Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gone Fishin'

I headed down to the mouth of the Kenai river for a little dipnetting action this weekend. Not a bad view, eh? Dipnetting, for those of you Outsiders (the name we call you guys outside of Alaska, and yes, we capitalize it), is an absolutely ridiculous, but totally awesome, mode of catching fish. Not exactly given a clever name, you literally take a net and dip it in the water to catch fish. There are limits, of course. Like, your net can't be bigger than 5' in diameter. You can only catch 25 fish per year as the head of the household (plus 10 more per dependant). You get the idea. Since I generally get skunked while using the good ol' rod and reel/fly rod, I became a huge fan of dipnetting last year. You see, despite having waders where the crotch is at my knees, being 6' tall does actually have some advantages. I can wade out past most people and catch the fish that think they're smart enough to swim beyond the nets. But the bad news is that may have been beginner's luck. This year was a little more pathetic than last year, my first year with the dipnet. I only scored 4 fish. Boo. Good thing I have plenty left from last summer and another fishing trip planned next month!
All those things that look like ants in the water are dipnetters. It was quite a scene down there! 68,000 fish moved from the inlet into the river in ONE day last week, and those kinds of numbers attract the masses!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The big 3-0

I hit the big 3-0 on Sunday. Can't say I feel any older, though I'm one of those people who believes age is just a number...until my back starts aching and my dentures need cleaning. So even though I don't feel any older, I do use any excuse to get out for a kayak trip. Bring on Aialik Bay 2008! We kicked off the trip with my best water taxi ride yet...we were entertained by breaching and spinning humpbacks at the mouth of Resurrection Bay. And by breaching, I mean these suckers were launching themselves out of the water left and right. It was amazing. I'd packed my camera and while the whales were putting on a show, my camera was under the deck of the boat. Doh! But Jenn had her camera out and got one good shot (breaching whales are hard to photograph with a point and shoot digital unless you know exactly where and when they're going to launch). Here are some of the highlights - sunshine, seals, otters, bacon wrapped steak with gorgonzola for dinner, boxed wine and campfires, glaceritas, wrestling on the beach, granite walls with 1,000 foot waterfalls, and my favorite, calving glaciers. My b-day night was spent at the foot of Aialik Glacier. There is an unmarked camping spot, probably b/c your camp could easily be wiped out by a wave from the glacier. But we like to live dangerously...or, I just love Aialik and we were willing to risk it. We hiked up the moraine to view Aialik from its profile. Unbelievable. Again, I need Jenn's photos for this. WOW. One of those things I can't explain - you should've been there. Best b-day ever. We peeled ourselves off the beach the next morning and made our way towards Pederson and Holgate Glaciers. They don't hold a candle to Aialik, but they're cool in their own right. The lodge is underway at Pederson, which I find heart breaking. Kinda ruins the experience. And rather than 10 bear sightings at Pederson, as I saw last year with Bree and Michael, we saw one. It was a big, healthy guy, but only one?! Not cool. Here's something a little nuts - while we were up in the upper Pederson lagoon we ran into another girl in a yellow kayak celebrating her 30th b-day!! The water taxi ride home was equally as impressive as the ride out there, but this time it was breaching orcas. Imagine Sea World times 30. There were orcas all over the place, and they were getting airborne. Wicked cool. May have to do it all again for the big 3-1.

Enjoy the pics:
Camping at the end of an avy shoot. We ended up moving b/c the snow proved to be an awesome launch pad for tent-flattening boulders.
Ah, the party boat. On the morning of my b-day, I found balloons stuffed into any place a balloon can fit in my kayak. They all ended up hitching a ride on the back. favorite.
We had Aialik Margaritas that night with this stuff. MMmmmmm.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Movin' on up

Here I am living in a city surrounded by water and mountains. I do my fair share of kayaking in the summer and skiing in the winter, but I've neglected the mountains in the summer. Wtf?! I've been doing a lot more hiking this summer and wish I could show some of you flatlanders the beauty of this place. My pathetic pics will have to do. (I also wish you all could've seen me be charged by a moose tonight while mountain biking...I was riding in Kinkaid to avoid grizzlies at Hilltop, and low and behold, I have moose issues. I love AK!) Back to the mountains.