Alaska, Friends

This Alaska

This Alaska place.

I have had a real strong love/hate relationship with it the past year or so. I love Alaska. I love Ketchikan. I love the rain and the beautiful sunny days and the busy summers and quiet winters. I do. But standing by as friends come and go never gets easy. Being stuck on an Island, a million and one miles away from the people you want to hang out with is a challenge in and of itself. You may only be a few thousand miles away -but it doesn’t matter. You are separated by oceans and lands and miles.

Making new friends has never been a strong suite of mine…so being stuck on an island while your friends move in and out of your life is, well, challenging.

I haven’t done much traveling this year, so being ‘stuck’ on the island has taken its toll.

Yes, I love Alaska. But sometimes…

When it takes you 30 minutes to make a 5 minute drive. When you have to stop and go a million times. When tourist literally jump out in front of your car and give you a brief heart attack. When you just want to go into a shop and not see a billion and one faces -many of who you know and many of who you don’t. When you just want a moment of peace -yet there is none to be found…

And then you go for a hike. Into the vast wilderness. The great unknown. The peaceful calmness of the mountains, the silence. The cool wind and the beautiful scenery. The friends.

When you stand in the mountains of Alaska…you feel so small. You realize just how big this world is and just how small you are. You realize just how small your town is, and the problems in it. You realize there is so much beauty -even in the smallness. You are reminded.

This place? This Alaska?

Is quite simply amazing.

Taking in a deep breath of fresh mountain air is sometimes the remedy that can make everything better again.

Alaska

Long Island

Perks to having pilot friends?  Seeing random islands from your childhood.

A few months ago my parents mentioned to one of my pilot friends that I was born on a little island not far from here.  Long Island, to be exact. (Alaska that is, not New York!)

Some 25 odd years ago, we left that little island and moved to Ketchikan for what I am told was going to be a “short stay.”  Yet here we are.  I don’t have many memories of the place -seeings how we left when I was around two, but a few days ago I got a text from my friend with these gems attached:

I’m told that’s where we flew into hundreds of times.  The place of my childhood.  Where my life began.  If you look closely you might even see the beach where we fished…just kidding.  I recognize none of it -but it was still pretty cool, you know – seeing that it does exist and all!

Alaska, Photography, Yo'shi

Fall Photography and Yoshi

Two of the things on my “To do list” this season are to walk Yoshi more and pick up my camera more often.  The two kind of go hand in hand, and have worked together rather nicely.  That combined with the unseasonably nice weather the past few weeks and I don’t have any excuse!

As a result, Yoshi and I have gone on quite a few different walks and hikes trying to soak up the last of the sun before it goes to bed for the winter.

Ward Lake:

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A few days ago I decided to be brave and try out a new trail:

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It was a beautiful trail that snaked through the woods -even Yoshi was calm and collect, something she usually isn’t on our walks.  That is, until we popped out at the end.  I was under the impression this trail looped around, but apparently it doesn’t.  We popped out in the College parking lot and had to walk down through two schools to get back to the car. It was lunch time.  There were a lot of people and cars and noises.  Yoshi thought she might die.

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She was very relieved to make it back to the car.

A few other sites from our outings:

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…and of course, back by popular demand, some more shots of the star herself.

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She cracks me up!

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Ha!

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Alaska, Photography

Only in Alaska

So yesterday afternoon I was feeling a bit cooped up, it was raining and I hadn’t been outside for a walk for a few days.  I can’t remember the last time I picked up my camera (post summer blues) so I decided that I would take the dog for a walk on the beach.

It was raining, which meant I could let her off the leash and not have to worry about anyone else being there to scare her.  So off we went.

This is what I originally had planned on photographing. Maybe spending a few minutes perfecting a shot like this.

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The rain, the birds, the low tide -I had some ideas I was planning to perfect…but then something caught my eye.

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Now that in and of itself isn’t that unusual.  There are people out surfing on occasion, but this person didn’t appear to be surfing…in fact, I couldn’t be sure what they were doing.

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I watched a few more minutes…

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…and then this happened…

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I couldn’t be sure if I was seeing things, but from what I could tell this person was doing handstands…on a surfboard…in the ocean…in the rain.

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I am still not sure what, exactly, was going on -but it was sure impressive, especially considering I slipped about four times this weekend.  On solid ground.

Alaska

Transition

Ketchikan is what they call, a transitional town. People come and people go. Unless you are a hardcore nut such as myself -you stick around for three, maybe five years max -then you pack up and leave. Many people are stationed here for the Coast Guard -they do their three – five years then pack and move somewhere like Hawaii. The nuttier ones among the bunch do eventually come back because there is a saying that goes something like “Ketchikan will never let you go. You come once, you will be back.”

But the truth is -you make friends, and then they leave. Within five years.

I’ve been thinking about this lately. Everything seems to be leaving, or coming to an end here. The summer. The season. Softball. House sitting jobs. Even my journal, ironically, got filled up today -meaning that I must start a new one…and as silly as it sounds, that is always a bittersweet time for me. Most of my friends have packed up and left for school, jobs, or homes across the sea. It seems sometimes that I am the only one who has yet to pack up and do something grand.

Of course then there is the fact that last year was such an amazing year for travel -and this year I’ve barely left town.

But I am trying to see the other side of things. The side that isn’t just everything is leaving, everything is ending -but instead -there is plenty of opportunity for new and exciting things. The starting of something new. A new season, a new journal, a new month. A fresh start.

The leaves are being ripped from the trees, the sun is setting earlier and as much as I wish to leave my window open at night -I am being awaken in the middle of the night, forcing it shut. Summer is leaving. Fall is well on its way. September is coming.

Before long the last of the tour boats will pull away -our town will hole up until next year. The population dwindle down to the remaining nuts who call this place home and we will begin carving out a new routine. One that is much slower. Of course it will be ok. It always is.

It is just the transitions that are hard. Regardless of when they come. Or who they involve.

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Good-bye, Summer! Until we meet again.