Explorer Chick Heather shares her experience traveling to Alaska

heather ice climbing in alaska

My second trip with Explorer Chick was to Alaska in August 2022 (my first trip was a backpacking Half Dome in August 2021). I always wanted to visit Alaska, and to say I was slightly obsessed with the state would be an understatement (think obsessively watching any TV show about Alaska).

I was, however, nervous about the trip leading up to it, having sprained my ankle several months beforehand, so training to my best level of fitness wasn’t possible. The hikes we went on were spectacular and varied in terrain. All leading to incredible views! Most of them were quite steep and went almost straight up (no switchbacks). All of them were totally doable and, with fellow Explorer Chicks’ support, never felt intimidating.

My favorite day of the trip was probably ice climbing a glacier. It was a surreal experience to be so high in the air, checking out the views right next to a wall of ice, holding an ice axe. And for a second climb, headed down into a crevasse while looking up at the sky above. Very Empowering!

The highlight hike of the trip was hiking up to an old mine; it was an all-day trek up a steep trail to some amazing views. Unfortunately, the early morning hours before the hike I had news from my daughter back home that my ex-husband had passed away, so I was in no mood and had no energy to take on that strenuous activity.

The Explorer Chick guides made arrangements to do a less strenuous activity instead for 2 other women and me and it was back to the glacier we went; this time hiking with our crampons on to glacier right to the Blue Pool!

Never in a million years would I have seen myself stripping down naked on a glacier in the middle of Alaska to jump into 34 degree water…like never. But easy doesn’t change you! This had to be the most memorable event of the trip. Standing watching that pool of water, naked on a glacier, trying to will myself to jump easily took 5 minutes.

The Explorer Chick women I was with sharing words of encouragement were willing me to go, and eventually, I did. Yes, it was freezing, yes my head went all the way under, and yes…It was a huge struggle getting out. But I was so proud of myself!

heather skinny dipping in the glacier pools in alaska

My third Explorer Chick trip will be in December of 2023, to do the hut to hut hike in Patagonia! I’m looking forward to this trip as it will be all hiking, exploring the W trail of Patagonia during the day and spending nights in refugios. I’m excited to make more like-minded women friends through Explorer Chick again, super excited to travel to South America for the second time and curiously excited to see what adventurous experience presents itself on that trip for me.

join us for an adventure tour in alaska

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