I guessed I just pictured it differently. I always thought of it like a big block of icy, white, slippery chunk of land. After all, what can a guy from a small half island in the Caribbean know about Alaska? So when my uncle emailed me with the proposal of traveling through that mysterious state, I did not hesitate for a minute and jumped straight to my Macbook and googled the hell out of it.
At the time, I had no clue that trip was going to mean so much to me. I could not imagine, only two months ago, how the arctic, specially the arctic, would change everything. I guess for only a couple of days I felt like a chubbier version of Chris Mccandless, hence the name of this blog.
We flew to Anchorage from Chicago, spent the night, briefly enjoying a couple of beers at the Glacier Brewhouse and flew early the next morning to King Salmon. Overall we would take fourteen planes, three bus rides and one ship ride in 10 days. Once in King Salmon we flew in a small seaplane to Brooks Lodge in Katmai National Park. Right of the bat the impact was powerful. Before the 1962 flying machine touched the water with a gentle splash, I could already see a young female grizzly roaming around the beach. This shit was real!! You have to forgive my naive enthusiasm, but where I come from we only have goats, horses and cows. Where I come from the wildlife is just not as exciting, at least not in land. The ocean is a whole different story, but lets stick to subject here. The big brown bear was probably 50 yards away as we unloaded the bags. We moved to the visitor center, got our “bear speech” (they should include a “wolf speech” as I later would find out on Dumpling Hike), then loaded my gear, my 7D and 300mm lens, 1.4 converter and headed to the platform. I’ve never been so threatened by wildlife before. The possibility of becoming prey had never crossed my mind until Alaska. I had to walk carefully and be alert at all times. Not even in my surfing days, when a shark was always a possibilty, did I feel such a strong fear of a close encounter with a deadly animal. At the end of our stay at Katmai, the toll was two face-to-face stand offs with wildlife: a lone wolf 8 yards away and a grizzly maybe 15 or 20. It was a magical start for my adventures. We were lucky enough to have gorgeous sunny days, perfect light, the bears performed beautifully, the bald eagles flew over the waterfall, the water was crisp and clean and so it began…
For more pictures from my Alaskan adventures click here