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Chasing the Sun in Alaska

May 27, 2013

At first, I had the sun in the palm of my hand. As solstice approaches, the sun becomes a topic of conversation around Alaska; somewhat of a rebirth of the same conversations you had just a year ago, but yet, when the sun is out, it is like your first experience all over again. One of the things I love about living in Alaska is that with regards to Mother Earth, you don’t take anything for granted.

This was my backyard just two days ago and I was getting ready to get out of town. I couldn’t wait to pitch my tent for the first time this season!

My home in Anchorage

My home in Anchorage

Along the Seward highway going south, kite surfers were out basking in the great weather.

Kite Surfers along Turnagain Arm

Kite Surfers along Turnagain Arm

We were headed to Hope for biking, hiking, and music. Camping in Hope, AK on the beach, despite the fact that it can be your tent-city-combat-camping sort of situation, is perfect for quick getaways from the city. When we arrived, the sun was still with us and we enjoyed biking along the scenic route as well as yet another fabulous sunset there.

Sleep well sun! Hope, AK

Sleep well sun! Hope, AK

Our plan for day two was to do an overnight backpacking trip. I love backpacking because it takes me to a Thoreau level of living that I can’t find doing any other activity, living with whatever you haul in, and negotiating the elements of Mother Nature.

However, this weekend, it didn’t happen because our main objective was to chase the sun. We woke up to clouds in Hope and it was looking like we needed to go further south to catch the sun again. After driving for a bit, we arrived at the fork of a decision. Looking out the car window into the rain and the 45 degree temperature, backpacking wasn’t a requirement without the sun. If we had planned this trip months in advance, and put it on the no-matter-what agenda for our weekend, we would have done it, but that wasn’t the case. I pulled out my phone with very spotty service in Coopers Landing, and decided that north was better. My technology was telling me that the sun was in the opposite direction so off we went! But first, we enjoyed a delicious avocado-tomato-hummus sandwich in the rain.

Kenai Lake in Coopers Landing

Kenai Lake in Coopers Landing

As we headed back towards Anchorage, I couldn’t help but think that our mission was a bit futile at this point. The rain reports all over the southcentral area were not dampening our mood, but deep down, I knew that Alaska had pulled its normal routine on us, which is lots of variety in the weather. This is why when you go on a trip anywhere in Alaska, especially during the summer, you have to prepare for all conditions.

Continuing our drive north gave us our answer: there would be no catching of the sun today. So, we surrendered by doing a hike in the woods of Girdwood, where we did get a quick glimpse of the sun. Looking at this picture, can you see it?

Winner Creek Trail, Girdwood, AK

Winner Creek Trail, Girdwood, AK

By the end of the day, even though we didn’t catch the sun, we were satisfied, except for one small detail: we wanted more live music. Girdwood wasn’t providing us any options so we decided to head home to our own beds.

But wait, guess what happened? In between Girdwood and Anchorage, there is the this very small “town” known as Indian and the best thing about Indian, other than the nearby trails, is the bar called the Brown Bear Saloon. It’s an experience with a small cabin-like atmosphere and when people dance, the floor shakes. As we got closer to the saloon and notice many cars in the parking lot, we both looked at each other and said, “I wonder what’s going on there!” Terrible Buttons out of Spokane, Washington just happened to be playing and I had heard about their tour up here, but wasn’t familiar with them. Not only was it a seven piece band equipped with a fiddle and a killer female back-up singer, they also had a trumpet player. I’m a sucker for trumpets so we hung out for a wonderful set.

Our mission for chasing the sun failed, but we still walked away full of satisfaction from our eventful day. Driving home very late, we again caught a glimpse of the sun.

Turnagain Arm View

Turnagain Arm View

This morning, I woke and guess who has returned? My yard this morning looks exactly like it did a couple of days ago.

My home in Anchorage

My home in Anchorage

Maybe we didn’t catch her in the woods, but sometimes, it’s the process and not the rewards that count. I’m in for a lot of sun today, not to mention more music!

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

From → Alaska, Travel

  1. Lovely! Happy Memorial Day to you, too.

    • Laura Hilger permalink

      Thanks Kit, and thanks for always stopping by. Looking forward to reading your latest entries. Hope you have a fun day!

  2. Hi there,
    That is a very good post. Have you considered Salmon fishining in the Courtenay area of Vancouver Island%3

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