Is Spring Really Here?

Last year we had the spring that never sprung.  It was cold and wet and nasty until finally, summer was here…then gone.  Our warmth passes so quickly.  I love winter, obviously, or I wouldn’t be able to live here.  But when it starts to warm up, it’s such a time of excitement and expectation.  It’s almost heartbreaking when it doesn’t happen as it is supposed to such as last year.  This year, it seems like Mother Nature is apologizing for last year as we are already in breakup.  The snow is melting, the sun is out, life is good!

I know it’s been a long while since I posted anything.  Mostly I have been hibernating so there’s been little of interest to write about.  I’ll try to catch you up with a few pictures.

Christmas came and went fairly quietly except for the kids got their first guns.  They are just little .22s.

Of course, there was always nights of chasing the auroras.

One of my aurora photos was used on a Denver station news program.  I was pretty excited.

We did a bit of entertaining and a lot of cooking.

Olivia’s very first home made cinnamon, raisin, yeast bread.

I also taught her how to make home made chicken noodle soup, with home made noodles.

Worked at Checkpoint Mile 101 for the Yukon Quest again.  This was my 5th year working there.  Needless to say, I love it.  I ended up staying an extra night and day after everyone left, just putting wood in the stove and playing my fiddle.  I’m going to plan on doing this every year as it was so peaceful and restful after all the commotion and lack of sleep that working there during the Quest brings.  I didn’t write about it this year but you can look back over the years in this blog to see some stories if you care to.

I did take some video of the two passes I have to cross coming home from the checkpoint.  The roads were actually very good even though in the videos, you can see they were icy.  Last year three of our members got stuck or left the road while trying to get out to the checkpoint.

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Cleary Summit

Did a bit of henna here and there.

I love doing bellies the most!

Of course, winter is a time to go visit friends, hang out, have fun, drink some beer, etc.

Here’s my Solstice centerpiece, complete with Yule Log.

While Olivia was working on her roller derby skills.

I got to hang out with pretty mushers in tuxs for the Bunny Boots and Bids fundraiser and Wine Tasting.

And of course, practiced and played my fiddle.

I don’t think I posted this video yet.  It’s how I have to unfreeze the drain.  Living in a dry cabin, having to haul all our water, makes us really conserve.  Of course, if you are only using tiny bits of water here and there through out the day, and it’s -40 outside, the water freezes before it clears the drain.  We have a grey water system which means that the water just goes straight from the kitchen sink to the gravel pad that the cabin sits on.  I have had to do this a couple of times each winter.  It’s not really a big deal but yea, at that cold of temperatures, one’s lungs do not want to inhales so you end up breathing very noisily as you can hear in this video lol.

So, onto the upcoming summer!  I have a camping, float trip down the Delta Clearwater planned for the kids and I.  I have a trip up to visit my friend Susan in Kavik River Camp planned for later in the summer.  I have a zipline adventure trip down near Talkeetna planned with my friend Lori.  And I want to take my kids back packing in the back country for the first time.  I have taken them camping lots of times but never into the back country.  There be bears out there you know.  Backpacking has almost always been my special solo adventures.  I keep them for myself.  But maybe my kids would like them for themselves as well.  Of course, you can’t forget my annual Fowl Adventure.  Chickenstock Music Festival then a visit to my friends’ Wayne and Scarlett who live off the Yukon River.  Can’t wait to see them!

Until next time my dearies.  I’ll be here.

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The Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea, July 2013

I started this trip report when I returned this summer but it was so big and overwhelming, and I was so busy with other trips, I am only finishing it now.

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I have returned from my big trip kicking around on the Kenai Peninsula.  I took my friend Morgan and we had a great time.  I had been planning this trip for a couple of years.  I wanted to go last year but that didn’t pan out.

Kenai Peninsula

We ended up getting a late start out of town.  After all, it was our vacation so no need to get up early.  We left at 2:00 pm with the only goal to make it to the other side of Anchorage before stopping for the night.  It’s about 350 miles to Anchorage from Fairbanks.  We knew we would be stopping here and there on our way so knew it would take a bit longer.  But days seem long when the daylight doesn’t leave. Our first stop was at the Alaska Veterans Memorial.

