Alaska fascinates people. It wasn’t just a preference for colder weather that led me to try and get an assignment up there, after all. And even though my wife tends to prefer warmer temperatures, even she fell in love with the place after all her visits. Friends dropped in while I was up there – not necessarily to come out of their way to visit me, although it was always nice to meet up – but because they were making their long-anticipated ski trip to the Last Frontier, or
Ketchikan calls itself Alaska’s First City – doubtless because it’s the first Alaskan city northbound travelers come to on the Inside Passage. But for us, it was our final stop in the Last Frontier. Our arrival was, mercifully, the last early morning of our trip, with the eastern horizon just beginning to brighten as Malaspina pulled into the terminal. Once again, we parked the motorcycle (this time in a grocery store parking lot a few blocks from the ferry) and explored bo
On my previous two trips through the waters of southeast Alaska, the skies were overcast. It had still been scenic, with wispy low clouds weaving in and out of the treetops, but it was more sublime than stunning. Not so on this trip. We’d boarded M/V Malaspina in the wee hours of the morning after what seemed like a lengthy loading process. The sun was already beginning to come up, and we took a last look around at Juneau’s Auke Bay before heading below to shower and sleep a
Uncivilized arrival and departure times were more common than we’d have liked. We guessed it was because of the tides or currents. Otherwise, it made no sense to pull into Juneau at 5AM and Ketchikan around 4AM or load the ferry departing Juneau somewhere around 3. But that’s what happened. Our wakeup approaching Juneau was too abrupt to be a “courtesy call.” We got a sudden, violent banging on the door and a gruff “you have to be out!” Yet the ship was still moving – they we
M/V Kennicott got underway just before noon on Sunday. A low overcast obscured the higher elevations of the land surrounding us as we eased into the western reaches of Prince William Sound, but the scenery was still gorgeous as steep terrain descended to the sea, broken here and there by waterfalls. Even though it was the middle of May, there was still plenty of snow visible in addition to all the glaciers. Underway in Prince William Sound Photo by Karissa Sander In the Sound
The trip home began in mid-May and took almost two weeks.
The movers had come and gone. I'd hired a maid service and carpet cleaner to get the apartment squared away, and started packing up the things that I'd either asked the movers to leave, or they forgot.
Meanwhile, down south, Karissa had an early flight from Seattle. So early, in fact, that she didn't even go to sleep before catching a 2 AM shuttle to Seattle. She arrived in Anchorage at 9, and we made one last vis
Over the weekend of the 27th, 28th, and 29th of April, I had the chance to attend the second annual North by North Festival and Summit.
More than once, I heard that it was inspired, at least in part, by Austin’s South by Southwest. Almost everything I know about the Texan version I’ve learned from listening to Tim Ferriss, so I can’t make a direct comparison. I will, however, note that SXSW attracts thousands of attendees over a 10 day period, while NxN brought probably thr
One of the things I’m asked when people find out I’ve been living in Alaska for a while is how much fishing and hunting I get to do. The truth is, so far not much – though I’m always more than happy to sample what friends harvest (smoked salmon, ground bear meat, moose jerky, caribou sausage, etc.). Mostly, it’s just because I’m not keen to make the “capital investment” to get into either pastime just yet. Last month, though, I was able to get in on the action myself. My “sec
For this last weekend’s adventure, I took my trusty warhorse to Valdez, Alaska. We discovered the waterfront town the previous year, when we were staying in Copper Center and exploring Wrangell–St Elias National Park. Our bed and breakfast hosts suggested we make an afternoon trip to Valdez, which we hadn’t realized was actually that close. On that trip, low clouds obscured the mountains as we headed over Thompson Pass, but we could see enough to know that it had to be stunni
With the weather forecast looking good for this past weekend, I decided it would be a good time to hike. Of course, the adventure-mobile was also overdue for a thorough cleaning, so I had an appointment Saturday for a full detailing job. And, predictably, Saturday turned out to be the nicer of the two days. The Kenai Mountains across Turnagain Arm hiding behind a low overcast layer. That didn't stop me from heading out Sunday, even if it was grayer than I'd have liked. I head