Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shedding Winter

I have been taking a lot of long weekend trips to Homer, and have been spending many nights in log cabins. Jedd lives in a log cabin, we've rented a log cabin on Tustamena Lake, and we have friends who have a log cabin in up near Talkeetna.

We went up to the Talkeetna cabin a few weeks ago. You park along the highway, and then snowmobile in about 6 or 7 miles. Wrigley refused to ride the sled (why ride it when you can race it?) and ran behind it at 20mph for about 5 miles before he slowed a bit. I was impressed! While at the cabin we decided to do a little Alaskan white trash version of water skiing... This involved a snowmobile, a tow rope, skis, and some alcohol. Yours truly was pulled all around the place, first along skinny, bouncy trails, and then we hit the "open road" of the lake. Yeeeeee Haaaaawwwww! We were on cross-country skis, so it's not like we had awesome carving abilities...and that's where the alcohol helped. :) It was VERY fun, and while trashy, I highly recommend it. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Sadly, there are no pics of this. Actually, maybe that's a good thing.

We also spent some time shed hunting. Sheds are the paddles/antlers that moose shed every winter. They tend to whack their antlers against trees, and whomp! down to the ground they go. We made our way over to the very appropriately named Moose Creek and began our search. Brandon, one of our friends, was the first to call out, "Found one!" He did that within 5 minutes. So we were all pretty stoked. Then, about 30 minutes later, I accidentally found one! I was only stopping to put my gloves in my backpack b/c it was too hot and just happened to notice the tip of a shed sticking out of the ground near my feet...I almost walked right by! I had to unbury it, and holy moose racks, it was a big 'un! I took this pic of Wrigley with it (note the old timey snowshoes...they were awesome)...

He kinda reminded me of Max from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Or the Life is Good puppy. Wrigley, however, wasn't psyched about having it on his head. In his mouth was more his style.

Later in the afternoon we went several miles up the river to check out a different area, and whaddaoyaknow?! Jedd found the perfect match to my shed!! So now I am the proud owner of a "nice rack." (snicker snicker)

Also noteworthy is the northern lights displays lately. I have NEVER seen them from my house b/c it's way too light in the city. But they've been so impressive that I actually snapped a few pics from my back deck. Here, they are directly over Denali.

Finally, what's a blog post without some alpaca poop? As part of a fundraiser for the Homer Broomball teams, I entered the Alpaca Dung Raffle. Basically, there's a $1,500 pot split between two winners. Each of the winners are chosen by two lovely alpacas, and when they poop, that poop is measured out on a quadrant grid, and there you have your winners. Here's Marley goin' for it. (Sadly, I did not win, though I did get some awesome schwag in a silent raffle.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Trips in the works

Before I post about my most recent adventures, let me tell you how excited I am about upcoming trips! First up will be a kayak trip from Valdez to Whittier. This will be the longest kayak trip I've been on, and I'm PSYCHED. Next will be an amazing trip to Kauai. Jedd and I, along with a few other Alaskans and Hawaiians, are going to kayak the Na Pali Coast, then hike the sucker, then explore the island, likely via foot, bike, and helicopter. Views ought to be something like this:
Photo courtesy of the interwebz
Then towards the fall I'll be hitting up Yosemite with Julia and my second set of parents. Julz (and Krista and Duncan??? Pretty please!!) and I are going to do some serious backpacking and hiking. It'll look something like this:
Gracias again interwebz

There will, of course, be adventures in the interim too. I've just been busy planning these trips, so they're on my mind right now.
Next up, a recap of my latest adventures. They involve alpaca poop. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

East of Denali

Denali from our drop in point (there was actually snow to ski, don't worry)

My friend Andy and I went exploring this past weekend. I was up before 6AM (on a weekend?!), and we drove waaaaay up north, and parked due east of Denali (aka Mt. McKinley). Then we blazed a new trail to slopes that are probably never skied (b/c they're so remote and the snow is meh). Holy sh*t was it beautiful out there! We toured and climbed for about 5 hours...not exactly what most skiers dream of when scoping lines for downhill turns. But it was like summer out there. We were down to just shirts and pants - no jackets, hats, or gloves necessary! Once we reached our summit for the day, we assessed avalanche conditions, determined that things were a bit sketchy (don't' worry, mom, we played it safe), had some late lunch in the hot sun, and then made some rather pathetic turns down the breakable crust. Breakable crust is so NOT my friend. All the powder was down in the alders, which we "skied" through while bushwacking. Thank you winds. Once we were down the mountain, we began the slog back to the truck. I was back home at 10PM. What a day!! I'd do it all over again in an instant.
Yours truly on the hike up. We had to boot pack the last bit up the mountain, and we hiked on tundra! Bring on spring!!
Here's a video I took to show you our surroundings b/c pictures couldn't capture the 360 degrees of mountains. Andy makes an appearance too. We skied a run that you'll see right behind him.