Alaska: Into the Wild

She Says: What a great time we had in Alaska! Our first stop was Kodiak Island to see my cousin Judi.  Judi picked us up at the small airport with a smile and a big hug.  J was starving so she took us to a diner for breakfast where we ordered a locale favorite, reindeer sausage.  After that we had a full day of adventure including a nice day out on the boat courtesy of Judi’s husband Dave.  We saw sea lions, sea otters, seals, and puffins.  We hadn’t slept for two days so after that we crashed 🙂

The rest of the 10 days there we spent sight seeing, fishing–lots and lots of fishing!  I didn’t even know I liked fishing until now :).  We cooked lots of fish, played lots of euchre, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery Kodiak has to offer.  Judi and Dave are super involved in the community so we also hung out at the VFW and participated in a couple of Lions Club events.  I also got seasick on the boat trying to catch halibut 😦  I think I am going to stick with river fishing and let J catch the “big” fish!  All in all in was an amazing time and we thank Judi and Dave for making our stay so perfect!

Next we headed back to Anchorage where we met Roseanne and Dave (family friends of J’s).  What a coincidence that they were going to be in Alaska the same time as us.  We ended up hanging out with them a few days and had a blast!  They are on an awesome RV trip across the US so of course now J wants an RV.  Along with a boat, a Harley, a mini van ..etc…

We rented a car and headed to Denali where we indulged a little and stayed in a nice lodge.  However, this is after sleeping in the car for a night in a gas station parking lot.  Denali was absolutely amazing!  It is fall there and the colors just popped!  I wanted to live in that park.  Then of course there was Mt Mckinley in all its mighty awesomeness.  I have never seen anything so massive.  Pictures do not do it justice- you must go see for yourself to experience it.  We lucked out and saw most of it.  It stands 20,320 ft. so its very rare you see the peak because of cloud cover.  We were there on a sunny day and still couldn’t see it.

While in Denali we also went to the town of Healy and visited the 49th State Brewery.  They had the bus from “Into the Wild” located on their property. J had read the book and saw the movie so it was incredibly neat for him to get to see the bus and go inside.

Wow what a great time we had!!  I could write so much more but don’t want to bore all of you..We had a great time here and plan on returning some day.  However, for now its off to New Zealand to see my family, my father, and everything the country has to offer.

He Says: I think the best part about Kodiak Island was experiencing things close to how locals do. We fished every chance we had, attended Lions Club meetings, hung out at the VFW, helped set up tents for their fair, picked berries, toured the Coast Guard base and drank the local beer. It was a beautiful place and an amazing experience…plus we had the best tour guides on the island. Thanks, Dave and Judi, for a great time!

Anchorage was like most cities but we did find an outdoor venue called Bernie’s that had some live music. Our luggage didn’t make it on our flight so to kill some time we decided to have a few drinks. We sat next to a dragon water fountain and watch bicyclists ride around in front of the stage while some crazy music played. Ukulele Russ was our favorite but we also got to see a jazz band as well as a band whose lead singer sang through a telephone. Weird, but still fun.

The drive to Denali was gorgeous drive and the park was spectacular. Like TB said, we hung out at the 49th State Brewery and got to go inside the infamous bus Chris McCandless died in. I highly recommend reading the book Into The Wild. It’s a sad but great story. The next day we took an 8 hour shuttle bus to see Mt. McKinley…it’s awe-inspiring and definitely puts things into “perspective”. We took plenty of pictures then headed back to town and saw plenty of wildlife along the way….Dall sheep, grizzlies and caribou. It was a great experience all around. That night we got back together with Dave and Roseanne and enjoyed some more good beer and pizza. It was cool to see them again and the stories of their travels were inspiring for TB and I.

