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Life is Full of Surprises – Dance! Glacier Bay, Alaska 

By Theresa Gabriel, Life Discovery Tours

Gustavus, Alaska is a village on the South East edge of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The town map shows some streets, buildings and an airport. But when I got there and looked around, I really didn’t see a town, just a few houses scattered throughout the area, with some wandering bears now and then. There just isn’t anything there. That’s what’s so neat about it. Solitude! 

I borrowed a bike from the Gustavus Inn and rode down to the dock on the Icy Passage (off of the Icy Straight.) I couldn’t pass up the chance to take a solo hike on the beach, which extends like a peninsula far off into the passage. It was a beautiful cool late August day. I saw a young bald eagle out on the beach, and noticed his mom perched on a post in an inlet. Ignoring them, I walked far out on the sand extending through the midst of the water. How cool. I enjoyed watching the smaller birds on the beach and the entire scene. I walked and breathed deeply. Beautiful. I turned back toward shore, my prints in the sand now pulling in water. I was startled when the young eagle suddenly descended large and ‘in my face’! I ducked and turned away, wondered why he would attack me, and at the same time looking to see if mother was also coming after me. Once the initial shock passed and I realized I was ok, I looked over toward the water and saw that the eagle was landing on the sand far out near the water. His ‘attack’ was because I happened to border his flight pattern, and he simply had no fear of humans. He was ignoring me just as I had ignored him. After taking a deep breath, I looked around again, at the sand. I saw my peaceful wandering footprints, and a scramble of prints in a circle. I took a photo of those footprints to remember my encounter with the young eagle.

So many times when we make plans for our day, we are disappointed when someone ruins them. Unexpected visitors, sick children, bad weather, or being called in to work. The truth is that we don’t live in a vacuum. While we can usually control our own actions, we can seldom control the situation around us, especially when it involves our family members. My walk on the beach would have been beautiful without the eagle, but that unexpected encounter made the day a treasured memory. That day was woven with my effort to find beauty, and with an uncontrollable turn of events. Maybe my day planner list of things to do should include the item ‘something unexpected’. It’s part of the dance!

Carl Jung said that he couldn’t imagine a life more boring than one lead in perfect balance.


Paths began to beckon Theresa when she was 12, visiting the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming. Walking, dancing, and movement are a part of her, nourished by John Denver's musical challenge for her to "fly." She has walked up mountains and through forests in Wyoming, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. She's lived in Germany and has traveled extensively in Europe, even leading a pilgrimage. Her recent walks in the Grand Canyon and Alaska inspired her to begin her dream business of "walking with women." Learn more about Theresa Gabriel and her Life Discovery Tours at her web site. Women Summit LLC

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