Would You Move to Alaska?

chad and lee ann

When I heard my former client, Lee Ann, and her husband, Chad, had decided to pack up and move to Alaska, I felt a tiny pang of irrational jealousy. When Pete and I visited Alaska, we wondered what it would be like to move there, and we liked the Wasilla, Mat-Su Valley vibe just north of Anchorage a lot. I  knew our readers here at PassingThru would be very interested to hear the story of how they decided to move to Alaska, thousands of miles from their family and friends in Minnesota. How Continue Reading

MORE PHOTOGRAPHY GIGS LIKE THIS ANYTIME

You might recall a post where I spoofed my reaction to one of Pete's daredevil photography techniques: he had stepped out in front of a speeding truck to get a photo.  Yesterday, he received a tear sheet of the ad from the client.  Here's Pete's version of the story behind the spoof: I keep my eye on Craigslist for photography opportunities almost daily. While in Alaska last year, out of habit more than anything I checked the Minneapolis Craig's and found an ad in which a guy was looking for Continue Reading

LOOK OUT!

Perusing freelance gigs on Craigslist while on vacation in Alaska - $0 Responding to ad requesting photo of Thermoking truck in "exotic" setting - $0 Noticing Thermoking truck idling next to us at a scenic rest area - $0 Taking off at high speed to get ahead of the truck on the downhill grade to Fairbanks - $0 Watching your husband step directly in front of a semi hurtling down a steep mountain grade to get a photo that pays him $300 for less than 10 minutes work - Priceless Continue Reading

OUTSIDE, SEEING

I despair on the morning of our departure when we are cleared for takeoff.  We are leaving Alaska and I have not seen Denali with my own eyes.  Uncharacteristically, I am in a window seat, a consequence of the first class cabin arrangement.  As I look out above the clouds, I am stunned.  Now The Great One chooses to reveal itself: icy twin peaks rendered bright by the sun. "You see me now," it whispers. We struggle upon our our return.  Everything is different, off balance, needing more Continue Reading

POTTER MARSH

Anchorage has a green belt, mudflats, trail system and abundant opportunities for wildlife viewing.  So, why, on our last full day in Alaska do we choose to spend most of it on a boardwalk close by a major highway?  Because that's where the birds and spawning salmon are. When we enter the parking lot for Potter Marsh, we see a hand-lettered sign warning us to lock our cars and leave no valuables to temptation.  Other hand-posted notifications cite bird species observed and warn of bears.  Continue Reading

FRONTIER TEACHER

Part 2 - Stories of Women in Alaska A feisty schoolteacher making waves at the turn of the century in frontier Alaska sounded like the perfect subject for the next read. Hannah Breece came to Alaska in 1904, assigned by the U.S. Department of Education to establish schools for Native and Russian children.  Her timely view throughout her 14 years in the Frontier was that her purpose was to bear educational gifts and benefits from the U.S. government and civilization itself. Jane Jacobs, Continue Reading