Tuesday, September 29, 2009
It's fall, so the male meese are growing their racks in. It's really impressive to see those things up close. It's a wonder they can even lift their heads. I wish I'd had my camera - the leaves have put on their fall outfits, and the run last night was just stunning.
Next up...Loren's wedding!! Scott and I are headed to Illinois tomorrow to begin the festivities. Probably won't see any meese....
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
First up, the Yukon River. The finish of the race. What race? Keep reading!
Teammate running through beautiful Canada. Canada?! Yes, keep reading!
Monday, August 17, 2009
And Krista and Duncan getting all excited about the scenery, seals, and otters, because let's face it, it wasn't ugly!
After Krista and Duncan bid us adieu from Seward, Julz and I headed up to Hatcher Pass to hike the Reed Lake trail. Just spectacular. I heart this trail. The lower lake:
I had a great time with you guys. Sorry it took SOOOO long to post the trip. I'm fired. Miss you, and can't wait to do it again!
Monday, July 27, 2009
First up, Jenn and I headed out to Cordova on Memorial Day weekend. We took the ferry from Whittier and the crossing over to the east side of Prince William Sound (where Cordova is) was like crossing a lake - it was so calm and sunny! We did this trip in 2007 and were rained on for the entirety of 3 days. But this year was spectacular!
Marsh area right outside the "city" where thousands and thousands of birds rest during their spring migration. It was pretty quiet by the time we arrived.
The Cordova boat harbor. In one hand I had my camera, in the other, a nice cold beer. I knew then that this summer was going to be really, really good!
From one of our hikes. Not too shabby.
We hiked up to a huge alpine lake that had a tidewater glacier at the far end. That was an unexpected, awesome surprise! And then Wrigley said he wanted to imitate a polar bear.
Then Scott and I went to Halibut Cove to visit Matt, Brooke, and Liam. Halibut Cove is across Kachemak Bay from Homer and is a unique spot with an artistic community. We paddled around a bit, hiked around a bit, and relaxed a lot. Matt and Brooke have quite the setup out there. I highly recommend inviting yourself out for a visit.
Scott and I have been spending a lot of time down in Cooper Landing this summer. One of the many things to do down there includes cutting down trees on the property (much to his grandmother's dismay) and torching them.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Yes, that would be the ultimate in bike couture. Only the most fashionable diva can pull off a thick wool hat under the bike helmet look. But let's focus on the snow/sleet/hail. That was then. Welcome to Denali Bike Trip 2009!You'll notice I've traded in the fashionable wool/helmet combo for the ever-popular green Cubs hat. And I've ditched the snow and ice on my face in exchange for a little mud (that is not a big hairy mole). And most importantly, it's SUNNY!! And hot! This summer is shaping up to be one for the record books.
View from one of our camp spots:Waiting for the next big one:
Monday, March 16, 2009
After releasing the hounds, I let the Lance Mackey groupie in me come out. This guy is the quintessential musher. He looks like he's had a rough life (he reminds me a little of Ernest from "Ernest Goes to Camp"), has smoked too much of something...let's put is this way, he's got a dog named "Pimp"...but he's got serious love for his K-9s and that scores him major points in the musher groupie world. So I went to go check he and his pups out. Most mushers have their head handler get the dogs on the line, but Mackey did all the grunt work himself. And as a groupie, I thought that was way cool. As of tonight, he's well on his way to kicking the crap out of cocky Jeff King. Go Mackey! Here he is at the ceremonial start looking incredibly relaxed. That's Pimp on the left.The ceremonial start is always fun, but I'd never been to the real deal until this year. I got to go behind the scenes to the staging area for all the mushers and their team. I was hoping to score another position handling for Karin, but she already had way too many wanna-be handlers, so I made my way on over to watch the start with the rest of the regular spectators. It was great to watch the teams fly down the shoot. As they ran by you can't help but think, "Holy sh*t, they're on their way to Nome!" These dogs are the most amazing athletes!
Then, on Monday, a few friends and I jumped on a charter flight to Finger Lake, one of the checkpoints at the start of the race. We got to see teams enter the checkpoint, rest up, leave, and even watch a few blow by the checkpoint on their way to the next one.
But most teams looked like this while resting.
The most hilarious dog is right here. Her name is Ellen. She sleeps sitting up while her mommy musher cooks for the team. She did this the entire 2ish hours we were at the checkpoint. Every now and then her head were lean closer and closer to the ground, and just before her nose would touch the hay she'd self-correct and go right back to this position. She may have blue eyes, but I never saw them open!
I continued a doggie theme this past weekend while on my Third Annual Fairbanks Trip. I did manage to view some non-doggie ice sculptures at the World Championship Ice Carving contest, and even hit up those infamous ice slides. This time we tried them backwards, and I recorded it. The fear is pretty obvious on my face.
And last but not least, I rode the whip sled with my friend Tom and his dogs. They call it a whip sled for a reason. I gave a lovely demonstration of this...video to follow once I get a copy. In the meantime, see if you think these guys are ready to run.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Wrigley was a bit of a buzz kill though. On the way back to the truck he decided to chase a porcupine. You'd think he'd learn that bad things happen when he chases things (i.e., cars, metal edged skis, and now porcupines). He re-joined us with a new set of jewelry: a cheek full of quills. My friend was able to yank most out with his hands, and a few more came out later with the help of some pliers. Yee-ouch! (One was hidden away on top of his head- maybe it migrated??) So, Wrigs is under quill surveillance. I'm just hoping it doesn't lead to surgery no. 3!
