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A Visit Up North (Part One)

A delayed honeymoon trip to Alaska was a treat. Both of us had been to Alaska before, but this time we visited Don’s daughter, Melanie and her family. When he talked to her shortly before we left, she told us the weather up there was similar to what we were having so we took what we thought was the appropriate clothing.

When I had been in Alaska before the weather up there was warmer than it was here. We went in mid-May that year. While my tomato plants froze at home, I was removing layers of clothes to be cool enough.

This time the clothing we took ended up to be just right. The weather hovered in the fifties and high forties. We either added a sweater or took one off. The day we left for home it was 36 degrees so colder weather is coming up there.

Melanie shared with us that she was almost certain he would not make it to Alaska. Don told her to thank me, because I did all of the planning. She was one very happy daughter to have her father visit.

What a way to celebrate your birthday. Both Don and I celebrated our birthdays in Alaska. On my birthday we went to Melanie’s for breakfast. She had baked homemade sweet rolls. They were delicious. That day we said good-by to Josiah and Brittany who live in Fairbanks. This was my first time to meet Josiah, a grandson. They took a couple days off of work to be with us.

We stayed at Don and Ann’s house — we surely would not forget their names. Their home was a ways from where Melanie lived so we drove out there every night. It was also well off the beaten path. That first night it was very cold and we wondered if we had made a bad decision. We found out they had radiant heat so it took a while for the place to warm up.

They had a huge television, but got no channels. They view movies and had an abundance of them. We never did get the thing to work. I lent Don my Kindle to play some games while I read each night. We always got back just before dark.

The next morning, I made coffee. Next I hunted in the cupboards for some mugs. There were none. All I could find were two pans. That morning we drank our coffee out of those. There are just times when you have to you improvise. By the next day we had borrowed mugs from Melanie so we were set for the week.

We ate our breakfast on our own each morning. Then, we called Melanie to find out what was going on.

On my birthday we visited the Norman Lowell Gallery, that was their last day to be open. There was a tour bus there when we were. They stayed open to accommodate that. Barnabus, another grandson, is the curator at this gallery. We bought a small print that we will mount and frame. The ladies from church suggested that maybe we would find something in Alaska to spend our gift card from them on. We used our gift card. I just fell in love with the large original in the gallery as did Brittany. It is titled “Place of Rest”. Alaska was really a place of rest for us.

Then, it was on to Homer. Homer is a beautiful place with views of the ocean, the glaciers, as well as the mountains. Melanie took us to a viewing spot on top of a hill. We could see everything from there. She told us that a country star had a home built up there.

We rode out on the Homer Spit. Don told me that it was very crowded when they visited in August, but it was almost deserted now. Don treated all of us to supper, for my birthday, at a steak house. Sarah and Melanie were with us and she posted a photo that she took there.

Silas got home from his caribou hunt with 172 pounds of meat that needed to be taken care of. He and a friend had carried the meat through very rough terrain breaking a path at least part of the time. He was whipped.The lady Silas proxied for had no provision for her portion of the meat. She did not have a freezer or any canning supplies. Melanie got it all in her refrigerator after she moved things around.

Wednesday was the day to take care of the meat. Silas borrowed a professional grinder to make hamburger. It was all in packages by Thursday a.m.

While they were packaging, Sarah spied two moose right by the window. She told us the moose came to visit us. Don and I had seen a cow and calf the night before as we left their home. At first, we thought someone was running along the road, but it was just moose.

Melanie referred to the area around their home as the muskeg. The muskeg is sort of a wet area where all of the fireweed grew.

The rest of the family were up riding through Denali. Someone they knew had their name drawn for the trip. Only one name is drawn each year. One car could go and there was a hotel room to boot. They took sleeping bags along so everyone would have a place to sleep. Don and I decided that we had seen Denali so we opted not to take that nine-hour trip. Melanie and Sarah stayed home with us.

(to be continued)

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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