Somehow it always seems that I hit the ground running in Alaska.
First day was playing ultimate on the Park Strip in downtown Anchorage with my housemate G. Oh the memories. This game however, was a bit more formal than last fall. These players had cleats and called plays–I was completely in over my head but managed to keep up and even score a point. Huzzah!
Second day I bought my first ever car. She’s a 1991 Honda Accord with 212k miles–the whole thing from start to finish took less than four hours. My Craiglist app enabled me to call within thirty minutes of the posting. The owner stopped by soon after and as soon as I saw his Red Sox t-shirt, I knew this was the car for me. It was meant to be. Now let’s just hope she holds up.
The next day my housemate J and I left early in the morning for Denali National Park. Now, I’m usually a planner but this trip was up in the air until the very last moment but it was totally amazing regardless. The weather was fair, the skies clear and the animals were out. Fall has arrived to Denali and the tundra was alive with color.
Denali is strictly maintained** (unlike the parking lot that is Yellowstone), and generally people are not allowed to drive further than fifteen miles into the park. There is a road through the park for park buses and so visitors’ footprints are limited to particular areas. Further hiking is allowed through permits. I imagine there were many fights over this and I think the good guys won.
We hopped on a shuttle bus a mere fifteen minutes after arriving, made friends with our seatmates (one from KY, one from NJ, and then some Frenchies and Germans) and proceeded to see not just the mountain sheep, the caribou and the moose but also a coyote, a wolf and three grizzlies. Insert more huzzah here.
The first grizzly I caught a glimpse of at the top of a steep hill above us. The bus slowed and the bear came barreling down. She stopped a good distance from us but man alive, I will never forget the site of that bear in all her splendor and with all that speed.
We capped off the wilderness trip with a night in a hostel’s wall tents. Man, it was cold. Ice on the windshield cold. The morning was topped off with a filling brunch family style at Talkeetna Roadhouse. Yum.
The week is rounding out with rain returning, friends arriving, and mama moose and her calf noshing on dinner right down my street.
Life is good.
**Strangely enough Denali’s management is contracted out to Aramark. Huh.