Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sometimes, all you need is elevation

The call from my co-worker came at 10:09 a.m. "Do you think you'd have time for four extra pages today?" he asked.

"Wait, what?" I replied, still a little groggy from waking up late and lingering way too long over breakfast and blogs.

"If I told you Ted Stevens was indicted today, and we were going to create a whole big package to cover it, would you be able to do a few extra pages?"

"Wait, really?" I said, again, feeling a little stupid that in all of my blogging, I had missed that little news item. "Wow, so that finally went down. Yeah, I can do it. Do I have time to go for a hike?"

"I encourage it," my co-worker said. "It's finally nice out today."

I looked out the window. The mountains were obscured by a large bank of fog. Little drops still rippled through the massive puddles on the porch. "Um, OK," I said. "I'll see you at 2." I got dressed, laced up my shoes and darted out the door. I forgot my watch, so I had to pace myself by snapping photos and glancing at the time stamp on the screen.

Time: 10:30 a.m.
On the iPod: "Supermassive Black Hole," Muse
Thoughts: What is that bright light up there? Could that possibly be the sun, breaking through the clouds? It seems impossible, but ...

Time: 10:37 a.m.
On the iPod: "No Peace, Los Angeles," Mike Doughty
Thoughts: I can't believe they actually indicted Sen. Stevens. It seemed inevitable, but at the same time ... wow. The guy is beloved. He has an airport named after him. I wonder if they'll change the name of the Anchorage airport if he ends up in a federal prison? Uncle Ted "Jailbird" Stevens International.

Time: 10:43 a.m.
On the iPod: "Blame it on the Tetons," Modest Mouse
Thoughts: I feel so much better than I did yesterday. I was just going to go to the gym for an hour, try to wait out my funk, but I'm glad I decided to go out. I think those clouds to the south really are thinning. Maybe if I can climb high enough, the fog will clear.

Time: 11:09 a.m.
On the iPod: "I'm Not An Addict," K's Choice
Thoughts: Hmm, when did I download this song? It reminds me of 1997 ... that perfect spring morning with the windows of Liz's car rolled down and my arm stretched out in the warm air. I think we were commuting to a drawing competition at that west-side high school. Taylorsville? Strange that's all it took back then to create a memorable day - warm air, a little sunshine, the freedom of legally ditching school on a weekday to draw all day and flirt with west-side boys. I remember I won a T-shirt in the contest, but I think everyone did.

Time: 11:28 a.m.
On the iPod: "Girl Sailor," The Shins
Thoughts: This looks so much friendlier than it did a week ago. Where is all of the snow?

Time: 11:31 a.m.
On the iPod: "Sleeping Lessons," The Shins
Thoughts: Oh ... great.

Time: 11:47 a.m.
On the iPod: "Happy," The Wrens
Thoughts: I must have this song stashed in every one of my mixes by now. It still takes me back to the Kuskokwim River, walking my bike through an endless sugar bowl. When I first heard it that dark morning, with the sound of crickets chirping through the soft introduction, I just assumed the crickets were real. It never occurred to me back then that it was 30 below, and there were no crickets. I wonder how long it took me to figure that out? And wait, how much time do I have? Oh no ... it's 11:47? I should have turned around 15 minutes ago. Oh well, I can just skip lunch. 100 more feet ... then I'll go back.

Time: 12:02 p.m.
On the iPod: "Hate," Fiction Plane
Thoughts: What are you doing? It's after noon! Turn around now! Ted Stevens indicted ... could be the biggest news day for Juneau all year ... lots to do ... not the day to be late for work ... people will be angry ... but look at all that blue sky ... and the peak is right there.

Time: 12:12 p.m.
iPod: Off
Thoughts: Dear Mount Jumbo,
Thanks, I feel much better now.
Sincerely, Jill.


  1. Great taste in non-mainstream music, really.

  2. King... No wait Queen of the world!
    I bet the run down was fun!

  3. You're smiling again:) That's nice to see.

    Nigity - "Always keep a smile in your heart."

  4. Found your blog via Fat Cyclist awhile back and really enjoy your posts. Especially liked this one, nothing like making your outdoor time a priority over work.

  5. I am not from Alaska but was also disappointed to hear about Senator Stevens for a couple of reasons. One is that he is one of the few GOP senators who was normally supportive of Federal employees.

    The other is just general disappointment in the character of the people who represent us.

    Now granted it's not like he has been indicted for taking bribes. But really these guys are supposed to be smart. How come they always plead that this type of thing was simply an oversight and not intentional?

