Golden tufts of grass offer a tell-tale that Shishmaref’s short summer has ended. In another two months, Main Street (shown here) will be covered in snow and snow mobiles, which are locally referred to as snow machines, will replace the few trucks as means of transportation. The ATV’s, known universally as Hondas in the Alaskan Bush, are pressed into service the year around.
We spent this last summer traveling and moving from California to Alaska. I had promised to start a blog when we finally settled in. With this promise in mind, I contemplated… “Where do I start?”
Where did the adventure of Alaska begin for me? There was the decision to apply for jobs in the bush. No, it was before that. The beginning started during our 42 day adventure to Alaska and back in the summer of 2009. Actually, that was not really the beginning. Before our trip, Jack and I planned and dreamed about spending a summer in Alaska for three years before our trip. We poured over maps. We read everything we could get a hold of about camping and fishing and roaming around Alaska. We subscribed to magazines. We checked anything and everything on the internet that seemed relevant. I would read a book and Jack would read a different one and then we would trade.We had no boundaries. It could be a boating trip. Maybe a car camping trip. Time limits would not hold us back. We could spend a summer. A whole year was not out of the question. The rule was no rules. We had a huge map of Alaska tacked up on foam board so we could pin ideas onto the map. It was exhilarating and revitalizing to research and plan this adventure.
When we finally had outlined our timeline and itinerary of our trip, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. Was that the beginning?
I thought about my personality. An Alaskan adventure was a metaphor of something true to my core. I have always wanted to be on the road and have always wanted to be outside where most people haven’t been. So the beginning has always been there in seed form. It was just a matter of nurturing the seed and bringing it fully to life.
When we flew into Shishmaref this summer and I saw Shishmaref from the co-pilot’s window from where I was sitting…tears came to me eyes. I inhaled a deep breath and thought…this is the beginning.