Having flown in during the dead of night, sitting in the aisle seat, unaware of any landscape I was visiting, I awoke on Sunday morning full of anticipation of what my views would be… and they did not disappoint. Opening up the window shades to my first floor hotel room, I noticed the high snow banks, the evergreen trees, and the shocking blue sky. I say it was shocking because I, in my ignorance to daylight in Alaska, thought we would only be graced with four hours of light. Instead, the sunbeams snuck in the window and warmed my face while the outside temperature was still in the single digits.
I quickly dressed and went to the lobby in search of other PolarTREC folk and coffee. My day began with a smile from a new friend, and then another, and then another, until the entire lobby was one big hum of activity, of greetings, and proper name pronunciations.
Crawling into the red van, we were whisked away to the University of Alaska, to a magnificent room with a panoramic view of the southern mountain range and a quick glimpse of Denali, its impressive peak rising over the closest mountain like a mama looking over her child’s shoulder.
The day was filled with more greetings and laughter and questions of what and where we were going. In the safe space, it was OK to step out of the zone of comfort, to learn new technology, and to open up for failure. It was the beginning of the next chapter, the next adventure….
I look forward to what tomorrow has in store.