My quest has long been to experience all 50 states. I went to a good many of them during a month-long cross-country drive with my mother when I was 10. I was captivated by history and the many interesting places in this country. I had been lucky as a child to live the magic and wonder of Walt Disney World on several occasions. It’s only now as an adult that I realize how many opportunities that I was exposed to that a lot of people aren’t. They were second nature to me. Much like going to college. Growing up, I had no idea that there was a choice; I simply knew that’s what you did after high school. I mean nothing against those who choose not to go to college; I am only saying that I was unaware that some people didn’t go.
But back to my quest. During this time that I have spent working in Wyoming, it has afforded me the ability to see two new states, North Dakota and Alaska. Both were trips that I spent less than 24 hours on, but still wonderful experiences! I once described to someone that when I take these short trips, (that most people wouldn’t attempt) it’s my way of grabbing the opportunities as they arrive. Sure, I’d like to eat the whole enchilada, but a few bites is okay too, especially when you think that you could have none of the “enchilada” if you don’t take the chance.
I spent one unseasonably warm Saturday driving the 5ish hours over to ND with the intention of visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I thought it would be incredibly stupid to just drive to the state line and have that be it. The weather was in the high 40’s, low 50’s; which for February was nothing short of amazing. A good portion of the park was closed, but I was still able to see the cabin that Teddy first lived in and see the museum in the visitor’s center. I also drove up to a place called Wind Canyon and the beauty of it is visible even in dreary winter months. A short path leads you up to this small canyon that the wind rushes through and makes the prairie grasses sing their beautiful, earthy song. It’s one of those places that forces you to stop and commune with the earth and embrace the natural world. I spent part of the afternoon listening to the chirping of prairie dogs and staying out-of-the-way of the bison that were crossing one of the roads. It was a wonderfully peaceful day.
My trip to Alaska was quite a bit more whirlwind. I flew up on a Saturday and then flew back on a Sunday. Yes, most people have accused me of being completely nuts for doing that, but I am so glad that I did! What a wonderful place Anchorage is. I didn’t see much of the scenery because of a heavy cloud cover, but I spent some time in downtown and found a great restaurant where I tried reindeer sausage for the first time. One of my goals in each new place is to try to find something regional that I am not familiar with. I can’t say there was time for much else, but I did take some gorgeous pictures from the airplane on my way to back to reality. I can say that I saw the Behring Glacier and that was phenomenal. I hope one day to walk on it as well!