Alaska Day 2

May 21, 2004 - 2:55 am Comments Off on Alaska Day 2

Woke up around 9 this morning. I’d stayed up late last night trying to see if it was ever going to get dark. By 12:30 I realized that it would not. I was so hoping to see some aurora, too. Oh well. Just means that I will have to come back another time to see it.

The state is so beautiful that it becomes passe. Look, a tall stately mountain with a waterfall of ice suspended on it, surrounded by lush green birch trees, and a moose walking under it. *yawn* I think that if I lived here I would have to visit what we call “Civilization” quite often in order to realize that what is here is so special.

And the people here are outstanding. I’ve never met a nicer group of people. It’s almost like by being here, you’re a member of a club that you never knew existed, and everyone who sees you is happy to talk to you or help you out in some way. Today we realized around 8:00 PM that we didn’t have our fishing licenses yet, and we couldn’t find anything in the area that was still open who sold them. We saw a van with a Longhorn sticker pull into a “Troutfitters” outfit, and so we followed them in to ask if they knew where we could get a license. Wait there just one minute, they said, we haven’t opened for the summer yet but I think my aunt has that stuff in her place somewhere. Let me run over and grab it for you. And she did, while we talked to the other van drivers. They had bought it from some “crazed hippie” in Austin a few years ago and drove it up to Alaska. It’d been sitting dead for a couple of seasons and they got it running this afternoon, just in time to run across us, admiring the Longhorns sticker on the front of the beast and Hookin’ Horns at them (they looked confused). It was like the fates smiled on us, and sent us that really nice bunch of people who took time from what they were doing to help us out so we could go fishing tomorrow. Like I said, outstanding. With no ulterior motive, no “What’s in it for me?” attitude (actually, an extra $20 was in it for them, I hope they were able to upgrade from the Pabst Blue Ribbon for the night). We promised that if we were going to go back out and freshwater fish that we would call them first. And I recommend them for anyone looking to freshwater fish in the Kenai area: Alaska Troutfitters, PO Box 579, Cooper Landing, AK 99572 (907) 595-1212. Even though we didn’t go fishing with them (yet), they went the extra mile to help us out. Good people.

We went on the 26 Glaciers Cruise out of Whittier this morning and it was great. The food was not much to write home about, so I won’t. But you don’t do that stuff for the food, you do it for the view, and view we got aplenty – otters, bird rookeries, icebergs, major glacier calving (and the damned videocamera putzed out 3 minutes before the big pillar fell, too). The Sound is gorgeous.

One thing I have noticed is a definite warp in my concept of scale. Everything here is so big – mountains, trees, rivers, etc. that it all looks to be on a normal scale – until you start wondering about the treeline on the mountains and realizing that a man standing next to that tiny little tree way up there would be dwarfed, and that small-looking mountain is really 13,000 feet tall. When Surprise Glacier sent a hunk of ice into the fjord, the resulting wave from the small-looking chunk was enough to rock the 135 person capacity catamaran for a good 5 minutes.

Wild stuff. We met our captain for tomorrow’s halibut fishing and he’s very nice. I think tomorrow should be a fun day, full of fish. And it’s hub’s birthday, so I hope for his sake that he won’t be seasick. He’s so nervous about it. So horribly worked up that he… well, he’s passed out on the couch, so he’s better than he says he is. Heh.

I can’t wait to get to a faster connection so I can upload more of these pictures. Here are a couple:

Flying over a glacier

A soon-to-be mama moose who ambled by at dinnertime.

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