Month: October 2009

Alaska – Trip to Seward

It was a lazy morning. By the time I was up and made my way to the dinning room D was in the shower, AsA and M had been to the grocery store (hence the kitchen and the fridge were stocked with fruits, milk, eggs, waffles, reads, juice, cola, wine, beer and other grocery items), CG and PA where making breakfast, few people were ready dressed for the day and the kids were running all over the place.

Finally with everyone pitching in breakfast was eaten, munchies packed, people got ready, a photo session of all of us together completed, so we got into our cars for a drive around Alaska. The turning point was set as Seward about 3 hours non stop drive from Anchorage. But took our time, we did for breaks for pictures and other attractions.

Picture Break in route

The official break was at a wildlife preserve where animals hurt in the wild are kept till they recover (glorified Zoo is what D called it). It was a halt made for the kids (and for adults if they did not see any other wild life).

Moose
Moose
Caribou
Caribou
Brown Bear
Brown Bear
Black Bear
Black Bear
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

We finally got to Seward, which is a small little fishing town. Nothing much to do there but for the gorgeous scenery. So we had lunch is small little cafe and enjoyed hanging out at the peaceful place.

Town of Seward
Town of Seward
View from Town
View from Town

After a while we headed to the final destination for the day, Exit Glacier, which is about 20 miles off Seward. Here you can see the glacier from a distance but there is a 2 mile hike that you can do which will get to the very base of the glacier. After donning hiking shoes and warm jackets we started on the hike. The hike is a loop where you can go up one end and come down the other side if you wanted to do the loop or go up and come down from any side. Everyone had an opinion on which side was the easiest and hence people split up in groups going from different approach points. D, M and I headed from one end and got to the glacier point without any issues. Once there D and M decided to go off the trail to actually go touch the glacier. In deference to being pregnant, I stayed behind. The others caught up with us while those two where making their way to the glacier.

D looking down from the glacier to where the rest of us were
D looking down from the glacier to where the rest of us were
Exit Glacier
Exit Glacier

Once everyone was done clicking pictures and D, M were back we started on our way down. And here is what we found. Ptarmigan walking in front of us. And the best part was when they spread their wings you saw this brilliant red colour (same as the one of their eyes) featears. Wish we could capture a picture but they don’t fly too much.

Ptarmigan - Alaska state bird
Ptarmigan - Alaska state bird

Once we got down we hit the road to get back to the house with a few stops for pictures

IMG_4038
IMG_4049
IMG_4050

Alaska – The players

OK lets meet the players. All 13 of them. Someone is keeping a count right?

– AsA & SA and their two kids AyA & TA:

  •  AsA is the planner of the group. He is the know it all guy and the Mr Enthu of the group. Activities of the first two days are planned by him.
  • SA is perfect for Mr Enthu ready to be led into any adventure but these days spends most of her time running after the two little ones and catering to their various whims.
  • AyA is the badda bhaiya who does not let any opportunity go to hit the chota bhiya without getting caught. He is almost 3.
  • TA at 1 and few months follows and mimics every thing AyA does without fear and he knows how to shove for any push that comes his way.

– AmA & PA :

  • AmA is the soft spoken one of the group. Also the one with the most brains (this is,  of course as per all the guys in our friends circle, DR2 and all that).
  • PA is again the perfect match for AmA. She is the talkative one. Loves to talk, loves to shop, loves order, loves cleanliness. Also a suspect between D and I as a fellow mother to be. How do we suspect? The extra care AmA is bestowing on her..how else? 🙂

– PG & CG

  • PG is the perfect husband. He always cleans while she does the cooking. How awesome is that? He gets CG flowers and presents for various occasions even if he has to make a midnight run for them, so that it’s a surprise for her. Always laughing, always cracking jokes.
  • CG is the only one in the group who does not work in the same company as all of us (except for M who does not even live on the same coast as us). In fact her field of work is totally different for any one of us. She works with children with disabilities and I have a whole lot of respect for what she does. Caring, compassionate, always ready to help thats CG for you.

