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Shortly before graduation from MIT I finally had the chance to take up my former roommate Chris on his offer of a visit to Alaska. With all the classes and exams completed, and more than two weeks left until the walk in Killian Court, we set out with differing goals. Chris wanted to go back home. I went along to see a place which I had only known from books and stories. Here are a few sights this land, not quite tamed, and definitely beautiful. And a few people I was fortunate enough to meet.

The Ketchikan Airport is located on Annette Island, and sports a full size 7000 ft+ runway big enough to land a C-5 Galaxy, which we incidentally spotted a few days later. At the airport, an impressive totem greets all visitors. A ferry carries all passengers to and from the airport. The town itself hugs coastal mountains, and forms a long strip along the channel.


Sunsets occur quite late compared to Boston, just because of the high latitude. The setting sun plays with cloud in a quite spectacular fashion. I spent several rolls one night trying to produce a good shot, but in the end borrowed the left picture from Chris (along with one other one).


Being true to my usual pursuits, I quickly found a rock gym to climb at and continued to expend film at a prodigious rate. Rock climbing ended up losing out quickly, but photography stayed, and I ended up lugging my equipment pretty much everywhere. After a while that extra 10 pounds becomes unnoticeable. The marker-and-spray paint mural of the woman climber, along with other murals, adorns the otherwise unremarkable rock gym building.


Chris quickly introduced me to his friends and family, and I spent quite a lot of time hiking, talking, learning to flick open a knife, trying a piano, shooting, and just generally seeing life in a different perspective Before coming to Ketchikan, I found such small towns suffocating. Not this one. Thank You.



Chris and Marika decided that it I should learn water skiing. Yes sir. Water skiing in Alaskan waters. Quite an incentive to remain above the water. And one of my favorite shots, made from a Boston Whaler bouncing along at 30+ knots.



The amazing rainfall (3x as much as Seattle) spurs the plant growth. An amazing variety of colorful flowers covers the shores of the passages and open meadows in the woods. And plenty of insects to go along.


Rainy? Yes, quite rainy. But the sunny attitude of my friends is infectious, and a little rain shower seems to somehow fit in with the general feeling of the woods. No wonder, its a rain forest.


First time in a while for me that I stayed in a house with lots of animals and made friends with a dog called Kimmy (or Kimmymonster)



After a bumpy Whaler ride, the five of us arrived at a secluded cabin. Again, some spectacular sunsets, this time right over Back Island, the site of some serious sound testing for...SSBN's. Seals seem to love it, too.


Perfect setting for a campfire.



Tidal flats provide some challenging rock-hopping for Tammy.



Tourism supports a large part of Ketchikan's economy after the pulp mill closed down. Two or three cruise ships drop anchor every day, and spew innumerable tourists. Joining them for one day, I discovered a charming town with a gratuitous sprinkling of souvenir shops. Since I had little dinero on me, temptation was not a problem. Some of the native art of Ketchikan fetches exorbitant prices among the retirees that visit and have money to burn. Staying immune to this shopping frency proved difficult, an I found to like some of the posters by Ray Troll. His store seems to be the local hangout of people who actually like art, and discussions I overheard there are not so different from what one may overhear in Cambridge.




Yes, Alaskans like guns. They hit a nickel at 100 yards. You got a problem with that, go talk to a grizzly first. Got plenty of those.


Alaska is a concept;

Texas, a notion;

California, a state of mind...

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