GAFA Day 8: Round Trip
After a week in Alaska, this pile of fish is all I had to show for it when I returned to Maggie Valley this afternoon. Well, that and hundreds of memories of hours spent salmon and trout fishing in beautiful glacier-fed rivers, jigging for halibut in a salt water inlet surrounded by soaring mountains and snow covered volcanoes, confronting a grizzly, seeing moose, watching eagles, visiting local museums that aided my understanding of the people of the area and their relationship to a rugged environment and meeting some really good people from Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and, naturally, Alaska. And then there were the moose burgers, the reindeer sausage, huge sandwiches on fresh baked bread, melt-in-your-mouth pastries from the Moose Is Loose, fresh clam chowder, some amazing barbecue, a couple of nice craft beers and an abundant supply of Jack Daniels. But, of course, I prize most the hours of thoughtful conversation with John about topics mundane and meaningful.
So, yeah, I brought back a lot more than a pile of delicious fish. The Great Alaska Fishing Adventure is in the books (or soon will be when I publish the blog).
No adventure ever goes as planned. I hadn’t planned on ruining a brand new pair of waders and buying a second pair. I hadn’t planned on soaking and destroying a new, albeit inexpensive, camera. I hadn’t planned on the Sockeye limit being reduced from three to one just before we got to Alaska because the salmon run is half what it was two years ago. I hadn’t planned on getting rained out of a flyout trip to Bachatna Creek. I hadn’t planned on a perilously windy voyage across Skilak Lake. But I also hadn’t planned on the chance meetings, serendipitous encounters and pleasant surprises that all the people we met on the trip provided. But, as I’ve said in previous travel blogs, it’s the unplanned that makes a vacation an adventure. I’d rather have the adventure anytime.
I had planned to see beautiful country. Check. I had planned to catch a lot of fish. Check. I had planned to eat and drink well. Check. Check. I had planned to enjoy my first-class flight and chalet accommodations. Check. I had planned to have a great time. BIG CHECK.
Despite the sometimes late nights that writing the blog required and the missed conversations with John while he respected my need for quiet time to focus my Jack Daniels-adled brain enough to tap the right keys on the keyboard, I enjoyed, once again, writing the blog each night and sharing pictures of our daily adventures with the less fortunate who still work or have obligations that keep them close to home. I hope to be able to continue to write on hdriderblog in the years ahead and I hope friends and family will continue to follow along.
What’s in store for next year’s blog? I’ve already started reading about, preparing for and planning another two-wheel adventure next summer when I expect to follow (as closely as possible) the route taken by Merriweather Lewis and George Clark in 1803-1806 when they and the 30 men and Sacagewea of the Corps of Discovery became the first Americans to cross the newly-acquired Louisiana Purchase by traveling up the Missouri River from St. Louis and through the uncharted northwest lands from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Six weeks or so on my motorcycle again studying history, seeing beautiful country and meeting new people. Sounds like a plan to me. Hope everyone follows along again and keeps me company when I get “On the Road Again.”
Thanks again for coming along this year.