This past summer I got to go on a summer vacation. It was the first time since high school that I wasn't either working or taking classes. With my Dad's encouragement, I decided to leave my old job two months before I needed to be here in Minneapolis to start school.
A little bit of background about me... I just graduated from my undergraduate program at the University of Washington in December 2005, I'm from Seattle, Washington, and I was born in Alaska. Every summer my dad's family spends the summer up in Kenai, Alaska fishing for Sockeye salmon (Reds). For years, my dad has been trying to get me to take the summer off from work or school to come fishing with the family and this summer I was finally able to! I had a really great time, and here are some of the highlights.
Someone you probably haven't heard of, unless you are familiar with Alaska, is Hobo Jim. I hadn't heard of him before until my Uncle Bob took me to see him at BJ's ( a bar in Kenai). Below is a picture of me getting ready to beat on his chest at the concert. I was pretty freaked out about beating on an older guys chest, but everyone reassured me that it was part of his show to have ladies come up from the audience and beat on his chest while he singe the yodeling song. I really liked his music, it's the folk-rock stuff that I just can't get enough of. My Uncle Bob bought me one of his CD's and I got it autographed.
Here's a picture of the first fish I caught! It wasn't the biggest fish we caught, but there is something about having a picture of the first fish of the summer. The salmon run came into the river about 2 weeks late this summer, so the majority of the 2 weeks I was there, there were very few fish in the river. During the last two days I was there, the fish suddenly arrived! You could stand on the bank and catch one fish after another, very exciting. I brought about 10lbs of freshly frozen salmon fillets beack to my boyfriends mom. After I left though, my family was still up there, and they were catching 6 fish per person- per day. They came home with two chest freezers FULL of fish! So cool.
And here is what the beautiful fillet's look like!
So the fishing's all good, but my favorite part of Alaska is the wildlife when it's alive, rather than headed for dinner. This Moose is a two year old bull. He wandered through the camp a few times. This time I got to get some pretty good pictures of him. I could have gotten closer, but moose are pretty dangerous, so I kept my distance. I didn't see bears this summer. Two summers ago I was up in Alaska for a biology class, we spent 6 weeks in rural southwest Alaska studying salmon biology, and we saw TONS of bears.
I'm really really glad that I took some time off this summer between work and school starting up again. It was a much needed break from the daily grind and the timing worked out really well. So if anyone is reading this and thinking about coming to grad school, I highly recommend taking a vacation if you can!