A summer plan

I’ve found that it pays to make some plans for summers. Otherwise, you wake up one September morning to find that summer is gone, and you’ve done nothing noteworthy. So, here’s my plan for the coming summer.


Before home computers and the Internet, I don’t know how people planned anything. I can’t remember, but I suppose we used the telephone, snail mail and word-of-mouth. More likely, we didn’t plan, but just did stuff and hoped for the best. Nowadays, most of us use computers for all kinds of planning, including the kind I’m doing while writing this column.

It won’t surprise readers of this column to learn that fishing is part of my plan. My wife, Sue, is also part of it. So, at this point, I need to consult her, so excuse me while I do.

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OK, it’s now an hour later, and I’m back from consulting with my wife about what I’ll now refer to as our plan.

I’ve lived in Alaska since 1964, and have seen a lot of it. On the other hand, Sue hasn’t seen much of the state, so she was open to my suggestions. We both love the ocean and beaches, so we talked about that for a while. We’re a few years beyond tent camping, so we discussed lodges and cabins. We got out a map of Alaska, and spent some time talking about places I’d been, things I’d done and possibilities. We kicked around some ideas — a fly-in float trip down a remote river, bear viewing at Katmai National Park, a road trip north to the Yukon River — and finally settled on a tentative plan.

We plan to drive to Whittier, put our car on the state ferry to Cordova, which we’ll use as a base camp. If you have your own car, there are scores things to see and do in Cordova, no matter the weather. If it’s not raining buckets, you can fish in one of the nearby, road-accessible streams. If it’s stormy outdoors, you can spend hours at the Cordova Museum. Cordova is a small, Homer-ish town with an end-of-the-road feeling, but with all the “necessaries,” even a quilting shop.

Weather allowing, I’d like to charter a fishing trip for lingcod and halibut off Cape St. Elias. This is wild and scenic place that I’ve only read and dreamed about. We also want to stay in a cabin on an island for a few days, and maybe get in some fly fishing and beach combing.

From my past experiences with delays of one kind and another, we plan to stay at a lodge or B&B in Cordova for the first and last two or three days of the trip. This will give us a cushion, in case weather or other unforeseen events delay our plans.

Closer to home, we plan to spend a day at the Seward SeaLife Center. Sue hasn’t been there at all, and it’s been at least 10 years since my last visit. Some nice day in spring when there’s a minus tide, we want to pack a picnic lunch and go out to Captain Cook State Park for a long walk on the beach. Very close to home, we plan to have a few friends over for a big paella dinner, starring all Alaskan seafood.

Now that we have our basic plan, the rest is just a matter of a making a few phone calls, sending a few inquiries by e-mail, making reservations and writing dates and times on the calendar. We’ll add up what the trip costs and adjust accordingly. The main thing is that we have a plan and some fun things planned for this summer.

Les Palmer can be reached at les.palmer@rocketmail.com.