Friday, March 14, 2014


When people ask me about my favorite foreign country, where I most like revisiting, I tell them without hesitation- Alaska.

I first went to Alaska with my Pop when I was a graduate student, about 1981 or 82.  He had always wanted to go up there and fish, but getting there is a bit complex.  He offered to pay, and I offered to be his guide.

We met up there with a friend of mine who taught at UA-Fairbanks.  We didn't catch as many fish as we had hoped, but we very much enjoyed the trip.  The scenery is absolutely gorgeous and there is a new thrill around every bend.  It was exceptionally special because it was an extended time with my Pa, and man to man.  I still recall some of the details of that trip of over 30 years back.

I was so smitten, that a few years later I insisted that Brenda go back with me.  Our kids were still young, so an adventurous young couple from our church volunteered.  Afterwards they swore off having kids altogether.  Just kidding,  They went on to have 4 kids of their own.  Again, in the pre Exxon-Valdez days, Prince William Sound and the Alaskan pipeline were very interesting.  I terrified Brenda by walking out on a glacier, and falling through to my waist.

When Andrew graduated from UA, I took him on a celebratory trip.   I asked where he wanted, he said "Alaska", and I was thrilled.

Brenda found us a good deal on a motorized camper, and that worked out super.  We drove all over southern Alaska, and saw some great sites which Andrew photographed. We went deeper into Denali Park than I had ever been and saw lots of wildlife.  One of our most exciting wildlife encounters occurred in Anchorage, the only real city in Alaska (Anchorage has a current population of about 300k, with ALL of Alaska only totaling a bit over 700k).

We got to the Botanical Gardens in the evening.  It was deserted.  We strolled around seeing the sights.  As we rounded a bend there was a large sow Black Bear at about 11-12 yards, with two cubs.  I whispered "Get a picture, get a picture!"

Andrew in contrast did what you are supposed to do.  He made himself look large and backed away and fortunately drug me with him!

If you have the opportunity ask Brenda about the 139 mile drive between Denali and Paxton, AK.

And if you have the opportunity-- visit Alaska!

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