Alaska: The Return

PuzzleDrifter started because of Alaska. At the time I created the site, I was already about two thirds of the way through my 50 state adventure. I sat in the library aboard the Celebrity Millennium to write my first few posts while cruising the Inside Passage, and I published them a few days later after getting back to a place with wifi.

I’m back in Alaska for the first time since then. This time around, I’m taking a similar cruise to last time, starting in Seward and stopping in Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan before ending in Vancouver. I had one day in Anchorage before heading to the cruise.

The one day was eventful. I had a bit of sad news, that Alaska Escape Rooms would be closed the whole time I’m in Anchorage. We played the Raven’s Eye during my initial visit to Alaska and I was really looking forward to their new game, Conjured Kingdoms. We still found a lot to do, though.

The sky was overcast but it never rained, so we were able to walk from our hotel to downtown Anchorage. It was about a mile but felt like less given the number of geocaches and other sites along the way. We also passed through a few parks and said hi to a reindeer in a public pen.

By chance, there was a geocaching meetup at 4PM in downtown Anchorage, and we attended. The event drew about fifteen people- it was great to see the hobby continuing to thrive! We got some tips about some neat puzzle caches in the area, featuring little mysteries about a dog detective named Toby. I solved a handful of them but the coordinates were all just a bit too far away for us to grab. Next time!

We finished the evening by playing The Tomb at Escape Alaska! (The exclamation mark is part of the business name). We had a great time- the game was very well-polished start to end and even the lobby was quite nice. We arrive early but had plenty of tabletop puzzles to solve in the meantime.

Escape Alaska! had a nice touch I rarely see- a well thought out achievement system. The most common achievement system I regularly see is the one used by Escape Games Global (a common waiver system), but that system relies far too much on completion time and team size. Escape Alaska’s system called out more specific accomplishments like solving specific puzzles quickly, and it even had one achievement about something small the team did with one of the props that I never would have thought would be recognized. Very cool.

Today I head to the cruise terminal, stopping at a wildlife preserve along the way. I haven’t yet seen any of Alaska’s trademark wildlife, but we’ll be able to see bears, moose, etc. today on our way to the ship.

Looking forward to our weeklong getaway! I’ll share more stories once we’re back in a place with internet!

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