Chasing the Sun


Sunlight over the wing of our plane on the way to Anchorage: approximately 12:30 pm

After leaving Chicago, we were on our longest flight to Seattle. It was interesting to find about 5 other groups were on their way up to Anchorage as well. Some were visiting family in nearby Wasilla while another group was heading down to Kodiak for a fishing trip.

We took off at about 7:30, delayed a bit by a snafu with a mysteriously wet seat in front of us. The poor guy who was supposed to sit there kept being shuffled around while the airlines looked for a new cushion. The passenger sitting next to the wet seat accidentally touched it, and caused a big to do about having to go wash his hands, and needing to bathe in sanitizer. We all just hope that it was water. Eventually someone from the airline was able to find a spare cushion, the last passenger was seated, and we were on our way.

This hadn’t been the first odd flight delay on our trip however. On the first flight we smelled something rotten. No one really wanted to say anything; I’m assuming that others like me were just thinking that they had the unfortunate luck to be seated near someone with less than ideal hygiene. However when I looked over towards the aisle I saw what appeared to be some smoke in rising from the vent in the floor that was causing the smell. This alarmed both myself and the woman across the aisle, so Nathan flagged down the flight attendant. When we asked if that was normal, she said “No” and went to grab the captain of the plane. The captain came back quietly so as not to cause any alarm and checked out the situation. After walking back and forth a couple of times she informed us that the smoke was just some condensation burning off because of the heat. That answer didn’t seem to account for the smell, but it was dissipating, and we all agreed that if that captain didn’t seem concerned, neither should we.

Needless to say the flight was uneventful.

The final flight of the trip was from Seattle to Anchorage. We had just enough time at Sea-Tac to board the train to the north terminal, use a bathroom and board. There was a good sized group of us headed in the same direction, so it was easy to find our way with so many eyes looking out for the right path.

The sun had already set in Seattle when we were taxing for takeoff, and all of the lights glittering below were beautiful. I have been in this airport twice now, and never seen the sun. Heading north though, we were chasing the sun as we had been all day- traveling back in time. It was incredible to look out the window at cruising altitude about two hours into the flight and see the pink glow on the horizon. The sun was setting on the sea just south of Alaska. By the time we touched down in Anchorage at 1:30am it was dark again.

More than 20 hours after we left my childhood home that morning we had our baggage and were tucked in safely at the home of friends here in Anchorage. One of our longest travel days was finally over.

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