The map was useless. This backroad, like the others we’d driven that evening, had once led to somewhere relevant—a barracks maybe, or a bunker, or an underground hospital—but now it was no more than a groove in the tundra.Continue reading “Adak, Alaska, Part 1: History, beauty and destruction”
We watched through the windows as four bears, a mother and cubs, strolled up the path. These were Alaskan coastal brown bears, one of the largest land carnivores in the world, and Dale and I had just ducked into the bathrooms to avoid them.
So this happened: While visiting one of the last Blockbusters in America, I had the opportunity to hold Russell Crowe’s “groin protector” (i.e., jockstrap), and it’s all thanks to comedian John Oliver (and Mr. Crowe himself).
Here’s the story:
Like most visitors, Dale and I took a floatplane to Brooks Camp, which is in Katmai National Park and can only be reached by air or water.
Dale had been on a floatplane before, but this was my first time on such a unique form of transport, and it was very, very cool. When the experience starts out with a photo-op like this, it’s gotta be great, right?
While in Seldovia, we watched as five master carvers used chainsaws to transform blocks of wood into amazing pieces of art. The Seldovia Craft Invitational Chainsaw Carving Competition, held annually on Labor Day weekend, was happening while we were there, and it was a treat to witness these unique artists in action. Continue reading “Seldovia, Alaska: Artists with chainsaws and a carving competition”
Seldovia isn’t on an island, but it might as well be—it’s practically surrounded by water, it can only be reached by plane or boat, and its single main street is lined with small businesses owned by locals, with nary a fast food joint to be found. The minute we stepped off the boat, I felt myself relaxing into the place. We were in the hands of the locals, and the stresses of daily life were behind us. There was no place to be and nothing urgent to attend to. The only thing missing was my flip flops (it was too chilly); otherwise, the trip was perfect.
Here’s a little bit of mid-week happiness: sea otters!
We stopped by Eklutna on a cool, rainy day at the end of April. In most parts of the U.S., spring had long since arrived, but here, 30 minutes north of Anchorage, the trees were still bare, and patches of snow lay on the ground.
I’m a sucker for museums large and small, and in Bethel, we found a good one–the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center, which celebrates the history and traditions of the Yup’ik, an Alaskan Native people who have occupied the Bethel region for centuries.
Riding on an Alaska Airlines Combi Plane
I knew when I booked our flight to Bethel that this trip would be different.