Alaska was an absolutely amazing time. I’m certain we’ll be back in the future…probably on another road trip but next time in an RV. 🙂

— I’ll finish this blog with my “big” fish story from Kodiak – So there I was, on the banks of the Buskin River just after dawn, searching for the elusive Silver salmon. I’d been using salmon eggs as bait all morning and was only able to catch a nice healthy Pink salmon. Being the veteran fisherman I am, I tossed the bugger back in the water, got rid of the salmon eggs and tied my #3 orange spinner lure to the line. I walked down the river looking for a good hole and cast into the water. As I reeled in I felt a tug on the line but thought it was only my lure dragging on the bottom. Then came another tug…and another. I yanked up on the rod and saw the biggest Silver salmon known to man jumping on the end of my line. I vigorously began reeling in the massive fish as he kicked and punch and spat at me trying to escape. I eventually worked him into the shallow water on the bank. It was then our eyes met and he saw the fire in my eyes. Realizing he’d be filleted and smoked if I brought him in any closer, he fought with a renewed vigor and swam straight for the rocks and the deep water. I fought back but perhaps a little too intensely. Fearing his escape, I put as much tension on the line as possible. All of a sudden I felt a slack in the rod and watched my line recoil back at my face….minus the fish and my lure. I stood in disbelief thinking that this couldn’t have happened to me…but alas, it did. My fellow fishermen, who watched my battle with the “big one”, shook their heads in disappointment and continued their similar quests. They knew, as well as I, that I had lost my chance. I continued fishing that morning but the currents no longer flowed for me…..next time…

She says: This is me rolling my eyes…. If he was such a veteran fisherman he would have grabbed that thing as it reached the bank.  However, each experience is a learning lesson and he will get that infamous silver upon our return there.  Love you honey!! kiss kiss

Marina at Kodiak. The water looked like glass

Judi and I on the boat about to go see some wildlife!

"The Thinker" 🙂

View from the back of the boat

Bald Eagle. These things were like cardinals in Ohio. They were everywhere!

Beach by the Kodiak VFW. Also the sight of an old ship that washed up to the bank.

The ship, and lots of kelp!

Peek-a-boo!

@Ft. Abercrombie War Museum. Away we go

Crazy how much he fits the part 😉

The land of Kodiak

"Looks like we are clear to move ahead. Get the boys."

That would be us fishing! Perfect day for it.

John really wants to buy me these boots when we get back. I guess he wants a fishing buddy..

I got one!!

Yeah babe, you showed him!

Getting dinner ready!

J lookin for the big fish!

Of course J got footage of me getting seasick..

Meeting Dave and Roseanne at Midnight Sun Brewery in Anchorage

Music Fest. Apparently they don't dance, they bike!

Yes I claim him!

The "Into the Wild" bus

Inside the bus where Chris was found dead

Denali in the Fall

Dall Sheep

The Alaska Range

Mt. Mckinley aka Mt. Awesome 🙂

J wants to summit this. Good luck babe! I will have hot cocoa waiting for you..

Bear, oh my!

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5 responses to “Alaska: Into the Wild

  1. Breathtaking. What a gift we have in the beauty and power of the landscape, and we lessen ourselves by not seeing the connection between our natural world and our being. You helped connect the rest of us through your pictures and prose.

    John, I’m impressed with your creative writing skills if not you’re fishing prowess. Tami, you on the other hand, seem to have a natural gift of the rod and reel. Of course, I’m no real authority, as my true fishing skills rest solely in me being the beer toter in support of my angler companions. Wyoming Pat will attest to that. 🙂

    Thanks for bringing it home.

    • I think half the reason why I didn’t catch the fish was my lack of beer in hand. Next time I’ll be sure to call you and take advantage of your “fishing skills”.

  2. I love this blog…you guys are doing such a great job. I feel like I’ve been there with you…but I think I would have caught Big Silver Goob. When you guys go back in your RV I want to go with you okay?

    Love ya,

    w.e.b.

    Mom

    • You’re more than welcome to join us on any of our travels. So it’s a deal on the RV trip. 🙂

      And yes, you probably could’ve caught Big Silver. I’ll just have to practice my angling skills as much as possible. Sorry, TB…as soon as we get home I’ll be fishing everyday ’til I get it right.

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