Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Can you find the cabin?

I had a good comment on my last post about how great Homer looks in the summer...but how does it look in the winter?? Well, Homer has been slammed with snow this winter - I believe they're up to 4 blizzards in the last 2 weeks! There is an impressive amount of snow in Jedd's yard, wouldn't you say?

The "view" from the inside looking out:

So yeah, looks a little different in the winter! :) Good thing I like snow!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Homer is where your heart is

Change is on the horizon. 2012 is looking to be quite a big year for me. For many months I've been toying with the idea of moving to be closer to Jedd. Believe it or not, a 4 hour commute to see your boyfriend gets old pretty quickly. I know, weird. So, after doing that for a year+, I've decided to take the plunge...I'M MOVING TO HOMER!! I'll be moving into this sweet Alaskan log cabin (i.e., Jedd's place), and am really excited about it. I have big plans for a garden, after work kayaking, and getting involved in the community. The move does require a bit of reshuffling of my life - I'm renting out my place in Anchorage, quitting my job, and starting to cobble together some way to make a living in Homer. Sure, it's a leap of faith, but isn't that what makes life worth living? And how awesome is it that I get to live here!!?? The Alaskan dream.

By the way, the satellite is useless. Ever since moving to AK I haven't had a television, and Jedd and I intend to keep it that way. The dish is from the previous owner and it's a b*tch to move. Maybe I'll turn it into a bird bath.

Thursday, October 06, 2011


Ah, California sunshine.  Fall was was just about upon us in AK when I took a jaunt down to Yosemite to meet up with Julia, her family, and her two Boston friends, Fitz and Kelley.  I got one last dose of summertime in before returning to full-fledged fall back at home. 

The blue team.  Kelley, me, Julz, and Fitz
We did a "break in" hike the first day.  Nine miles and 3,000' of elevation up to the tippy top of Yosemite Point, which is above Yosemite Falls.  We about lost Fitz that day...but he sucked it up and kept hiking with us for the next four days, albeit with a much smaller pack than the girls.  Which we gave him endless grief over...which was well deserved in my humble opinion.

Yosemite Falls...it's much bigger in the spring, but we weren't complaining.  We had lunch right there over the top while watching a guy in a peach speedo (I kid you not) play precariously close to the edge - could've been the proud owner of a Darwin Award.

Day two marked the start of our overnight hike.  It started out innocently enough from the Ten Lakes trail head.  It was sunny and warm, and totally beautiful.  But then we noticed some pesky storm clouds rolling off in the horizon.  Certainly, they wouldn't come any closer!

Near one of the ten lakes...with storm clouds starting to rain on our parade.  Literally.

 Then it began to rain on us.  Fitz, by the way, had the smallest backpack in the history of the world strapped to his back.  So I gave him my day pack to wear as an overnight pack, then he proceeded to strap more than half the crap he had to carry to the outside of the pack because there was no room on the inside...and well, here's what it looked like in his "rain" gear, aka trash bag.  As you can see, I could NOT stop laughing at him.
Who the hell hikes with a pack that looks like this?!  Beige Bob!

Uh, and then it began to HAIL.  Despite living in AK (and being hailed on last time I went backpacking, actually), this was the biggest hail I've ever seen.  It hurt!  But it was still a pretty hilarious situation...
Who loves hail?
Fitz does not lovehail.

  We camped next to a raging stream that night, which was lovely white noise for sleeping purposes.  Fitz didn't believe in my fire making abilities at first because he thought the downed wood would be too wet.  Bwahahahaha!!  Fitz, come kayaking in Prince William Sound...a little hail storm is NOTHING.  We fired up some dried wood and got ourselves all settled into a cozy camp.  We hiked out to the May Lake trail head the next day and made our way to the Tuolomne Meadows backpackers campground for the night.  Nothing too exciting to report there, other than that $5/person "lodging" is pretty sweet.

Pretty Indian Paint Brush along the trail to May Lake
 The next day was a "rest" day and we headed outside the park to explore a trail one of Julia's friends found in a guidebook.  W.O.W. was it awesome!  Fin Tail Lake...go there!

We conquered Cloud's Rest on our final hiking day.  Many doubted our ability to make the long hike in one day, but really, all the hiking we'd done in the previous days really prepared us for this one.  And the views were totally worth it.

No lack of energy here, people.

This was the view of North Dome from Cloud's Rest.  Mark my words, I will NEVER climb Half Dome.  Can you see the line of ant people climbing the cables?  NO THANK YOU.  I like my life too much to try something as crazy as that. 

Click the image to zoom in a bit.  You'll see more Darwin Award candidates in the making.

