Out of the Office: Time well spent

There really only seem to be two seasons in Alaska: winter season and construction season.

On the Kenai Peninsula this summer, we’ve all been delayed in Cooper Landing and Moose Pass. I’m a stranger to big city traffic, but I schedule time to be stopped in construction any time I leave the central peninsula. One day this month, however, we were waiting for a long time.

My sister Anna has only visited Alaska one other time — Anchorage in November. Suffice to say she preferred the Kenai in June.

Anna and I are super close, and had been planning on an epic Alaska sister trip for a few months. After a day trip to the Homer Spit, a big lunch at Fat Olives and dancing at the Levitt Amp Concert Series in Soldotna that Wednesday, we took off for Seward on Thursday.

We recalled childhood memories and chatted about her past year at college on the drive through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge before lining up behind a winding line of cars just east of the Fuller Lakes trailhead.

At first I assumed it was construction from the highway project, but as more cars started pulling out of line to head back toward Sterling, I knew something was off. It turns out there had been an accident near the Russian River Ferry, and two patients had to be transported from the scene for medical treatment.

The highway was closed from both sides, we had heard through the grapevine, and there was no estimated time when it would reopen.

Anna and I decided to wait it out. And while some sister duos would have driven each other wild in a parked car for almost three hours, we didn’t.

My sister has always been a calming presence in my life. When I run on high intensity and sometimes high anxiety, she always seems to know what to say. Her whatever-happens-happens attitude allows me to loosen my grip and smile more, and makes her one of my favorite travel partners of all time.

While stopped on the highway we watched a few downloaded episodes of Ozark, walked around in the rain and ate our pre-made lunches.

We eventually made it to our friends’ campsite off Exit Glacier Road and then north through Girdwood and up to Anchorage, and shared a lot of laughs along the way. But getting stuck in rainy Cooper Landing actually wasn’t too bad either.

I stand outside my car in Cooper Landing, Alaska, on June 9, 2022. (Anna Botello)

I stand outside my car in Cooper Landing, Alaska, on June 9, 2022. (Anna Botello)