– NG & SG

  • SG has a naivety about her. She just looks at the world with such wide eyes. And then she asks her questions. Everything from ‘Did you straighten your hair’ to ‘Why does the glacier snow look that colour of blue’ to ‘Are you not scared of wild animals to camp in the wild’ to ‘When do you plan to have children’, to ‘You have a OBGYN? Why?’.
  • NG is absolutely without a doubt perfect for SG. He answers all her questions with a smile on his face (D would probably have thrown me under a bus long ago if I spoke in Q&A form all day). NG, let me tell you also takes forever to get ready. This we realized on our trip (NG & SG are always the last people to arrive any time we all are getting together and now we know why).

– M

  • is D’s friend from school. Not really langotia yaar but close. They then went to the same college as well. M’s wife and kids were in India and hence he made this trip with us. Looking back at the pics of the first part of the trip D & M have more pictures together than D & me.

Looking at all these people let me give you some history.

  •  All the guys except for PG did there undergraduate studies from the same college, passing out in the same batch. So they have long standing history together.
  • All of us (but for CG and M) work for the same company so we have a lot of common there as well.
  • All the girls are about the same age, got married about the same time, left our families and jobs behind, struggled to set up house, learned to cook, struggled with our post marriage identity. All about the same time and get nagged by random people to have kids all the time, so we have a real good understanding of what the other has gone through and is going through.
  • In short with being different people and the differences that come from that, we are still a family. A unit away from our families back home.

There are a lot more people in the saga that is our life and part of our family here in this land but for now the Alaska trip characters have been enumerated.

What about tit bits about D and me you ask? hmm..well this entire blog is dedicated to that..who needs one line character introductions 🙂

Alaska – Getting there

As all long weekends go, planing on what to do starts way in advance. So the next upcoming national holiday got everyone talking about taking a vacation. D and I had talked about heading to Alaska for quite some time and when we made the suggestion over dinner with friends at a Thai place people jumped on it. It is kind of surprising the number of friends who agreed to the plan. 10 adults 2 kids. Alaska is huge with a lot that you can see, so based on how many days people could take off a plan was made. A few friends could take only one extra day off work, a few could take two extra days off, D and I were taking the entire week off.

Tickets were booked and a house booked for 3 nights and then everyone made different arrangements for accommodation based on when they were getting back. A week before we were to leave one of D’s old school friend, M, called (he lives on the other side of the country and the two of them had not met since 1999) and realized we were heading to Alaska for the long weekend. He had his tickets booked within an hour :).

We were flying Thursday evening so came back from work around 4, loaded all our bags and headed to the airport. 12 friends getting together at the airport, checking-in baggage, grabbing a bite to eat. It was picnic at the airport, load of fun. Everyone settled down once the plane took off. Books, music player came out. zzzzz’s caught up with most of us as well (what would you expect in a 4 hrs. flight at the end of a long week and hectic day).

Landed in Anchorage at 11:10. M met us at baggage claim since he had landed 20 mins before us. Having grabbed our luggage we headed to the car rental place to pick up our cars. The type of car we had booked were all out so were given an upgrade to a Subaru SUV and not extra cost which was super cool :). 13 people loaded all their stuff in 3 cars and headed out to the rental place. 5 engineers, 2 GPS, 1 print out of directions to the rental place, 2 cars in front of us and we still managed to get lost. Thankfully we corrected our course quickly and were not too late getting to the house.

Oh the House. It was magnificent. The view beyond words (at 1:00 at night). Let see..the house was three stories. The main level had the living room, dining room, kitchen, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom. The upper level had 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom and a loft. The lower level had 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Now the view..the main level had floor to ceiling windows where you could see the pitch black sky and specs of glowing red of the setting sun way out in the horizon. We sat there soaking in the view and eating (everyone was hungry having had something to eat at 6:00 before boarding the plane and you get nothing in flight these days) what the house hostess had left us for breakfast the next day (they were to provide us with breakfast the first day as part of the rent to the place). We saw the sky go all black and then some 15 mins later while we were still talking and eating on the other side of the window we saw another set of red hues coming of the rising sun. This was way too awesome, something we had never seen before.

We were all too tired to get out cameras out and were sure nothing would catch the beauty of the place so just sat there feasting our eyes. Finally amidst murmurs and yawns we hit the sac.