Tuesday, June 9, 2009

North...to Alaska

On this day of brilliant blue skies and temperatures in the 70s, we changed gears in the afternoon and rode a jet helicopter over the Juneau Icefield to Herbert Glacier. Glacial pools of bright aquamarine greeted us upon our approach to the moon-like surface of thousand-year-old compressed snow. In between deep fissures and craggy ice spires, our pilot found a perfect landing spot where we had a chance to get out and carefully explore this magnificent and unspoiled place. I had my first taste of icy glacier water from one of the many nearby pools—exhilarating. Looking around at the surrounding rocky cliffs and the sea down below in the distance, I felt both humbled and fortunate to experience this glorious part of the earth.

Next destination was Skagway, gateway to the nineteenth-century Canadian Yukon gold rush. This quaint town, still just four blocks wide and 23 blocks long, saw tens of thousands of “stampeders” passing through in just two years after the word was out that gold had been discovered in the Klondike fields 600 miles away. Many prospectors died searching for instant riches, but more than $50 million in gold was pulled out of the Yukon in just four years by a lucky few. Skagway still lures travelers with lots of outdoor activities, great shopping, and—you guessed it—a thriving quilt community. When you visit, check out the Rushin’ Tailor’s Quilt Alaska shop and Changing Threads needle arts shop, both owned by Trish Magee.

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