“Hey baby I just want to take you home,” the Ouija Beegees song ‘Twilight Zone‘ starts out. “Get high and watch the Twilight Zone.” — and who doesn’t, I guess? Or at least you can let the song take you there.
I was walking back to my car with the wife and kiddo at the end of the parade when some guy in a mini van pulled up next to us.
“What’s going no here? What is all this?” he asked, gesturing to the swarms of people and barricaded streets.
“It’s a parade!” I said. “Actually the 70th Annual Winter Parade,” I added, like I knew what I was talking about.
“Huh,” the guy said. “What’s it for?”
I had never thought about that before… “I don’t really know. They do it about this time every year — probably because it’s winter time and everybody is looking for something to do.”
On my first trip ever to Alyeska Resort it was dumping snow the night we pulled into town. And when I say dumping, I mean DUMPING snow. Big fat flakes fell in sheets as we sat inside Girdwood Brewing and amped ourselves up about our the next day on the mountain.
I was a little nervous, I’ll admit. It was my first time at Alyeska — a mountain known for being “steep and deep” — and also my first time EVER snowboarding at a real ski resort. I was still leaning to snowboard, and the steepest hills I had seen thus far were the mostly kid-friendly slopes at the Homer Rope Tow. Even then, I was shying away from the toughest runs, which are smaller than Alyeska’s bunny hills.
When we woke up the next morning, there was nearly 3 feet of fresh snow at the top of Mount Alyeska. You could hear avalanche bombs exploding in the distance as the sun made a slow ascent above the peaks, and we were stoked.
I didn’t even know what a freshwater “whitefish” was when I applied for a permit to spearfish them. I’ve lived in Alaska for 7 years now and never drawn a tag. I’ve put in for moose and mountain goat and Kodiak elk and a bunch of other things with no luck. So I figured my chances of getting a whitefish tag was slim to none.
Then, in August, I got an email back from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game awarding my first ever Alaska draw tag: to spearfish whitefish in the Chatanika River near Fairbanks. Me and my friend Dan were the only 2 people on the Kenai Peninsula to earn a tag.
It is September in Alaska, which means the fishing season is finally slowing down for us fishing guides in Homer. It also means that we have more time to hang out and goof off with friends since we’re not offshore fishing seven days a week.
A few days ago I caught up with some of the guides from Pig Problem, Inc. and went out for a little target practice. Most of these guys do thermal night hunts for hogs out of Americus, Georgia during the winter months and work on fishing boats in Alaska during the summer.
Ring leader Maximus Maximum was training up a new recruit and refreshing skills with handgun drills to put down charging boars or cardboard hitmen or something like that. I really just tagged along to take photos and smell gunpowder.