I am perched on a rock. The Sawtooth mountains are behind me, I am eating a granola bar that is squished from its resting place in between my first aid kit and my fleece layers in my orange backpack (Thank You for that, Mat & Jason). Chewing thoughtfully, beats of sweat dripping down my back. It is July, it is uncharacteristically warm in Skagway (so I am told) and I am unprepared for all that has been shown to me on the second of two back to back Backroads trips, both which I have done "blind" (ie: no research or familiarization time, as per usual).

John, a New Yorker from the Bronx pokes me in the arm with his walking stick. This is how he has been getting my attention all week on this hiking trip. I am unprepared for what he is going to ask.

"Holly," he drawls (which sounds more like the Dirty Jersey long words: Haaawwwley)
"How do you want to be remembered?"

It's funny how I am given these small moments of grace admist the chaos that is my working life. My first trip started with sickness, showed me Fairbanks and Denali National Park, including the beautiful Mt. McKinley herself. In her full glory I pulled over to look at her at 6am on a solo drive from Fairbanks and I could hardly swallow. No mountain I have ever seen looks like she does. I frantically plowed through a multi-sport trip with endless help from a wonderful co-leader, held hands of frightened folk and hiked through Crow's Pass, got back on a bike, flew to Juneau. I celebrated my first July 4th with fireworks and Alaskan Beer. I hiked through South East Alaska, flew to Haines and felt the Skagway heat, took a train up to Fraser BC and taught our group of people "Oh Canada" for when we crossed the Canadian border on the train, met a boy, tried every kind of Alaska beer brewed, met a man, met another interesting batch of guests, discovered the resevoir of strength and patience in myself I sometimes forget exists.

Only when the madness comes to a halt do I have time to stop and consider all the whirlwind has presented to me. Back in Anchorage with a week to myself I have endevoured to begin laundry, begin email correspondence I have lacked in, think about what I have not allowed myself to think of and plan for time for me.

My answer to John's question. I want to be remembered as someone who loved her family, friends and herself fully; who gave herself to life and its adventure completely, someone who left the world with passion, her gifts, her legacies.

I think he thought it was a good answer. Enjoy the photos.

"A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease." John Muir, Travel in Alaska.

Crow's Pass- Girdwood, AK

Mt. McKinley- 'Denali' to the locals.

More on Crow's Pass...

Flying to Juneau.
July 4th fireworks in Juneau. We had to wait until 1am for the sky to be dark!
My first July 4th Parade in Juneau!
A Salute to the Iditarod, only in AK.
This one won "most festive"
My 3rd Peace Pole in downtown Juneau.
Jayne and I celebrating July 4th with AK beer.
haines, AK.
Hike to Laughton Glacier.
Taking the Yukon White Pass route...
The sun... kind of sets... in Skagway.

Flight from Skagway to Gustavus.

Cruising Glacier Bay.

By our final hotel in Gustavus...
My close wildlife encounter. Much better than last time.
Bartlett Cove in the bush, AK.