North to Alaska

18 10 2010


Alaska Day is a legal holiday in the U.S. state of Alaska, observed on October 18. It is the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States which took place at a flag-raising ceremony at Fort Sitka on Friday October 18, 1867.

Alaska Day is legally observed statewide, and is a paid holiday for State of Alaska employees. The official celebration is held in Sitka, where schools release students early, many businesses close for the day, and events such as a parade and reenactment of the flag raising are held.


On A River Bank, With All My Friends

10 09 2010

Yep, Alaskans are awesome! Thanks to lefty for bringing this to my attention!

From Every Mountain Top

26 08 2010

Yes I’m back in Tha Lou, but I can still post beautiful pics from the drive back from Valdez right?

I’ll probably continue updating the blog with some remaining AK pics, and also updates about life back in St. Louis.

Backdrop of the Wrangells


Summit Lake


Horsetail Falls

Smoke on the water

21 08 2010

I firmly believe that Valdez on a beautiful day is maybe just a little bit like heaven.  We went out at 6 for fishing, and it was a typical cloudy, misty, foggy morning in the harbor.  As the day went on and the cooler got fuller, we got to enjoy some spectacular scenery.  The amazing views on the drive down and back are really a whole other post to themselves.

Prepare to be jealous!

Alaska’s Flag May It Mean To You

20 08 2010

A couple weeks ago, Alaska lost one of it’s most beloved political figures.  Regardless of what you  thought about his politics, Ted Stevens played a huge role in making my state what it is today.  He and his staff were always friendly and caring, and he was always willing to meet with and listen to his constituents.

I’ve included one of many of the articles that ran in the News-Miner in the days following his death.

Six years ago, on a warm July evening in a northwest D.C. neighborhood, about 160 people gathered in a back yard to raise money for Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s election. The menu featured Alaska salmon, sizzled on a grill built from trans-Alaska pipeline parts. The cook was Sen. Ted Stevens.

Scurrying through the crowd of lobbyists, staff members, donors and other assorted invitees, his face red from the grill’s heat, the 80-year-old Stevens was elbow-deep in two great passions — politics and fish — and loving it.

Denied by the voters in 2008 any further participation in the former, Stevens continued with the latter. So the only good thing about the circumstance that ended his life Monday night was this: He was on a fishing trip to southwestern Alaska with friends when his final moment arrived.

Stevens’ death in an airplane crash brings to a close his personal chapter in the story of Alaska, but not his role in Alaska itself. The modern state was shaped by this man as much as any other, and his legacy will continue in perpetuity. And given the height to which he rose in the U.S. Senate, his influence was substantial in the national and international arenas as well.

Stevens was a driven young man who distinguished himself before arriving in Fairbanks in 1953 as the U.S. attorney. Raised in part by his uncle and aunt in Southern California, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps at the apex of World War II. He hoped to fly fighter jets but was assigned to cargo planes in Southeast Asia. Returning home, he earned a law degree from Harvard and went to work in Washington, D.C.

Sent by the Justice Department to Alaska, he caught the statehood fever and forged a lasting friendship with the former publisher of this newspaper, C.W. “Bill” Snedden. Stevens returned to D.C. and rose to become the Interior department’s solicitor shortly after statehood legislation succeeded in 1959.

Then it was back to the new state, where he practiced law and politics in Anchorage. In 1968, then-Gov. Walter Hickel appointed him to the U.S. Senate when E.L. “Bob” Bartlett died in office.

Starting with statehood, Stevens played a part in every piece of federal legislation affecting Alaska during the past 50 years.

From 1997 to 2004, he led the Senate Appropriations Committee, a position from which he steered billions of dollars to Alaska through agencies and creations such as the Denali Commission. He told critics that his earmarks fell within broad budget caps set by Congress, which, he reminded them, has the power of the purse under the U.S. Constitution.

In 1995 and 2005, Stevens nearly captured his Holy Grail — the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain to oil drilling. In ’95, a budget veto by President Bill Clinton killed the legislation; in 2005, Stevens’ effort to use a defense spending bill collapsed on the Senate floor a few votes short.

Ironically, Stevens was probably best known in recent years to the American public as the senator who described the Internet as a set of “tubes.” It was a perfectly accurate analogy, and, had he said “pipes” — the standard industry jargon — the world might not have noticed. Instead, he was mocked by millions watching the 15-second clip on YouTube. Those who actually knew about Stevens’ decades of detailed work in communications policy and his personal embrace of Internet technology were stunned by the misportrayal.

Stevens also suffered unjustly in 2008 from charges he had intentionally failed to report gifts. The prosecution’s behavior in the case was so bad that the judge vacated the conviction, but not before it cost Stevens the election.

Stevens pursued his vision of Alaska diligently throughout his life. Of course, not all Alaskans shared that vision at all times, and some were suspicious of his motives. But he worked with good intentions, dedication and skill that earned him the respect of people of many political persuasions. He could be irascible but also charming, demanding yet generous and thoughtful. His mind, like the state he served, was a big place where many interests and ideas competed. But always he sought the best for Alaska and its people.

Read more:Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – Theodore F Stevens Senator served Alaska to the end

I am Woman Hear Me Roar

18 08 2010

Last Sunday my mom and I went down to Valdez to fish in the women’s Silver Salmon Derby.  We did the first and second year and this year we did the sixth year.  It’s a great time.  We didn’t win the derby, but we did have tons of fun, and the water was filled with tons of cries of delight and good times.

Mom watches the pole.

Mom and I out fishing

We were short a first mate so I steered the boat while the captain rigged the poles, netted the fish, etc.

Me, Mom, Jane and Pudge with our limits of salmon!

Take two.

Notice the proximity of the rocks in the background.  EEKK!

Us and our fish!

Yeah woman gloves!  Wahooo!

But I Love To Fish

17 08 2010

Pictures from a truly splendid float down the Chena.  We caught a Greyling about every other cast.