Another long day has ended but what a day it was. Early this morning, after the ship docked in Seward, we all met in theatre to disembark from the Radiance of the Seas for the last time. Mom booked the train to take us from Seward to the airport in Anchorage.
The train ride was four hours long, but it was an enjoyable four hours. The train had a glass top and passengers sat in booths. The Clayton clan took up two booths, across from each other. Our carry-ons easily stored underneath our booth seats, leaving us room to lounge and admire the views.
Along the way, I think the most exciting thing was the fact that mom and I saw our moose. The train was rolling along when all of a sudden I saw it. The moose was young, but it was still a moose. I pointed but had a hard time forming any coherent thought in my head. Finally, I was able to yell “MOOSE”. Everyone in the car turned and I am pretty sure we all felt the same excitement.
The scenery along the rail was absolutely beautiful. Glaciers, mountains, bogs, lakes…every type of scene was offered. You’d just have to hate nature and beauty if you couldn’t find at least one thing to like about that train ride.
Once we arrived at the airport in Anchorage, we boarded buses for a ride to the Marriott. Royal Caribbean had a deal with the Marriott in Anchorage. If your flight was later than 5pm (ours was at 7:30), you could hang out at the hotel in the lobby or even check your carry-ons into the hotel so you could walk around the city.
Lunch was our first priority, though. It was around 1pm and I was starving—I know, not surprising. After making my stomach happy, everyone but mom and I headed back to relax at the hotel. Mom and I were off to shop (again, not surprising).
One of the stores we went to had a shirt that I just had to have. It had a picture of an Alaskan mountain range with the quote from John Muir: “The mountains are calling and I must go”. I relate completely to this. There is just something about mountains. Maybe it’s the fact that they are difficult to summit or “claim”. Or, that they can offer amazing views. For me, I feel close to God when I spend time among mountain ranges and peaks. I can’t help but be drawn to the mountains. Ironic that I live in Florida, right?
We stopped at a few storefronts mom wanted to check out and then we visited another sporting goods store. I was looking for a sleeping bag and down jacket for the EBC trek. The store didn’t have any bags or jackets. But they had shoes! I wasn’t necessarily looking for a new pair of hiking boots, but mom said I should try some on just in case. The shoes I had used for hikes up until now were not ankle boots, but I know some would suggest using ankle height boots for a hike such as EBC. So, I tried a pair on. They weren’t bad, but the saleswoman then suggested another pair of boots. The shoes are by Lowe’s. They are fully waterproof-the tongue of the shoe is attached so water can’t leak in that way either. They are also extremely lightweight. I love them. So anyway, my big purchase from Alaska was a pair of hiking boots.
Soon it was time for mom and me to head back to the Marriott. Allow me to say something about the flowers in Alaska. They are gorgeous, vivid, and possibly the fullest I have ever seen. I wish our flowers at home were just like these…I’ll have to talk to our gardener about this (our gardener just happens to be mom).
Flying home offered more spectacular imagery. It was amazing. Glaciers floated underneath our plane as we said a fond adieu to the great frontier of Alaska.
Here is my parting advice: if you ever have the opportunity to visit Alaska or take an Alaskan cruise, do not hesitate. Go.