Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Alaska Honeymoon

When Ron and I were dating, we often talked about how much we both loved the mountains and how we both shared the dream of someday going on an Alaskan cruise.  So, when we got married, it was only natural to consider such a cruise for our honeymoon.  Of course, Alaskan cruises are expensive and so we decided to take a short trip at the time of our wedding and to save and schedule our official "honeymoon" a year later.   It was such a long time in the planning, that when May rolled around it hardly seemed possible that the day was finally here.  Our flights to Anchorage went off without a hitch and we soon found ourselves settling into a beautiful suite in the Hotel Captain Cook In Anchorage, AK.
Since we'd flown up a day early, we had booked an excursion for Tuesday afternoon.  However, upon checking into the hotel, we discovered that it had been canceled.   So, after sleeping in and eating a wonderful breakfast downstairs, we made our way down to the tour desk and then the visitor's center to check out the area.  First up was a trolley ride around town to get an overview of our choices.

Along the way, we learned the impact of the 1960's earthquake and even spied a moose and her 2 babies from afar (she did NOT cooperate for photos).
After that, we jumped on another shuttle for a quick ride down to Ship Creek and the ULU Factory.  ULU's are unique knives produced in Alaska and we were kind of intrigued by them.
Ship Creek runs right behind the factory and the quest for King Salmon was just beginning.
In just a few short weeks, this creek will be filled with fishermen hoping to snag the biggest fish of them all.
With an entire afternoon/evening sprawled out ahead of us, we decided to rent a car and drive out to Flat Top Mountain. It was recommended to us as being the "one hike to take if you only have time for one".   Armed with trail shoes and descriptions of the hike and how to get there. warm clothes and water, we drove out to the Chugach Mountains.
The drive there was beautiful, particularly as we began to climb the steep mountain.  In fact, we went up so high to begin with that we wondered how much higher we could possibly hike?!  
To begin with, we walked out on the .5 mile Anchorage Loop that gave a beautiful view of the city and valley below.  
Behind us, loomed snow-capped mountains
and the Flat Top Trail.  So you actually COULD go higher!  ;-)
The wind was brutal and we were glad that we'd brought along gloves, head bands and warm clothes!

The beginning of the Flat Top Peak trail was well-marked, but a steady climb.  It was semi-paved, with loose gravel, etc.
In fact, at first I was feeling pretty confident.
There were even steps.
STEEP steps!!
And beautiful wildflowers.
The last 500 yards were more of a "rock climb" than anything else and the trail had become lost as well.
After climbing and scrambling and hanging on, we actually ended up stopping a little before the actual summit because I became concerned about climbing down.  It was so steep and I worried about slipping on all the loose rocks and gravel.    We were 1.5 miles up from the trail head and the view was incredible!
As we started down, I decided my best bet to get out of the rocky area was just to stay close to the ground----so I scooted down mostly on my rear end, kind of like the guys we saw ahead of us. (So much for my new, cute khaki jeans---I had no idea we'd be doing this when we started out that morning.  At least I had on my trail shoes)!
Perhaps, I should have searched a bit further and read THIS REVIEW before undertaking this hike, because just after we made it out of that top, rocky portion,  (somewhere a bit higher than where that picture above was taken) when I slipped on some loose gravel and caught myself with my left hand behind me on a flat rock.  I came down HARD!   A couple of other hikers stopped on their way down to help, but at the time, there really was nothing to do.  I wasn't sure about my wrist, but was hopeful that it was just sprained.  Ron helped me up and we hiked down the rest of the steep trail, stopping to fill a ziploc bag with snow as it began aching.

When we reached the car, we used our phones to do a search for nearby medical facilities.  At first, every pet hospital in the area showed up, but eventually, we found our way to the closest hospital, Providence Medical Center.
The verdict there---a broken wrist.  They molded a splint and wrapped it up so that it was immovable with directions to see a specialist as soon as I got back home where the splint would be exchanged for a cast.  Fortunately, the Dr. said that it was not displaced and he did not feel that I would need any surgery.

I was pretty bummed!  What a way to begin another big vacation!!! At the same time, I was so thankful that it was not worse and that we had decided to rent a car rather than ride the shuttle that goes out to the area.  Determined to not let this misfortune to mar our trip, We made a late night trip to Wal Mart to find any sort of cheap clothes that I might be able to "adapt" to fit over a cast.

An update:  this morning, I saw my hand specialist.  The x-rays from Anchorage have not yet arrived, so she put me under the fluoroscope to take a quick look.  On first look, there is not an obvious break, which is good news.  Because there is some bruising and tenderness, she is still suspicious (as well as the fact that the ER Dr. was so sure), but wants to see the initial x-rays before making a definitive decision.  In the meantime, I'm now in a removeable splint, with instructions to begin gently moving it so that we can determine whether it is "bone" or soft tissue causing the problem.

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JJB said...

Always an adventure with Linda! Goodness... from that article it could have been much worse... Glad it didn't damper your vacation spirits!

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