I just received a few photos from our seventh day in Alaska when Jack and I went onrivers with a wonderful adventure with Chugach Outdoor Center in Hope, Alaska. Chugach is an outstanding company that is owned by Jay Doyle and is associated with RaftDenali. They have an incredible program for running Class III-V rapids through the canyons in the gorgeous Chugach National Park. I thought I would share them as a way of encouraging any reader who might be interested in a great day on the river.
The growing tensions in the South China Sea just got more tense. A tribunal in the Hague has ruled that there is no legal basis for China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea. With a huge investment in the construction of artificial islands, China has responded by simply dismissing the arbitration ruling on international law. China boycotted the proceedings before the five-member panel from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands. Many felt that the boycott reflected the weakness of the Chinese claims, which were unanimously rejected by the panel. Immediately after the ruling, China issued a statement that said that China “solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it.”
We finally boarded our delayed Delta flight after midnight and began our long flight home. I took this and the pictures below out of the plane window as we said goodbye to Alaska and all of the new friends that we made there over the two weeks. We left as we had arrived: enthralled by the immense beauty and wildness of this place. We want to come back as soon as possible. There is no place on Earth like Alaska and Alaskans are some of the most unique and interesting people that you will ever hope to meet. We packed a huge amount into these two weeks and only scratched the surface of things to do in Alaska.
The tenth day of our trip to Alaska was spent in Girdwood where I spoke to the Alaska Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (AKACDL). I spent much of today at the speeches, but Jack and I joined AKACDL members on the top of the mountain at the beautiful Glacier restaurant. It was a spellbinding night to take the tram to the top of the mountain for our final evening in Alaska.
We spent the night at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood and went out on the eighth day to hike in the wonderful mountains around the resort. We chose to do the more demanding North Face hike, which we made even more challenging by going off trail. It was incredible because on the top of the mountain we literally hiked through the clouds.
The highlight of the day (and perhaps the trip) was our kayaking to the Blackstone glacier. Once again, we followed the advice of our Alaska fairy Godmother, Judy White of RaftDenali, who suggested the Alaska Sea Kayakers. It was a truly religious experience as we kayaked through ice flows and visited various glaciers as they calved ice. We paddled around seals and hundreds of arctic birds in cold, steel blue waters. This is a very pricey trip (around $375 each) because you are transported with your kayaks to the glaciers and guided for the day. However, if you can cut corners on other expenses and swing the cost, this is very worth it. It was an experience that neither Jack nor I will forget. The beauty of this place is very hard to describe and should ideally be experienced from inside of a kayaking. While we were dead tired at the end (neither of us are kayakers), we were left in awe of the Prince William Sound and the glaciers.
We spent Day Five with our final hike in Denali National Park. The rain had passed over and the day was beautiful and warm for Alaska. We said farewell to our friends at RaftDenali and our cabin over the river. We then went to the Park with the intention of hiking the Savage River trail. However, the trail was closed due to an aggressive Grizzly Bear. We therefore went to Plan B and did the more challenging Mount Healy trail. It proved a wonderful move for the quintessential Denali hike.