I'm sitting in the main lodge at Ultima Thule Lodge, and this is the view I'm seeing right now...
This place is incredible! Donna - matriarch - commented yesterday that this is God's most beautiful creation. I believe it's true. This place is remarkably remote. The nearest people from here are 50 air miles away - over 2 mountains and 3 major rivers, a 1-month hike, if you dare.
We drove the 5 hours from Anchorage to Chitina yesterday afternoon with a huge trailer in tow, filled with some of the supplies for the lodge for the summer. The season opens soon, and everything they need out here has to be flown in. Hence all the boxes with us in the Otter. With us are Amy and Kevin. Amy's a friend of the family, and Kevin's one of the staff at the lodge.
Paul, Ellie's dad, has the reputation for being the best bush pilot in Alaska. I believe that! It's been interesting listening to some of his stories. He's been a captain of a commercial fishing boat, climbed Mt. Everest, and the list goes on.
Flying to the lodge...
As we flew, mesmerized by the views on all sides, Ellie turned around from her seat next to her dad, and over the humming of the engine, shouted, "Have you ever seen a complete rainbow?"
At 7,000 ft above the valley, the rainbow had no end. We flew right into it!
About 45 minutes after take-off, the lodge was visible on our left. This will be our home for about a week. The river is low right now, but as the snow and glaciers continues to melt throughout the summer, it will fill up.
Danette and my cabin is the one to the far left. In that same cluster of buildings, the smallest building is called "Ultima Stoolie." It's a loo with a view. Though our cabins have restrooms, the water hasn't been connected for the season yet. (It will be connected today.) The door on the restroom is a split door, in other words, you can leave the top half open for the most magnificent view of the mountains while you do what you've got to do. :)
The other small building to the left in the same cluster of buildings is the sauna. We'll indulge later in the day.
Not sure what all is lying ahead this week. Whatever we do, I know it will be unforgettable!