A Fowl Adventure 2014

Yes I know, this is my 5th year going to Chickenstock and Eagle and using this same title, but hey, it’s the perfect title.  Why mess with perfection?  But really, I can only repeat these so many times, so if you would like to hear more of the story or see some of the other years with more pictures and/or story, check out these other years as basically I am dumping my pictures here and posting it.

2010

2011

2012

2013

We begin with Chickenstock Music Festival in the little town of Chicken, Alaska.

DSC_2893

My friend Kate’s husband, Dave Parks of Grassroots Guitars.

DSC_2900

Such a little cutie just dancing away.   Mostly it was just kids dancing during the daytime.

DSC_2903

DSC_2906

DSC_2909

Spank Williams and friends.

DSC_2915

DSC_2926

Dry Cabin String Band

DSC_2930

DSC_2936

The Flock

DSC_2941

DSC_2944

DSC_2967

The Cluck Off was a tie!  We were dying with laughter because these two finalists really brought it.  They were clucking and pecking, scratching the dirt and shaking their tail feathers.  Good times, good times.

DSC_2970

DSC_2971

DSC_2974

DSC_2996

1000 baggie clad Peeps were dropped by three different passes.

DSC_2997

DSC_3030

DSC_3040

Kat Moore from the Super Saturated Sugar Strings.  She is really fun.  When not playing she is dancing, visiting, and hoola hooping with us all.

DSC_3058

Here is a compilation of video clips I took during our trip.  Most of the one during Chickenstock were during the day when I had time to video.  During the evenings, I was too busy dancing to worry about taking video.

I really love visiting my dear friends Scarlett and Wayne with Bush Alaska Expeditions.    They really help me to refocus on what is important and even our rare, annual visit helps to keep me grounded in my goals.

DSC_3066

DSC_3075

They have a young handler staying with them and he used to play the violin.  “It had to do with a pretty girl, who taught violin.”  It was really fun to spend an evening just taking turns trying out different tunes, seeing what we each could remember.

DSC_3110

They also had a new batch of puppies with eyes just opening.

DSC_3114

The most sweet spot on Earth is right here.

DSC_3129

DSC_3130

The Mighty, Mighty Yukon River!  I’m going to canoe this river next year.

DSC_3138

DSC_3148

Well that’s it in a nutshell.  I love our busy, busy summers.  They really are the promise that Alaska makes us in the winter.  Until next time my friends.  Have a great summer, love your family and your friends, and be happy.

Advertisements

The Good Ol’ Summer Time; kind of.

We had a marvelous spring.  It really made up for last spring, which is known as the spring that never came.  We had winter, then all of a sudden we had a bit of summer.  But last spring was just an extension of winter.  This year it warmed right up.  The days got longer and the sunlight oh so welcome after the long dark of winter.  Green up happened in about 3 days which is always a wonder to see.  Now we begin summer in earnest.  Summers are always so busy.  By the end of summer I am looking forward to winter; to snuggling down with in my warm, little cabin with my kids, cooking, talking, reading, planning, dreaming.  But summers are for doing.  So here we go.

We started off early spring with the annual World Ice Art Championship.

Mike and a peacock.

DSC_2315 DSC_2329 DSC_2320 DSC_2322 DSC_2299 DSC_2303 DSC_2306 DSC_2295 DSC_2293 Ice Art Championship

DSC_2286 DSC_2290 Ice Art Championship

The road into Denali National Park is 90 miles long.  Personal vehicles are not allowed except for one week a year by lottery.  You can drive in to mile 15 during the summer and mile 30 in the shoulder seasons after they clear the roads and before tourist season starts.  Lori and I drove in to mile 30 on the last day before the closure, May 18.  We met with a snow storm.

Dahl Sheep

Dahl Sheep

Wolf and caribou tracks in the snow.

Wolf and Caribou Tracks

Ptarmigan are white in the winter and mottled brown in the winter.  These are in the process of changing into their summer feathers.

DSC_2863

Ptarmagin

DSC_2832

I love this outcropping and have taken pictures of it several times.

DSC_2794

A mew gull.

DSC_2782

 

I would take a picture, then walk a few steps closer, then take another picture, trying to get as close as possible.  I was tickled pink when he opened his beak right as I was about to take another one.

Mew Gull

Caribou and more caribou!

DSC_2723

DSC_2722

Snowy Lori taking pictures of the caribou lol.

DSC_2697

DSC_2676

Ah Alaska, how I love thee!

DSC_2616

DSC_2603

DSC_2579

DSC_2578

DSC_2485

Eagle

Eagle

Moose

DSC_2495

We also saw a bear but he was so far in the distance even my telephoto lens wasn’t able to pick him up well.

 

When I first started to do henna, my pregnant friend Sandy allowed me to do henna on her pregnant belly.  Hers was the very first belly I did.  That was over 7 years ago.  Now she also allowed me the honor of doing her head.  This was certainly a learning experience.  So many new angles and not many places to anchor my hand.  She was tickled with it but I think I need much more practice hennaing heads to be any good at all on them.

10355802_10154192592930697_2842015027590372509_n

So much easier to do hands.

henna

Did I tell you we got a new puppy?  Her name is Maari named after a Pyrenees Goddess.  She is part great pyrenees, part black lab and golden retriever.  I’ll post some better pictures of her soon.  She is 15 weeks now and is huge!

