Texas A&M University-Commerce
12:23 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

A Much Cooler Place: Alaska Trip

Picture this: You are paddling down a gently flowing river, a cool breeze, and birds chirping in the background. You look at the river banks on either side of you, and there’s snow. You’re traveling down a river in Alaska.

For most of us, this is a dream come true, especially in the heat that we have been having. But for some, this was reality.

Former Assistant of Outdoor Adventure for Texas A&M University-Commerce, Todd Grier, led the way for nine other travelers who, after a long travel from Dallas to Minneapolis, and then across Canada to Alaska were exhausted.

After being in the air for 7 hours, traveler Nick Albritton said that she felt horrible, and that she was ready for the hotel bed.

Luckily for Nick, that’s exactly what they got. After a long travel day the day before, a planned “sleep in” day took place, with nothing but a little shopping, organizing and eating going on.

But the resting didn’t last long. The next morning they got up, and headed to Blackstone Bay, where they paddled down the bay to Beloit Glacier. While there, they stopped and waited to see if ice would fall from the nearly 100 foot wall of ice that stood in front of them.

After a few days of Paddling near Beloit Glaciers, the group paddles to Decision Point, stopping on the way, to see the endangered species, and our national bird, the Bald Eagle. They saw multiple bald eagles on the trip, some of which were in their campsite. Todd says, “ …it was almost as if [the eagles] were interested in what we were eating.” 

But paddling Blackstone Bay wasn’t the only adventure that the group was able to experience. The last half of the trip was all about hiking. After paddling to Whittier, and beating a rain storm by minutes, they got rid of their kayaks, and transitioned their gear in order to get ready for the hikes that lay ahead.

Todd talked to the group before their hike began about leave no trace, meaning: make sure that the next group to come through won’t even know you were there, by picking up trash, taking personal belongings, and leaving the site exactly how you found it. This talk marked the beginning of a 9 and a half mile journey through Resurrection Trail to where they would be staying at their Juneau Lake Cabin.

They got to the cabin around 9:30 that night. After a well prepared meal, they got shut eye for the night, which was a well needed rest considering the treacherous trail they would have to endure the next day. 

The trail was a thousand foot incline with 3-4 feet of snow that was rarely traveled, so for the last half mile of the hike, the snow was loosely packed, and occasionally broke through, slowing the group down significantly.

Thankfully they did make to the cabin where they got ready for the next day’s hike. It was the last hike of the trip that lasted all day long. And ended by meeting their local contact, Nathan, who, without him the trip would have been impossible.

To find out more about Outdoor adventure and the trips that they take, you can call the Adventure center at 903-886-5849 or visit their website.

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