Monday, May 19, 2008

Wandering Around Heaven

Standing in a smoke garden in Singapore’s airport in Feb., trying to suck down one last nicotine stick before my 19hr. flight home, I met Jim Booth, of PRISM International (Professional Records & Information Services Management). Jim said he needed a photographer in May and wondered if I’d be interested in going to Alaska.
I thought about it for about a nanosecond before jumping at the chance!
My conference coverage in Anchorage would take about 3 days, and I have a chance to do a little exploring before flying home.In the two days I had to wander, Alaska completely blew my mind and if the King Salmon run had started, I’m not sure I would have made it home before fall. This is an outdoor paradise.Waters teeming with fish, jagged snow capped mountains in every direction, glaciers, elk, bear, yeah haw!
Without consulting the first guide book, I jumped in my rental car and headed south out of Anchorage on what was labeled the “Seward Scenic Highway.”The label was a massive understatement. They should call it the “Absolutely Awe Inspiring, Eye Popping, Most Beautiful Stretch of Road You’ll Ever Travel and If You Don’t Try It You’re A Complete Moron Highway.” I’ve taken some great drives through the Rocky Mountains, the California Redwoods, western Ireland’s coast, and even across the red center of Australia, but I can’t remember ever getting more excited on 90 miles of tarmac. Ten minutes out of Anchorage and I was slamming on the breaks and pulling over to take in the view. Around every corner there was another, seemingly better than the last. A crystal lake here, bald eagles sitting on the banks of a marsh there, towering mountains spanned by glaciers, cascading waterfalls…This went on and on. I stopped and talked to native fishermen dip netting Hooligans to feed their family, watched climbers hanging from cliffs over head, and saw snowmobiles on distant ridgelines..All of it easily accessible by just pulling off the road and hitting the trail. To top it all off, all this went on during 18 hours of sunlight! Heaven.
Unfortunately, I was told when I called a local guide that none of the King Salmon for which the Mat-Su valley was famous, were being caught yet but that the first of the run should start any day. It seems the first to catch them would be local celebrities in the region. Never one to miss such an important opportunity, I hired Howard with IfishAlaska Charters to take me out on the Deshka River. Howard was right, the Kings weren’t in yet, but I had a great time with him swapping adventure stories while dragging our baits and wildlife watching, beaver, muskrat and moose. He made me promise to come back when the fish are in thick and it was the easiest promise I ever made.
I will be back! I’ve got to take a glacier/whale cruise, fly-in to a remote river camp in a seaplane, combat fish for Salmon, hike Denali National Park, and see Mt. McKinley. Alaska doesn’t just capture your imagination, it surpasses it.
You can see more pics from my wandering here: Alaska Photoshelter Gallery

1 comment:

megan said...

thats where we should have our next reunion!!!! sounds like this was a great trip. cool pics babe!