Dangerously Daydreaming

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence

Welcome to Alaska

Yesterday I was inspired by a friend to share a snippet from one of my writing projects. I’m working on a book about my adventures in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Hope you enjoy!

The 727 shuddered as it dropped thirty feet in midair without warning and emerged beneath the low elevation clouds. The Bering Sea churned in shades of opaque gray and green, fifty feet below. Not one who normally becomes air sick, I looked out the window feeling ill as I stared at the rocky façade of a cliff that dove into the turbulent ocean. My fingers nervously fumbled with the latch of the seatbelt and I held my breath, fearing to hear the pop of loosened bolts. The frame of the aircraft was shaking and creaking from the stress of the strong winds.

Suddenly, rubber met tarmac and the pilot slammed on the brakes. I saw the metal coverings of the jet turbines lift suddenly. The plane was falling apart under the strain! In that same instant, my anxious fingers accidentally pulled the latch on the seat belt and with the lurch of the brakes I slammed full force into the seat in front of me. But no, the plane wasn’t falling apart. The airbrakes had been engaged. The landing strip was so short and our plane so large that the pilot had enacted every possible option to slow us down before we ran out of tarmac. On each side of the short runway there was ocean. And just like that the nightmare flight was over. Passengers cheered and clapped, grateful to be alive after a ride like that. Gingerly falling back into my seat, dazed I waited for the plane to taxi the distance of the airstrip to the single stairway of the airport. There were no gates, only a few small charter planes were parked on the tarmac.

The hatch opened and when I ducked through I met a chill blast of wind. The world was gray with a dusting of white. Rolling hills and jagged mountains covered in brown tundra and frosted with snow reached from the cold, gray waters to the equally frigid, overcast sky. Happy New Year and welcome to Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

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22 comments on “Welcome to Alaska

  1. I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska, but based on your runway description, I think I might skip Dutch Harbor.

    • Audrey
      April 4, 2012

      Definitely go! Dutch is a world all it’s own – different from the Alaska mainland, still beautiful but very remote and small. πŸ™‚ Thankfully they’ve taken to flying smaller planes in there (sounds worse but they land on the short airstrip MUCH better).

  2. Sarah Garvey
    April 4, 2012

    Like the person above, I’ve always wanted to see Alaska but you’ve made me nervous! Ha. You write very well, I felt your nerves and the cold when you got off the plane.

    • Audrey
      April 4, 2012

      You should make the trip! It’s a spectacular land and summer is just gorgeous – I can’t wait to go back for another visit! I moved to an island in the Bering Sea in the middle of winter as a moody teenager so it all seemed pretty dismal at the time. For a vacation, it something to experience for sure! πŸ™‚

  3. Lisa
    April 4, 2012

    The flight into Dutch was one I will never forget. The plane was rocking and shaking, the ocean was churning below us, and I swear we were gonna hit right into the rocks after which I would meet my maker. Luckily, that didn’t happen. I am so glad I got the opportunity to live there, even if it was a short time. Hiking was amazing, picking salmon berries, a scenery of emerald green. Beautiful! And to think we were there at the same time!

    • Audrey
      April 4, 2012

      You never really worry about turbulence after a flight like that, do you? I feel like I have nerves of steel when I fly now. πŸ™‚ You’re so right though, Lisa. It’s an amazing place and I too feel honored to have lived in such a wild and different place. Nothing quite like it. And the people are unforgettable, such a great sense of community. πŸ™‚ Seriously, how did we not run into each other?!

  4. whatimeant2say
    April 4, 2012

    That description is amazing! I’m glad your plane did not fall apart!

    • Audrey
      April 4, 2012

      Thank you, Lady! It was fun to relive those first moments through writing. I was 15 when we moved there. Culture shock! But well worth it. πŸ™‚

  5. ethelthedean
    April 4, 2012

    Absolutely fabulous! I felt as if I was sitting along side you .(And I would definitely have grabbed your hand.) That flight sounds harrowing. And your poor face!

    Phew, I could actually feel my stomach un-clench when I got to the end…

    Thanks for sharing, and I cannot wait to read more! Also, those photos are exquisite.
    xx

    • Audrey
      April 8, 2012

      It was a crazy adventure for sure! If you ever fly in a puddle jumper in Alaska, consider yourself warned. πŸ™‚

      And thank you! You really did inspire putting this out for the world to see.

  6. captainariel
    April 6, 2012

    You are a great writer! πŸ˜€ and God I miss that place! ❀

    • Audrey
      April 8, 2012

      You’ll be back in no time… πŸ™‚

  7. The Blissful Adventurer
    October 3, 2012

    always love your stuff Audrey and your glasses πŸ™‚

    • Audrey
      October 4, 2012

      Thank you so much! It was quite the adventure… And the glasses? They just make me laugh! πŸ™‚

  8. susielindau
    October 3, 2012

    That was so cool, literally! I have landed on those short runways and they are so scary. The worst was in Panama when we had to fly over a volcano first. Everyone else on the plane seemed unperplexed, but I thought for sure we would run out of runway!
    Thanks for bringing this to the party!

    • Audrey
      October 4, 2012

      Just when you think you’ve become the ultimate air traveler something like that shakes you up a bit, right? Panama sounds crazy!! I always love your parties, such a great way to meet other writers!

  9. charismaloy
    October 3, 2012

    Love the pics!!! One day I will go there…. but I think I will insist on a puddlejumper. I hate them, but I am accustomed to them and they do make those landings much gentler.

    • Audrey
      October 4, 2012

      That’s the way to go! Funny how they tend to make you worry about the flight a bit more but they seem so much more solid on the landings – and THAT is what really matters! πŸ™‚

  10. The Guat
    October 3, 2012

    Was hanging out at Susie’s party and thought I would stop by. Really love your pictures, especially the second one. πŸ™‚

    • Audrey
      October 4, 2012

      So glad you stopped by!! Dutch Harbor is beautiful, just begging to be photographed!

  11. tedstrutz
    October 3, 2012

    Nice pics…

    • Audrey
      October 4, 2012

      Thanks, Ted! It seems like you can hardly take a bad picture out there, so pretty.

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This entry was posted on April 4, 2012 by in Adventure, Dreams, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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