Story Last modified at 11:13 a.m. on Thursday, March 10, 2011
My Top 10 favorite places
by Frank E. Baker
To balance out a recent column about my 10 least favorite places, here's a quick rundown of my 10 most favorite places, and I need to go outside Alaska for some of them:
PHOTO by FRANK E. BAKER
1. Family gatherings at our home: Christmas and Thanksgiving with family and friends, for example, top the list. My Christmas carol repertoire on the piano, however, definitely needs some work.
2. Kalalau Beach, Na Pali coast, island of Kauai: I've only hiked there once and it already ranks near the top of my favorite places. It's a 22-mile round trip, but well worth every step. This idyllic spot makes you feel as if you've stepped back in time.
3. Club Paris: It's dark and rather cramped, but I defy anyone to find a better steak dinner in Anchorage. If the crowd quiets down and you listen hard, you can hear the ghosts of gamblers from long ago shuffling around upstairs. Just kidding.
4. Lost Lake: This nine-mile hike on the Kenai Peninsula takes to you green rolling hills and a beautiful blue lake surrounded by towering mountains. Many people are known to burst out like Julie Andrews, singing "The hills are alive..." from the movie "The Sound of Music." You just can't help it.
5. On Top of Mt. Marathon, Fourth of July: There is nothing quite like watching hundreds upon hundreds of competitors of all ages and origins competing in this annual foot race from downtown Seward to the top of 3,000-foot Mt. Marathon and back. It is unlike any athletic spectacle in the world. Race officials might even give you a job: handing out water. Pack a lunch and take along warm clothing.
6. Trolling with a rainbow trout hitting the line: Trolling on a lake in my small aluminum boat with an electric motor, the laziest fishing imaginable, with lightweight tackle. I tell no one where I fish, not even my wife. Fish are eaten on the same day or next day at the latest.
7. Anchorage Symphony at the Atwood Center: The orchestra seldom plays a piece I dislike. I applaud Maestro Randall Fleischer and members of the orchestra for their consistently outstanding performances.
8. Hikes with my kids and dog: The kids are grown up now and hikes aren't on their radar, but whenever we go it's a treat. The beagle dog is nine years old, but not grown up yet. He loves every minute of our outings, unconditionally.
9. St. Peter's Basilica, Rome: The fact that you could almost fit St. Paul's Cathedral in London into St. Peter's is amazing in itself. Hike the 320 steps to the top of the dome and get a new perspective of this architectural wonder, and a sweeping view of St. Peter's square.
10. Eagle and Symphony Lakes, South Fork: No matter how many times I venture the six miles back to these lakes, I always feel uplifted and in some way, renewed. You could travel all over Alaska and be hard-pressed to find a better view than from the ridge between Eagle and Symphony lakes.
In review, I probably have 50 favorite places, but these were the ones that quickly came to mind. Perhaps this list prompted readers to think about their "Top 10" places.
Someone told me a long time ago that if we think about a place, we'll end up going there. Works for me!
This article published in The Alaska Star on Thursday, March 10, 2011.