A Slice of Fried Gold

The Four Day Weekend Edition

Sunday, August 10, 2008

This weekend I was lucky enough to have a four day weekend. It was an absolutely incredible time and additional awesomeness came from the fact that I did not have to take time off to have the four day weekend - I was sent away for vacation paid by my company! Hooray me! Before I get too far into that, I'll do a quick breakdown on what happened.

  • Going to the Agulawok Lodge for three days on the company dime
  • Fishing, viewing bears, skeet shooting, kayaking, and eating like a king for the whole time
  • Beautiful weather (almost) the whole time
  • Kung-Fu Panda with Colver, Lorna, and Kim
  • Going out to the bars with a bunch of people for Nate's bday
  • Singing Karaoke for the first time ever (Sublime's "Santeria" with Kim and Colver - we were bad)
  • Coffee with my sister
  • Chilling at Bosco's with Will
  • Frisbee Golf
  • Lunch with Kim
  • Getting caught up on sleep and exercise (thank god!)

So it was a very busy weekend as per usual, but one highlighted by one extremely extraordinary event. That of course was my company flying me (along with 9 coworkers) out to the Agulawok Lodge out by Dillingham, Alaska for around three days of pure, unadultered relaxation and high life on the company dime.

View from where I was staying

When we first got there, we went to check out where we would be staying. We were split up into two different cabins, and my cabin featured four bedrooms, two baths, a full kitchen, and a great living room with a wood stove. The beds in the rooms were probably the single most comfortable beds I have ever slept in and our fridge was stocked with exactly two things - soda and beer - and of both they had a huge variety and a lot of each. We had a bar with Johnnie Walker Black Label, Crown Royal, Tanqueray, and more, a wine stand that was fully stocked at all times with incredibly delicious and surely expensive wines. When we'd wake up, there would be freshly baked cookies and hot coffee waiting for us.

In short, it was heaven.

Shortly after arriving we had our first lunch, which was an incredible salad loaded with delicious veggies and steak, and it was absolutely incredible. While there, I was lucky enough to have that, baked sea scallops in a bed of risotto, pancakes, amazing bacon and sausage, eggs with tomato and avocado, the best baby back ribs I've ever had, and spectacular corn on the cob. Plus, the previously mentioned cookies weren't half bad either.

The lodge was loaded with things to do, and I tried to do them all. I went skeet shooting for the first time in my life and did okay, although it was really fun. I went kayaking for the first time as well, and after the initial stress of not wanting to flip in the middle of the enormous river, I had a great time. There was ample amounts of drinking and relaxing as well, but while there we had two big events: a fishing trip to the Nushagak River and a bear viewing trip to the Katmai National Park.

The whole crew with our fish

After our first lunch, we flew out to the Nushagak River for our guided fishing trip. We split up into two crews and loaded up into boats and went down river, and promptly had the easiest few hours of fishing I've ever experienced. Most of the time when I'm fishing I'm used to being surrounded by other people who are fighting over the same small amount of fish. Here, there was an enormous amount of fish who all seemingly were fighting for the right to get on our hooks.

On my first cast I caught a beautiful silver salmon, and I maxed out within an hour and a half. As a whole, we all maxed out before the plane was back to pick us up and we had fifty salmon to share amongst the group. It was absolutely awesome.

What's up bear?

The fourth bear that came to visit

Scavengers squawking at the bear for scraps

The next day we flew an hour plus away from the lodge for a trip to the Katmai National Park to go bear viewing. The Katmai is world renowned and most have seen pictures from it without knowing it. You know those pictures where bears are catching the fish as they try to jump up the mini-waterfalls? That's at the Katmai.

We had an incredibly successful trip, as it was ridiculously gorgeous after a cloudy beginning, there were five bears at the falls and one more towards the beach as we were walking up, we met a very cute park ranger, we had good food, and we got the experience of a lifetime for free. I have 100+ pictures of the experience, but it was an astounding sight to see these bears so close without the fear of being mauled (which is becoming a very real thing in Anchorage any more).

So yeah, all in all it was a rocking few days. Every once in a while I'd look at the clock and think "man, I would be in my office right now" as I'm looking at absolutely majestic sights. That combined with the fact it was free and that I was getting paid for it made these great experiences even better. I couldn't ask for a much better experience.


Patty said...

I'm envious. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

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