Alaska trip a family affair for Andersons

Nathan Oster

Gary Anderson returned to Greybull recently with more than 80 pounds of freshly caught fish and memories of time spent with his two sons Shane and Ryan and his brother Randy on their every-other-year guys' trip to Sitka, Alaska.

Gary said he and his brother have been making the trip since 2008, a year after their mother died.

"She left us a little money so we decided to take our kids up — his two and my two, which made six of us that first year," Gary said. "We had such a good time, we decided to make it a tradition."

Gary and Randy have made the trip every even year since, and while the makeup of their group has changed — the first few times, a friend joined them, and in 2018, after that friend passed away, Gary's two boys returned — their destination, the Wild Strawberry Lodge, has remained the same.

"It's not fancy, but it's on the marina and you can walk the town pretty easily," said Gary.  

It's a package deal with Alaska Premier Charters, Inc. They went for five days — spending the first one getting there and then three solid days on the water before beginning their long journey home on the fifth day.

This year their haul of fresh fish included halibut, silver salmon and rockfish, a type of sea bass. Gary can't eat all the fish himself, and with his wife Becky living and working in Washington, he said he's been giving a lot of it away to people.

The fun part is catching them, he said.

"It's a battle," he said.  "You have a big pole that's like a broomstick, but when a halibut takes the line, it bends right over.  You can fight them for up to 10 minutes just to get them in the boat.  For the salmon, it's a little less (of a battle)."

The best part, though, was continuing the family tradition.  His brother lives in Spokane, as does his son Shane, who manages a tire center.  Son Ryan resides in Eugene, Ore.  Now retired, Ryan spent 24 years with the U.S. Marines, which included working at the Pentagon.