Thursday, May 1, 2014

Taking the Scenic Route

I was sitting on an Alaskan Air Q400 headed back to Anchorage and working on a new post when the captain completely derailed my train of thought by announcing that it was really nice weather and we would be taking a slight detour to fly over Mt McKinley. Seriously, a commercial flight with 80 people on board can take a scenic detour in Alaska because it’s a beautiful day… He even flew an "S" between the North and South peaks with enough of a bank to give everyone a good view out the sides. 

A river of ice flowing off to the north.
South Peak
A little farther away. 
Another river of ice flowing to the south. 
The southern foot hills look like dunes of blown snow, but there is solid rock beneath the snow and ice. Any of my Geologist friends want to explain how this formation occurred or was it just random chance?

Now back to the originally scheduled post since "Taking the Scenic Route" is actually a pretty good title for it too...

April marks a year since I moved to Anchorage and just last week I marked one year since starting the new job in engineered pump sales. It's been a busy year of work and learning the new job, home projects in Anchorage, and weekend trips out of town as often as practical. With a full year behind me here, I've decided it's time for a change. Living in Anchorage has been a bit like living on the edge of Alaska rather than living in it. I'd already begun debating if this was where I really wanted to settle when Corrie received five job offers from schools in rural Alaska and none in the Anchorage area. After discussing our options Corrie accepted a position in Galena on the North bank of Yukon river and I've decided to take advantage of my growing financial freedom to join her there. Besides a great school for Corrie to start her career at Galena may offer interesting opportunities for me as well. Two of the best are a chance to get my pilot's license through the school and possibly heading up a sustainable energy project for the school and community. I've already spoken with my boss about finding a replacement for me and although he's disappointed I've decided to leave he seems pretty understanding. I still have a bit more work though as we've tentatively agreed that I'll stay through the end May while they find a replacement.

Where the heck is Galena?
With work finished by the first of June and no reason to be in Galena before August I'm hoping to have a couple months to take the scenic route on my way there. I'm planning to spend the first 2-3 weeks of June touring Alaska on my bike. I currently envision a route along the states main highways between 700 and 1,100 miles in length. A bit shorter than riding the Alcan, but far enough to give me a solid sense of what long rides are like. I'll post again with details once the plan solidifies. In the mean time, I'd be happy to have some company, if you have the time and would like to join all or part of the trip let me know. The preliminary route:

Possible route, I could drop Valdez leg if I'm ready to be done early.
Or I might take a ferry from Valdez to Seward and add a few more miles of beautiful mountains.

After the bike ride I'll spend July fishing with my dad, helping him with projects and hopefully backpacking with my brother. I may even squeeze a trip to NM in if the timing works out right, but those plans will have to wait for another post. 

1 comment:

  1. oh nick,
    what an adventurer! am grateful you will be heading out of anchorage. i so admire your open heart. you listen to it so well. please give my best to your entire family. i look forward to someday meeting corrie. she sounds like a wonderful person.
    ps. i am staying in wisconsin these days. well, half week in wisconsin, half in chicago.... i send hugs and love nick.