Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
By: Amy (GLA Mentor)
Sunshine and clear skies welcomed the group to Anchorage today! While we are still waiting for one of our friends to arrive (thunderstorms in Newark have led to delayed travel!), the remaining 13 have arrived safe and sound with all luggage in tow. Upon everyone’s arrival, we made the 40 minute drive to our home for the next 3 nights: Birchwood Camp. This camp is situated in a forest of trees and along a beautiful glacier lake with views of the mountains. One of our first activities was to hike around the lake, where we identified moose and bear scat and some native plants. We ate a delicious dinner of chili and cornbread and then did some introductions and icebreakers. We are looking forward to a good night of sleep in our cabins and an exciting day tomorrow around Anchorage!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
By: Amy (Mentor)
Today was another great day in and around Anchorage! We began our day with a delicious breakfast of French Toast Casserole and sausage before starting our orientation. We all got excited as we discovered what we will be doing the next 9 days and continued to get to know each other a little more. We grabbed our lunches to go and headed out to explore the surrounding areas. Because the Alaska Native Heritage Center was closed, we changed our course and headed to Eklutna Lake. It was the most stunning scene of turquoise blue water, mountain peaks, and spruce trees all around.
We dipped our feet into the glacier water and then headed uphill for a short hike. After our hike, we headed to the Reindeer Farm in Palmer. Here we had hands on experiences feeding reindeer and moose. Some of us even got to kiss the moose! We also saw yaks, alpacas, elk, and a bison. They also had a super cute farm dog and two cats!
It was a lovely day seeing wildlife and surrounded by beautiful views and sunshiny weather. When we got back to camp, we ate a tasty dinner then headed out to the lake to kayak, canoe, and paddleboard. The water was surprisingly warm so we took a little polar plunge in the water before heading back to camp. We finished the day with a group activity and were so excited to welcome our final member to the group, EllaMae. Tomorrow we head to Girdwood. Can’t wait to see snow and more natural beauty!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
By: Sam & Lily
Day three of the trip and wow, what a day! We started off with some breakfast burritos and then piled into the car and van to take a breathtaking drive along the Turnigan Arm. There we learned about beluga whales and why they are endangered. From there we drove a few minutes further to a ski resort, where we took a tram up to the top. We enjoyed a lunch 2,000+ft in the air overlooking mountains and water. We were then pleasantly surprised with an incredible hike in which we encountered snow, which we of course had to slide down. When it was time to leave, we split up and some hiked down while other took the tram and possibly a nap. We then traveled to a gold mine where we attempted to pan for gold. Let’s be real though, the only gold take was from our bank accounts. We drove home to an awesome campfire in which we ate reindeer hotdogs, played games, and discovered newfound musical talent. It truly was an incredible day, and we are psyched for our travels tomorrow. The end!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
By: Ella and Jack C.
Day 4!! We started off with an early morning walk around the lake at Camp Birchwood. This hike was a great opportunity to observe some wildlife in their natural habitats. We saw a porcupine climbing up a tree and a moose crossing a pasture just behind the boys cabin. After getting dressed, we had a delicious breakfast of cinnamon rolls and eggs prepared for us by the lovely staff at Camp Birchwood. They also packed us BLTs to took with us for later. We waved goodbye to Camp Birchwood and we packed everything in the van for a long ride to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Before arriving, we pulled over to a small parking lot on the shoulder of the highway to check out some cool views of the cook inlet. We got to experience some insane views and crazy wind, but unfortunately we didn’t see any whales. The large rock structure just beyond the roadside parking lot provided us with a short climb to take some great pictures at the top. We then climbed down and got back in the car to finish our journey.
Once we arrived at the conservation center, we once again pulled out our cameras to take pictures of the rescued alaskan animals that the center took care of. We saw bison, caribou, bald eagles, lynx, wolves, bears and more, while on a tour of the center.