My recommendation: GO TO YOSEMITE!  I'll be going back there someday for sure.  If not for the hiking, for the nearly-free beer!
By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOREN!!  My sister turns 30 today. :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lost Lake Run

The longer I live in AK, the longer my checklist of cool things to do grows. One of the "to do's" on my list for several years has been the Lost Lake Run. I finally managed to get myself a spot in the race months and months ago (this baby sells out fast!), and just this last weekend, I did it! I accomplished my big goal of the summer! The race consists of a 15.75 mile trail that takes you up and up for 5 miles (with much of your view looking like this):Not my picture, I took this from the internet

Then there are about 4 miles of rolling hills up in the alpine tundra. It was raining pretty hard up above tree line, but it's hard to notice the rain when the views were still stunning:

Again, not my pic, thank you internet. This one captures very similar weather conditions we experienced this past weekend. The bike would've been nice!

And then there's a big push at mile 9 up "heartbreak hill" before you plummet down to the finish line. Guess what? Yep, not my pic. But this shows the beginning of the plummet. Of course, it was NOT this sunny and you couldn't actually see Resurrection Bay. Not that I would've seen it - I was busy focusing on the 10 feet in front of me and that's about it.

I was hoping to finish in less than 3.5 hours, as I'd never run this far before (longest run prior to this was a 13.07 mile training run up and down a mountain) and had no idea how fast or slow I'd go. I've also hiked the trail before, but didn't remember much about the elevation gain and whether I'd be able to run up the "ups" at all. When I reached the halfway point at 1h 40m I knew the hardest part was behind me, and that I could break 3 hours so long as I didn't hurt myself. I managed not to fall the entire race (woo hoo!!), even with all that rain and slick gloppy mud, and finished in 2:50:21. Yee haw! I still had gas left in the tank too, so I know I can go faster.

Remember how I said my list of cool things to do keeps growing? Well, now that I've done Lost Lake in the rain, I want to do it in the sun! And I want to do it faster. I'll add it to the list...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

From the River to the Mountains: A Story of Salmon and Hail

Another form of adventure up in AK is dipnetting. This is something you can do only after living here for a calendar year. And it's ridiculous. This year there were record-breaking numbers of sockeye (red) salmon entering the Kenai River, and wouldn't you know it? All of Alaska showed up to scoop big nets in the water to haul their 25 fish! Including yours truly. We scored some sunny weather, which didn't help with the crowds, but I'll take it!

My very favorite kind of salmon is smoked sockeye. Jedd just so happens to be the proud owner of a smoker. So does his brother. So, after filleting 55 fish, we soaked them in home-made brine, got up at weird hours to stoke the smokers, and smoked about 25lbs of fish. Oh my God, SO good. (Sorry, the pic is kinda smokey, heh heh.)

In addition to catching my salmon for the year, my garden has begun to really produce! I've been outside playing so much that I haven't had much time to cook. But my fish and produce got me inspired. The other night I made a smoked salmon salad with lettuce from the garden (and guess where I got the smoked salmon), and a rainbow chard and onion quiche. My onions aren't quite ready, but I have swiss chard growing out the ying yang, so into the quiche it went.
I don't have any "real" adventures on the immediate horizon (well, some are brewing...), so I've been able to train a bit for the Lost Lake Run in August. I'm scared. Very scared. The run is 16 trail miles, the first 5 of which are up and up and up. The farthest I've ever run is 9 miles. Uh oh. Luckily I have my trusty running buddy who is ALWAYS up for a training run into the mountains!

I've convinced myself that it isn't always necessary to run while in the mountains, and that hiking could be good training for Lost Lake too. So I convinced Jedd to hike up to Reed Lakes for my birthday. We made a weekend of it. I'd never camped up there, but have always wanted to. So, off we went! On the way up the weather was very cooperative. For a little while anyway...

About halfway up to Lower Reed Lake we ran into some weather. First it was a drizzle. Then there was a big clap of thunder. Oh man! It rarely thunders here, so that was exhilarating! We decided to march on (we wouldn't have if the thunder and lightening continued, don't worry), and then it really rained. Whew we! Jedd was soaked! And then you know what it did? It HAILED. In mid July. Hail. Evil. We almost turned around then and there, but when you're standing in the middle of no where and it's hailing, it's not like its going to be any better to hike back home than it is to hike to your planned destination. So we hiked on and set up camp.

You'll be shocked to learn that I really started to come down as we were putting up our tent. Shock, surprise. So we sought shelter under a rock outcropping. Wrigley also sought marmots, Mo sought some zzzzzz's, and Jedd and I sought our beer. :)

Once the rain died down a bit we high tailed it up to the Upper Lake just to check it out. But first, a couple shot. Awwwwwww (vomit).

Here's a view of our camp from the trail to Upper Reed Lake. Not sure if you can see it, but the tent is literally in the middle of this picture. It's a beautiful spot and this trail is still my fav!