The skidding of the tires against the tarmac awakened me. Seven and a half hours after leaving my residential home in Houston, Texas I arrived in my spiritual home in Anchorage, Alaska. Welcomed by a gentle breeze and 70 degree weather brings a sigh of relief, as Houston was experiencing 100-plus days constantly. Walking towards the baggage claim you see mounts of record fish and game for which the state is famous for. They really aren’t kidding when they say there is halibut the size of a barn door.
Before going to our hotel, my father and I decide to take a drive, and see how the city has changed since our last visit almost 1 year to the day before. Almost as instinct, we head directly toward Ship Creek to see how the local fishermen are doing. This is what we come to Alaska for. To participate in the annual salmon runs that inundate the state’s rivers with 5 different species of salmon. We see a few being caught here, but we head back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we are headed for the Mecca of Alaskan salmon fishing, the Kenai Peninsula.
After about 4 hours of driving, we arrive in Kasilof, Alaska. If you look at a map of the state, you would in no way believe that the distance from Anchorage to Kasilof is the same as the distance from Houston to Dallas. We arrive at our Bed and Breakfast at around 10 PM. We unload all of our bags and head for the world famous Kenai River to try our luck at some bank fishing. After about 30 minutes I hook up into a 12” Dolly Varden, a trout that feeds on recently spawned salmon eggs. After a photo, he is revived and released back into the river. We finally decide to head back to the B&B around 11:30 PM, just as the sun is about to set.
In the morning we are up and out of the door by 4:30 AM, just as the sun is rising. We arrive to meet our guide who is going to take us on the Kenai. When we finally arrive to our fishing hole, the surroundings are just overwhelming; the rushing water cascading over giant ancient boulders, the songbirds singing their happy tune to welcome the morning sun, and the occasional splash of a salmon leaping out of the water to make it upstream. With rubber waders on, we jump into the freezing glacially-fed waters. We tread against the raging torrent to make it to a reasonable spot to cast from. With this wild environment around me, it’s easy to get distracted from the fishing. This is when I realized that we must protect these areas, to keep them pristine. Man has already altered so much of our planet that we must now set aside more lands from being developed.
This is why I love Alaska. So much of the state is untouched, unaltered by man, and the atmosphere just radiates something wild. Where else can you grow a head of lettuce the size of a car? Where else can you find a traffic jam caused by a Wild Moose crossing the street? Where else can you see what the earth was like thousands of years ago, because it has been untouched by man? This is why I believe Alaska is the greatest place on earth, and a place I would love to visit again very soon. Who knows? I may end up even living there.
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