Comedian Lizz Winstead on celebrating her 50th birthday in Alaska. (with yours truly!)
LAST YEAR, I WAS trying to think of something memorable to do for my 50th birthday. My friend Shannyn suggested I celebrate by crossing a big thing off my bucket list: visiting her in Alaska. I have had the other 49 states under my belt for a while, but I had not found the time to get to Alaska—and frankly, after the last election, had sort of lost the desire to go there.But it seemed fitting to do the 50th on my 50th. Shannyn, a native Alaskan, said she would teach me to fly fish on the Naknek River, one of the most beautiful waterways in North America. It sounded like a perfect trip for a woman who grew up in Minnesota surrounded by lakes and who now loves to fish for walleye while drinking crappy canned beer in a canoe.
Well, a canoe with a motor, so not really a canoe. More of a motorboat.
Fishing, I find, is especially great if you don't venture more than 100 yards from the dock at your cabin.
A cabin with indoor plumbing.
And a fridge fully stocked with crappy canned beer.
OK, OK, you got me. What I really love is crappy canned beer. I don't mind doing a bit of fishing while drinking it.
I had limited exposure to fly-fishing—"limited" meaning I had seen "A River Runs Through It." But somehow I decided that was all the practical experience I needed for my Alaskan adventure—in an "I think I'll skip the rock-climbing wall at the gym and head straight for Denali" kind of a way. A fly-fishing trip to Alaska sounded like a custom-built vacation for a Minnesota-by-way-of-Brooklyn outdoorswoman like myself!
It took 12 hours of travel, which included two stopovers, to reach Anchorage from New York. Shannyn greeted me with a quick hug, then whisked my Ambien-laden carcass onto a 12-seater commuter jet for an hour-long jaunt to King Salmon, Alaska, a sleepy fishing village where the biggest restaurant in town had a specials board out front that read: "Soup of the Day: Whiskey."
For the rest of the story in the Wall Street Journal click HERE.