Cindy and Larry are not just our neighbors, they are our family. We’ve spent countless Thanksgivings and Christmases together, we’ve traveled together, we’ve wiped tears over lost parents and pets. And now they are moving from within view of our kitchen window to a beautiful home with a view in Bend, Oregon. I feel like I’m losing a limb. I wish I knew a special term for the grief that comes from this–not a permanent loss, but a loss I know will affect me every day. John and I have been in our house for 10 years and I can’t imagine our lives here without Cindy and Larry.
Part of my love for them comes from the many tales they have told of their lives in Alaska, before they moved to Phoenix. I always beg for their stories. About famous hikes or bike rides, sea kayak trips or teaching in a remote village. I’ve never lived in a place that was anything more than emotionally hard. I’ve had my physical needs met at all times. So the stories of bear at the tent or moose in the yard, or gas lamps or water rationing always made me aware I was dealing with two major bad-asses. It took a trip to Alaska with them to understand exactly how much respect I should have. Alaska is not for the weak, and I–it turns out–am very weak.
Larry planned a tour that hit all the high points–he put great care into the itinerary so that we could see so many of the places we had heard about. We started with the Mayor’s Marathon (for John) and Half (for me and Larry), and the trip just kept getting more exciting from there. We got to spend time with their friends and family, and eat at their favorite restaurants. We weren’t on the internet at all times, which made regular blogging hard. But I hope you’ll enjoy these pictures with a narrative of how my bad-ass friends showed us how it’s done in the 49th state.
We started the trip with this blast from the past, Larry climbing Denali.
At Skinny Raven Sports the day before the race.
This race was my 73rd, my 11th Half Marathon.
The start was sunny and chilly.
After the race we went back to the house and dipped toes in the water.
A family of geese shared the property with us.
A boat got loose so Larry went and saved it.
View of the house from Jewel Lake.
The view of Jewel Lake from the house.
There’s nothing I love more than dock sitting.
The next day we went for a hike in Larry & Cindy’s “backyard.”
It was a beautiful valley.
Larry did some boot skiing.
Larry fording the cold river.
Our highest point in the hike.
Larry and Paul.
Such a beautiful hike.
Larry and John in the Highlander, driving to Whittier to catch the ferry.
Once we got to Whittier we unloaded gear to board the ferry to Cordova.
Ready to sail!
Heading out of Whittier.
Beautiful views from the ferry.
Our dear friends!
They told us about lots of their adventures in this part of the Sound.
View of Whittier from the ferry.
John on the Ferry.
About halfway from Whittier to Valdez the clouds disappeared.
The ferry ride was a highlight of our trip.
Enjoying the view.
Watch out for icebergs!
Our man Larry.
Our man John.
Picture perfect views.
In the park at Valdez.
Pretty in the sun.
The view off the front of the ferry.
Heading in to Cordova dock.
Cindy’s friend Ron left his car for us.
So we drove on over to Orca Lodge.
Getting ready to spend a lot of time in these things.
We had a lovely dinner that night. The next morning it was time to pack up the kayaks.
Boat outside of the lodge.
The views from downtown Cordova.
John testing the rudder.
Heading out in gorgeous weather.
John behind me (took this shot over my head).
Larry and Cindy paddling away.
We saw LOTS of bald eagles.
This is an immature eagle, and he gets really mad when you call him that.
Sea Kayak Selfie.
Larry and Cindy paddling away.
John parking the rig.
Our first rest stop on day 1.
Our second stop on day 1.
Best photo of the trip. Otter Bomb!
Our camp spot.
View? Yes please.
We found this fun spot for meals.
It came with a built-in refrigerator.
Enjoying a rest.
Finishing anyone? They got skunked though.
The next morning we got some visitors.
I think it was all the bugs in the world.
We were covered in bugs.
We started out for a long, long paddle.
The next day we took the ferry back to Valdez where Paul met us with the Highlander. We saw Bridal Falls.
And Thompson Peak.
I had to ask what these were. They are so you know where the road is when it is covered in snow.
Headed to the viewpoint.
I was surprised that there were a lot of folks hiking on the sensitive bits.
Johnnie and glacier.
This dog liked it.
We toured around this happening town.
I didn’t try the spinach bread but it sounded yummy.
Larry and Cindy!
Fresh Halibut and Salmon!
And luckily we saw a moose.