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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Our Journey Continues-Community Service Alaska

We departed Homer on a boat called the Seabird that took us across the water to a place called Peterson Bay. We met our guides from the Center of Alaskan Coastal Studies and they showed us to our yurts where we would be calling home for the next three nights. That evening we took a beautiful walk down along the shoreline. On that walk Sam and Cody tasted edible plants, Clay, Brandon, and Courtney threw a frisbee, while Lizzie, Hallie Sarah, Jackie, Helen, and Emily learned about barnacles covering the rocks by the shore. It was a gorgeous first night at Peterson Bay.

On the next two mornings we explored tide pools with our knowledgeable guides. Clay, Cody, and Brandon noticed water squirting from the sand in hundreds of different places, which turned out to be clams. Courtney, Claire, Lizzie and Sarah were thrilled to hold sea stars, while Jackie and Helen were mesmerized by the colorful sea cucumbers. Emily and Hallie found anemones that were bright orange. Maybe everybody’s favorite was a giant Pacific octopus that was hanging out in a tidal cave, we saw one of its tentacles and felt its suction cups.

During our afternoons we were very hard at our service work along the trails doing some construction. We hauled out lumber and built staircases and boardwalks that enabled the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies to re-open some trails that had been closed due to the steep, muddy hills. It was hard work but we managed to complete a magnificent staircase and several boardwalks. We were very, very proud to walk up and down our finished products, and it is really cool to think of all the people that will use those stairs that we built without really knowing that a dozen volunteers built them.

Today we woke up back in Anchorage and drove north, headed for the Matanuska Glacier. On the way we stopped and explored a waterfall called Thunderbird Falls.

After a scenic drive along the Matanuska River, we arrived at the Matanuska Glacier. The glacier was huge and white-blue coming out of a valley between rocky mountain edges. We put on crampons and set out for our hike on the giant glacier. The group was dazzled by the sapphire-blue hue of the ice and by the enormity of the glacier. We saw crevasses and streams and even drank crystal clear glacial water. It was the best water anyone had ever tasted.

It’s hard to believe that in a few days the trip will be all over. We are planning one more service project that we will be launching tomorrow. We’ll let you know how it goes!

 The Westcoast Blogger