The Alaska Veterans Memorial is an outdoor memorial grove in Denali State Park in Interior Alaska. The memorial honors Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Alaska National Guard, and Merchant Marine veterans from Alaska, as well as specific Alaskans who were awarded the Medal of Honor. There are also small memorials to the passengers and crew of military plane crashes in Alaska. The site was selected because of the scenic beauty of the area and its location between Alaska’s two largest cities. On a clear day visitors can see Denali from just outside the memorial.  It is 147 miles (237 km) from Anchorage and 214 miles (344 km) from Fairbanks, on a hill above the Byers Lake campground. The main memorial alcove was constructed in 1983, Governor Bill Sheffield, himself a veteran, dedicated the site in 1984.

Alaska Veterans Memorial

I thought of my dad, who was in the Navy, while taking this picture.

Alaska Veterans Memorial

The main alcove of the memorial consists of five 20-foot (6.1 m) upright concrete slabs, each with a large star cut through the upper section and a description of a branch of the Armed Forces history in Alaska inscribed on the lower section.   An inscribed plaque at the entrance honors the Alaska National Guard and the unpaid volunteers of the Alaska Territorial Guard, which filled in for the National Guard when it was mobilized during World War Two.

Alaska Territorial Gaurds

The sculpture at the front of the alcove depicts two members of the Territorial Guard watching for threats with binoculars.

Denali in their view.

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I know most of you know it as Mt. McKinley, but I even forget that.  It is Denali.

Mt. Foraker with Denali in the background.  I know most of you know it as Mt. McKinley, but I even forget that it is named that.  To us, it is simply Denali.

Talkeetna

Talkeetna is the town that the show “Northern Exposure” was based on.  It’s a lovely little town but frankly is too touristy for me now.

Talkeetna is known as the base for expeditions to climb Denali.  There is a base camp at 7,000′ and that is where most of the climbing expeditions start.

K2 Aviation

Quick camp

By the time we found a spot to camp that night, it was 2 am.  We found a spot and threw up the little tents, crawled in and slept.  Down in this part of the state it DOES get dark at night.  So we had no idea until the next morning what a pretty place it was.  Even though the ceiling was low, it was beautiful.  I could hear a water fall and after only a moment or two of exploring, found it right next to our tents.  We spent a while walking up and down the river, communing with nature, looking for rocks to make Inukshuk with, but these rocks were too round.  Inukshuk need angular rocks.

Hope map

The next day we left the main highway and made a side trip to Hope, Alaska to visit a friend of mine.  He gave us intel on a cool place to go, so we went.  After all, we are on vacation and can make spontaneous side trips.  We have no schedule to keep, no clock to attend.

Hope, AK

Sourdough from Wilderness Survival Forum.

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Coming from the sub arctic desert that is the Fairbanks area, this lush green was so peaceful and beautiful to my soul.

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Our side trip was up near Resurrection Pass Trail.  The Resurrection Pass Trail was part of a route used by early gold miners to get from Resurrection Bay near Seward, AK, to mining claims along Turnagain Arm. 

 

There were lots of pretty scenes at the end of Turnagain Arm.  I’m really enjoying learning all the manual settings on my new camera from my friend Jan.

Turnagin Arm

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Hope, AK

During a stop in a town (Sterling?  Soldotna?), there were some buskers out playing in the parking lot of the McDonalds we had stopped at.  I only had a buck in cash but threw in my pack of cigarettes.  They played a special song for me then.  I love buskers.  Most of the time they are pretty interesting.  I also know how very intimidating it can be playing in front of people.

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Next stop was Cooper Landing and Russian River Falls.    This area is famous for “bears eating salmon” pictures.  Luckily, we didn’t get any of those.  It was still about a week before the salmon would make it this far inland.  We did have to sign a document at the campgrounds saying that we were warned of a bear breaching a tent the night before.  Turns out it was at the tent site next to ours.  Lovely!

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Bear scat.

Russian River Trail

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Russian River Falls

Russian River Falls.

Russian River Falls

Russian River Falls

Russian River Falls

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It might have only been 5 miles but it slightly kicked our butts!

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We didn’t bring our guns but did wear bear spray.  After hiking, we treated ourselves to a beer and a “wearing of the boa!”  The boas are only broken out on special, celebratory occasions.

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Then it’s on to cooking dinner over the campfire.  We had some nice steaks and veggies.

