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December 27, 2003

greetings from 2 degrees

so it's nearing 9 oclock, and the sun is just now beginning to show some light above the horizon. the roof must have nearly 3 feet of snow piled on top, as do many of the buried cars stranded around girdwood, where we're staying, as well as in anchorage. i said i wouldn't complain about the temperature, and i'm not, but it's amazing how when you step outside, your first few breaths are so crisp as to startle and almost hurt.
in hindsight we should have spent the extra 40 bucks and got the more direct route, instead of flying through denver and having a 3 hour layover there, which made christmas day seem so much longer then it had to be. it was nice though, got some reading done, hung out with shannen and goofed around in airports, then finally we landed in anchorage and her folks were right there to meet us.
i told shannen as we were boarding the flight that you can tell alaskan people apart from the rest of the country. i guess i had it easy cause i could see who was getting on the plane, but in truth they all had a comfortable air to them, the going home feeling, plus they all had down jackets and pale pale faces. when the stewardess couldn't find my special vegetarian meal option, the lady seated across from us gave me a clif bar.
we were wiped out from flying all day and our faces hurt from laughing, so shortly after we got back to shannen's folks' house we turned in. the next day i awoke at my customary 8 oclock time, but was confused, as it was still pitch black out. shannen awoke next to me and i asked her the time, and she confirmed that i wasn't going so crazy. we whipped up some potatoes for breakfast and come 11 or so, it was mostly light out, though here in girdwood, which is 30 miles south of anchorage, you're situated in a valley, so it's cloudy and foggy quite often.
everything is recognizable, as i knew it would be, as long as you imagine it free from it's feet deep snow cover. driving down the alyeska highway, i remembered the girdwood forest fair, all the people dancing around in the sun. i viewed from the car window evergreens bent from the weight of snow, and icicles hanging from every manmade surface. it's good to be up here in the winter, all the good summer memories flood back, as will the winter ones next summer.
as we pulled onto the highway, there was a guy hitchhiking on the side of the road. of course we pulled over to pick him up, because in alaska everyone hitchhikes and most people stop to give rides. there isn't the fear you have in the lower 48, at least i don't have it, and the guy we gave the ride to turned out to be an affable, down home alaska sorta dude. he had just nearly died in an auto accident with a state snowplow, and was moving into a roominghouse in anchorage till his girlfriend got back from wisconsin, so that he could get to his job as a subaru mechanic (he said he was unsurprised that we had picked him up in a subaru). we dropped him off at fred meyers (fred meyers!), and then went looking for climbing shoes.
we spent the day, which consisted of sun from 10:30 or so until 4:30, buzzing around anchorage, looking in thrift and used clothing stores running errands (no climbing shoes yet, tomorrow gonna hunt some more). before driving back out here we grabbed a beer at the office bar, which is purported to have a bar that rotates but was broken when we went in. it had that sleazy vegas feel i love so well, though the right wing propaganda spewing from fox news turned me off a bit.
on arriving back out here, we walked to the chair 5 restaurant and grabbed dinner and a few pitchers of IPA. on the way there as well as the walk home there was much throwing of snowballs and i managed to hit the telephone line, which was encased in snow and ice, causing the cover to fall off for the entire length of that section and looking very cool indeed.
today we will go to the anchorage museum with shannen's brother, who just turned 21. then we will have dinner at the glacier brewhouse, which i haven't been to, though i'm assured that the food is as good as the beer, which is excellent.

Posted by bendan at December 27, 2003 10:38 AM

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