The Joy of Travel in Bush Alaska

The TAT family just returned from a Christmas Break in the Lower 48.  It was quite the journey.

We ended up with an eight hour layover in the Anchorage airport.  I had booked a hotel and a rental car, but when we landed there was four inches of fresh snow and counting.  Steve took one look at the weather and decided he was not driving in it.

So, we slept in the family nursery that was blessedly shielded from the typical airport announcements (“The local time is three-thirty…”)

We landed in Nome about noon and hauled our eight pieces of luggage over to Bering Air.  That’s when the fun really started.

The weather was bad in both Brevig and Nome, so we entered a seemingly endless cycle of the following steps:

  • Calling the airline to see if they were flying.
  • Being told that the flights were on weather hold and to call back in an hour.
  • Calling back and hoping that the airline personnel were not annoyed with the calls.
  • Weather hold again.
  • Calling back again.
  • Flights cancelled.
  • Repeat the whole process.

This part of the journey was made possible by our friend Colleen who lives in Nome.  She housed us, fed us, and let us play Mario Kart while we waited.

On the fourth day we got a 2:00 pm phone call from Bering Air asking us to come in right now.  We rushed out the door, and Colleen drove us to airport.

Where we waited.

Because it had gotten foggy.

By 4:30 the fog cleared enough for us to take off, and we got to fly home in time to enjoy our last two days of Christmas Break.

It was a good reminder of the lessons for travel in Bush Alaska:

  • Everything is weather permitting.  Always.
  • “Hurry up and wait” will inevitably be part of the process.
  • Having friends in the travel hubs is invaluable.
  • Be nice to the airline employees.  They want to get you where you’re going.

It’s good to be home.