A year ago I was persuaded by longtime friend, Ted Pettet, to join a group of guys for a fishing trip to Alaska.
That five-day experience lured me back for an encore visit, this time with my wife Kathy accompanying me as my roommate. The plan was to combine a little sightseeing with the majority of the time being spent fishing for salmon and halibut.
Our destination was Homer, Alaska and when we got off the plane in this fishing town on the coast, we were greeted by Dean Pedersen who had arrived four days prior to officiate a wedding. We grabbed our bags and placed them in a 20-foot boat for the short ride across the bay.
Our hosts, Dave and Carol Christy, have a beautiful home with a spectacular panorama of the Alaskan scenery of mountains, with every direction being another postcard vantage.
These mountains appear to grow right out of the ocean, which makes them even more impressive. Seeing the snow on all the peaks and glaciers in the high valleys creates quite a picture in the middle of the summer.
The harbor was bustling with activity as salmon trawlers were working their nets that were teeming with fish which were destined for restaurants in the lower 48 or the local cannery.
These fishermen used every daylight minute which coincided to a 20-hour workday in the land of the midnight sun.
To watch this firsthand and up close was a "Discovery Channel" moment. The Alaskans who live in these small towns and make their living by fishing the seas are certainly a hardy and tough breed.
Besides watching the fishing travelers I was amazed at the number of different species of birds I could see while sitting on the porch.
For me, the most impressive bird watching was to see the bald eagles feeding on salmon within a few yards of the deck. Eagles seemed as numerous there as crows are in the Payson area. The boat ride to the halibut area was a 35-mile trip with the camera in a ready position.
We saw more than 50 whales in a very small area with tails waving and spouts blowing water into the air. Playful sea otters posed for pictures as they were floating on their backs relaxing near the boat.
Besides the wildlife, the scenery continued to be spectacular with the active volcano, Ilianna, getting our attention as it jutted 10,000 feet into the sky.
Alaska is a destination that every outdoor enthusiast should have on their list of places to visit.
It will be on my bucket list for years to come. The abundance of wildlife and scenic panoramas in every direction will whet your appetite to see more of the 49th state in the Union -- Alaska.
This weekend enjoy the great outdoors, God's creation.