Alaska, the Last Frontier

by Dale Reeves

Story Pastor


Recently, my wife and I were blessed to be able to take a much-anticipated vacation to the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her brother Greg and his wife Dee. We toured several national parks in the state of Washington (Olympic and Mt. Rainier), marveled at the huge Sitka spruce trees, and drove down some of the northern Oregon coast in pouring rain. If you’ve never walked the incredible Hall of Mosses Trail in Olympic National Park, been overwhelmed by the powerful 620-foot Multnomah Falls, checked out Haystack Rock on Oregon’s Cannon Beach, and the Tree of Life on Kalaloch Beach, you might want to put those items on your bucket list.


While visiting the quaint town of Astoria, Oregon, we got a tip from a lady about a place on the Columbia River where we would get to see a bunch of barking sea lions. After venturing to the place she described and seeing a ton of those sea lions, we got an unexpected surprise when a fisherman and his son arrived on the shore with a couple of freshly-caught Chinook salmon. After watching them fillet the salmon, we got an education from an Oregon Fish and Wildlife biologist on how to tell the age of a fish just by its scales. What a wonderful surprise it was! And, a visit to the Tillamook Creamery (a cooperative made up of about 80 farmer-owners) is a must if you love great cheese and ice cream.


Alaska Is Awe-Inspiring

Then, after our whirlwind trip through Washington and Oregon, we joined up with my wife’s other brother Barry and her parents to take an 8-day cruise on the Carnival Spirit up the Inside Passage of southeastern Alaska. After a sea day heading out of Seattle, Washington, we disembarked in the capital city of Juneau, and when we set foot on Alaskan soil, it marked a significant milestone for me. By the grace of God, this is the 50th state I have been blessed to visit! My wife is two states behind me. I’ve been asked which state I’ve enjoyed visiting the most. That’s impossible for me to answer. Alaska is breathtaking, so unique and majestic, as are some other places in states like Maine, Vermont, Arizona, Wyoming, and Montana. Hawaii is pure paradise. Our family has vacationed in the Florida sun for many years, and my wife and I have taken several trips “seeing the USA in a Chevrolet.” Honestly, last fall I enjoyed driving through North and South Dakota more than I ever thought I would. And, having been born in Georgia, I have a love for all things (OK, many things!) in the south.


Back to Alaska. Due to my wife’s diligent research and planning, while on our cruise, we were able to enjoy some amazing excursions. By helicopter, we flew over and landed on Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, where we then visited a mushing camp and made some canine friends who took us on a wild dog-sledding adventure. What an experience of a lifetime! We learned about the gold rush history in Skagway, then boarded a train and gained approximately 2,800 feet in altitude as we rode the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, enjoying some absolutely stunning views along the way. Then, in beautiful Icy Straight Point, we hopped on a family-owned boat with just a few passengers to set out for a three-hour tour—a whale-watching adventure. We were hoping to see some orcas and were fortunate enough to be able to come upon two pods of them—their first orca sighting of the season! Oh, and did I mention that we were enjoying weather in the 60s!


Our only cold and rainy day was in Tracy Arm Fjord. Our cruise ship could not go all the way to Sawyer Glacier due to the abundance of icebergs floating in the fjord, so we took an excursion on a smaller boat. As we traveled down the fjord, we marveled at the 2,000-foot cliff walls sprinkled with waterfalls and snow. After reaching the icy blue glacier and gazing at its beauty for a while, the day was capped off with a black bear and a few mountain goat sightings. Our final port in Alaska was the state’s first city, Ketchikan, “the salmon capital of the world.” It was too early in the season to see any salmon, but we viewed the creek where the spawning run will take place sometime next month.


His Creation Declares His Majesty

In anticipation of this trip to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, I was looking forward to seeing God’s incredible handiwork on full display. Captured images attempt to give one a glimpse into the majesty we experienced, but nothing is like seeing it up close and personal. God’s Word is filled with imagery describing the things he has created on this earth for the sustenance of his diverse animal kingdom—and for our enjoyment. As I reflect on the travels of our recent trip, we experienced God’s Word coming to life in great detail. If God’s creation on this earth is just a glimpse of what Heaven will be like, we can only imagine, can’t we?


God’s Word describes some of his majestic creation that we just experienced in these words . . .


“He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too” (Psalm 95:4, 5, NLT).


“Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy” (Psalm 96:11, 12, NLT).


“The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen” (Job 37:10, NIV).


Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail? . . . From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?” (Job 38:22, 29, 30, NIV).


Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds” (Psalm 148:7-10, NIV).

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