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Mushrooms, fresh green beans, and onion.

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This was probably the most satisfying meal of the trip!  I have a propane burner for making coffee first thing in the morning, but I prefer to cook on an actual fire.  I can cook on a burner at home.

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After dinner I played the fiddle for a bit.  I got applause from a few nearby camps.  That was pretty neat.  I’m still at the stage where I get very nervous playing in front of others but apparently if they are not actually in camp, my brain doesn’t recognize they are there hahaha.

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The next morning we had bannock and real butter for breakfast.

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Bannock cooking over the fire.

Don’t worry, I didn’t LEAVE them on the fire like that.

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Next stop was the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Ninilchick, AK.

Ninilchik Alaska Russian Orthodox Church

The Transfiguration of Our Lord Russian Orthodox Church is the most photographed building in Ninilchik. Its services began in 1846 with the arrival of lay missionary Grigorii Kvasnikoff. This present building was designed by local architect Aleksei Oskolkoff and dedicated in 1901. Ninilchik was settled around the turn of the 19th century by creoles, Russians, Aleuts, and Indians. They were retired hunters and trappers that wanted to find a homeland of their own. Some of their great grandchildren still reside here to this day.  Ninilchik is a popular tourist attraction located at the mouth of the Ninilchik river, famous for its fishing and the beaches are known for their clams at low tide. The Russian Orthodox Church was built on the hill above the village.

Ninilchick, AK

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Along with the Russian graves in the cemetery, there was also an American Legion cemetery.  All were covered in wild flowers.

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We finally make our way down towards the bottom of the peninsula.  We stopped at the first beach we could access.  There were several eagles there.

Eagle and Mt. Redoubt

Eagle and Mt. Redoubt.  This is the volcano that erupted a few years ago.

Katchamak Bay

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Eagles and Mt. Redoubt

Eagles

Eagles, 2

One of these is still young enough to have a brown head.

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There were also tractors taking boats out of the water.  It was a really neat operation to watch.  The tractor would hook up to the correct trailer that were lined up higher on the beach, back it way out into the water, then the boat would pull up onto it.  Awesome sauce.

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Homer spit

Homer Spit

First view of the Homer Spit.  It goes about 5 miles out into the water.

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Our friends, Susan and Steve were already in Homer on their own adventure.

I had originally wanted to camp on the beach on the spit.  But after arriving and checking it out, I noticed a couple of things.  There were lots of tents down on the beach and only one porta potty towards one end.  I do not care to camp in anyone’s cat box.  Besides, it’s very rocky.  I do go on trips with the sole purpose of roughing it.  This was not one of them though.

So we ended up in sweet grassy tent spot in the RV park Susan and Steve were staying in.  The lure of showers also contributed to my choice.

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The famous Salty Dog Saloon.

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A jelly fish I saw on the beach.

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These pictures are from when I walked the whole spit.  This was the ocean side.  The other side was a lot calmer as it was protected.

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From the Shore

by Carl Sandberg

A lone gray bird,
Dim-dipping, far-flying,
Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults
Of night and the sea
And the stars and storms.

Out over the darkness it wavers and hovers,
Out into the gloom it swings and batters,
Out into the wind and the rain and the vast,
Out into the pit of a great black world,
Where fogs are at battle, sky-driven, sea-blown,
Love of mist and rapture of flight,
Glories of chance and hazards of death
On its eager and palpitant wings.

Out into the deep of the great dark world,
Beyond the long borders where foam and drift
Of the sundering waves are lost and gone
On the tides that plunge and rear and crumble.

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View of the spit from “my” beach.  There’s an eagle on that stump.

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Susan and Steve.  Beach walking really is for couples in love.

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A little beach visiting with Susan, Steve, and Moe.  I played a bit on my fiddle a bit and Susan took a picture of me.

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Sitting on the shore, watching the moon rise as the night comes upon me, contemplative, happy, satisfied.  Funny how my feelings could have so easily gone in the opposite direction.

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Out on the spit there is the Seafarer’s Memorial.  It feels to be a very meaningful place.

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One time when we were sleeping in the big tent, Moe was snoring so I threw my bra at her.  I had told her turn over a few times but she didn’t hear me and the bra was handy lol.  Heck I thought it was a much better option then throwing anything else I had nearby, a shoe or my gun.  So this morning I woke up to find her sleeping in the chair.  Guess she was doing her own communing with nature.  Really, I didn’t run her out of the tent.  I promise!

