Well, here we are, in Alaska! Today has been rainy all day, in the 50s. And I have to say – quite surprisingly – I am loving this much more than I ever expected, which is such a blessing.
Our travel day was kind of what I expected, tough but doable. Thatch was kind of needy in the beginning of the day, which was kind of difficult to deal with on an airplane – but we got through it and that is what matters.
Scuppers was surprisingly quite well behaved, but jump in Colin’s lap a lot as she was afraid of the sounds of the plane. Pretty cute, and thankfully the flight attendants allowed it. We arrived in Alaska after our last flight on Alaska Air with a very helpful and cheery flight attendant. She was awesome and wanted to hear all about our lives on St. John, since we told her to come visit – I wanted to give her a shout out if she is following the blog. We really appreciated her taking such great care of us and making that last flight easy on us. We arrived at 7:30 PM local time to rain and clouds but even that first day I was shocked by how beautiful it was. My first time visiting Sitka was some 2.5 years ago in the dead of winter and while I thought it was beautiful, I didn’t see it as THIS gorgeous but I was terribly cold and had a bad cold. I just didn’t see it like I am seeing it now, now its totally different and I think in the winter I will appreciate it all the more. When we arrived, we were greeted by the whole family (except my sis-in-law and our 2 yr old niece who had an errand of dropping a brand new baby labrador puppy to her mother). Even though the last time I saw some of these people was 2 years and others was 2.5 years, and I’ve barely spent any time with them in person my heart was overflowing at seeing them and hugging them close as I
had wanted to do so many times before. Everyone was ear to ear smiles, even Colin’s brother Lee, as I hugged him and he said in his Lee-joking manner, “finally”. Hugs all around for everyone, it was one of those truly special moments I will never forget. When we got back to Colin’s folks house, we let Thatch and his younger three cousins get acquainted. Thatch’s oldest cousin in Alaska is actually Rafe, who is about to be 25, and then his other Alaska cousins are Becket (8), Finn (6 I believe) and Saylor (2). These guys were sooo thrilled to meet their baby cousin, they just stood there in awe of him taking him in, and when he awoke he did the same. The kids carried on loving him being awake and tried to do anything they could to interact with him and show him their love. Seeing them meet was another one of those moments I will never forget. It was just such a special, warm evening which was so welcome after the travel day.
The next morning we unpacked and got settled into our new digs, his parents B&B which are two units right off their house. We are so blessed to have our own space for the first time in quite awhile and it feels really nice.
Scuppers is fitting in quite nicely and found her stride early in loving the scents, smells and sights of Alaska. And the fish, she is determined to catch her very own salmon. That first day we ran some errands, drove around a bit and did some sight seeing. It was actually sunny outside and wow it was gorgeous! I constantly drove around with my jaw down, just simply amazed at how beautiful all the trees, mountains and town were. The town itself is nestled right in between the sea, with harbors full of boats and towering mountains still gracefully dotted with snow here and there. I am bound and determined for the duration of this trip to say not to any experience at any time (as long as the baby is being watched or is in a good mood of course). Whether I am invited to dive, or hike, or anything. I’ll do it. So far, its been lots of walks that I have said yes to and they have ALL been absolutely amazing. Our first walk was just magical, you walk through these woods that are so lush, so much more than I
ever expected being in such a cold climate. Moss was covering everything it can while other plants bloomed everywhere and vines shared their berries with us as we walked by. Through all the walking we have done, I am amazed at how well maintained and stunning all the trails have been. All of them are different and offer different experiences, but they have all been so gorgeous. We visited Totem Park, which shares replicas of the original Totem Poles which reside safely in the museum. These totem poles are from the tribe native to the area, the Tlingit Native Americans.
As we walked onto a grassy meadow that was once a battlefield between these natives and the Imperial Russians, ravens crowed their hauntings song above. With the ravens above, and the kinda of foggy, wet evening when I stood there taking in the history of the meadow it was impossible for me to not get a chill up my spine. In the same walk, we walked to a bridge and for the first time I saw salmon thick in numbers, just biding their time to lay their eggs and die. Since bears have been sighted all over (one deemed “aggressive” – I hope I don’t have to learn what that quite means) bear signs are out and our guard is up. Colin likes to joke that he attracts bears, hopefully he is wrong though I do want to see one.
Tomorrow I think we are going to go looking for bears actually. We will leave the pup and kiddo at home with the grandparents and go out with our guns in search of – well – I guess a little trouble. That’s pure Alaska right there, right? haha! Another time on our walk we saw an Eagle over the same bridge area, and while I have seen eagles before, this guy was particularly stoic and beautiful, perched in a branch above the river filled with salmon. Everyone of our walks has been so beautiful and special, from walking along the piers at the harbor, looking at the beautiful Alaskan hardened vessels, to walking along the shoreline and watching Scuppers try to catch salmon to letting the forests drive your imagination wild thinking of how fun it would be in those forests as a kid. Colin confirms that they were a bunch of fun, with his friends and their swords concocting all sorts of different “storylines”. It makes me excited for when Thatch is old enough to pretend, but even so Thatch seems to be thoroughly enjoying these walks as well, with his eyes wide and interested the whole time. Its so much fun to see Thatch here, enjoying time with his family, loving his special Grandma and Grandpa time especially. We took a few days to enjoy the better weather and figured when it got overcast and drizzly Colin would start working for Lee, his brother. That day was today but it went straight from no real rain to steady rain the whole day, and of course his work was outside. Thankfully, Dale, Colin’s Dad, got some overalls/bib rain gear out to him. Colin’s mom Cathy is
watching the baby for a little while so I could get some things done, like writing for the blog. I sure am grateful for those first few days though, just getting to get more acclimated here makes a big difference for me, and I have to say – while I never thought I would say this: I am in love with Sitka. It is sooo incredibly beautiful in ways I would have never imagined. The mountains are right on top of the town, encircling it in a half moon with the sea covering the other border. It makes for truly magical views which change every day with the actively changing climate. The clouds and fog meeting to blend and make one above the water and into the mountains is so stunning. The mountains themselves look like titans, and it seems as if they could leap into life with all their magnificence at any moment. I can’t lend enough words to the beauty of this town, truly. The houses are also so quaint and so many have stunningly vibrant flowers all around their yard. Who would have thought? Vibrant colors of flowers
in Alaska! But they are everywhere, and the grass and moss makes for a green more vibrant than any other green I have ever seen. This green is so vibrant it honestly rivals the beauty of the blues of Caribbean waters. I am just so impressed and amazed by this place in so many ways. The temperature doesn’t bother me either, it feels particularly mild, for which I am so grateful. Well, I will write more soon, but for now its time to go, I need to take a sandwich out Sawmill Creek Rd to my hubs, who is undoubtably cold and wet! That’s right, I am even driving out here. I do have to remind myself to keep right but other than that its kind of fun to drive here in a way. Never know what you may see…a whale or a bear would be so amazing to see, but safely of course for the latter! Hopefully I will have more neat stories soon but for now, please enjoy the pics of this awesome place!!!