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Sunday, June 24, 2018

THE BEST OF ANCHORAGE

Day 53 of the Lower Puna Eruption:
  • land covered by lava:  6144 acres
  • homes destroyed:  637
  • lava flowing into the sea:  0.6 mile wide
  • yet another 5+ earthquake at the summit
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed
  • the Jagger Museum will probably never again be used
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Conversely, yesterday might have been the finest day of the year for Anchorage, as the temperature got up to 65, the day was mostly sunny, the Summer Solstice is being celebrated and the Mayor's Marathon was held.  David Kiplagat just beat his brother, Paul Rottich, by one second, in 2:25:43.  Both went to the University of Alaska at Anchorage.

My day started with a view of Mount McKinley from my room:


Probably not, though.  My room faces Denali in just about this direction, but that just must have been a cloud formation.  On the other hand, this is a typical photo when seen:


I'm more and more beginning to think that was Denali.  I finally had a real breakfast after a week of hotel executive lounge mini breakfasts:


I remember the previous and only other time I was here in Anchorage, maybe a third of a century ago, also around the longest day.  I participated in a hydrogen conference at the University of Alaska, and after that was over, joined a salmon fishing expedition.  Paid a fortune to be taken by van with eight others a two-hour ride away to be dropped off at a river.  It was a total disaster (not the photo to the right):
  • There was only about a 50-yard portion of a river, where there were a hundred or more fishermen.  Only native Americans can fish wherever they want.
  • We were provided a long pole, line and a hook with some cloth material attached to it.
  • At this time of year the salmon returning upstream do not eat.  You need to irritate them so that you just snag the fish.
  • The river water was white, and very cold.  You could not see an inch below the top of your rubber wader that went up to the chest.
  • You had to elbow yourself between two others, no doubt annoying them.
  • People were snapping their pole so that the hook flew by your ear.
  • While you could not see any fish, every so often a salmon would bump into you.
  • For sure they were there because every few minutes someone caught one.
  • I could only spend 15 minutes in that river for my toes got frozen.
  • You then had to go back up the bank and wait long enough so that you repeated the process.
  • I caught nothing.
  • After a few hours we were taken back to Anchorage.
  • There, you could purchase salmon, which they packed in dry ice and styrofoam.  
  • Cost? Don't remember, but I'm sure it was more than $30/pound.  Then I had to carry it around before returning home.
  • Had salmon for dinner.
  • Next day went to the Safeway on Beretania and the same King Salmon was on sale for $3/pound.
Well, it turns out now that the Sheraton is a 15 minute walk to Ship Creek, where you can fish for salmon right close to downtown.  You need to purchase a license, rent gear and who knew what kind of luck I would get this time.  Here is a quote:

The state's largest city, population now roughly 292,000, got its start here in 1915 when a tent city sprang up around construction of what became the Alaska Railroad, which now has its headquarters a block from the creek.
The creek, which snakes from the nearby Chugach Mountains to the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet, features two main runs of salmon every summer, king and silver salmon.
"It really is a popular fishery," Bosch said.
With its proximity to downtown, it not only draws locals looking to drop a fishing line, but also tourists to either fish or watch the fishermen gut their take along the bank.
"The hotels right up here, we actually have people who stay in the hotels right here who walk down the road, right to the creek and fish in the creek," Bosch said.

Walking to the site, I wondered why there were no people (except for one or two obviously homeless people--and there is a very serious problem here, mainly Eskimos) nor cars.  Remembering that Anchorage has double the crime rate of the USA, I began to get a bit worried.  Well, nothing happened and I did get a decent view of the fishermen.  I saw no salmon swimming by, nor any fish being caught in the half an hour I hung around.  However, this photo shows what appears to be success, for it looked like a salmon was on the end of the green line:


I passed on actually fishing.  Saturday in Anchorage, however, was especially festive, for there were half a dozen outdoor markets and entertainment areas:


For men, you are a chum:



I got real hungry and went to my second Anchorage restaurant, Sullivan's Steakhouse:


Caesar salad, garlic horseradish mashed potato and half a pound of Delmonico steak, with beer from Alaska.  A simple glass of red wine was $14, so I skipped that.  I was particularly impressed with the Delmonico, which is a special type of preparation, not a cut of meat.  It was terrific, exactly how American beef should taste.

A took a short trolley tour, and learned a lot about the 1964 9.2 moment magnitude earthquake,which changed Alaska.  I will say more tomorrow.  A particularly interesting facet was home architecture.  What you see here is a yard with no home:


This is because many of the more expensive homes are underground.  Two, sometimes three floors.  The wind chill here can get down to -150 F, and this type of residence can get by with a winter heating bills of only around $50/month.

Another difference with Hawaii.  Our tides are like around 2 feet.  Last year in May we had king tides of 3 feet, breaking a 112-year record.  Waikiki Beach was threatened.  

Anchorage today?


25 feet!

Upcoming weather?  You'll rarely see this, and never in Hawaii:

Anchorage tonight:       SUNNY, with low of 50 F
Anchorage tomorrow:  mostly cloudy and high of 61 F.

This was Anchorage at 11PM last night.


No Denali.

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