Saturday, January 16, 2016


I was hoping to see Juneau first from the air, anticipating islands, mountains and glaciers, but although a few mountains managed to poke through, a thick cloud cover was a good excuse to give into the temptation to close my eyes and drift off a bit. After all, it's well after midnight as far as my body knows, even though my plane is to land at 9:30 in Alaska’s evening sunlight. As we descend the clouds become translucent and tree covered islands and blue water become visible. The plane skims close to the top of a mountain and drops quickly onto the runway.

Standing on the escalator I get my first chance to look at at anything apart from directional signs. On a bench below I recognize Solan, the Wilderness Ranger who has arranged to pick me up. Our first stop is the supermarket to tide me over the several days before and after my time in the field, when I will stay in the Ranger bunkhouse. I hurry through the aisle, helped by the fact that supermarkets in Alaska are arranged exactly the same as supermarkets in RI.

Twilight is finally setting in by the time we arrive at the bunkhouse, but the apartment is white and brightly lit. I had expected dorm-like accommodations, but this is more of an apartment, with a livingroom/kitchen, large bath and a bedroom with 2 twin beds.  I am the only tenant for the time being so settle in for my first night in Juneau.

Friday, July 25, 2014


After months of planning, kayak practice and anticipation, I'm finally on my way to Alaska, to do my second residency with the Voices of the Wilderness, Tongass National Forest Artist in Residence program. 

This is my second residency with the Voices of the Wilderness program. My first, in 2011 was in the Chugach National Forest, about 575 miles northwest. It was a once in a lifetime experience that, amazingly, I am about to experience twice!

Having already spent a week in Alaska kayaking and camping with Forest Rangers, I feel pretty well prepared gear-wise, but not so sure about my most important piece of gear, which has aged 3 years and spent way too much time in front of computer screens.

So while I haven't yet escaped my hometown, and mundane exasperations like delayed flights and airport waiting areas, I am thrilled to be on my way to a guaranteed adventure!