It was a leap to get this far north in late February but family was gathering for a wedding celebration and we would not miss it for the world.
Our beautiful and vivacious niece Rachel was to marry her longtime sweetheart, Mack Pennington, and they had picked a hillside overlooking Denali mountain for the ceremony.
Now, another year could have found us in the midst of blizzard, with blowing snow and freezing temperatures. But this year the temperatures were unusually mild and so little snow had fallen that the Iditarod organizers had to bring tons of it in by train for the big race.
So, the wedding ceremony was held outside and the bride wore a vintage lace dress without the white fur coat she had borrowed in the event of cold. None of the guests appeared to even feel a chill, thanks in part to the boots many at the wedding wore.
After the ceremony, we feasted on Alaskan seafood expertly prepared by Delicious Dan and family and friends toasted the newlyweds. The head table was awash with fresh baked bread from Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop, run by Rachel and my sister and brother-in-law (her parents), Janis and Jerome.
But the weekend was mostly about sharing friends and family, new babies, vows of love and the promise of tomorrow.
Late, late that night, after the old folks had retired, the northern lights came out above Denali and the members of the wedding party who were still standing came out to dance in their glow.
We rose with the sun to share breakfast with the wedding party and walk along the Talkeetna River, as it meandered ice-free through the snowy banks.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.