Sleeping under the moon light.

Sleeping under the moon light.

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Wakey wakey!  Time for coffee.

About half an hour out of Homer, out East End Road, the Eveline Trail State Recreation Park provides spectacular panoramas of Kachemak Bay and the surrounding rugged mountains and glaciers.

In June and July, lupine adorns the hillside, offering a bounty of purple flowers.  In July and August, the lupine fades and the fireweed bursts, covering the fields with hot pink buds on tall, leaning stems.
Also scattered throughout the area during the summer months are meadows of pushki, wild geranium, paintbrush, monk’s hood, columbine, chocolate lilies, forget-me-nots, valerian blossoms, watermelon berries and tall-stemmed larkspur.

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Glaciers.

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One can not go to the coast without eating seafood.  Clams with blue cheese and bacon.  Mmm, bacon.

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I was really looking forward to our trip through the Whittier Tunnel as I have long been in love with its history.   It’s actual name is the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel.

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“This route didn’t become a reality until World War II. The main advantages of using Whittier as a rail port was that it was a shorter voyage, reduced exposure of ships to Japanese submarines, reduced the risk of Japanese bombing the port facilities because of the bad weather, and avoided the steep railroad grades required to traverse the Kenai Mountains.

In 1941, the U.S. Army began construction of the railroad spur from Whittier to Portage. This line became Alaska’s main supply link for the war effort. Anton Anderson, an Army engineer, headed up the construction. The tunnel currently bears his name.”

So basically, it was our secret port that the Japanese didn’t know about.

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First dual mode rail/vehicular tunnel.

Longest dual mode tunnel in the United States.

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We were the first in line.  We had to wait for the green light.  But we had gorgeous views for our wait so I didn’t mind one bit.

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Portage Glacier and Portage Lake

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So basically, you are driving on the railroad tracks.

Whittier Tunnel

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This is the view from town.

One unique feature of Whittier is that most people live in a large apartment building, a carry over from Whittier’s history of a military base where all housing was barracks.  The first building is Begich Tower.  The second, dilapidated building is the Buckner Building, once a city under one roof.

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This is a river right behind town coming directly off of the glacier.  It was cold just standing nearby.  DSC_0215

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There are only a few roads out of Whittier and they don’t go far.  But we followed one to its end and after a bit of a hike over a hill, we found this beautiful spot.

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 Well this is getting quite long and I still want to tell you about my visit to my friend Lulu’s cabin so let’s move on.

Lulu and I have been friends since the summer of 2004, my first summer in Alaska.  I found her rocking down the house at the Howling Dog Saloon outside of Fairbanks, in Fox, Alaska.  Unfortunately, she rarely plays in Fairbanks anymore but I was able to get my LuLu fix while down south.

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Bug dope and mosquito coils are a must.

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Isn’t this just the cutest cabin you’ve ever seen?  It even has running water and a toilet.  The one below is the one Moe and I got to stay in.  It did not have the running water and toilet but there was a bathroom house in a separate building.  Nice little women’s only commune…

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Lulu had one of her students sing too.  That was pretty special.

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Photo by Moe.

Next was a visit to the Iditarod’s Headquarters in Wasilla.  The Iditarod is one of the two 1000 mile dog sled races we have every year.  I work for the other one, the Yukon Quest.

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The Last Great Race

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Reddington pups

Reddington pups getting socialized,

Photo by Moe.

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Leonhard Seppala

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The famous, Susan Butcher.

 “December 26, 1954 – August 5, 2006) was an American dogmusher, noteworthy as the second woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1986, the second four-time winner in 1990, and the first to win four out of five sequential years. She is commemorated in Alaska by the Susan Butcher Day.”

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Eagle overlooking the blue waters.

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The last trip of The Rust Princess…

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And that my friends, was my biggest trip this summer.  Over 1600 miles, 11 days, irreplaceable scenery.  I love this state.

A Fowl Adventure 2013

Once again I embarked on my annual foray into the deep interior of Alaska.  Chickenstock is a small, funky music festival held in Chicken, Alaska.  The village of Eagle is 100 miles further, but takes 3 hours to drive that 100 miles.

