Getting to Sitka


I am writing this from the Galley of the Matanuska- the ferry that is taking Natalia and I from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Sitka through the inside passage. However, I will likely be unable to publish this entry until much later while relishing in Alaskan beauty and Internet.

The ferry has, and will continue through the night and into the morning, taking stops throughout the inside passage (Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Kake, and finally Sitka). With each stop, a constant flow of interesting folks arrive and depart  We are currently leaving the little night-lit town of Wrangle- an incredibly quaint place nestled in the midst of goliath mountains. The sun collapsed beautifully and slowly behind the tree line, a backdrop against surfacing dall's porpoises and spruced islands.

On an irrelevant note, whenever I travel, I enjoy taste testing chowder. Growing up outside of Boston, I’ve had some pretty damn delicious chowdah in my life. I suppose maybe it’s the nostalgia or the little itty bitty part of me that gnaws at my conscious longing for a permanent return to my New England home, a nap by the fire, and lots and lots of clams in my chowder. Perhaps it’s just a tangible constant that I can dig a spoon into… or maybe I just really friggen like chowder. Regardless, the best pat of the chowder I picked up in the Matanuska’s galley are the saltine crackers that came with it- utterly inedible.

The start of British Columbia was dominated by wide shallow slow running murky rivers plunging through dramatic mountains- Gold Rush Country- an industrial boom based solely on decadence. I liked envisioning the gold diggers, hard at work sifting for little pellets of gold along these streams. One day of sifting for shark teeth on the Florida coast was enough for me to determine that although I may be excellent at sifting, I’m not so sure I have the patience to make a career of it.  Anyways, driving through gold country had me thinking about the value of gold, what it would be like to be the wife of a gold digger, and how sleeping in a covered wagon compares to sleeping in the bed of Natalia’s truck.

The landscape continued to change during 24 hours of driving (3 nights sleeping in Natalia's truck). The only things that seemed constant were an unexpected surplus of Canadian Cuisine and Chinese Combo restaurants, Dairy Queens, and streets named after average first names such 'George Street' and 'Moe Way'. This really begged the question whether all Canadians have streets named after them in their respective town. We even noted a 'Bowser Street' so apparently, notable dogs also get a street named after them.

Oh and I learned how to drive stick on the dusty back roads of British Columbia in a big ol' truck with Alaska plates and a kayak on top. Drove her for about 4 hours before it took me 15 minutes to park her in a Walmart parking lot (seems to me that shifting into 1st is not yet a forte of mine). Thanks Natalia for the patience!  She’s also teaching me all about commercial fishing- the difference between trolling and trawling and humpies and sock-eye and seining and harpooning. Oh god I can’t wait to stun the locals with my impressive knowledge of fisherman lingo at the bars. ‘You got how much a pound for dogs?!’ ‘You once caught a King how big” ‘Yes I’d like to visit your Trawler” “No, maybe not tonight…” ;)

I’m getting silly, I think it’s time to retreat back up to my trusty new thermarest and loyal old sleeping bag set up in the lounge and dream big expectations for a summer in Alaska!