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29 April, 2002

Hello from Alaska,

I'm typing my first journal entry while sitting on the plane in Anchorage. Our flight to Fairbanks was supposed to take off at 4pm local time but we have developed a mechanical glitch. Everyone seems to be good humored about the problem. The good-natured approach is impressive considering our departure time of 8:40am this morning from Cincinnati. Added to the four hour time change, this is a very long day of travel.

As long as the day seems to be, the view from the plane flying into Anchorage has made the experience worthwhile already. The ruggedness of the mountain terrain around Anchorage is a phenomenal sight. As we flew over the Rockies earlier in the day I commented to a fellow passenger how much I had loved the mountains when I lived in Wyoming. The sight of the Rockies rising up toward us was like seeing an old friend. Many, many great memories came flooding back to me. Now, upon seeing some of the mountains of Alaska, I have a new love, and I have yet to set foot upon them.

Our flight from Salt Lake City to Anchorage took us right along the coastline of Alaska. For the majority of the flight, the skies were clear and we had a wonderful view of the Pacific coastline. We got a bird's eye view of the magnificent Prince William Sound . Even seeing the sound from the air, it's easy to understand how tragic the oil spill damage must have been.

As we approached Anchorage, a local fisherman sitting beside me on the plane explained to me the nature of the ice that filled the bay. All of the ice was in small chucks. The tidal currents never give the ice the chance to build up. The water movement in the bay seems to work like a giant ice crusher. I was also educated in the ways of Alaskan shrimp fisherman. He was very anxious to get back so he could get out on his boat. This, I was informed is shrimp season. I was under the impression that most of the fishing would be in warmer months but as I learned today, the shrimp head to deeper water in warmer months.

Catches are much better when the shrimp are still in the shallows. My first day here, not even at my destination yet, and I have already learned something new and seen some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

My trip so far, a long trip but a very good day.

This is a view of the Alaskan Range from the Anchorage airport. An overcast day, but impressive nonetheless.

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