When I travel, I almost never add extra time to the trip for sightseeing. I always have work to do at the bench at home, plus a book to edit and family stuff to take care of.
But during this week in Anchorage, Ak., I had almost a whole day free, and several of the members of the Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association took it upon themselves to give me a crash course in life outside Anchorage.
We drove down to Seward with Jonathan Snyder (a biologist and the famous Alaska Woodworker) and Paul Rupple (a FedEx pilot and a member of the board of directors of the Alaska SeaLife Center) serving up a fascinating commentary on the wildlife, geography and history of the scenery unfolding out the windows of our minivan.
In Seward we toured the Alaska SeaLife Center, where I pet a sea anemone, got up close with an amazing array of shore birds and saw marine animals aplenty. Ever wonder what seal tastes like? Jonathan tried to describe it. I think it would be good in nugget format.
Lunch was a landmark for me: My first piece of fresh halibut. In high school I worked for three years in a fish store, band sawing frozen halibut. That is where I developed my love of the band saw and my dislike of cleaning a meat-cutting band saw. (Wood-cutting band saws are much easier to clean.)
Oh, fresh halibut is %$#&* amazing.
On the way back to Anchorage we stopped at the Byron glacier and climbed up to it. We climbed up to a glacier. A glacier. Dang.
Then we headed back to Anchorage so I could speak to the club about workbenches.
Alaska – at least the small part I saw – is intoxicatingly beautiful. I hope I can return before too long.
— Christopher Schwarz