I packed my bags to the point of bursting seams and said goodbyes to the point of exhaustion. I shed a few tears as I said farewell to my co-workers from the last year and flew over Sitka one last time before the low-lying clouds obstructed my aerial view of town.
What a year.
So, I’m in my home in Seattle, where I grew up, sun shining without a cloud in the sky, and the thought of taking on a crowd of several thousand at Bumbershoot or Dave Matthews at the Gorge over this Labor Day weekend is overwhelming. I guess I’ll stick a bit closer to home and present my “Best of, Worst of a year in Sitka” list! Though there were several other adventures throughout Alaska this year, I tried to keep the list mostly related to Sitka, with a couple of exceptions, naturally!
Best Holiday: Alaska Day, October 18
Best Catch (2-way tie): 20lb. King Salmon, June 6; 50+lb. Halibut (thanks, Tyler), July 17
Worst Flight: November 1, trying to return to Sitka from Seattle, plane struck by lightning outside of Ketchikan, turned around to Seattle after being unable to land in Ketchikan, Juneau, or Sitka due to weather.
Best Beer: Redoubt Red, Baranof Island Brewing Co. Honorable Mention: Sockeye Red IPA, Midnight Sun Brewing
Best Party: Top Gun, May 28 with Juneau JVs and DJ Bone (thanks, Chris!)
Best Camping Trip: Salmon Lake Cabin, May 6-8
Best Concert: The Wicked Tinkers, May 21 Honorable Mention: Red Molly October 8
Best Sitka Community Event: Alpine Adventure Race, July 23 Honorable Mention: Girls on the Run 5k, May 14
Best Weekly Ritual: Beer on the porch of the Larkspur Wed at 5p.m., post-staff meeting, pre-community night.
Best Community Night (2-way tie): making pretzels in honor of Lent, photo-scavenger hunt.
Most Random Run-in: Matt and Anderson from Alta, Utah at the Larkspur, September, Honorable Mention: Steve Demmert outside Crescent Harbor, in town for Herring fishery, late March!
Best Housesitting: The Cunningham’s
Best Lunch at SAFV (2-way tie): Sushi Day December 23 thanks to Chris, Taco Truck Day, June, thanks to Vic!
Best Reality TV Show (2-way tie): Watching The Sing-Off with Nick (and sometimes Brandon), ABDC (America’s Best Dance Crew), Thursday nights with Chris and Brandon (“You always cease to amaze me!” -Lil’ Mama)
Best Bar Game: Shuffleboard at the Bayview
Best/Worst/Only trip to the ER: July 2, after epic fall when an unknown curb suddenly jumped in my way while running.
Best Milkshake: Harry Race Soda Fountain, Medium Chocolate Shake
Best Failed Hike: Coastal Trail in Seward with Braden, January 15
Favorite Trail: Beaver Lake/Herring Cove
Best View: Top of Verstovia on a sunny day.
Best Coffee Shop: The Backdoor
Best “Grind:” the Fiddle Grind, February.
Best Zags Basketball Viewing: the Westmark at the bar with Nick.
Best Burger: The Wade Brevick, Bayview Restaurant
Best Sushi: The Titanic Roll, Little Tokyo
Best End of Year Exploring: Walking all the public docks in Sitka with Brandon.
Best Night at the P-Bar: post-Coast Guard Christmas Party with Chris and C.G. friends.
Best Month of Weather: May, Honorable Mention: September, 12 straight days of no rainfall, new record!