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12/24/10

One of My Favorite Places

From 1968 - 1973 we lived in Kodiak, Alaska. It was the longest we ever lived in one place.

Kodiak is a island in the Gulf of Alaska, home to the Kodiak bear, (brown bear grown extra large), and the king crab. When we moved up there in 1968, the town was still recovering from the quake of '64. The quake wasn't as big a problem like it was in Anchorage, but the ensuing tsunami wrecked havoc on the town.


In 1968, if you turned right when you exited the Navy base, (they left in 1972 and it became the largest Coast Guard station), there were two miles of pavement, the rest of the eight miles into town was unpaved. At some point they paved the main road all the way into town to just a bit past the High School. All the other streets in town were unpaved.
If you turned left there was 500 feet of pavement, then gravel roads for about 40 miles and that was it - the end of the line. There was one blinking yellow traffic light on the whole island and that was on the base.
I remember asking my mom if we were isolated.

We would have picnics in the snow with the Scottish Highland cattle, who lived outside all year long. Sometimes you would have to shoo them out of the road.

Other times you'd need to adjust the road to the width of your car:


We were too far south to have six months dark, six months light, but in winter we went to school and came home from school in the dark. When I was older I could stay out until it was dark in the summer, about 11 PM. It was light again around 4 AM. We had blackout blinds on all the windows.
On the longest night of the year when it never got dark enough to see the stars, Mom and I would stay up and play Canasta until it was light again.

Williwaws came down off the mountains and the freezing howling winds would cause road condition Charlie (only emergency vehicles on the road). Dad would get stuck out at the ComSta (communications station) which was ten miles away at Holiday Beach.

Old Woman Mountain

Each morning, breakfast cereal was accompanied by the sound of C-130's and other SAR planes warming up outside the hangers across from our house. (I love C-130's, they have a comforting almost maternal look to them.)
When I see a box of Frosted Flakes, I hear my dad's spoon slowly clinking against the side of his coffee cup and plane engines.

The view from our living room window

C-130 landing on ice. Amazing pilots.
View from our dining room in summer - note the mountain, Barometer.

Winter. Where's Barometer?!

So many memories. Picking salmon berries or low bush cranberries on Pillar Mountain. Having a heat wave at 70 degrees!  Making snow ice cream. Walking home from my friend Judy's house feeling like I was the only person in the world, big fat snowflakes falling and the lone sound being my boots crunching in the snow. Feeling so lucky I got to live in such a beautiful place.

(All the pictures were taken by my mother with her beloved Minolta)





4 comments:

  1. Those pictures are amazing! Thanks for sharing some childhood memories.

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  2. Kim that is such a rugged but beautiful land and I have always wanted to travel there but it is so very far from Halifax, NC. Your mom did a wonderful job of taking the pictures. Thanks for sharing.
    Odie

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  3. Thanks for sharing Kim.. beautiful words for beautiful pictures.. I enjoy your blog so much.. I hope you have a good Christmas despite all that is going on in your world.. Love you, Cousin Lisa...in FL

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  4. Hello??? I have to thank you for the AMAZING pix of Kodiak, AK. I was flabergasted to see something that was so familiar to me. I was stationed there in 82. It was kind of a BIG deal, because they had finally reached "double digits" w/10 females being stationed there! LoL. Funny to think about that being a "deal" at all... I have a daughter in the Coast Guard now and another daughter who is going off to CG basic in Aug. Anyway... your mothers pictures are AMAZING and I thank you.

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