After lunch, we then ventured into the reindeer enclosure to help out the center and do some community service. We stopped by the gift shop and food stand before getting back in the car to go to a new hotel in Coopers Landing, Alaska. An ice cream store, coopers landing merch, and showers were the next activities during our free time before a bonding exercise in Dash and Amy’s room. Andy the salmon man prepared us a delicious dinner of fresh wild caught salmon that night, which we ate beside a campfire just outside the hotel. We then retired back to Dash and Amy’s room for a brownie making party and a movie night. Everyone hit the hay hard that night, exhausted after yet another fun-packed, exciting day in Alaska.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
By: Maya and Enrique
Today some of us started the morning with a hike up a mountain. After we all enjoyed some breakfast crepes. Our main activity today was rafting down the kenai river. The rapids were awesome and the views were amazing. We saw around 30 eagles and some bears on the ride back. Then we headed to the new hotel and had some time to relax and get ready for dinner. We had dinner at Addie Camp where we enjoyed some fine dining. To end our day we stopped by Dairy Queen and had our closing circle.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
By: Bridget & Rachel
Today was our first big service experience and another beautiful day in Alaska. To start off the day we ate at Everything Bagel’s, then drove to Russian River trail head. There we hiked under the power lines and trekked through miles of mud. Many of us fell victim to the mud, but it brought laughs all around. We saw countless moose and bear tracks. On the way back we cut the seeds of the Reed Canary Grass, to prevent further spread of the invasive species. Once we hiked back, we ate our lunch by the river. After eating, we went back to the Kenai river to learn about salmon. We discovered there were multiple types of salmon and identified a few babies. For the last part of our service work, we picked up trash on the beach and were lucky to witness Alaskans Dip Net Fishing from the shore. To wrap up a great day, we went to Ginger’s Diner and rushed around Fred Meyers for tomorrow’s meals. It was great to make a positive impact on the environment and we can’t wait to do more.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
By: Jack S. & Peyton L.
Today was another beautiful day in Alaska.
We started off the day with a nice breakfast in the hotel and then got ready to go. We packed and left the hotel, headed for Bear Creek Weir.
Today was another big service day. We learned more about salmon and identifying them at the weir before heading on a hike.
We filled up sandbags to help keep them stream intact. Then we started picking up salmon and checking if they were fertile and ready to spawn by feeling their lower belly. Finally we arrived at the yurt village and had some free time followed by a bonfire.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
By: Peyton W.
We kicked off day 8 with some homemade chocolate chip pancakes and waffles (and gluten free pancakes made by yours truly!). Next, we headed over to Seward, a bustling town with plenty of gift shops, cafes, and stunning views. As we walked and shopped around the downtown, we could choose to either look to one side and see an endless mountainside forest or look across the sparkling (and quite windy) Resurrection bay.
After a little exploration of the town, we headed over to the Alaska Sealife Center, where we learned about the history of marine life and ocean geography in Alaska. We also got to see some local wildlife up close! The crowd favorites were the puffins, sea lions, and seal otters.
With some time to spare before lunch from Zudy’s, we spent some more time wandering around downtown Seward. A few of us even bought matching friendship rings from a local artist in Seward, to remember the time we had together here in Alaska.
After lunch, we boarded our last activity of the day, a wildlife cruise around the bay. On the tour, we got to admire wild puffins, sea lions, and seal otters, but the highlight was definitely catching a few glimpses of a Northern Pacific humpback whale!
For dinner, we enjoyed pasta cooked by Luca and an assortment of other delicious food. Then we ended the day with our closing circle, which included our usual traditions plus an affirmations circle and a tootsie roll hug! (Thank you Amy :))
Everyone is looking forward to the activities planned for tomorrow, but we are all definitely upset to only have one day left.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 25
Last day! To kick off the day we went to a sled dog center, where we were able to pet some sled dogs, ride a sled (with wheels for anyone confused), and see some 5-day old puppies. Afterwards we headed into Seward where we did some final shopping and walking around, from which we then went to the Exit Glaciar hike. Exit Glaciar is a large glaciar fed by the Harding Icefield, and we were able to see it up close and personally. After our hike we headed back to Seward, where we grabbed dinner and got on the Alaska Railroad back to Anchorage. The train ride was about 4 hours and took us through some pristine wilderness. After the train ride we got to our hotel and prepared to leave in the morning.