Oh, the wilds of Canada, or as Kes and her family call it, Southeast Alaska. It's a majestic place, filled with grizzly bears the size of houses, wife-swapping hillbillies, limited public infrastructure (no electricity, roadways, running water, or government), shotgun-toting rebel fishmongers, and the most pristine silence present on this planet. The kind of silence that amplifies the residual noise of freeway traffic, alarm clocks, cell phones, TV, and the combustible engine (an invention that hasn't quite made it to these isolated islands as of press time) for a solid week after arrival. It is a land that I've been fortunate enough to have visited half a dozen times over the past nine years, as Kes' father claims territory here (he's a frontier squatter). While I must admit that upon first impression, this rugged region didn't capture my heart (I mean, who really likes wiping their ass with dried salmon skin?), over time it crept inside and took hold of my soul, kinda like a heroin addiction. As proof, you only have to look at the trail of discarded jobs I've abandoned instantly at the chance of heading up north...I hate working, and AK is the perfect place to be a lazy drunkard. Everybody's doing it. I remember Kes' father once mentioning that it costs him less than $7,000/year to live in the land not down under. I just made that figure up, but the point stands.
Anyway, we took my Pops and little sister Squirt there this last summer and frankly, we had a ball. Here are a few pictures of the trip, starting with our journey from Sitka, where we stocked up on ammunition, salted pork, and oranges to ward off scurvy...and ending up in the oatstanding Canuckian (posing as Alaskan) outpost of Port Alexander, affectionately known by its settlers as PA. Enjoy.
Totem Park, Sitka.
Mt. Edgecomb (aboot to erupt), Sitka.
The Starship Tourista...these Pluto-originated crafts are singly as big as the city of Sitka herself. And carry twice the population. It's not uncommon to see four or five docked at any one time.
A lone fishmonger returning with the day's catch (baby seal and polar bear mostly). This is what night looks like.
Typical view out the window of a flying four-man deathtrap affectionately known around these parts as a "float plane".
A man's arm. Somewhere in the background is the back dock of Port Alexander, and David's home (made completely with solid gold panned from the Klondike itself).
Arriving at the front dock in PA. This will be the last form of modern-day civilization that we'll have contact with over the course of the next 7 weeks.
A video of our fearless pilot abandoning us to a life of beach asparagus diets, twelve year-old room temperature bottles of Budweiser, murderous 40lb. ravens, disturbingly-grouchy house tigers, radiation-affected mosquitoes, 24 hour insomnia, and dozens of potlucks (Oh, the Horror!). You're right, just like summer camp. I have a vague recollection of the pilot shouting "SUCKAS!" as he gunned it for civilization.
To be continued...