Sunday, July 31, 2011

Anchorage

Era airline plane
The flight back from Kaltag on the Yukon to Anchorage could have been really nice- if it had not been forced upon me under these unpleasant circumstances. Kaltag is a little native community with about 150 people. There are no roads to Kaltag and the only means of transport is either boat or plane. The only way to get to Anchorage was by plane and I booked that flight immediately after arriving. You book over the phone, but you can either pay by credit card or in cash. Almost all the airstrips in these little communities are pure dirt. We were given a ride to the airstrip by the local airline agent who is collecting and delivering cargo to the plane as well. The plane was tiny and the pilot a spotty 20 year old with cheap sunglasses. He did everything from loading the cargo and our luggage to giving safety instructions ("Read the paper in front of you"). And off we went getting a last glimpse of the Yukon from above. I felt so sad about having to leave that I cried looking down on the river.

Yukon from above
We landed in Kaltag where we had paddled through several days before and changed into another plane. This time we were the only 2 passengers....The flight from Galena to Anchorage was much longer and the route left the Yukon immediately - so no more nice views. In Anchorage I had another challenge to master and that was going through immigration. We had only done the immigration process over the phone in Eagle and still needed stamps in our passports. I had anticipated big problems with immigration since we had come into the US in a very unusual way - but the officers were incredibly friendly and gave us no trouble.

Pike - the Iditarod dog
Adrian's premature bail out had been unexpected and therefore I had had no time to plan what to do next. I was also still under shock from the events and felt mentally paralyzed. Luckily I had arranged earlier to stay with Matias, a friend of Triple Crowner Skittles.When I had called Matias from Kaltag he had luckily agreed to take me in earlier and even picked me up from the airport. I must have been a mess these first days. I still had to digest the unhappy events, change all my travel plans and come up with what to do in my last days in Alaska. Matias lives in a wood cabin in the mountains around Anchorage with 2 huskies, electricity, but no running water. I loved the place - and the dogs. One turned out to be a real celebrity: He had participated in the famous Iditarod race. I was thrilled! So, after 2 nights at Matias' place I had changed my flights and made up some plans for Alaska: I was going to hike in Denali National Park.

1 comment:

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