A few years ago, when Eric and I were dating, we would spend a few hours of nearly every single day in a coffee shop dreaming of adventures that could be in our future. Maybe we would travel to Africa, or meet each other in Italy for a summer, move to Colorado. We dreamt of the adventures we could have living in Alaska, thousands of miles from where we had started together to see where it would lead us. Not knowing for sure that the dream would be our reality, we talked more and more of Alaska and how our lives could lead us there. A place where we'd spend weekends hiking up the sides of mountains, camping oceanside, skiing in long dark winters, fishing, walking hand in hand where the land never seems to end and the adventures are right outside the front door. We visited in 2008 and it was exactly how we imagined it to be. We fished for salmon in hip-high rivers and rafted down the water that held them, we camped in Seward with the ocean just beside us and we were in love. It was exactly the change we craved, and we knew that we would spend a few years there together. We packed up the Subaru in May of 2009 dragging a small trailer behind us, carrying whatever belongings would fit and camping along the way. For the first year, we hiked often, camped a bit, rafted a couple of times. Then we found jobs that we loved, and got settled into a routine and still did those things but did them a bit less. Got pregnant, had the most wonderful boy, and find that we struggle a bit to get outside of Anchorage. It is no one's fault, and it's not because we had a baby, although that does make it more challenging. We just got comfortable in our routine here in town. But as I look back to that coffee shop years ago and the image we had of our life up here in the great north, I can't help but to feel slightly disappointed in the fact that we don't do those activities as much as we had hoped to. We are really trying now, with those dreams in mind, to make the effort to get out more often. Neither Eric nor I are really in love with Anchorage, but rather the areas surrounding it. Alaska is absolutely covered with beautiful land to explore, and I go stir crazy when we stay on the exact same path in town week after week. So I'm happy to say that last weekend we packed up and headed out of town. The moment we leave the city I feel a wave of relief, a rush of excitement. There are no houses or many buildings surrounding us, but rather ocean, mountains, winding roads, and wooden lodges. Ice climbers making their way up the wall of ice on the side of the road, adventures everywhere. We met friends and took off into the woods on snowshoes, with Henry napping on my back, and went searching for our first live Christmas tree. We went to an area where you are allowed to cut trees, and it was so energizing to be out in the deep snow as it continued to fall on us, staring up at the wild trees that would come home to help our family celebrate this season. After more than an hour of walking, we didn't find trees that were short enough to climb and full enough to cut for a Christmas tree. But we felt so thankful that we were able to get back out to the activities that called us to Alaska in the first place, and able to share a new experience with Henry. It was gorgeous. Finn was insanely happy as he treaded through the snow that was just as tall as he is. Our family needed that day.
Our friends continued the search, and ended up carrying two trees home with them-- one for their family, and one for ours. I'm looking at it in the corner lit with white lights and dressed in our ornaments, a bit wild and "imperfect", and yet so perfect at the same time. We're back to our comfortable routine, but there is a reminder of the wild outside, of our adventures, sitting just on the other side of the room.