You can right click these pictures and open in new tabs to see them better.

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The hill starts to fill with tents.

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Took a little walk about.

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Dredge buckets which would scoop up the dirt/gravel and bring it to the gold dredge to be seperated and run through to collect the gold.

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The stage.

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It was hot and dusty.  I found some shade and spent some time with Fairbanks area firefighters.

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Was invited to jam.  That was the most fun I had at Chickenstock.  We ended up with 4 guitars, 2 fiddle players, a banjo, a dobro, and a tambourine.

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In the camp next to us, I noticed people were naked.  Funny that those pictures I tried to take, didn’t turn out.

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Moon rising over chicken butt?

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The Taylor Highway between Chicken and Eagle.  Got one flat on the way up, and one flat on the way back.  It was hilarious because at first a car load of tourists stopped to see if I needed help, then shortly thereafter, while we were standing there visiting, a pick up pulled up with a young couple.  We were all visiting and the girl asked me if my name was Georganne.  I said yes, are you XYZ?  I know her sister.  The amazed tourist said “Here we are in the very middle of no where, and you two KNOW EACH OTHER?”  Yes, Alaska is a very, very large state, with a very, very small population.

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The road is brutal but worth it.

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My favorite river, the 40 Mile!

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Get to Eagle, park at the Yukon River.  Take the boat X amount of miles up the river, park the boat.  Take the ATV up the trail to the little cabin in the woods.

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Scarlett and her sassy feather that she just got in South Africa!

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Dinner the first night, moose steak and sprouts salad.  It was delicious!

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There is no better dining facility in the wold.  That’s the Yukon River in the background.

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Yay puppies!

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This is the life!

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Soft, feathery horse tail ferns cover the forest floor.

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The sauna.

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Dried salmon to feed the dogs through the year.

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Wayne, working on a dog sled.

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Scarlett watering the tomatoes in the greenhouse.

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Training a lead dog to “line out”.  This is the command given to the lead dog to hold the team tight and straight while stopped.  It’s the most difficult thing for them to learn.  Normally takes about 2 years.

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A little afternoon snack.  Dried salmon.

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A bear got into one of their salmon storages last winter so they removed what was left and stored it in 55 gallon barrel/s.

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Wayne and Scarlet are some of the most fun and interesting people to sit around and visit with.  My dad is one of those types of people, imparting knowledge, entertainment, and comraderie all at the same time.

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Finally it was time for me to go home.

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I love the Taylor Highway.  It is closed in the winter so residents up the road either fly in and out or just sit tight for our long, cold winters.

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Arctic Lupine line the road side.

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We do have sand dunes in Alaska.

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Tetlin Junction, Milepost 0 of the Taylor Highway where it begins from off the ALCAN.  The buildings on the northwest corner of the intersection are what remain of the old Fortymile Roadhouse.

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Have you ever seen a mile post with this many miles on it?  This is towards the end of the ALCAN (Alaska Canadian Highway).

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Alaska Pipeline crosses one of the many rivers on it’s journey from the Arctic Slope in Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, our only port that doesn’t freeze up in the winter.

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Sorry this one is short and sweet but I am about to embark on an 11 day backpacking, camping, fishing, communing with nature, just kicking around the Kenai Peninsula trip.

You can read my previous “Fowl Adventures” by clicking here:

A Fowl Adventure 2010

A Fowl Adventure 2011

A Fowl Adventure 2012

These all have many more pictures and a lot more information.

Kavik River Camp

Kavik River Camp

Distance between Fairbanks and Kavik River Camp

I just returned from a visit with my friend Sue.  Aka Super Sue, aka, Tundra Babe, aka Susan Aikens.  Last winter when she was here in town recuperating we had talked about doing this for her upcoming 50th birthday but then I didn’t hear any more about it until the week before her birthday.  I didn’t bring it up again as I didn’t want to feel like I was inviting myself lol.  She chartered a plane and brought several of us up there to help her celebrate in style.

