Arctic odyssey in return to Canada
Lower Hutt physiotherapist Helen Bryant celebrated her milestone 50th birthday this year and to celebrate she travelled with friends through Canada and Alaska. Canada, which stretches from the United States in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north, holds a special place in Helen’s heart – 25 years ago she lived and worked in Regina, the capital of the Saskatchewan province.
WHATINSPIREDYOU TO TRAVEL?
I travelled a lot in my 20s, but haven’t done a lot since. I love Canada – the stunning scenery, the wilderness and nature. I’ve always wanted to go back to Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport which is among Canada’s most ethnically diverse cities. It’s set between the ocean and the mountains and lined with trees – and has a bold environmental approach which means it has the lowest gas emissions of any major city in North America.
We did a seven-day Alaskan cruise, and Glacier Bay National Park was a highlight. Alaska has 100,000 glaciers, more than the rest of the inhabited world and Glacier Bay would have to be one of the most stunning places on the planet with its rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords. The massive 3.3 million acre park is home to brown and black bears, mountain goats, moose, whales, seals, and eagles and more than 200 other species of bird.
WHATSURPRISEDYOU MOST ABOUTYOUR TRIP?
On the last day of the cruise we had a nice surprise while cruising through the Inside Passage, a coastal route for ships through the islands on the Pacific Coast of North America. I was standing on the balcony outside my room looking at the view and I saw humpback whales, and later an orca – it was pretty special.
WHOWASTHE MOST INTERESTING PERSONYOU MET?
The cruise ship had a naturalist on board who was really informative about everything from the local wildlife, climate change, and the geography. It was great to relax but also be informed - listening to him and learning about the area really made a difference to the trip.
HOWHAS TRAVEL CHANGEDYOU?
I love travelling! Doing this trip has given me the confidence to start travelling again. Lisa at House of Travel in Lower Hutt was amazing – using a travel agent instead of trying to do it all yourself means peace of mind, the whole trip ran so smoothly.
Helen used House of Travel
Clockwise from main: Glacier Bay in Alaska; Helen Bryant on her return to Canada; cosmopolitan Vancouver.