Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Remembering Alaska - The Last Frontier
It has taken a few weeks for the significance of our family summer holiday in Alaska to sink in. For a few days I found myself jabbering about the scenery and the game, and feeling I should correct my terminology, and the salmon virtually leaping out of the water onto my hook, and the blue color ice in glaciers. So I stepped back and waited. But now here it is!
We’ve been to Alaska, the whole family flew up to the last frontier, into Anchorage on Alaska Airlines, and then on a shorter connection into Fairbanks.
There to meet us at the airport were the Mikats, what a clan! We know these folks through our online home schooling program which Maran and Oliver took. Greg, the dad, is a sergeant and a musician serving at Fort Wainwright, and he and Laurie really went out of their way to make us welcome.
After a first night’s picnic supper and rest on base, we loaded up Greg’s trailer with everything we needed for a camping trip, and all eleven of us set off to Denali National Park.
A drive across Alaska, any drive, is going to be scenically beautiful. The country side is unspoilt and breathtaking. Of course the weather is changeable, and it is apt to get cloudy and rainy in a moment. But we were blessed and our days in the park were warm and sunny making the drive down to the park a pleasure and the setting up of camp easy.
Sergeant Mikat’s trailer even had firewood in it, and we had a wonderful fireside supper while endless daylight drifted on till eleven p.m.
An early start the next morning allowed us to take the first bus into the park proper, and although we never did see Mount McKinley clearly, we saw just about everything else there was to see.
There were Dall sheep on the mountain sides,
a Grizzly sow and her cubs cavorting in the river draw,
a wolf on the kill all right beside the road,
We slept contentedly that night after our campfire dinner, and had a good run back to Fort Wainwright the next day before starting off the next day for Valdez.
It’s a long run following the great Alaska Pipe Line all the way down to Prince William Sound, but gosh the views were spectacular.
It was late when we got into the trailer park and after we set up kitchen it started to rain. Putting up an extra tarpaulin allowed us plenty of room by the fire pit to kick back and enjoy supper. We were going fishing the next day.
When the Salmon are running you could probably scoop them out of the water better with a net than a line, but we were using rods lines an lures.
It wasn’t hard. As soon as the lure hit the water it was being tugged at, and if you jerked the line suddenly you could, and we did, snag a fish by the fin. We ate well that night, with more fresh boat baked Pink than we could eat.
Our final adventure was Glacier Lake kayaking. Rowing right into the crevice of a glacier and looking into the ice which is a deep light blue is a fairing thrilling experience. The color is something to do with the ice being compressed for thousands of years. After that we took out T shirts and drove all the way back to Fairbanks for our final night. We all got along with the Mikats, and pray we will go traveling with them again.