Super Sue's Pre Part

Those of us going met at 11:00 am on Sunday morning at Everts Air here in Fairbanks.  KT had driven up from Wasilla the night before and stayed at my cabin.  Suzette and her husband drove up from Anchorage and stayed in a hotel taking advantage of the jacuzzi tub after their long drive.  Lori, Mike, KT and I all went out to the Howling Dog Saloon for a Saturday night outing.  For Lori, Mike, and me, this is our regular Sat. night.  Oh, I also transported a retired sled dog up to her.  Ermine arrived at my house earlier in the week.

Ermine

One of the most unique views of the trip is flying over the Brooks Range.  Many of you know of it from watching Ice Road Truckers.  They cross at Atigan Pass on the only road that goes up there, the Dalton Highway, also known as the Haul Rd.  This is the mountain range that divides the main portion of Alaska from the northern coastal plains.  North of the Brooks range is called “the North Slope”.  The oil fields of Prudhoe Bay are on the North Slope.  This mountain range forms the northernmost drainage divide in North America, separating streams flowing into the Arctic Ocean and the North Pacific.  They top out at over 9,000 feet.  No real trees grow north of the Brooks and very little plant life grows on these mountains.  It makes for a very surreal landscape.  I think the moon would look similar.

Brooks Range

Our flight was only 2 hours.  At last Kavik River Camp comes into view.  It is very, very isolated.  There are no roads other then her trails, no other buildings, no people, nothing man made in view of the camp nor for a 100 miles (with the exception of her run way, but that’s part of the camp).  It’s 12 miles south of the Arctic Ocean.

Kavik River Camp, Extreme Lodging for Extreme People!

Kavik River Camp is a one of a kind camp located just a few miles from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 2010 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Refuge and what a time to see it! The Camp offers logistical support for all your Arctic needs. Camp, hunt, fish, bird viewing… just about anything you can think of, we are here to help see your Arctic Dreams realized!

Kavik River Camp

Me and Susan

The theme was tropical.  Suzette brought up an inflatable palm tree and a Hawaiian shirt.  I brought a sparkly, fur lined tiara and leis.  Suzette brought leis as well.

The first day we all went on a 4 wheeler ride.  Even picking the shallow river crossings, it got a bit “exciting”, especially when we started to float away with the current.  We all got wet but I got some good shots of flowers when ever we stopped.

Arctic Lupine

Tundra flower

I don’t know what these pink ones are but they were very pretty.

ATV ride

I’ll put a bit about the mosquitos here.  Yes they were very thick.  Deet is your friend when hanging on the tundra.

Yummy dinner prep

Sue’s brother in law Rick, her son and his girlfriend, as well as her grandson were all there to celebrate as well.  Rick did most of the cooking and cleaning as his gift to Susan.  Her son and grandson did a whole lot of chores as well.  What a great time we had just relaxing.  I went up and offered to help several times as I am a bit uncomfortable just sitting around and allowing others to wait on me but I was told “get out” hahaha.  Nothing as manly as men who cook and clean.  Really.

Dinner

Dinner the first night, chicken cordon bleu, baked mac and cheese, veggies.  Yum!

Lori

CHEERS!

Life Below Zero

After dinner we watched the show.  It was fun to watch there with Susan.  We had several great laughs.

Suzette

Helicoptor

This is one of the helicopters coming in for refueling.  You can see the dive bomber mosquitoes that were in competition for air space!  This couple was following the nearby caribou heard.  There was also a plane doing research on how many migratory water fowl nests were in the area.  Yes, they were counting nests.

This far above the Arctic Circle, the sun doesn’t actually set.  All these pictures were taken between about 11:30 pm and 12:30 am.

Fox Friend

Suzette feeds Foxy.

Happy birthday Sue!

Chocolate cake with coconut on a bed of cherries, covered in home made whipped cream, drizzled in chocolate sauce.  Yes we all attempted to put ourselves in a sugar coma!

I did henna on anyone that wanted some.  It’s always fun.

We serenaded Sue regardless of the mosquitoes.

Mike, Suzette, Sue, me.

Mike, Suzette, Sue, me.  Photo by Suzette.

I really enjoyed playing my fiddle this far north.  I consider my fiddle a traveler and love finding unique places to play it.  This is certainly the farthest north it’s been and probably ever will be.

Fireweed

I was invited on a little ATV expedition.  We were keeping our eyes open for the caribou heard that was about 12 miles away.  Sue offered to help me hunt one (hunting license can be bought online.)  But they ended up not coming through this direction as expected.  Taking in the mosquito population I decided to post-pone hunting until this fall.  Should be lots cooler then and fewer mosquitoes.