Wrigley and I were crashing at a friend's cabin in on Kenai Lake for the better part of the weekend. The property is amazing, and I can't wait to go back again! Nights were spent in a sauna, the cabin (really, it's a house) inspires relaxed evenings with friends, and there is an unlimited number of adventures to be had all over the place! And the best part? It's RIGHT on the lake (i.e. the perfect kayak launch site). It is surrounded by unbelievably beautiful country, and I have already invited myself back for more!
*If you knew me in Chicago, you knew that I was the one who got to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game and then realized that I left my tickets at home. Luckily, it was only a 4 block jog back to my place!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I love dogs. I think that's pretty obvious. I agreed to take in foster dogs because how can I resist?? But, the foster dogs I've had (all 2 of them) are, not surprisingly, starved for attention. Any time I try to give Wrigley some love, they nudge their way in and hijack belly rubs. They kick Wrigley off the bed and sleep nuzzled up next to me. That used to be Wrigley's job. Don't get me wrong, Wrigs isn't getting totally screwed. He gets wrestling buddies and has company while I'm at work. But I'm wondering if it's really worth it. I have a special place in my heart for Wrigley and am having a hard time dividing my attention between one spoiled dog and one incredibly needy dog.
Also, two dogs is a LOT more work than one dog. I used to think that two dogs would be like having another half of a dog - sure you've got to feed it and walk it, but you're already doing that anyway! Wrong! It's more like having 2 and a half dogs. Walking two dogs is an exercise in chaos management. My neighbors have literally been outside laughing at me as I've walked Jake and Wrigley. It's comical...to them.
Then you can add in the stress that comes with having a dog you don't know staying at your house. Hunter, the first foster dog, was very skittish. I couldn't have other people or dogs over without going through a big introduction. And there's also the destruction factor - if I leave it for 5 minutes, will it eat my shoes? While I'm at work will it destroy my house? I've had to put Jake in a crate because he's part kangaroo and clears the baby gate (downstairs is "doggie-proofed") with no effort. As soon as he's in there he starts barking and crying. But I can't let him loose...what if he eats my couch? My walls? My carpet? My furniture?
And most importantly, the addition of a foster dog seems to have an effect I hadn't considered. Taking in a foster dog doesn't just affect me, it also affects others in my life. Some people aren't dog people. Or they have dogs that freak my foster dog out. Or they have kids and I have no idea how a foster will act around kids.
So, I'm having an internal battle. I love helping dogs find their "forever homes," but it may just be too much for me and Wrigley. I feel guilty and selfish, but after this week, I think it's time to find another way to help out.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Wrigley couldn't have been happier with the addition of a 24/7 wrestling buddy to the house. I got them to stop wrestling long enough to snap this picture, but then they were back at it.
Hunter went up to the Eagle River adoption clinic this week where he was adopted twice. The first time he was returned quickly (he didn't warm up to the husband), and he was adopted right before closing by another couple. I wish him luck - I hope he finds his forever home! (Wrigley is still sleeping from a week of wrestling!)
Some of you have asked if I'd become too attached to a foster dog to give it up. I was scared that would happen to me. Luckily, I'm genuinely happy that Hunter may have found his home (he's on a 10 day trial - he could be back here before you know it, making this adoption thing kind of anti-climatic). I just want him to have a good life (he'd had a rough one prior to now). But, I am human, and when a lady stopped by to pick him up to take him to the adoption clinic, I shed a tear when I realized that that could be the last time I ever see that guy. He's a sweetie.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Here's a quick recap of the rest of my 2008:
I went up to Fairbanks with Mike for Thanksgiving, and it was a blast. I met many of Mike's friends, and there are some characters up there! Fairbanks folks live a little differently than the rest of the world. Running water is a luxury, everyone owns at least 2 dogs, and people think -10 degrees is warm. Freaks. Except for the dog part - that's pretty cool. We pulled up to a house for one of many parties, and 18 dogs greeted my car. Wrigley was in heaven. We took a few outings on skis, a trip to Chena, and I got to mush (think Iditarod) at my friend Tom's house. I've graduated from riding in the sled (two years ago) to riding a tandem sled (last year) to driving my own 4 dog team! I only fell once, though it was in the first 10 feet of my "driving" - I didn't realize how fast those dogs would take off. Like bats out of hell, I tell ya. I managed to hold on for dear life the rest of the way. We went over to a friend's of Mike's for Thanksgiving, and holy cow, that was great. We got to feed sheep and hang out with two of the world's largest dogs. Check out the noggin that on that guy! It's pretty unbelievable.
I flew back to Illinois for Christmas and spent about a week in Springfield and Chicago. Much of my time in Springfield was spent catching up with folks I haven' t seen in way too long, and also tagging along to my sister's wedding planning appointments. If I ever get married, I'm either eloping, or Loren is planning my wedding. I can't believe the number of decisions that have to be made! By the way, the weather back in Illinois was much worse than in Anchorage - it rained and froze, and ice was everywhere. Thank goodness I had my handy ice grippers along! Oh, and I scored a food dehydrator for Christmas...first up, beef jerky!!
Right before the new year I got to go flying again with my buddy. He's about to sell his plane (sniffle, sniffle), so it was great to get out and enjoy it again. We flew up on a bluebird day and headed towards Denali. Fan-fricking-tastic!!
I've been getting out and skiing a fair bit, though most of it has been on classic or skate skis. I've not spent nearly enough time on tele skis, which is heart breaking. Actually, I've only tele skied TWO times this winter. That's pathetic! What to do?? How about make a New Year's resolution to tele ski MUCH more?! Done!