Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Behind The Blog

I think the latter part of August in Alaska is a time of melancholy- for me anyhow. For the last better part of three months I have been writing and sharing images of a most amazing place. A world where adventure is around every corner. A world where every sight is more majestic and captivating than the one before. A world where the daily discovery of something new is the rule and not the exception. We have loved being in Alaska, so as the time we can spend here draws down, I am already feeling a personal sense of sadness in testimony to that fact. Has it been all good? For the most part, yes. Have there been days when life's little "man on your shoulder" offers up his little list of daily challenges? Sure. Has everything gone exactly as planned? Well, honestly, NO, but that is in large part what made the time spent here so magical.
By design I have tried not to get too far into anything in the form of the downfalls, the larger challenges, the problems that popped up from time to time. I've tried my level best to keep these musings more about Alaska and how we saw and felt about it and less about my own personal matters- things that maybe work their way into my head but shouldn't work their way into the blog on a daily basis. But now in this time of admitted melancholy, I'm feeling the two separate worlds coming much closer together than they did at the onset. There is more to life than fun and adventure.
I'd "mentally postponed", while we have been traveling, the fact that the real estate market in Florida, where we have our home base and a house for sale, has gone from bad to worse, but the tax bill seems to be getting delivered to the mail box anyhow. I keep thinking that wonderful commercial building I have in Maine with all three of the best attributes a piece of property can have (Location. Location. Location.) should have sold a long time ago, but for one reason or another that won't give up the ghost either. With those properties in tow, life on the road remains a great deal more complicated than we would like our life to be right now.
Add to that family health issues back in Pennsylvania: dad was hospitalized with a heart attack a couple weeks back, Aunt Dot, who has other more serious health concerns, fell and shattered her hip joint which required emergency replacement, forcing my mother who has some concerns of her own to be in the position of worrying and visiting both of them on a non stop basis. My sister, who lives close by, stopped by the hospital to check on everybody and tripped in the parking lot on a "speed bump"and had to go to emergency for x-rays of her own. What are the odds for that? Since things have seemingly stabilized all around there for the time being, we decided to try and stick out the rest of our time in Alaska. Flying back and forth this close to snow fall and icing conditions up here, risking stranding the coach, and maybe Marilyn and Abby as well, isn't a very attractive option, and since there is nothing of an immediate nature that we could do there, we're just plugging along day to day, trying to stay in close contact to home, and trying to look out far enough ahead to be able to make a move on short notice if we are needed there right away. Alaska is not the "state next door". By drive time through Canada and across the country we are weeks away at best. So with every move we make now, a new "emergency plan" must be formulated. That's just the way it is.
And to complicate even that, we have decided to pull up stakes on the Kenai Peninsula and head up to Chicken with the idea that maybe we can fill that one goal that has eluded us thus far- the revered gold nugget. Chicken is a VERY rural area of the state; communications from there are considerably more challenging than they are from here. That's the bad news. The good news is that from Chicken we will be several days closer to the lower 48 drive-time wise should we need to move up the date of departure from Alaska. When our state tour began some three months ago- we were "chicken." While it was a place we dearly wanted to visit, the unknowns and our own inexperience with the coach in "less than full hookup mode" made us skip that part of the adventure. More or less we put that on the "next trip" list of things to do- but with everything else falling in to place as it is, this may be our only chance to do this for a long time to come. Weighing the situation on a daily basis- this looks like the best option all around.
Yesterday I wrapped up the season's fishing with the best day I ever had here: 22 Coho (Silver) salmon all in the 10 pound class, a sea run cutthroat trout in the same size range, a Dolly Varden, my first ever, and a Sockeye (Red) salmon for good measure that went about 5 pounds or so. Released fish MUST be unhooked and released without lifting them out of the water, which is why there are photos of the "keepers" only. Oh, and if you think a 10 pound Coho is standing still in the water while you take its picture- think again! Those little rascals can go upstream a hundred feet or downstream the same distance within a matter of seconds after being hooked. If freight trains ran under water and at the speed of Amtrak- that's what they'd be like.

Gonna need a bigger grill!!!
Maybe it's hard to see the size of the fish whole and in the rain- but here's a look at one of the four fillets from the two limit keepers.
Leaves are turning before the end of August. The dandelions, the first weed to bloom most other places has just begun to bloom here, and already it's leaves are going red. Talk about a short growing season. And a sign of what is to follow...

Above and below, we drove down to Homer one last time. What a wonderful place. Abby made her August visit to the vet to get "her nails done" and to get her thyroid meds regulated yet one more time.
I don't think I would ever be able to live in Alaska year 'round. Too cold for this old body and too dark for too long in the winter for this old mind. BUT: I don't really want to leave Alaska either. Between the days growing short, the constant rains of August, and all the pressures behind the blog, this is an unsettled time; not one that I would have missed for the world though.

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