    An when comes to this type of stuff why can't we pass laws when it comes to gifts for our elected officials that are essentially the same for them as the rest of the public employess. Seems like that would go a long way in establishing more confidence in the system.

    Hey was this a post about bicycling or politics? :)

  6. Great post, Jill. Glad to hear you had such a good day on the hike. I know you needed one. Pics gorgeous, as usual.

  7. Love your pics and dialogue everyday!! Thanks.

    What camera do you must be small but very funtional? I am looking and just wondered.


  8. What a great post. I love the music and the way you set the time line.
    I am happy to see we have a few songs in common. I will never be as hard core as you but at least we share some good taste.

  9. Very creative type of posting, i like it!

  10. You forgot to add The Carpenters "Top Of The World" to your song list !.

    Such a feelins comin over me.
    There is wonder in most everything I see.
    Not a cloud in the sky.
    Got the sun in my eyes.
    And I wont be surprised if its a dream.

    Everything I want the world to be.
    Is now coming true especially for me.
    And the reason is clear.
    Its because you are here.
    Youre the nearest thing to heaven that Ive seen.

    Im on the top of the world lookin down on creation.
    And the only explanation I can find.
    Is the love that Ive found ever since youve been around.
    Your loves put me at the top of the world.

    Something in the wind has learned my name.
    And its tellin me that things are not the same.
    In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze.
    Theres a pleasin sense of happiness for me.

    There is only one wish on my mind.
    When this day is through I hope that I will find.
    That tomorrow will be just the same for you and me.
    All I need will be mine if you are here.

  11. Found your blog by doing a search on Alaska. I would love to visit there, but don't know how realistic it is in the near future. I was in love with your blog that I spent quite a bit of time looking at things. Love it!

  12. So did you get the article written?!!

  13. Jill, these pictures are so awesome! Cool you were able to soak up some sunshine on that amazing looking hike!

  14. Ted's goin' DOWN!!!!

    You two can come sleep on our floor in Missoula while you look for a place ;)

  15. You should add a little local Alaskan/Juneau Sarah C Hanson music to your inventory... SCH

  16. Jill shops at Nashbar !.

  17. A handfull of "atta-girls" for Jill. Way to bounce back from yesterdays post!

  18. Hi. I enjoyed your blog. It seems to be very interesting.

  19. Dear Jill,
    Thanks for the wonderful pictures and narrative.
    I feel much better now.

  20. " .....nothing like making your outdoor time a priority over work."

    And the way the newspaper industry is going across America I'm sure Jill will have PLENTY of outdoor time free to her in the not-too-distant future. ;)

    Every cloud has it's silver lining.

  21. FYI, conservative folks in the lower 48 detest people like Stevens. He's just a looter and a grifter who happened to wear a right-wing badge. All the righties I know cheered when this news came out. One down, 99 to go.

  22. you almost sound sort of bummed about Ted. I hope you're joking, or maybe trying not to be too political in your blog? i hope this doesn't mean you're not going to come to my Ted Stevens indictment party.

  23. i think they should change the name of the airport to the Pete Basinger Anchorage int'l airport... and at least one columnist at the ADN agrees with me.

  24. nice final snapshot. i'll look for your article online.

  25. "...sometimes, all you need is elevation.."...agreed getting high can certainly change your perspective on things...=-)

  26. I didn't write an article about Ted Stevens, I was supposed to complete the layout on extra pages about him (which didn't pan out because the newsroom couldn't push the idea past corporate.) You won't find articles written by me online because I don't write articles. Well, there may be a few old ones still floating around.

    Also, I wasn't late for work. Had to skip lunch, take a lightning-fast shower, and drive instead of bike to the office, but I wasn't late. I wouldn't have blogged so blatently about it if I had been :)

    Geoff, they should totally name the airport after Pete B. But only if he finishes ahead of Jeff Oatley in the CTR. Also, I saw this picture yesterday of Ted Stevens walking through a maze of cameras and microphones with this dazed look on his face. He reminds me of my grandpa - so stubborn and confused - I can't help but feel sorry for him.

  27. Great Photos! it looks beautiful!!

  28. Totally enjoing your blog, Jill (as usual). I'm also really intrigued by the Stevens issue, which Ben and I follow only because we're mild political junkies and Ben's a US citizen. Might you see a democrat win Alaska in 2008? Will wonders never cease?!

  29. Succinct and witty; the time updates and comments are funny. Thanks for posting pics and writing.

    from the blazing hot & humid southeast


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