March 30, 2005

Happy Seward's Folly Day!

(Mt. McKinley at sunrise. Image courtesy of Alaska.Net.)

On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William Seward agreed to purchase Alaska from the Russians for seven million dollars.

I've been to Alaska three or four times, going to Katmai National Park to fish. The first thing that impresses itself on you about the state is its gigantic proportions. Everything is so goddam.....big and far away from everything else that you are put completely out of your reckoning.

The second thing that impresses itself on you is the beauty of the place. The southern part of the state - from Juneau on around to the Aleutians, looks like the Pacific Northwest on steroids.

The third thing that impresses itself on you is that once you are clear of the big city (Anchorage) you really are out in the bush. This came home to me as we tried to share the Brooks River with the local Kodiak Bear population. It can be a tricky thing. You would be amazed at how quickly and quietly a thousand pound bear can appear out of the scrub while you're trying to cast a fly. You'd be even more amazed at how fast you can wade to the other side of the river and get up the bank when this happens.

UPDATE: This past weekend I was chatting with someone from Oregon about the beauties of the Pacific Coast and mentioned that I thought Mt. McKinley (yes, Mt. McKinley, dammit) was around 20,000 ft tall. She could not believe it. Well, thanks to the marvels of the Internet, I see that the exact figure is 20,320 ft. Ha! You got that? Ha! Ha!

Oh, and if you're like my cousin and have been seduced by the dulcet tones of the Cylon-like Bimini GPS navigational system, McKinley's coordinates are 63 07' N, 151 01' W. If you ever decide to go, I'd strongly recommend writing this down on a piece of paper, lest Bimini take advantage of your complete reliance on her to lead you into an ambush.

UPDATE: I tried to send a comment to Jimmie congratulating him on the musical scoop (see the trackback below) but I done got Spam Karma'd. Evidently, the spam police don't like yipping.

Posted by Robert at March 30, 2005 11:15 AM

(sniff) The politically correct call it Denali.

Posted by: The Colossus at March 30, 2005 11:21 AM

Weeeeel, and so they do, God love 'em.

Posted by: Robert the LB at March 30, 2005 11:50 AM

Sorry about that whole Karma thing. Seems the fine-tuning still needs a touch more work to keep the spammers at bay while letting friendly Yippers.

Good news is that whilst you appeared to be a suspicious and unshaven malingerer to the spam program, it put you over into the "to be moderated" pile.

Posted by: Jimmie at March 30, 2005 03:30 PM

"The southern part of the state - from Juneau on around to the Aleutians, looks like the Pacific Northwest on steroids."

Yup. I'm a diehard Oregonian, and Alaska's the only state I'll defer to when it comes to natural beauty. It's only the Salmon-like instinct for home that keeps me preferring Oregon.

That and the fact that TFR would leave me if I tried to move us to AK.

Posted by: Brian B at March 30, 2005 07:08 PM

They called it sewards folly becuase we bought it from russia at the price of 2 cents a acre then they discovered gold and it was NORTH TO ALASKA and then some

Posted by: lonesome loon at April 4, 2005 03:22 PM
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