Often times when someone asks me how I am doing I give the response that I am living the dream. Oftentimes that is interpreted as a negative thing, and while sometimes that is exactly what I am trying to say, most of the time it is really just something quick to say in response than an actual indicator of how I am doing. However, this last few weeks has been quite the opposite.
As I have mentioned in the past, by job often takes me to some pretty cool places. As much fun as I have had in the Philippines, Thailand, and Guam, there is nothing that could really compare to my most recent adventure. Alaska is just the perfect mix of so may of the things that I totally love. I have literally been living the dream.
On the work side of things, the flying has been amazing. I could do without the full day mission planning, but that is just part of the deal if you want to operate legally and safely. It has been incredible to get back down to flying at only 300 feet above the ground at 250 knots raging through the mountains of Alaska. I have been able to see moose and bears, and some of the most scenic views I have seen in my entire life.
On the flip side of flying, I had the opportunity to go out and explore more of Alaska in a Cessna 172 at a much slower speed and really just enjoy the wonder that is Alaska. It was a sort of pleasure cruise in the air with a great aviator who made the experience that much better. As someone who just loves everything about airplanes, it was amazing to explore this dream destination with my friend Chris, who is even more passionate about aviation.
One of the most spectacular things about flying in Alaska is the massive glaciers that are all over the place. It is truly something to behold how immense these glaciers are. They are so dynamic in their shape and color providing the bluest blues I may have ever seen, along with huge ice cliffs, and deep, sharp valleys. There really are not words good enough to describe how incredible they are.
To cap off this dream, I had the opportunity to get in some Alaskan fishing which was really the sprinkles on top of the icing on the cake. Then I got to eat the cake, because what good is cake if you can’t eat it? My first day down at the confluence of the Kenai River and Russian River started out great grabbing a couple of sockeye salmon for the first time, and then a couple of trout. Unfortunately, one of those trout snapped my brand new rod and my day was pretty much over.
With an opportunity to see the silver lining on a very, very dark cloud, we were delayed from returning to our families (which totally sucked) I was able to make another trip down to the river with a much more amazing experience. Having already literally snagged a few salmon, I returned to my favorite pastime and went after some trout.
It started out a little rough losing the first few through poor execution on my part. Thanks to a couple of crucial tips from my fishing partners, I was able to start landing some gorgeous rainbow trout and dolly vardens. I felt like a little kid reeling in the biggest fish that I have ever caught in my life. There are few things more beautiful than a stunningly colored rainbow trout in the midst of a the majestically forested Alaskan mountains.
In recent months I have come to realize how much more important pursuing my dreams and having experiences is when compared with having things or other status. That is why this trip to Alaska will always be one of my fondest memories. I don’t know that I have ever been more honest than right now when I say I was living the dream.