Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spring at last

Break-up has been over with for a while now and it finally feels like Spring is here. Now, granted I think most people are on their way into Summer, but I think we're a few weeks away from that. Maybe by mid-June.

It was nice after the heat of California to get back to the nice, cool weather up here. But my class was good and I got to visit with my Aunt Janice, Uncle Bud and cousin Mark while I was in CA. Was great to see them- I think it's been about ten years since I saw them last.

I got back home at 2 a.m. Saturday morning and saw a moose chomping on some grass as the cab drove by. Then I saw another one swimming in Westchester Lagoon later in the morning when I went to pick Buck up. Oh, and I saw a Dahl sheep on the way home from my hike Saturday evening. So, the animals are definitely out enjoying the weather.

Buck and I went hiking up Bird Ridge down by the Turnagain Arm (about 25 miles south of Anchorage on the Seward Hwy). We mainly went to test out my knee to see if it can handle a steep hike since we're headed to Denali next weekend for hiking and such. I went to the doctor and got an MRI and it turns out that my meniscus is just strained, not torn. So, great news because now I don't have to let it slow me down. He also basically told me that my knees aren't in good shape (not surprising considering all the sports and running and hiking I've done in the last 32 years) and that eventually I'll probably tear the meniscus or my cartilage will crap out on me or something. I pretty much stopped listening after, 'it's not a tear'.

Anyway, the knee fared well and is still not bothering me today, so it looks like I'm good to go.

The hike was a challenge- half of it was moderate, but the second half was up a goat trail and the footing wasn't stellar. The mosquitos are also out already even though we have yet to see 60 degrees. Since they only swarmed when you stood still, they definitely helped me keep moving. Heh! Here's a picture of Chugach's interior and a link to the rest of the pictures. I took two sets of panorama style, so you have to scroll through them in order to get the full effect.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I've suddenly realized that the summer is fast approaching and that I need to get off my duff on making some plans for/with my friends that are coming up to visit. Chris (my sister) spoiled me by requiring no assistance other than checking out a couple B&Bs in town, so when people were like, 'so, what's cool to do?' I'm pretty much coming up blank. LOL! I've been up here three and a half months, but it's been all about unpacking and settling in and getting used to a new job, etc. Plus, the kind of things you can do in the winter are a bit different than what you can do in the summer.

After getting recommendations from the folks that have lived up here for forever, the consensus tends to be that Denali and Seward are two things that you have to do when you come up. There are many other cool things that you *can* do, but I'm also keeping in mind that my friends are budget oriented since they are young and most are still paying off school/new houses/the plane ticket up here, etc. So, yeah, knowing that, Seward and Denali are still good choices with a little Chugach hiking thrown in the mix.

Since I'm going along to do things with each of them, I've been trying to help map out a bit of their trip without being overbearing and making decisions for everyone. LOL! When my friend Jen comes up for Memorial Day, we're going to Denali on Friday and Saturday and then probably Seward on Monday. My friend Ang did Seward research for me on tours there. She's going to hit up a day trip on her own and then we're going to go hike and tour Denali for three days, including camping here:

That's McKinley on the right in case you were wondering. LOL! It's tough to miss. I got that all booked plus the night before booked at the Dome Home up in Healy. We're going to drive up of an evening and sleep over in Healy so that we can get an early start and hopefully get an awesome camp site the next morning.

I sent my buddy Tim a bunch of links, but I think I should have been shooting them to him a lot earlier since they are coming up in July which tends to be the busiest month according to all the B&Bs I was calling, trying to find a room for them. Mental note to let folks know to book crazy mad early- like five months out. It's kinda nuts, but when there are minimal places to stay, only a three month season, and lots of people coming up, you have to book way earlier than you would for anything else.

My fishing trip is still on for June, so my freezer will hopefully be stocked when most of the folks come up and I'll have had a chance to try a couple different ways of cooking the rockfish and halibut. I've nearly finished the paint job on my guest room and the bathroom is next. That'll happen next weekend when I get back from Anaheim and the woodwork and doors to both rooms will have to get painted that weekend, too. Lots to do, lots to do!

At least all the chores will keep me from hiking on my bum knee on the weekends. The brace that the doc gave me helps, but I need to get an MRI scheduled to see how bad it is. Here's hoping for a sprain so that the surgery doesn't screw up my summer. Ugh. I have plans, darn it! I don't have time to be hurt. Stupid surfing. I blame Hawaii for this.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

This is awesome!

Ok, this has nothing to do with me or Alaska, but I had to pass it along. Even if you hate sports, this will warm the cockles of your heart. *This* is one of the important lessons I learned from being a jock all my life- sportsmanship (I also learned teamwork and how to be a good winner and a good loser). These are some classy broads, right here. I mean, wow!

'Unbelievable' softball play

And, yeah, they may have lost that playoff, but that won't be what everyone on that field remembers in twenty years. They'll just remember that they witnessed a perfect, golden moment. They may not have won the game, bu they definitely won something much more important.