelters under 100+ degree heat, we have layers of clothing on to ward off the cold.

The glaciers are deceptive in size.   We ate lunch in front of the Margerie Glacier as it shed chunks of ice large enough to make a sound like thunder as they hit the water.   A mile wide and rising 250 feet above the water line, no picture I took captured just how magnificent the glacier appeared.

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Glacier National Park is about the size of Connecticut.   Denali National Park, which we visited earlier in the week, is about the size of Rhode Island.   The only way to reach this park is by boat or plane as there are no roads within 60 miles of here.

Big has always described Alaska, but I never thought of it as just indescribably beautiful.  Mountain peaks rise straight from the ice filled water until they seem to touch the sky.  Adjacent to them are equally majestic peaks as far as the eye can see.

Wilderness takes on a new meaning in Alaska.  As beautiful as it is in the summer, it can be equally harsh in the winter.  It isn’t a place meant for everyone or even many.  Half the people live in Anchorage and after that you live in increasingly challenging places.

Perhaps that is why the wildlife is so abundant.   Moose, bear, caribou and eagles are plentiful.  We have seen dozens of whales and saw salmon swimming so close I thought I could catch them by hand.  Flowers bloom like incredible gardens thanks to the long days.

Despite traveling by train, bus and ship, I have found Alaska to be very quiet.   The sounds of nature are more prevalent than the sounds of man.  I can see why so many come to the place to find themselves, although though most do not stay.

For most things, I find that words can be a way to describe what one sees or feels.  They are the tool that is best used to leave your impression about something you experience.  This is one of the few times that I cannot find the words to adequately convey what I want to say.  The hundreds of photographs don’t capture those feelings either.

Alaska is simply too beautiful for describe.