Monday, July 31, 2006
Dreaming of Alaska
We're having a heatwave in Buffalo. Not being a fan of tropical weather, I'm currently dreaming of Alaska.
My dreams of Alaska are realistic. 18 years ago, I drove there. From Buffalo. In a little, 4-door, silver Nissan that belonged to my highschool girlfriend, Lauren. Lauren was living and going to graduate school in Anchorage. She was commiting to staying in America's last frontier and needed the car she left in Buffalo to join her. I volunteered to reunite them. I took along the younger sister of a friend and together we covered the 4,392 miles between Buffalo and Anchorage in 9 days.
It was the drive of a lifetime. The Alaska Highway, as it wound through British Columbia, was scenic, quirky and endearing. The Alaska Highway, rolling through the Yukon Territory, left me speechless. The scenery coming continually towards me through the windshield was so intense, so pristine, so shatteringly gorgeous, I had to periodically close my eyes. To allow my brain to keep taking in the heightened beauty it had never before experienced.
I spent 2 weeks with Lauren traveling the lower portions of Alaska. Being twice the size of Texas, there's alot to see. We visited Denali Park and drove hairpin, gravel-studded curves to catch a full view of the rarely visible Mt. McKinley. We drove down to the coast and visited my favorite town, Homer. We stayed up all night in Homer, hanging at the Blue Dolphin Saloon, talking with Halibut fishermen. In our quest to visit the island home of the infamous Kodiak brown bear, we endured two, 10 hour, Dramamine-popping rides huddled in sleeping bags on the frigid top deck of the Alaska Ferry. We saw no brown bears on Kodiak Island, but we stayed on a World War 2 ship-turned-cannery, learned about the processing of seafood as it comes right from the sea, and ate the best tasting fish on planet earth.
In Alaska, the people are genuine and more true to themselves. In Alaska, the word freedom is not just a word, it is a palpable energy. In Alaska, 18 years ago, I was forever imprinted with the understanding of the sacred virtues of Nature. I was imprinted with the craving for adventure. And I was imprinted with the knowing that my ultimate goal in this life, the last frontier of my existence, is to be true to myself.