4th of July 2017: Valdez, AK

I’ve been to Valdez three times this year (first, second). And, the third was better than the first two.

We booked a fishing trip with Halibut Grove Charters months back, because a friend of mine owns/captains the boat and because Prince William Sound halibut are huge. It was a mother-daughter fishing day, and we’ll never forget… Mom brought in the biggest halibut and both of us were seasick for the entire trip – yeehaw.

The coolest part of the fishing trip was that we went past Montague Island to the Gulf of Alaska. These were the biggest waters I’ve ever been in, both in concept (wide open ocean) and reality (large swells, grey skies and rain). It was really humbling, and also nauseating. No thanks to the weather and sickness, I feel like I really missed out on experiencing something special.

C’est la vie! We pulled in 81 lbs. of halibut and rockfish, and we’re feeling psyched about feeding our friends and family fresh Alaskan seafood at our upcoming wedding.

We had grand plans to leave Valdez early Sunday morning and drive to McCarthy, but apprehension about road conditions slowed us down. The grey skies and rain didn’t motivate us much to move, especially since it was raining at our destination too. When Adam and I woke up to 1″ of water inside our tent, that effectively pulled the plug on going anywhere. While our camp spot was beautiful and on the water, it was also on soft earth and an incline. The downpour overnight settled below our tent, and we woke up in a small swamp. Ugh.

No fear – I biked into town, while Adam drove my folks and all the wet gear in. After a quick trip to the laundromat, we were settled at the Fat Mermaid for Bloody Mary’s and lunch. The rain didn’t let up enough for us to justify setting up the tent again or moving onto a new place, so we slept on the floor of Mom & Bill’s RV the next two nights.

We fished (did not catch), rode bikes into town (~12 miles), cooked delicious camp meals each night, and generally made the most of some rainy days in Valdez. I’m happy to report parents, kids and significant others did not lose their cool, and all still like each other today. And, on the last evening and morning – the skies cleared and were blue, and it was warm in Valdez!

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Icing on top: on the way home, we ‘swung’ into Chitina (a 30-40 minute detour, one way) to check out the Copper River and drop Adam off for dipnetting.

Happy 4th!

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