Alaska

After Peace Corps I moved to Anchorage Alaska to be with my parents whom I had not seen for over two years. I needed a place to call home, but more importantly I wanted someplace I could afford. Although I was then 24yrs old, my parents welcomed me back home.

During my first two months, I was only trying to stay warm. It was -20°F when I landed and did not get above 0°F for the fist week. I had been use to 90°F, 90% humidity. But the worst was the darkness. In mid winter the sun only gets 6° off the horizon, so if you are in a valley or on the north side of a building you may not even see the sun for the 5 hours it is up.

When I got to Alaska I was an unemployed aerospace engineer looking for a job in wind energy. However 2004 was a year that the Production Tax Credit was not reinstated. That does not mean anything unless you are in the wind energy business, in which case you hope that you are not laid off, or you are trying to get into the wind energy business, in which case you are met with endless frustration.

When things started to thaw out in the Spring, termed "break up" in Alaska & other colder climates, I got a job with Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation. Working at the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) was an offer I could not refuse, because it sounded like the next great adventure.

Kodiak is an island in the north Pacific famed for its bears and salmon. I loved the landscape and the people. The Blakeslees were my landlords, great friends, and Mark was also my coworker at Kodiak Launch Complex --it is a small town. Mark and Sharon are below. This picture was taken after Mark & I rescued his float plane dock from washing out to sea.

Mark & Sharon Blakeslee

And here are a few pictures of KLC and the rockets we launched.

KLC launch padLAUNCHFly out

 

 

About half of the time I would fly to work with Mark. Here is a video of us landing at Kodiak municipal airport (.MP4, 600kB, 42sec long). If you are having trouble with the .MP4 format, right click and "save as", then play with a .MP4 compatible player.

Many people find my work interesting, but they also are curious about Alaska. ...Well it is an awesome place. Alaska is huge, and pictures can not capture it. But below are a few pictures that try to capture Kodiak.

If you visit in mid winter, you may notice all the eagles hanging around town looking for a fee meal.

Bald Eagles on ice

Kodiak harbor with Heitman and Kashavarhoff Mts. in the background. I would play bagpipes on the docks and be greeted by fisherman from all over the world.

Kodiak harbor

This is the view from where I worked; Kodiak Launch Complex is on Narrow Cape.

Narrow Cape in the morning

This is the view from the top of Pyramid Mt. It was a windy, early summer day, so I was hunkered down in a sheltered spot to take this panorama.

Pyramid Mt.

This is Narrow Cape on one of the most beautiful of days. This where I use to work, ...except I was in an office with no windows up about 2 miles from the spot of this picture. But a sight like this still makes me wonder why I left.Narrow Cape Ranch

I also spent some time in Cordova, Alaska. Again a beautiful place with beautiful people. I spent the winter of 2005-2006 as the site manager of a remote tracking and telemetry station. It was the best time of my life. ...and again it is hard to capture the size, but these panorama try.

The top of Mt. Eyak in February 2006Mt. Eyak, February 2006

Looking north from the Cordova Hwy in May 2006. Cordova is at one end of the highway, there is a bridge at the other, the airport is 13mi from town, and a whole lot of wilderness in between. I once road my bicycle the round trip. I was the last person before the road washed out due to an ice jam. I also had a bush pilot turn his engine to idle and glide by to warn of a bear ahead of me.Cordova Hwy looking North

 

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Last update: 23 February, 2008