Our last week in Anchorage was an abbreviated one. We closed the show on Friday night in order to give the trucks the weekend to make the drive down the Al-Can Highway to Eugene. With that, the week went by very quickly.
I spent the majority of Monday working on my final self-portrait for my 365 Project. It was kind of a comedy of errors getting the photo done. I drove up towards the Anchorage Overlook, trying to find an appropriate roadside spot for the shot, and as I pulled over to one such spot – my car got stuck in a snow bank. I spent a few minutes trying to dig it out when another car pulled over. As luck would have it, it was Paula and Matt, two of the actors from the show, who were on their way up the mountain to walk their dogs. Matt tried to dig out around my tire with the ice scraper from their car, but that wasn’t working – so we went back to their rental house to pick up a better shovel. After about an hour and a half of messing around with this (poor Matt tried his best to dig the car out), a big pick-up truck pulled over and the guy who was driving it, hooked my car up to his truck with a chain, and pulled it out of the snow that way. By the time it was all said and done, I had totally lost any excitement or motivation to try and take my photo. Anyway, I finally did get it done, and then I drove back down into town, and Ryan and I went for lunch at Snow City Cafe. I spent the rest of the afternoon processing the photo and typing up my 365 notes.
I honestly have no recollection of what I did on Tuesday. How sad that without having a 365 shot to look back to, I have no idea what I did. Hmm. I do remember driving out to the water after the show on Tuesday night to take some photos of the sunset. That’s right – SUNSET AFTER THE SHOW! Crazy, right? When we first arrived in Anchorage, the sun was setting at about 9:30pm. By the time we left, two and a half weeks later, it was setting at 10:30pm. It was pretty nutty getting out of work that late and it still being light out. I actually really loved it. I imagine the opposite – it being dark all but five hours of the day during the winter, is majorly depressing though.
On Wednesday, Ryan and I drove back up to the Anchorage Overlook, being careful not to get the car stuck in any more snow banks 🙂 We walked the little half mile trail to the overlook spot and took some photos of the view. Unfortunately it was quite hazy out, so the mountains in the distance were pretty faint. If I had been in a better mood to take some photos up there on Monday, I probably would have gotten some nice shots. Monday was a much clearer day – so clear in fact, that I could see Mount Redoubt and her smoky plume off in the distance.
After that, we attempted to hike Blueberry Hill, a fairly easy trail of about two miles in length. There was, however, so much snow up there, that we couldn’t follow the trail – and there was a real lack of signage. So, we kind of walked and climbed around for about an hour and a half and then called it quits. It was also a lot colder up on the mountain than it had been down in town, so we were a little underdressed and getting chilly. Still, it was a nice afternoon and I’m glad we made it up there before leaving town.
On Thursday, we had lunch at the Moose’s Tooth, a delicious pizzeria and brewhouse. We had been hearing about the amazing pizza there for two weeks, and we finally found the time to fit it in – I’m so glad we did! After that, we drove over to Earthquake Park, a small park on the Coastal Trail, that still has evidence of the 1964 earthquake in the form of buckled trees and sunken land. It was interesting to read about the effect of the earthquake, and the tsunamis that followed. Being from California, I do find it kind of funny how much the 1964 earthquake is still talked about in Alaska. I mean, I know it was a big deal – but it was a long time ago – it just doesn’t really seem like it should be news anymore. We walked around the park for a bit, sort of hoping to see a moose – there were lots of fresh droppings and tracks in the snow – but no luck seeing the actual animal.
We got a tip from Jovon that there were Dall sheep down at Beluga Point, so we jumped in the car and drove down there hoping to see some sheep on the cliffside, but alas, no dice there either! We had spotted some moose in Potter’s Marsh on the way down there, so we drove back to try and get some photos – but it was raining by the time we got there. We had no wildlife luck that afternoon!
Friday was all about buying presents and souvenirs. Ryan and I had our final Snow City Cafe lunch – I had the Crabby Omelet – so good! Then we drove over to the Ulu Factory to buy some knives. Ulu are traditional triangular knives that the Inuits use for a variety of things (even cutting ice for igloos!) – but would be good for someone like me for cutting up herbs in the kitchen – that sort of thing. We ran into Jovon, Ken and Wayne at the Factory, and we all stocked up on knives and other souvenirs. After that, Ryan and I did some more shopping around the downtown area for other presents to take home.
After the show that night, the crew began the load-out. It was not without some drama – again a good number of locals did not show up to the call, making things harder for our guys. And then as the trucks got to the weigh-in station, it was found that the sound truck was too heavy to make the trip (the weight restrictions on the Al-Can Highway had recently changed because of the thaw). So, a couple of our crew had to re-load part of the truck onto a seventh trailer to lighten the load. They barely made it to the airport in time for our flight.
And with that, the Alaskan adventure was over. I had a great time, and I know that I only scratched the surface of things to do and see there. I definitely want to return during a summer at some point and spend some more time seeing other parts of the state. It is such a beautiful place with so much to see and do – definitely plan a visit if you can!
And now – back to the lower 48!