While true Alaskans don’t recognize the summer’s end until termination dust appears on the mountains, with Labor Day weekend wrapped up and temperatures slowly dropping, I think it’s time to close out summer 2020.
I’ve been holding the idea of Alaska City Girl in my head since I moved here last year. It only came into being after I realized that all the tip, tricks, and discussion I was having with Rachel, as she prepared to move, should be consolidated in one place. I finally caved and bought the domain in the early days of telework in hopes that by summer I would be able to regale you with stories of patio cocktails, lush farmers’ market hauls, and late night bbqs.
But here we are, and I haven’t written to you in months. I haven’t written in part because I was caught up with work and all the other to-dos that fill my time. Also, in part because I wondered if the blog was just another quarantine impulse doomed to the same fate as my attempt to cover my entire apartment in bold floral contact paper. But mostly, I kept waiting for that perfect summer moment. The moments that my two previous summers were full of, the moment where after one too many drinks on the roof of 49th State, I sat sitting with strangers at 4:00am on top of a parking deck watching the sun not set. The moment where at a bbq party of a friend of a friend I meet a local reporter and we swap stories of float planes and wide eyed tourists. That perfect moment of hiking the usual trails with packs of strangers, surrounded by messy groups of friends and soon-to-be friends, broken up by children who outpace us all, and spotted by teens trying to convince someone to “lend them a beer.”
This year, I cannot bring you any of those stories. And yes, I could write about the past. I could go on for paragraphs about the moments that Alaska told me, without hesitation, that it wasn’t quite done with me. But I won’t, because those stories are not the stories of this summer. This summer was different. Big, full, moments were replaced with small gestures of hope.
This summer began as I forced myself outside for a hike. For the first time, I felt comfortable and at home on the trails by myself. These weren’t the backwoods or remote areas, but well worn paths, for me though, this was a big step.
After that, I drug Rachel out. She and I enjoyed the melting snow and fresh grass.
Slowly things began to open up again and we explored some of my favorite spots! We cherished the opportunity to be out in the world!
Then the 4th of July rolled around and I was grumpy that there wouldn’t be a double header at Mulcahy stadium. With the rest of the country literally ablaze with protesting and counter-protesting, Alaskans held well attended peaceful protests that reminded me of all the good in the promise of America.
In late July, we celebrated national ice cream day and met Hank the moose in Palmer the first weekend of August.
August brought an awesome first for me--my first time ~real~ camping! I slept outside in a tent! I carried water that I filtered from a stream uphill to the campsite! I lived without indoor plumbing--Wild!
And I wrapped up the summer with a beautiful weekend in Seward.
This summer was not what I wanted it to be. I wanted to share with you all of the adventures I had curated in my head. I had already written bits and pieces of Instagram captions and blog posts. If I have learned anything from Alaska and Alaskans, it’s to adapt and overcome.
Who cares that this summer wasn’t what I wanted? It was still beautiful, fun, and memorable. I enjoyed every drop of sunshine, took in fresh mountain air, ate amazing food, spent time with family and friends, and went on adventures that will last a lifetime. As summer 2020 comes to a close, let’s not be sad for the summer that we had imagined, but celebrate the summer that was.
Cover your face, wash your hands, don't lick any strangers.