I’m not a big sightseeing guy. Take me to one of the many wonders of the world, and I’ll give it the Full Griswold, taking it in briefly, nodding my head and moving on. It’s not that I don’t appreciate them – indeed, I do – but I’m an impatient tourist.
I owe an apology to the women of Alaska. Heading into my recent trip, I figured that in the most distant and different state, gender roles would be remarkably separated and antiquated. In fact, my experience turned out to be exactly the opposite of that – the women up there are not only every bit as capable as the men, but they have the same frontier spirit and can-do-it (must-do-it?) attitude.
In the Bristol Bay Borough where I fished last week, float planes are a way of life. As you drive down the road along the Naknek River, you see a bunch of them, and as you’re fishing a bunch of them pass by. Because the road system is highly limited, many schoolchildren actually fly to school each day (except when the winter weather prevents them from going home, in which case they stay overnight with host families).
During my last trip to Alaska, in the summer of 1995, my halibut charter captain used small chunks of cut bait and we caught small fish. Apparently it is common practice among many of the day-trippers to head out to a known “chicken hole,” load the boat with small fish and head back as soon as possible.
In the summer of 1995, after studying for and taking the bar exam, I went to Alaska for just under a month with my friends Matt and Cory. We planned to tent-camp around the state – from Anchorage to Denali to Fairbanks to North Pole to Chicken to Dawson City (Yukon) to Wrangell-St. Elias, to Valdez to Seward to Homer and back to Anchorage. Just reading that itinerary takes me back and makes me tired at the same time.
My wife Hanna is my favorite traveling companion, not only because she generally goes places I want to go and brings a good attitude, but also because she has her act together. I never have to worry about her being late or forgetting the passports or passing gas on a crowded commuter plane (for the record: she farts rainbows).