Thursday, December 30, 2010

What a Year!

I am very good at reading blogs...just not so good at keeping up with my own! This has been quite a year! Here are some of the highlights.

In March I escaped the legislative session and hit up Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee with Julia and one of her friends. Holy hell, that was fun! The snow there was amazing, and Grand Targhee might just be my favorite resort (out of the 3 I've been to!). I found a run that was just my style and cruised it all afternoon while jamming out to tunes. It was like I was in a Warren Miller movie. I still could use another big tele break through though. I have to put on serious mileage in 2011!

In April I jet-setted across country to celebrate my college swim coach's retirement. That man had been coaching Yale swimming since 1978! 1978!?!? I was BORN in 1978! So, after 32 years, he hung up his towel, and went out with a bang. It was great to see all my former teammates there. I miss you guys!

In May, I took the marine ferry over to Cordova (east side of Prince William Sound) with my two kayaks and Scott and his two surf boards. The goal: Hinchinbook Island. There's a cabin on the south side, where the swell from the Gulf of Alaska creates some sweet surf. But, as you can imagine good surfing = bad kayaking, and good kayaking = bad surfing. But we were ready for adventure, and adventure is what we got! We took off from Cordova around 10 PM (gotta love long AK summer days), crossed over to Hinchinbook and set up camp around midnight on the eastern shore. It wasn't quite the remote experience we had hoped for - there was a jet boat fishing fleet heading out the same time as us, and we got to play frogger in our kayaks. The next day we attempted to get to the cabin via the Gulf. Epic Fail. We flipped in 4 foot waves. I've never flipped in a kayak, and was kinda freaked about what it'd be like in Alaskan waters. But it wasn't the cold that was bad, it was the waves. I thought it'd be ironic for me, a swimmer, to die by drowning while on a kayak trip (only my favorite thing to do)! But obviously, I made it. :) We eventually made it to the cabin by kayaking up a river on the back side of the island and then hiking up and over the mountain with surf gear. It was a ridiculous slog, but man was it worth it! We had 5 miles of shore and surf all to ourselves (and LARGE grizzlies - we saw their prints only...they were HUGE), and had 5 days of sunny, 70 degree weather. That is UNHEARD of. What a great trip!

I did a few other kayaking trips this summer: Derickson and Deep Water Bays south of Culross Passage, and Unakwik Inlet, which is between Whittier and Valdez. Both were awesome, as all kayak trips are. :) We had a mix of weather, though I still kept up my luck of having some sun on every yak trip. Here are a few photos from the Unakwik trip. The glacier, Meares, is very rare. It's advancing, so it was really cool to see that it's plowing down the forest (the farthest northern yellow cedar forest in the U.S...or is that the world?), as compared to most glaciers that are retreating and are surrounded by exposed rock, not trees. Very cool.
In June I went over to Seldovia (across Kachemak Bay from Homer) for the town's annual music festival. They had some serious talent there! Though the Cat-in-the-Hat emcee was nightmare inducing.

In July I went down to Colorado for a high school friend's wedding. Now that was a damn good time! I contemplated moving to Colorado after that trip, for all of 5 minutes. I love coming back home to AK!

I also had the chance to float the Nenana and the Matanuska this summer. Yee haw, I love riding the waves of crazy rivers!

And I actually did more than just get outside for adventures; my yard and downstairs got some revamping this summer and fall. I enclosed the yard (dubbed "Wrigley's Field") and expanded my garden, so I had some serious veggie bounty going on. I even had basil growing in my house till a couple of weeks ago, and the jalapenos are still going!! What the...? As for the bathroom, yay for jetted tubs post skiing!

An adventure of its own was my relationship with Scott, which came to an end this fall. Let's just say it wasn't the type of adventure that I like, so it's good to put it in the past. Many, many lessons were learned.

I haven't been doing much backcountry skiing this year yet b/c Mother Nature hasn't been kind, but did make it out for my first turns October 9th. We hiked and hiked and hiked with our ski boots on and our skis strapped to our packs for about 3+ hours. We had to cross a huge boulder field. We were desperate for snow, apparently. We made it to Lane Glacier and did a couple of super fun laps before heading back for pizza and beer. I can't wait to get out on more BC trips. And there's a good chance I'll be doing more skiing from a there's the life!
I went to Palm Springs in November to celebrate an early Thanksgiving with Mom, Dad, Loren and Mike. I got to have my own villa, which was a major score. Loren brought me cocktails to kick off the evening every night. Does it get any better? We'd all pick lemons and oranges and tangerines as we walked through the neighborhood. And I even managed to get some mountain hiking in! I had to watch for rattle snakes...yikes! Here is a view from the back deck of my parents' place, cacti and mountains (looked like caribou cacti to me!), my villa, and Loren and I in Joshua Tree National Park.

I was in Homer for Thanksgiving, and back to the midwest for Christmas. I visited Loren and Mike's new diggs in St. Louis and then drove to Chicago via Springfield. I got to see Julia and my second set of parents in Springfield, and then the rest of the fam in Chicago. I didn't realize I'd done so much traveling in 2010! Now I'm back in Alaska hoping for more snow, and planning a fun New Years celebration. I'm ready for 2011! Happy New Year everyone!

Already in the works for 2011: kayak trip to the Na Pali coast in Hawai'i!!!!