Well, I guess this is as good a way as any to welcome a new year.
I'm trapped in Haines. Kind of like saying, "I'm trapped in Lake Woebegone" or "I'm trapped in an extremely pleasant library" or "I'm trapped in Zac Efron's bedroom." It's not fun to be trapped, but it's not necessarily true that things would be better anywhere else.
It started with a flight delay from Kotzebue, thanks to a lackluster volcanic eruption in the Aleutians. We managed to get to Anchorage and make it onto the highway, not yet knowing the exciting features which would mark the 3 days and 600 miles ahead. Honorable mention goes to the following:
- stopping repeatedly for the seasonal caribou migration,
- two international borders (for the same countries),
- driving through whiteout,
- driving through whiteout in the dark,
- one whiskey in a bar in Canada
- being pulled from a ditch by a tow rope and a friendly semi-driver with a sturdy bumper,
- a blizzard in the pass which reduced visibility to about fifteen feet, and....
- exactly one CD: Paul Simon's Graceland.
Arriving in Haines with two hours to catch our ferry, we found out it was canceled due to weather. More precisely, due to the 90 mph breeze whipping up Lynn Canal. Also canceled: the next ferry, two days later. Also all the small plane flights out of town for the next three days.
When I handed the bartender at the brewery my passport to prove I was of age (giving the old IPA cure a shot, my family's remedy for Life's Mild Disappointments), she asked what I was doing here. She told me they closed the pass a few hours after we made it out. Someone had run full-frontal into the snow plow, because the visibility was so bad they couldn't see it approaching them in their lane.
Were we idiots to drive over the Haines Highway pass in January, which in retrospect may have been what my dad was getting at when he was joking about not freezing to death? Maybe. Maybe it was just 2017's way of offering a really firm, memento-mori welcome to a new year.
Now getting back to work in Juneau is just a waiting game between me and Alaska's wide selection of sustained winds. We'll see how it goes.
In the meantime, a different kind of work.
I spent the winter holidays in Kotzebue, Alaska, at the tip of the Baldwin Peninsula, just above the Arctic Circle. Now that blizzards will no longer cripple a regular internet connection (...I think), I'll be posting a series of photos from Christmas in the Arctic, in all its snowy, twillight-y glory (but featuring a disappointing lack of sexy vampires if it's really Twilight you're looking for).
In the meantime, meet Quinn Iten. It's just a thirty mile snow machine trip out to camp to feed the Icelandic ponies with hay pulled by sled from town. No big deal.