Come for the Place, Stay for the People
By Kim Ramos, Expedition Guide on the Wilderness Adventurer
The sun is shining, and we are in a skiff watching a plump black bear amble along the shore of Tyndall Cove. The bear is scent-marking as he walks the rocky shoreline, occasionally stopping to munch on grass.
The water is still, and we feel the seldom-seen sun’s warmth on our faces. As we move on further into the cove, I think of the week we’ve had. We have kayaked, snorkeled, bushwhacked, whale watched, and listened to the thundering sounds of ice falling from 200-foot-tall glacier faces. The skiff slows and we enjoy a moment of quiet. I pull a book from my pack. Of all the books I’ve read about Alaska, this one is special. It is the one that best describes the feelings I have about this magical place that I now call home.
I open The Only Kayak by Kim Heacox and being to read:
“I love this ice-cut coast. I love it for its storm-tossed, salt-bitten manners, and its resilience, how it puts on a dress of hemlock and spruce after glaciers have scoured it down to bedrock. I love it for how it sleeps in winter and pulses in summer and invites me to do the same. I love it for the chill of infinity it blows through me; how the rain fills my cup and I drink the sky.
I came here for the place, but stayed for the people. I stayed for the friendships, the warmth we find in the cold, the closeness we feel in the distance. I stayed because my friends stayed, and together we formed a community, a blanket, a family held together by stories about love and loss, risk and hope.
A story, for example, that begins in a little boat.”
We head back towards the Wilderness Adventurer. As the week comes to a close, our spirits are high and our hearts are full of all the gifts Alaska has to offer. Whether here for a week, a summer, or many years, Alaska and the memories we make stay with all of us. Some places and feelings you just can’t forget.
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