A Glimpse of Alaska ~ Use water thoughtfully . . .

There was a bit of synchronicity during my trip to Alaska. The quotes for my morning meditations seem to fit perfectly with the day ahead. I’ve grown used to those moments, but still had to smile as each day unfolded and I experienced in a new way what those quotes held. This picture is from the train from Denali to Whittier.

The morning we left SC, my quote was “Use water thoughtfully. Some people have no water.” It was World Environment Day. I understood this was intended as a reminder that people in many countries around the world don’t have access to good water resources. But it proved to hold another meaning as we got our glimpse of Alaska.

Alaska is obviously surrounded by water and has thousands of lakes. Yet many of the residents don’t have running water – by choice.

As we rode the bus from the airport to our hotel we heard our first reference to ‘dry cabin.’ A dry cabin has no indoor plumbing, no running water. With temperatures that can dip to -50 degrees, (last year in Fairbanks it dropped to -39 and locals considered it a mild winter), water pipes would be frozen half the year. So the problem is eliminated with dry cabins. People have either composting toilets or outhouses and have water trucked in to be stored in cisterns.

One of our guides in Haines lived in a house with plumbing, but the area was considered not the ‘most desirable part of town.’ The most favorable land is where the dry cabins are. She said Alaskans are weird that way. One of our bus drivers also lives in a dry cabin and takes her showers at the rec center. Or invites herself to friends’ homes and just happens to bring her dirty dishes and toiletries along. And that’s not a problem. The one common theme when talking with people who live in the dry cabins is how it forces them to think about their water usage.

Throughout our travels we saw beautiful rivers rushing, and waterfalls cascading thousands of feet. We took a riverboat cruise on the Chena River, the water so smooth there was barely a ripple. Because the river is so far from the ocean there are no tides. Unlike in Juneau where the variation of tides is greater than anywhere else in the United States – the variation can be up to 30 feet in one day! They have high-high tide, high-low tide, low-high tide and low-low tide. This is a shot of the Chena River from the riverboat.

Traveling on the water is often the fastest way to get from one city to another. From Skagway to Haines it’s 20 minutes by boat, 9 ½ hours by car. Most of the residents of Alaska have their pilot’s license and sea planes are as common as cars. Most families also have a team of sled dogs for when the waters freeze.

In 1924 there was a 9.2 earthquake which sunk some areas up to 12 feet. Salt water rushed in and petrified trees that still stand in boggy areas. The small town of Girdwood had to move 2.5 miles because of this.

This is Hurricane Gulch as we traveled across on the train to Whittier. We were advised if we had a fear of heights we shouldn’t look down. I looked.

This is one of the waterfalls on the 20 minute ride between Skagway and Haines. What you’d miss if you made the 9 1/2 hour drive.

And this is Mendenhall Glacier. Yes, we were standing on it.

From the rivers and waterfalls, to the snowcaps of the mountains, Alaska’s waters hold some of the most stunning and most interesting stories.




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2 Responses to A Glimpse of Alaska ~ Use water thoughtfully . . .

  1. Jennifer Halls says:

    Kim for some reason I can’t make a comment on your posts. I just wanted to let you know I am enjoying them immensely! I’ve never heard of dry cabin or knew anything about Alaska. I love the thoughtful way you shared the meditation quote in this last post. Your photos are gorgeous and you’re writing intriguingly and beautifully descriptive. Thank you so much for sharing – Jenifer

    On Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 12:48 AM A Writer’s Window wrote:

    > Kim Blum-Hyclak posted: “There was a bit of synchronicity during my trip > to Alaska. The quotes for my morning meditations seem to fit perfectly with > the day ahead. I’ve grown used to those moments, but still had to smile as > each day unfolded and I experienced in a new way what th” >

  2. Jennifer, so nice to hear from you! Thank you – not sure why you can’t post a comment, but I did get this. This was an amazing trip and every time I thought the scenery, the clouds, the water couldn’t get more beautiful – it did. I’m not sure my pictures are doing it justice, but thank you. Between the quotes and the beauty it felt as if the Creative Spirit was saying ‘write and share.’ So I will!
    I hope all is bright and balanced in your world.


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