After 9/11, Christina Young, a resident of Blairstown, NJ, woke up to the fact that life is short and we should follow our dreams and our passions. That’s what triggered her to pursue her interest in learning to fly. Today she owns her own 1954 Piper Cub, once used for military service. She has logged over 1400 hours to date including flying by herself several times to Alaska, a state she just loves. Her plane travels at about 90 MPH meaning it takes Christina 6 to 7 days to reach Alaska from New Jersey with some days stretching as long as 8 or 9 hours of flying time with stops for gas.
Earlier this year, and after almost 14 years, Christina was downsized by Intel from her high level project management role. While thinking through her next career steps (something she is continuing to explore) Christina heard about a disaster that had hit the small town and Native American village of Eagle, Alaska. Ice breaking up with the spring thaw flowed down river and eventually formed an ice dam above Eagle, a town not accessible during the winter (other than by plane) where the temperature drops to 60 below, and accessible the rest of the year only over a rugged unpaved road.
When the ice dam broke, the devastation in Eagle was massive, with cabins and homes literally flattened. Chucks of ice, weighing over 50,000 pounds had crushed much of the town and nearby village. Fortunately there were no deaths but the damage was massive. Wearing a face mask to help guard against infection and the ugly stench, Christina volunteered to help the locals dig out, repair and rebuild. The first few days there she slept in a tent pitched under the wing of her Piper Cub. Later, one of the locals offered her a bed in an adjoining cabin she owned. Meals for the volunteers, many of whom showed up after Christina started her volunteering, were fed as a group by the locals in a school in the town. Obviously Christina made great friendships while helping in Eagle, an area of Alaska she plans to visit again on one of her next flying trips to the state.
Christina has awesome stories and photos to share about her many experiences in Alaska where, among other things, she learned bush flying. During the summer she explored all over the state, from long abandoned ghost towns, to impressive volcanoes, to the arctic and more.
The other side of Christina's adventurous soul is her passion for deep sea diving, something she has done for years. Her deep sea diving experiences have taken her down as deep as more than 350 feet and to some of the important wrecks off the U.S. coast including the treacherous Andrea Doria wreck. Christina, in her conversation with Garden State Woman, emphasized how the New Jersey coast is rich in wreck diving opportunities at depths that are “manageable” with a recommended dry suit. Check out www.christinayoung.com to see some of Christina’s deep sea experiences.