Showing posts from October, 2015

Late Fall Mountain Tour

Mt St. Helens pre-eruption Once upon a time, way back in the twentieth century, a work assignment caused me to drag our little family from the Upper Midwest out to the Pacific Northwest. Family and friends left behind weren’t real sure what to make of us. Why would they move way out there? Have they lost their minds? Don’t they realize Oregon and Washington are populated by drug-using hippies and weird folks that just don’t fit in anywhere else? Ok, there were enough semi-normal people to make some jet airliners up in Seattle, but everyone else is just plain strange. Maybe, after a few months, they’ll come to their senses and come back to Wisconsin. It felt like raw adventure. I’ll never forget my first close-up view of a snow-capped Mt. Hood as the plane skirted its flanks on the long final into Portland. I was mesmerized. It was the embodiment of a rugged pioneer spirit, the raw power of crashing landmasses, and a reminder of the impermanence of the status quo. In some small

Alaska and the Far North: A retrospective

After a few weeks (OK… a couple months...) to put some time and distance between our summer trip to the far north and our “real” life back in the Northwest, I offer the following recap and some random thoughts about our northerly excursion. Let's just say the delay was for perspective. Yeah… that's it. Perspective. There's no doubt that this was a big milestone trip for us. Not including our initial drive from Oregon to Wisconsin in May, we drove a bit over 10,000 miles during those 85 days. From Wisconsin, we angled through the Canadian Rockies to Dawson Creek, then to Whitehorse, Dawson City, the Dempster Highway to Inuvik (and Tuktoyuktuk), over to Chicken, Tok Junction, Wrangell St Elias NP, Valdez, Seward, the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage, Willow, Denali NP, and Fairbanks, before steering a mostly southeastward course and slowly heading back to our Pacific Northwest home. During the trip we drove all of the Alaska Highway, the entire Dempster, all the Top of the W