A big thanks to readers who have requested photos from our just finished trip to Alaska. As soon as I settle on a couple that are representative, I'll attach them to a near-future post.
But first, let's play "Can you top this?", small world version. About two hours en route from Denali National Park to Moose Pass (yes, you read that correctly), our bus stopped for coffee. While in the men's room line, someone says "Pat Barton?" And there, in remote Alaska, in a random coffee shop, standing in the same line as I, is a student from the last class I finished teaching on August 21, a week prior to leaving for vacation. This particular student - who just happens to live in the same county - goes on to say "I knew it was you; I recognized your voice!" Go ahead - top that.
But wait; there's more. On Sunday August 30 - the day President Obama declared Mt. McKinley would revert back to being called Denali - guess what mountain we were staring at through our train window on a crystal clear day? That would be Denali. Our whole car broke out into a cheer and the narrating naturalist subsequently corrected herself each time she mistakenly used the (now) obsolete name, grinning ear-to-ear as she did so. Apparently, Alaska has long wanted to re-claim Denali for itself vs. a long dead President who never stepped foot in the State. Neither my wife nor I knew of this long-simmering controversy or about President Obama traveling to Anchorage to issue his declaration the day we left the city.
Denali's reclamation occurring exactly as we stared at the mountain was - at the moment - a pretty wild coincidence. But then a week later I happened to be in that bathroom. So Jeff, if you read this and you plan on skiing in Killington over the Christmas holiday and you hear my voice on the Great Eastern trail please ignore it, OK? Otherwise, you'll freak me out.