Jul 15, 2006

BELLINGHAM, Washington: Age eleven, I skidded around the ferry terminal. Sugar-propelled, I hummed and hopped, watching my reflection in the windows: a small, fierce blonde child superimposed on saltwater.

“That boat's going to Alaska,” my father interjected.

My orbit stopped. Alaska. Land of the Midnight Sun. Dog sleds and kayaks. Wilderness areas the size of states. Even the ferry had a frontier anarchy air with its gypsy patchwork of tents. Alaska!

The ship slid from the dock, my dreams churning in its wake. I wanted so very badly to go, go, go, get gone from the tulip fields, the silage and sleech of Skagit Valley.

Two decades later, I'm finally underway.

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