Off the Road, Finally.

I do apologize for not telling you all about our trip to Anchorage and back with the cross-country team. We left at 7am Thursday morning and made it to Glenallen by about 10:30pm where we spent the night, and then drove on down to Anchorage Friday, arriving about noon. (We did manage to make the wrong turn after supper at Fast Eddie's in Tok and drove about forty miles toward Fairbanks before we realized our error. That interior spruce forest looks the same everywhere. Also, we left the Caribou Hotel in Glenallen before the fire Friday night, so that's a near miss.) The weather was good-- and the roads clear, most of the time-- except for that rainy night on the wrong way road-- and early morning ice on the way home-- but really the roughest weather we encountered was in the Chilkat Pass, a hundred miles from Haines, where it was slushy and foggy both ways. Liam and I took turns driving the van, which rocked more than the ferry does over the waves of frost heaves, but we did stop at Destruction Bay on Kluane Lake for a stretch and 5K run with the kids. There was no traffic at all -- we saw six vehicles between Haines and Beaver Creek on the way out, but a few more big, long haul trucks on the way back. Also, there was no cell phone service. Apparently the providers see no reason to have it in the largest contiguous wilderness area in the world. I like that. On the way home we did manage to tune in the Satellite radio as we skirted the Wrangell-St.Elias Range.  Looking out across miles and miles of forest, swamps, and mountains,  true wilderness, while we heard the games played in Boston and San Francisco, was surreal. So, how did the team do? The girls were 9th of 10 teams, but they all looked good and finished strong. They are runners, and fit, just not very fast, and they don't seem to mind that. Except for the leader, Jolene, who finished 36th of 107 on her fourth trip to state. The course was hilly and a full 5K , rather than several smaller loops. The boys were much stronger, only they didn't qualify a whole team-- so were not scored as such. Blake finished 18th, Quinn 23rd, and Corey 43rd (I think, I don't have the results in front of me) but they all were all smiles when they finished. My daughters JJ and Stoli came to watch, as did Jolene's sister Crystal, and Corey's cousin Fred, and Carlee, a friend from Haines who also attends UAA. Alaska is a pretty small state that way. There are not a lot of high school athletes anywhere, maybe none-- who travel the distances Alaskan kids do for these events-- there were teams from Craig on Prince of Wales at the southern tip of Southeast, Alaska all the way up to Barrow on the arctic coast. In all, our team drove about 1,500 miles for the weekend run. We left for home right after the awards Saturday, spent the night on the floor of the Tok school,  got up early, ate huge waffles and drank milkshakes at Fast Eddie's, and arrived back at five Sunday evening, happy and tired, and I hope, a little wiser for the experience, and grateful that we live in such a place.


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