Land of the Midnight Sun

I’m in Alaska now. The real Alaska and not the place some of us go inside our heads when we need wilderness and alone time and the thought that the land behind the hill goes on forever.

One thing that travel has taught me is that the world is not as unkind and uncommon as we might think. Yes, there is one of those chain coffee places here and one of those hamburger places too, but I don’t go to those. I’m talking about lovely vistas, beauty, nice people, flush toilets and …well, you get it.

We came to Alaska via the Alaska State Ferry…AND I CANNOT SAY ENOUGH about how wonderful it was to hop on the ferry in Washington and cruise for 2.5 days through a passage that will make even a jackass weep. You can camp, sleep in a chair, or get a small room, which we did, and then walk around and try not to trip on your open mouth.

Think of this-waterfalls everywhere, eagles times 100, snow capped mountains, dark waters, the quiet hum of the ship sailing you North…before this turns into a shitty novel let me tell you it’s like you think it is in ALASKA. But then you get to Ketchikan and unless you leave the port, like we did, it’s nothing but BIG ASS CRUISE SHIPS.

Look away and then drive to the top or bottom of this little island. On a slow day 7,000 people pop into town to shop, eat, and help the economy, which is based on CRUISE SHIPS and a little fishing, and people like me hopping off the ferry. It’s too much for my hiking and camping heart and so we hiked, and fished, and hiked some more…

There is a slice of heaven everywhere and even though I’m not done up here yet I get why people come and never leave. It’s endless beauty. I stopped counting eagles after the first day. It’s almost ridiculous. The fish are huge. It rains all the time. It smells like fir, lavender, fresh earth and a sweetness I am still trying to inhale. The sky is a roaming cloud of pure white and you want it to be light this long because it seems stupid to sleep when you could sit up and look out the window.

Is it more beautiful then my new Colorado? Or my old Florida? Or my beloved Wisconsin? No…but I am here now and I am besotted.

Tomorrow it’s back on the ferry to head North. I will stand on the bow for hours, inhaling every second and imagining every person who came before me,
wondering like me, how it will be possible to leave.