Sunday, March 29, 2015

Takin' a Spring Break in Cordova

Just returned from a trip to Cordova and four days on  a saillboat in the scenic harbor there.  Our friends on the Muktuk wintered in the Cordova hoping to teach their boys to ski on the slopes of  Mount Eyak Ski Area, home of one of America’s oldest operating ski lifts. Unfortunately, the Alaskan winter offered little opportunities for Austrians to practice their nation sport of alpine skiing.

Cordova and Mt Eyak Ski Resort from a past winter with snow. 
      But, as with most adaptable people, they found that Cordova and the Cooper River Delta offered other riches to those who sought them, and we got to sample a few in our short visit including Prince William Sound venison served in a stew with Austrian knodel.  Knodel is a large dumpling made of bread cubes and parsley that is sliced and served with meat and gravy.  We enjoyed fresh winter king salmon paired with a fine home-brewed ginger beer.
      Once we pushed ourselves away from the table we roamed the streets and museums of this fishing village at the base of rugged mountains then drove out the road to the Cooper River Delta to walk the flats along the beach then up short mountains trail to Sheridan Lake a the base of Sheridan Glacier.   Earlier this winter Sheridan Lake was the local skating rink and we could only wonder if it isn’t the most beautiful skating around with mountains in the
background, and the lake rimmed by the subtle blue of glacier and iceberg. We were awash in spring sunshine so the ice was rotten and wasn’t inviting for skating.   
      The people in any town are spice in the stew and Cordova is no exception.  The winter king was a gift from John, the oysterman, who rears infant oysters for the local farms in his mad scientist lab of a shellfish nursery on a barge in the Cordova Boat Harbor.   We talked to a man tending his ducks that he rears in an eight by eight float beside his live-aboard boat.   

   The harbor residents form a little neighborhood of self-sufficiency during the winter when the place is quiet.  People who live aboard their boards whether cruising the big blue or tied up behind a breakwater, are models for simplicity and innovation.   These people have to get all the luggage and furniture of their lives into the small space of a boat, which means they tend to have what they need little in the way of extra, luxuries, and toys.  There is a lesson in such living.  These people travel  and see much of the world, but we find in fact that their though their trails are long, their footprint is small.

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