An Alaskan Adventure – Cycles of Life

Alaska Pete
Pete on our Inland Passage Trip in Alaska

We all know someone or are that person who is dying of a disease, or someone whose body is failing as a result of old age. As my father said on his deathbed “Honey, nobody gets out of here alive!”

In 1993 I was fortunate to go on a trip to Alaska with my husband and other family members. The trip did not leave me where it found me!

Alaska couple
This picture shows the huge tide differential of thirty-six feet!

Alaska was the most adventuresome trip I had ever experienced! We flew into Juno taking in the sights for a few days. We then were on a chartered boat (the Alaskan Solitude)  eighty-nine feet in length for ten days in the Inland Passage. The scenery was beyond belief, simply beautiful! We saw glaciers up close and personal, whales as far as the eye could see in every direction breaching, porpoising, and lobtailing. We anchored for several days off an island where the wildlife had never seen humans, or so our guide assured us. There was a thirty six foot difference in the tides every day so our guides had to plan carefully or our Zodiac would be gone out to sea or completely stranded, high and dry. As we walked quietly in the small streams of the island my boots were surrounded by salmon, alive, dead and dying, on their way up the streams to mate.

Alaska fran 1
Author artist watching the whales!

Starting out as small eggs in a stream bed, they hatch and begin their journey downstream towards the ocean. They spend a couple of years in the streams and rivers growing from small alevin to juvenile smolts. At the mouth of the streams and rivers, the smolts school together and ready themselves for the trip out into the ocean. During this time, their bodies change to adapt to the seawater. The young adult salmon then head out to sea and spend several years swimming in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. Once they have fully matured, they will swim back to their original stream or river where they re-adapt to the fresh water and swim back up the stream to reach their spawning grounds. Sometimes this means swimming up rugged rivers with miles of rapids and even waterfalls to leap. Once they get back to their natal stream, they breed and lay their eggs. After spawning they generally die within a week, fertilizing the stream and creating a nutrient-rich environment for the new infant salmon that are about to hatch.  (From

Alaska berries
Author palmful of wild blueberries – they were delicious!

The eagles swooped in for salmon, the geese flew thick overhead and landed to drink. Bears were eating salmon.

I also note this when I am watching a nature show on KPBS about Africa and how the animals are eating each other. On the one hand it seems so gross, but on the other a natural and essential part of life on our planet!

I was thinking then too how sad we are when friends and loved ones are sick and pass away to the next realm but really it is the way of life and we are all in it and part of it! In living we are dying and in dying we are living! Our struggles health wise and physically and mentally are all part of this wonderful mysterious amazing journey that we call life! But who knows what is in store for us in the hereafter! By mistake I often comment that we have a granddaughter born on the same day that my deceased husband was born! Maybe I say it not so much by mistake as affirming his birth into his next life! Wherever and whatever that is! Many times when I have been sad I go out for a drive in my car with the top down. It clears my head to drive with the wind in my hair! I remember riding my horses after my father passed and how good that felt to be one with nature! Gardening and painting both also clear my head! Sometimes the sadness just won’t go away as much as I try rise above it, thinking my life is so good this is ridiculous! But maybe we are to accept these stages, times and experiences. Maybe it is all part of the whole.

Pete and The Author in the Zodiac Going Back to The Boat After Dark!

In writing this blog I am reminded of one of the most amazing spiritual and breathtaking experiences of my lifetime! I was alone on deck. The others had gone inside for lunch.  Standing on the bow of the boat, I was transfixed and mesmerized as if time stood still.  The only sounds to be heard were the sounds of whales Breathing and Splashing as they waved their flukes and breached in all directions as far as the eye could see!

Bye for Now,



Far and Wide
Far and Wide

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