A few weeks ago, we all went on our first legit family vacation to Alaska - where both Jason and I grew up. We didn't meet back then, but had raced The Alaska Expedition Race in 2015 together - so we'd been in AK as a couple only once before. While we do travel a lot, it is always for racing and or teaching. Since the pandemic hit, we have not really been able to teach or to travel to races so we decided it was time to take a trip up to our roots and visit some old stomping grounds.
Lucky for us, both of my parents still live up there, so Jason and I got 36 hours to play alone together for the first time in I don't know how long. We called it our ten year anniversary and Jason's 5 month post hip surgery celebratory trip. Many couples would not think that going on a 20 plus mile backcountry packrafting with miles and miles of bushwacking would be that romantic (and you would be right) but for many reasons, this was the perfect adventure get away for us.
We both went into it thinking that it would be a type 1 sort of adventure with a little bit of type 2 thrown in there at most (see below for definition for the different types of fun). The train ride out to the middle of nowhere was great, but shortly after it dropped us off and we saw a ton of bear prints and a wall of thick bush, it quickly turned from a leisurely holiday hike to a wrestling match with alders, nettles, devils club and over head ferns.
After 6 hours of solid bushwacking and lots of cursing and a few sick jokes, we had only covered 3 miles. When we finally did find an old trail, it was 9 o clock at night and we were exhausted. We found a beautiful mossy spot on the "tops" (above treeline) to set up our tent, cooked our food while gazing out at the mountains and passed out to the sound of light rain. The next morning, we thought for sure it would get better and be a fast hike to the river. Again, our hopes were crushed by more thick bush. Rather than fight and wrestle for ten hours, we decided to come back another time and go to the closer river that we knew we could get to and be home in time.
Alaska had won, and while we did feel defeated, mostly we were happy with our adventure. It had been way too long since we had struggled and faced so many unpredictable challenges together. Being there for one another during hard times is what grows us closer. And while we have been through many up and down times with each other in everyday life, it was such a treat to once again be thrown into the beauty and darkness of mother nature together. To see the story play out, watch the little video Jason put together below.
We hope it inspires you to go out and find more of your edges in the outdoors! If you need help doing this, contact us and we can help you!
**For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, Type 1 is where it is fun 100% of the time, this is what most recreationalists in the world do - they go out for a good hike when the weather is nice, they have snacks and then come home to a nice warm bed. Type 2 fun is where it gets a little challenging, maybe some rain comes, and you have a big up hill hike that goes on forever, but then you top out on an amazing vista and you have a nice picnic and come home. Type 3 fun is where you have an epic, where all sorts of obstacles get in your way, where you want it to be done like three hours ago, but you still have an unknown amount of time ahead and no warm bed or beer in site.. but you are still having a tiny piece of fun.