Monday, December 31, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
We accessed the park via the "usual" route - the McCarthy Road, 60 miles of gravel road from Chitna to McCarthy. Expect washboards and potholes, but don't believe the tour books (they tell you to have two spare tires - the road isn't that bad, it's like the road to Child's Glacier and the Million Dollar Bridge outside of Cordova). And don't expect the ice cream store at mile 44.2 to be open. That was a disappointment. Anyway, we went to Kennecott Mine in Kennicott, Alaska (a clerical error led to the misspelling of the mine's name), and then took a hike up towards Bonanza Mine. We ran out of time and had to turn back around near tree line, but it's one heck of a hike with awesome views the whole way! Then we explored the town of McCarthy (Kennicott and McCarthy are about 5 miles apart, but you can't drive between them - a narrow footbridge is the only thing connecting the two over the raging Kennicott River), and that place surpasses Seward as my favorite Alaskan city. It's quaint, has tons of dogs, everyone knows each other (and the dogs), and sits in the most spectacular landscape I've ever seen. And it was sunny (and hot!) the entire time we were there. :) Two thumbs way up for W-St. E/Kennicott/McCarthy!
(I have pics, but will have to upload them later...)
Monday, May 14, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
I flew down to Juneau for the annual Alaska Coastal Management Program conference last week. I took it upon myself, as a steward of the environment and protector of all things coastal, to invite myself for a fishing and whale watching expedition on my friend's skiff...you know, to check up on the coast and stuff. We just so happened to have some King salmon fishing gear aboard, and we just so happened to come across a feeding whale in the harbor. Although we didn't land any Kings (yet), we had a close encounter with a feeding humpback. While in about 15 feet of water we realized that we were atop a big ball of herring (i.e. whale food) and the whale was headed right for it. Quick math - 15 feet of water doesn't give much wiggle room if a whale is under the boat. While I was pretty excited about the prospect of being bumped by a whale (we were about 10 feet from shore), my friend, claiming he was protecting me...and his expensive fishing gear, started stomping on the bottom of the boat just in case the running engine wasn't enough to scare the whale away from us. We never got bumped, but I did snap this picture as the whale went on his merry herring-eating way.
After returning to Anchorage from Juneau, I decided to try out my backcountry tele skillz. Four of us hiked up Ptarmigan, in Anchorage's front range, and skied down some sweet soft corn. This was my second backcountry trip and it was infinitely better than my first experience. I'd like to think its because I improved, but since I hadn't actually skied at all between my two backcountry trips, I guess I can only thank the snow Gods for soft corn. This is a picture of my lines (may have to click on it to enlarge the lines) - yeah, the slope looks pathetic, but believe me, it looked steeper in person. I swear.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Then the next day Jenn and I visited some friends who have a recreational dog team. Dog mushing is incredibly popular in Fbanks - there are trails and dogs everywhere. Jenn and I were each personally chauffeured by 10 huskies around the trail system and under the pipeline! This was our view for the ride. After a few beers (like we did ANY work warranting a beer) we bid farewell to our new furry friends (not you guys, Carrie and Duff) and visited the World Championship Ice Carving contest. I'll have to post some pics of some of those sculptures - they were really amazing. Unfortunately, more punk teenagers - they seem to run rampant in Fbanks - ran around destroying about 20% of the sculptures, including totally destroying the best one there. By the way, if you ever make it up to Fbanks for the ice sculptures, you MUST find the ice slides. We must have spent upwards of an hour in -25 degrees playing on those things. They don't look very fast, but don't be fooled. I don't do well in that kind of cold, so you know those slides were ridiculously fun because I never once noticed the cold! Thanks Tom, Carrie, Duff, and all the doggies - we had fun!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
10. Swim in waterfalls. Jump into their pools even when you're afraid of heights. And then get yourself stuck on the other side of a rising river that you must cross to catch your plane. (Just wait a while and it'll return to a flow that you can safely cross.)
Monday, February 05, 2007
A group of us went for a ski yesterday, and with all that blue sky, who could blame us? It's been warm up here lately (in the 40s last week), and then it chilled a bit to just under freezing. This means that the snowpack is essentially icy white asphalt. Not exactly prime conditions for skiing. You can see in the pic to the right how tough that snow was - you can't even see any marks from our skis!
See the steep sloped mountain way up on the left of this photo? If you're me, you'll let your friends talk you into switchbacking up that sucker despite the pesky voice of reason screaming "DON'T DO IT! ARE YOU NUTS?" into your head. And even when you express your concerns to your friends, you still manage to be talked into risking life and limb just to experience a few extra minutes of sunshine up high as the shadows descend on the safety of the valley below. And then you'll lose your footing...once, twice, and then a third time, and that third time will be a doozy. You'll rocket feet first towards a clump of trees while thinking, "This is going to suck." But then you'll hit those trees, somehow manage to be shot out of them, only this time you're plummeting down the ice head first into another clump of trees, and your thoughts are much more serious. You'll miraculously manage to stop the fall and only end up with some jammed fingers (which hurt when you type). You'll have a friend also loose her footing, and end up dislocating her elbow during her plummet to the bottom. Moral of the story: NEVER let your friends talk you into skiing on ice on such a steep slope. Tell them they're nuts if they insist on it. Don't give in. Your fingers and your friend's elbow will thank you.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
And just minutes ago, I let Wrigley out for his nightly bathroom break, and what did I see? Moose tracks headed to my backyard! I have a sorry excuse for a tree back there, and it's actually looking more sorry than usual now that it's surrounded by several feet of snow - looks more like a bush. It appears as though one small moose and one large moose made their way back to pay tribute to my little lilac tree/bush. I'm just glad they didn't leave any part of earlier eaten trees behind since Wrigley treats moose pellets like little energy bars. He goes nuts for 'em.
Monday, January 22, 2007
to find a slowly advancing glacier (those are the rarest types - most are receeding due to global warming) ON MY ROOF! What luck! This is about 12 inches of ice right up against my chimney, plus the top part of some long icicles that I enjoyed destroying. I just hope it doesn't come crashing into my living room. Outdoor glaciers are so much nicer.
Here is what Anchorage roofs (sans glaciers) look like:
Thursday, January 11, 2007
And, of course, what's an update from me without the Official Moose Count? The Official 2006 Moose Count: 91. My goal was 100, but now it gives me a goal for 2007 (lofty goal, isn't it?). So far for 2007: 1. I'm well on my way!