Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hiking Denali

Given the responsibilities I have at BIDMC and HMS, I try to limit my travel.  I rarely take vacation time.

This summer is the last time my daughter will be living at home, so we're trying to balance work, family life, and opportunity.

The HIMSS Chapters of Alaska and Hawaii asked that I spend a day with them at the location of my choice - Honolulu or Anchorage.   I let my daughter decide.  She decided that experiencing the midnight sun, hiking Denali, and reveling in meadows of wildflowers would serve as an extraordinary graduation present.

Next week will be a balance of family time and work time.   I'll stay in touch will all my staff at HMS and BIDMC, lecture to the IT professionals of Alaska in person with a video conferencing connection to Hawaii, and explore Alaska with my family.

Here's our itinerary:

Sunday - We'll fly to Anchorage via Chicago enjoying the benefits of a 4 hour time change to arrive in Anchorage at 1pm.   We'll be at a latitude of 61 degrees north during the first week of Summer, so sunrise will be at 4:22 AM and sunset will be at 11:42 PM, giving us 20 hour days.   After we land, we'll drive to Girdwood, a former gold mining town 40 miles south of Anchorage.  It's close proximity to three national parks makes it a great base camp for a few days.  We'll hike and explore the area around Mt. Alyeska.

Monday - We'll drive further south to Seward and explore the Exit Glacier.  My daughter loves Alaskan Huskies and we'll be visiting a breeder and learning more about the Iditarod sled race

Tuesday - We'll return to Anchorage and I'll be meeting with IT professionals for a lecture and a few hours of informal conversation with the HIMSS Hawaii-Alaska Annual Meeting.   The folks from Hawaii will join by video conference.

Wednesday - I'll hike the Chugach Mountains with Steward Ferguson, CIO of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium 

Thursday - my family and I will drive north to Talkeetna, the gateway to Denali National Park.   We'll spend the day driving the byways, exploring wildflowers, wildlife and the terrain.

Friday - we'll explore Denali national park to the limits of the roads that only touch the limits of the wilderness.

Saturday - we'll go deep into Denali via the shuttles that are the only way to access the remote trailheads

Sunday - we'll make our way back to Anchorage and fly back to Boston.

I'll be on blog holiday next week while I'm traveling.   I'll summarize the entire experience as soon as a I return.

Into the Wild!


Melinda Rathkopf said...

We are looking forward to your visit. You have put together a good trip. My family and I spent Father's Day weekend on the Kenai in Cooper Landing and it was beautiful. Hope you enjoy our beautiful state.

Ian Hiatt said...

Sounds like an awesome trip! I've always wanted to check out Alaska.

I share the love of Huskies that your daughter does. That being said, I hope you post pictures and tales of your journey! Also, if her/your interest extends to wolves, you should check out Wolf Hollow up in Ipswich, MA.

gemils said...

I must say that I am jealous of both you and Stewart! I have been quietly stalking your blog activities for quite some time now (and passing on bits that seemed especially relevant to Stewart, my CIO).

You two will have a fantastic time, I am certain. Sadly, it seems that I won't be able to say hello in person at any of your meetings, as I am headed to DC on Sunday to give a talk on telehealth technology assessment, and won't be returning until just before sunset on Wednesday.

Enjoy your stay in our great state, and make sure that Stewart doesn't bring his bag pipes into the Chugach, no matter what he says about how effective they are at keeping away the bears!

-Garret Spargo

Melinda Rathkopf said...

The 20 hours of "total daylight" is actually about 3 weeks of no darkness. Their is no distinction between dawn and dusk, so even though the sun technically sets, it won't be completely dark the whole time you are here.

Andy Oram said...

Do treasure this experience with your daughter, but don't be sure it will be the last time she'll be at home. Lots of young people, including my daughter, come back after graduation.

Dennis Galletta said...

Enjoy your daughter's company, and like Andy Oram said, daughters sometime come back in unexpected ways. I am lucky that my daughter is in a PhD program right across the street and we commute to the University together two days a week. It is indeed bliss to be among your wonderful kids.

Kermit said...

We just returned from an Inside Passage cruise on Regent. We had some extra time and a car after porting in Seward. En route to Anchorage, we stopped by Whittier, Alaska. If you have the time, it is an interesting little town with an interesting history. The people we met were lovely. The tunnel alone is worth the time. Thanks for the great blog.