If you notice, even the 11 year old grandson goes armed.

Arctic tundra flowers

We had a lot of fun just hanging out and being silly.  Here is the Kavik River Mosquito Dance.  No matter how much Deet one applies, there are still mosquitoes that swarm around you as you take that long, long walk to the outhouse.  These are the movements such a walk necessitates in order to not breath in any of the little buggers.

Video by Lori!

Mosquitos want a ride.

When we got into the plane to leave, it was full of mosquitoes!  We were smashing those suckers for the first hour of our trip.  Thankfully we were all pretty much covered in Deet.

The lovely, magnificent Yukon River from above.

Yukon River

Thank you Sue for a wonderfully unique opportunity.  It was a lot of fun.

A Fowl Adventure 2012

Why come up with a new name every year when this one fits so well.

Yes, once again we are home from another amazing adventure to Chickenstock (a bluegrass festival held in Chicken, AK) and visiting our bush living friends outside of Eagle, AK.  Wayne and Scarlet Hall of Bush Alaska Expeditions are so much fun and I am glad they are my friends.

Tanana River

It’s a 6-7 hour drive to Chicken, but when the view is as beautiful as this, I don’t mind.

Chickenstock

When we got there we saw that the “Big Ass Chicken” had been moved to the top of the hill.  Cool.  It made a really interesting silhouette in the evening sky.

Chickenstock

Of course, the stage is always interesting.

Hurricane DaveHurricane Dave is always a favorite.

Dry Cabin String Band

Dry Cabin String Band with an awesome fiddler, Rachel DeTemple.

camp cooking

Since we were camping on the grassy hilltop we had to do our cooking around the Rust Princess.  That’s ok though, it’s very handy.

I was so glad that my friend Laurie came for Friday’s festivities.  I had to slap some henna on her.

Cloud 9 Henna Body ArtWhile I was at it, another table mate got a simple little flower.

And here is the infamous Chicken Dance.  They did it several times so we all got a chance to film it as well as dance it.

Gold dredgeThe Pedro Gold Dredge.

gold dredge

Deviled eggDeviled Egg!

Chicken legsChicken Leg Contest (yes it was hilarious)!

And this wasn’t even the winner!

ChickenstockI love all the colors of tents up on the hill with the Big Ass Chicken.

ChickenstockChickenstockYes I had a lit Christmas tree at our tent.  Don’t ask me why.  In Chicken you can be as funky as you want to be.

The days were sunny bright and hot.  We had a torrential downpour about 20 miles before getting to Chicken.  It was coming down so hard I had to pull over.  But it only lasted about 15 minutes and from then on it was sun.  Needless to say we got a bit lobsterized.  Walking around “town” we finally found some sunscreen.  We don’t normally have any because we normally don’t need any.  But I was proud to pay the $20 for one of the last three 16 oz bottles in town.

American Summit

We stopped on top of American Summit and I just played everything I could remember.  It was an awesome feeling.

American Summit

I found it is a bit more difficult to play when it’s windy.

Yukon River

After 100 mile drive between Chicken and Eagle that takes 3 hours, Wayne and Scarlett pick us up on the river.  Another friend also came to visit.

Catherine takes a little rest on some lumber for a new cabin being brought home.

Jordan stayed with friends this year.  There’s a lot to be said about quality family time but I dare say, if I had forced him to come, there would have been little quality to our time.  Eh, 13 year old boys…  Olivia and I had a lot of good quality time though..

Wayne

Yukon River

Yukon River

Fish wheel

Fish wheels used to catch salmon.

Boat parking

Boat parking spot.

Sweet Spot

Sweet spot view of the Yukon River from Wayne and Scarlett’s house.  This is the most peaceful, gorgeous view.

And here’s a video of it.  The sounds of the breeze shushing through the trees and the creek burbling below help but yet simply can not fully convey the peace I feel in this spot.

Ahhh, good friends, good food, even good wine.

Yukon River

Another trip to town to drop off Catherine and pick up more lumber for the cabin.

DucksDucks

Eagle Bluff

Eagle Bluff.  There is an American flag flying from the top as well as a cross.  I asked if there was someone specific who put those up there and was told it was mostly teenagers who go up there.  Cool.

