Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska
Friday, July 13, 1973
We spent the morning at a museum I didn’t name in my diary, but I suspect it was the Anchorage Museum, which like the other museums we visited on this trip, appears to have come up in the world since 1973. I was rather impressed with it, however, especially the anthropological exhibits about the native peoples.
After lunch, my father the petroleum engineer went off in a small plane on a trip that he’d arranged with some of his colleagues to see some of the proposed path of the then-still-unbuilt Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which now runs from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Sea to Valdez, on Prince William Sound on the southern end of mainland Alaska.
The pipeline was, as you may remember, an exceedingly controversial project at the time, and it had not yet received federal approval. Exceedingly controversial everywhere except Alaska itself, it seemed, where so far as I could tell it was viewed in a very positive manner by most of the population. As a matter of fact the most common bumper sticker we saw on our trip read “Sierra Club go home!” I don’t know if Alaskans still feel the same way about it after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill that caused such horrific damage to Prince William Sound, but the prevailing mood at the time we were there was “bring it on!”
While my father was gone, my aunt and cousin took my mother and me shopping. Apparently I bought the bulk of my Alaska souvenirs in Anchorage, because my trove included another book, Sally Carrighar’s Icebound Summer, about her adventures as a wildlife biologist and writer in the Alaskan wilderness, a change purse shaped like a moccasin, and a trio of miniature mountain goats:
I started collecting miniatures when I was very young. These aren’t anything special to anyone but me, just mass-produced bone china, but they’re part of a collection that’s made it with me so far through twenty-five moves and two divorces, so I think I’ll hang onto them.
One more night at my aunt’s, and we were on our way again.