Farewell Sitka: Best of, Worst of a Year on an Island in the North Pacific

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

U.S.A. and Alaska
Alaska Day flag raising ceremony on Castle Hill

Best Catch (2-way tie): 20lb. King Salmon, June 6; 50+lb. Halibut (thanks, Tyler), July 17

Me and My Fishy
Me and my King Salmon

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

Salmon Lake Cabin
Salmon Lake Cabin

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

Girls on the Run 5k Prep
Preparation for the Girls on the Run 5k

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!

Captain Steve Demmert at work during a herring opener.

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

Chris and his Sing-alongs
Chris singing at the shuffleboard table.

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

Along the Icy, Snowy, Impassable Trail We Go!
Braden along the Icy, Snowy, Impassable Trail

Favorite Trail: Beaver Lake/Herring Cove

Best View: Top of Verstovia on a sunny day.

View from the top of Verstovia, looking toward Silver Bay

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!

5 thoughts on “Farewell Sitka: Best of, Worst of a Year on an Island in the North Pacific”

  1. Awesome!! I was just in Alaska at the end of August/beginning of September–my sister lives in Fairbanks. Our drive through Denali was beautiful, but it was so cloudy that there was (alas) no view of the fabulous Mt McKinely until (ironically) we were back in Fairbanks. I’m actually posting about that on Monday.
    Anyway, glad to have found someone else who loved Alaska!

    1. The Proposal was actually filmed in Rockport, MA. Disappointing, huh? After living in Sitka for several months though, I did re-watch it and found that there are two brief clips of Sitka that are only scenery. Most everything else isn’t quite right, for example: there was high speed internet throughout town (not dial-up), Boeing 737s fly in and out of Sitka daily on Alaska Airlines (not small propeller planes, but yes, there are a lot of sea planes!), and Ryan Reynolds’ family doesn’t own half the town (though the Hames family is a big name there)!

      1. I kind of figured it wasn’t based on reality. It is a movie, after all. I didn’t realize it was filmed in MA–the other side of the country from Alaska and Sitka. Pretty funny. Much closer to New York though. That part makes perfect sense.

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