Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just Being There

Living in Alaska, many of us take the beauty around us for granted.  Tourists pay big bucks to come to here. It’s the trip of a lifetime for many. And like most good Alaskans, I know where to send visitors for great day trips or if they want to see something cool.

I don’t actually see any of this stuff for myself. I’ve live in Alaska for 40 years.  It’s home. It’s just where I live.  I’m busy. I work, I write, I play a little golf.  And on particularly pretty days on the golf course, I stop and look at the scene around me and remember how gorgeous Alaska is.

This past week I got the chance to go into Denali National Park. I went because my job sent me and it was an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss.  We drove three hours to get to the location.  It took a special permit because private vehicles are not allowed beyond a certain point in the park.

And it was gorgeous.  In the space of the day we saw caribou, a couple of bears, a wolf (so cool) and some Dall sheep, which came right up to the edge of the road.  I understand why visitors sit on buses for hours to ride deep into the park.

But what amazed me the most was the mountain itself.  I’ve seen pictures.  I think I even saw it in person when I was eleven. But this visit, I realized how massive it is. I’ve never comprehended that just by looking at pictures.

The top is often covered in clouds but when you stand there, the image is deceiving.  You look, you see the mountain and think, “it’s pretty.” Then you peer a little closer and realize you’re only looking at the bottom half. If you look through the thin layer of clouds, you can see the outline. (Note: in the picture the mountain goes all the way to the top of that cloud cover. The picture doesn't do it justice.)

The whole crew working that day was made up of long-time Alaskans.  But every one of us stopped several times during the day to look and we all said it, “dang, that thing is huge.” It’s something you know intellectually but seeing it—this giant mountain amidst the others in the range—was awe-inspiring. 

I came back a little stunned and so excited to share it.  Next time I have visitors, I’m not going to send them driving away...I’m going to take them to Denali to experience it myself. Sometimes, you just have to be there.

Tielle St. Clare
(Oh, and I have new book out, Scarlet, book 2 of the Red Panty Diaries. Check it out!)


Lynn Lovegreen said...

Hi Tielle,

Glad you got to go into the park--it's one of my favorite places in Alaska. Yes, seeing that mountain in person just doesn't compare to pictures or video. We are so lucky to live here!

Pauline Trent said...

It *is* easy to lose sight of the fact that the same place where we buy groceries, go to work, play cabbie for our kids, clean house ~ all the mundane, ordinary stuff ~ isn't exactly a mundane ordinary place. I have the same experience often. It's good to really stop and look around sometimes, play tourist ourselves. Nicely done!

Jae said...

Nice Blog! Alaska IS truly a majestic place.
Oh, and congrats on your newbook 'SCARLET' / Red Panties Diaries Series! ;o)