South for the...summer

SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Brochure weekend: before and after 



May 07, 2018
Monday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Friday Preview - A student reminded me of that 81-degree day last spring. The rest of the class nodded half with the wonderment of that glorious afternoon, and half unsure, as if maybe it didn’t happen. Last summer was a sasquatch, it showed up once in spring, then vanished leaving us all questioning whether it really happened. We did have that nice week in August, but by that point, the damage was done. 

jpg Jeff Lund 

I mention this because it was nice today, will be nice tomorrow, and for the weekend. I can’t help but wonder if this is our only shot at summer. I’m not a cynic by any stretch. I have Gore-Tex and am not afraid to use it, I’d just prefer not to, you know? I’d like real summer.  

It is interesting how much the mood can undulate with the weather. During college in Arizona, it was never a concern. I wore flip flops every day. Every. Day. Putting shoes on felt weird, and constrictive and hot. The pronounced tan line on the top of my foot was one of more treasured attributes of my fleeting youth. 

In California, it was warm and sunny. When it clouded and rained, people went crazy though the moisture was needed. Every year kids mistook hail for snow. Amateurs. 

Anyway, my mood isn’t that dependent on the weather. It can’t be. I still have to have a level of optimism that spring will stick around and summer won’t be a no-show. 

I don’t want to screw this weekend up, you know? We only get a couple of these per season at most and the winter ones are beautiful but certainly not warm. 

I am going to make this weekend a brochure. 

Monday recap - The favorite sport of a hooting grouse during mating season is to attract a mate. But as a leisure activity while waiting, grouse conspire to hoot hunters in circles. I spent 13 hours over the weekend marching through the woods on the same mountain and ended up buying meat from the grocery store. 

But it wasn’t a failure, though at times I did feel like never hunting again. I took a breath and a minute to appreciate the weather and the fact that this place is absolutely overwhelming. I set up my spotting scope and looked at a goat. Who gets to do that? I heard more hooters on the way down the mountain, but ignored them. It wasn’t that they had won, it was that I was too tired. I don’t know why I expected grouse hunting to be easy, or if I didn’t expect it to be easy, but did anticipate some reward for the enthusiasm which might be bordering obsessive. 

Or maybe it’s just something real to go out and do. Maybe there’s a sense of urgency now with technology trying to replace actual experience with virtual reality. 

That stuff scares me. It scares me that we think we are that helpless. Advances in medicine will certainly benefit many people and help them live better lives, no question. But we are obsessed with the easy, fast ways rather than committing to work. 

It wasn’t a waste of my time or the beautiful days to chase birds. I’m still finding devil’s club spines in my hands and forearms, but that’s part of it. It is a visceral experience. It was every bit the brochure I expected to be – beautiful, warm, but sturdy, tough and unpredictable. 

That, after all, is Alaska.




Jeff Lund ©2018
Jeff Lund is a Teacher, Freelance Writer, living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @alaskalund

Contact Jeff at Email –


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Ketchikan, Alaska

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