Spring has come to the Great Land in full force, with snow melting all over, landslides blocking roads and ice dams flooding small towns. But that’s life up here; we’re a lot closer to nature untamed than most of the more-developed Forty-Eight.
Last weekend Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. took a drive up to Denali, just to see how the springtime was looking that far north. We hit some light snow around Broad Pass, but it wasn’t sticking, and the highway remained clear and no more than damp. It was a pretty drive, but north of Talkeetna there is still a lot of snow on the ground. If any of you ever visit Alaska, this is a beautiful drive any time of year (although it can be a bit dodgy in winter) but in summer it’s one of the greatest displays of scenery you’ll find anywhere.
What’s really fun to contemplate, and what is hard to wrap your mind around until you’ve been here a while, is the scale of this place. There are a few places in my old Colorado stomping grounds where you can park your truck and walk for twenty miles before you cut another road. There are lots and lots of places up here where you can walk for a few hundred miles and never see any signs of humans. There are places along the Parks Highway where you can walk due west and hit the Bering Strait before you encounter anything built by humans. Oh, there are some villages out in the bush, but they’re pretty scattered, and it’s a big, big country out there.
And that’s a big part of the appeal. This is the only place I’ve ever lived where I have never felt hemmed in.
Back to spring arriving. I’ve been going over fishing tackle. New line on the reel, checking that I’ve got all the spinners, lures, and so forth that I’ll need. Last year we didn’t meet the residency requirements; this year we have no such issues. Let the fishing begin! There are a bunch of salmon, trout and maybe some halibut with my name on ’em.