12 July 2013

Top Five Friday: Bucket List Traveler - Mountains

Why do you go away?
So that you can come back.
So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.
And the people there see you differently, too.
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
~ Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky


ravel anxiety bites.

It’s not quite a panic attack (although I’ve never had one of those); and it’s not quite social phobia (although I’ve never had that either).  If I’m traveling by car with close friends, I’m completely copacetic.  No worries except to wonder whether I packed enough underwear or my toothbrush (yep – forgot it one time.  The one time I was glad for the big box store).

Traveling by train bumps me up to Level 1 travel anxiety ~ am I on the right side of the tracks? (Ha!)  Will my luggage fit (why did I pack that extra bulky sweater)?  Will I go stark raving mad if I have to sit still for ten hours?  Not to mention making sure I’m on time so I don’t miss the train.  Flying, however, ratchets me up to Level 5.  What can I say?  I like the ground.

A lot. 

In addition I’m not the most patient person in the world when there is pressure (again, don’t miss the flight!), the time it takes to go through security these days is nerve-shredding.  As long as the line is actually moving, I can breathe.  But if I’m standing and shuffling every few millifeet, then the minute hand seems to race the second hand and my departure time looms closer. 

Then there’s the added stresses of wondering whether my luggage weighs the correct amount, whether the crew is well-rested and sober, and whether the plane will indeed stay up in the air until it lands safely at my destination airport.  And I know all the statistics about plane crashes vs. car crashes.  Doesn’t mattah! 

Feet.  Ground.  Good.

Yet, last week I was on vacation.  I left on the 3rd and took my first flight that had a connection.  Great.  Just what I needed ~ another stressor! Anyway, I made it.  Otherwise, I’d be publishing this from my great writing desk in the sky.

For all that I don’t enjoy the getting there, I usually love it once I’m at my destination and am sad to leave at the end of my stay.  Which is exactly what happened on this trip.  I am now an official Alaska junkie.  If it is possible to fall in love with a place, than I am head-over-heels for Alaska ~ specifically her mountain ranges.  To be surrounded on a daily basis by such majesty and beauty ~ it truly was breathtaking.  And none of my pictures do them justice.  You have to go there.

Now I find myself planning a return trip (hopefully in March for the Iditarod) and looking for other places to visit that boast majestic mountain ranges.  So today’s Top Five are all places (with mountains) that I would like to visit before I die (which is hopefully awhile from now, in my own bed, and not in a twisted pile of metal). 

Having seen Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska, I see the word “glacier” and my heartbeat speeds up.  They are now my second favorite natural phenomenon ~ waterfalls being my first.  On their webpage, the line that grabbed me:  “Glacier is a hiker's paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude.”  Sign me up!

Guess it’s time to get that passport.  Because the picture of the Canadian Rockies on their webpage sold me as soon as I saw it.  It’s not a bad picture ~ so I know the real thing is even more spectacular.  Plus, I have a cousin in Canada that I might be able to drag along.

Selling point here?  “Seven of the largest glaciers in the Rocky Mountains are located in the Wind River Range. There are no roads in the wilderness, and mechanized vehicles, including mountain bikes and snowmobiles, are not allowed.”  Yes!

Two words: geysers and gray wolves.  Yellowstone has the largest collection of geysers.  Unfortunately, it only has less than hundred gray wolves.

Yosemite combines my two great loves: mountains and waterfalls.  And this one is the mother lode: Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America at 2,425 feet.  To hike that baby is definitely a bucket list item!

And remember the most important rule of hiking in bear country:  you don’t have to be the fastest runner, just faster than the guy behind you!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

What places are on your bucket list?

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