Eagle Bluff

Bald Eagle

They showed us the bald eagle’s nest that has little ones in it.  Scarlett had told me about the eagle pair they used to watch but when the big flood of the area occurred in 2009, the nesting tree was wiped out along with all trees along the river in the area.  They have kept their eyes open for the eagles to come back and this year they found the new nest.  That makes me happy.

Here’s a short video of the Taylor Highway.  Most of it is not marked with handy orange cones!

On our way home we had to stop by the 40 Mile River which is where I want to retire to when the time comes.

40 Mile River

40 Mile River

Taylor Highway

Top of the World Highway

Crossroads.  These are certainly some of the “Roads less Traveled”.

Mt. Fairplay

Home again, home again, jiggity jog.  Now on to Summer Solstice!

Busy as a Beaver!

Or is it a bee? Which ever darn animal is the busiest. Oh, that would be me I guess. Hence the lack of posting. Summer is here. Glorious sun and warmth. I am rejuvenating. Yes, it’s a process!

And now we are preparing for our annual Fowl Adventure. I can’t wait!

So, onto some pictures.

 Fiddling is going well though slowly.  I wish I already knew this stuff lol.  I got a new bow as my wood one was warping.  This one is beautiful with abalone inlays.  It’s carbon fiber.

fiddle bow

 I ate a bunch of this and lost 20 lbs.  I’m not done yet but have to spend a few weeks stabilizing before attempting to lose more.  

100 grams of protein, 1 veggie, 1 fruit.
Two breast of chicken tenderloins, cooked in water with a bit of garlic.
The strawberry dressing was 4 strawberries, some garlic powder, onion flakes, Tom’s Cajun Seasoning, a bit of mustard powder, a half packet of true leaf stevia, a bit of lemon juice, a bit of Braggs Aminos, a bit of apple cider vinegar. Mix in blender. 187 calories, 3.8 grms of fat, 5.3 carbs, and 31.6 grms of protein.

  Soooo….

Taaa daaaa. 

 I’ve also been trying to teach the man child more things and really get him involved in anything I have to do that requires fixing things or building things.  After all, men are supposed to know this stuff right?  Well obviously women do as well.  But I do admit I am a traditionalist in some ways.  Men are supposed to be able to fix things and build things.  *shrug*  Don’t worry, I’ll be teaching Olivia these things as well.

Putting heating fuel in the tank.  He actually can do it better than I can as he is much taller.  When I do it, I have to kind of do a hop on the top step and hang off of the spout by one hand while Olivia hands me up the fuel a gallon at a time.  Way long process at -30 or colder!  Why were Olivia and I doing it you may ask?  Because Jordan was afraid of heights.  So now he can do this and is really proud of himself and likes doing it.

 

 Yay, headlight went out and so we had a nice teaching moment.

 Those bottom screws are tricky to get to.

 But he persevered.

As you can see the snow is gone and there is green everywhere.  The wild flowers are popping out everywhere.  It’s wonderful. 

This is just a small portion of the Tanana River, a slough.

 We went and checked out some airplanes.

 

 

 Anyways, that’s all for now folks.  Time to get out the camping gear for taking the kids out and the backpacking gear for mamma.  I’m envisioning a back packing trip over Eagle Summit with a kite and my fiddle in tow for some self entertainment and communing with nature.

Notes from the Universe

I get these in emails and they are very helpful.  I thought I would post this one with the caveat that yes, I am still waiting on that whole crying like a baby gig.

Would it be enough to know, Georganne (and you can know this through deductive reasoning), that long ago, when the two of us carefully mapped out your pending adventure into the jungles of time and space: the hills and valleys you would traverse; the setbacks and advances you would encounter; the good, the bad, and the ugly, and all of the lives you would touch; when our planning was done and the “big picture” was revealed…

You burst into tears of joy, overwhelmed with its perfection and who you’d become.

Yeah, like a baby –
The Universe

Oh also I forgot to mention that my sweet friends Kara and Trey came to visit.  Here is Kara singing a Ukrainian Folk Song.  Poor thing was sick but still has an awesome voice.  It was fun having guests.  We have had only a few other than Thanksgiving.  Might be because I forget to actually invite people over.  I just assume that they will show up.  My bad.