Maari

We also got a new to us canoe.  It’s a 17′ Grumen.  I want to learn canoeing well enough for a trip from Eagle to Circle on the Yukon River.  I really want to be ready to do this trip next summer but we will see how comfortable I am by the end of this summer.

canoe

Got a new 15 gallon barrel to haul water and use my small pump to pump it up into the house with.  Unfortunately, I had Olivia hold the hose in the barrel while I ran up to do something else and she pulled the hose out of the water and burned the pump out.  ARG!  Live and learn.  Now I am going to teach myself how to fix the pump.  My neighbor said something about bearings and seals so I’ll look into that.  But it will probably be set aside for a winter project.  I have found that I can learn just about anything on Youtube.

water

Olivia graduated from 6th grade.  I’m a proud mamma.

Olivia graduates2

She also finally had a growth spurt.  Look how tall she is.  My son was taller then me by the time he turned 11.  She is 12 and not quite as tall as I am.  Of course, he is over 6′ now and just 15.

Olivia graduates

Now that roller derby is over for the summer, we thought soccer would be a good thing to keep her going.  Yes, I am now officially a soccer mom.  What a strange place this is in my life.

soccer

My friend Sue came out of the bush for a few days to take care of some business in town.  Of course we had to stop in at the infamous Howling Dog Saloon for a bit of music by my friend Mike Stackhouse and a few libations.

Sue Aikens and Mike Stackhouse

We have so many exciting plans in the making that I was sad to see her go.  I wish we had more time to sit and scheme but of course, a trip to town means a LOT of stuff had to get done in a short amount of time.  She is one person who really gets me.  ie She didn’t blink an eye when I told her that I planned to do my Eagle to Circle Yukon River trip even though I have only been in a canoe twice in my life.  She understands if you want to do something, you can only accomplish that by getting out there and DOING it.  Because that is the way she lives her life as well.

Me and Sue

Today I start packing for our great Fowl Adventure 2014.  For those of you who have been reading for a while, you know that this is my annual pilgrimage to Chickenstock Music Festival in the tiny hamlet of Chicken, Alaska.  We leave from there and go visit our friends outside of Eagle, Alaska who live in the Yukon River, Bush Alaska Expeditions.  It will just be Olivia and I as my son does not enjoy that type of thing.  Luckily enough that works out well for him to stay home and take care of the animals.  Handy huh.

See you when I get back.  Thanks for reading.

Georganne

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.

12 Mile Summit

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.

10 Years in Alaska

On Christmas Eve 2003, I arrived here with my then 2 year old daughter and my 5 year old son.  I had the help of my parents and one of my aunts was our landing spot upon arrival.  I was in a rear wheel drive Cutlass Supreme.  It’s large trunk and all floor boards were filled with my most precious worldly possessions and the minimum requirements of setting up a bare house hold.  The drive was days and days of slippery, sliding, white knuckle driving.  But I knew the moment I crossed the state line that I had found my home.  I took this picture right near the boarder.  It is the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.  “At 13.2 million acres which is bigger than the country of Switzerland, Wrangell-St. Elias stretches from one of the tallest peaks in North America, Mount St. Elias (18,008) to the ocean. ”

I have hung this photo in every place I have lived in for the last 10 years.  It will always remind me of the first time I FELT Alaska.  It was powerful.  I stopped in the middle of the road to take this picture.  There were no cars coming, no rush, no kids fussing in the back seat.  It filled me with both peace and longing.

IMG00247

This was also taken on our way up, Haines Junction I believe.  I loved the look of the sky; mysterious, mystical, meaningful.  It was just the barest of hints of the mystery and magic yet to come.  The magic of the promise that IS Alaska.

IMG00237 (1)

People tell me I am so lucky to live in Alaska.  I say to them that luck has very little to do with it.  Priorities, a tight budget, and working my ass off has got me here to where I want to be.  Of course, a little luck, or as I call it, My Alaska Karma, has helped here and there.

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.

untitled

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.

DSC_9397

DSC_9382

DSC_0351

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.

DSC_9551

DSC_9542

DSC_9536

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

DSC_9526

DSC_9522

DSC_9520

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

DSC_9492

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.

buskers

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!

bear scat

Bear scat.

Russian River Trail

DSC_9578

Russian River Falls

Russian River Falls.

Russian River Falls

Russian River Falls

Russian River Falls

DSC_9583

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

DSC_9644

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.

DSC_9651

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

DSC_9654

Mushrooms, fresh green beans, and onion.

DSC_9653

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.

DSC_9655

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.

DSC_9656

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

bannock

Bannock cooking over the fire.

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

Ninilchick map

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

DSC_9689

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

DSC_9811

DSC_9808

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

DSC_9757

Eagles and Mt. Redoubt

Eagles

Eagles, 2

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

DSC_9764

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.

DSC_9979

Homer spit

Homer Spit

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

DSC_9783

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.

DSC_9812

The famous Salty Dog Saloon.

DSC_9912

A jelly fish I saw on the beach.

DSC_9909

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.

DSC_9907

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.

DSC_9904

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

DSC_9823

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

DSC_9828

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.

susans pic

DSC_9856

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.

DSC_9846

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

DSC_9786

DSC_9797

DSC_9795

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.

DSC_9866

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.

DSC_9871

DSC_9874

DSC_9873

DSC_9868

DSC_9869

DSC_9870

DSC_9882

Glaciers.

DSC_9878

DSC_9886

DSC_9894

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

seafood

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.

whitmap

“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.

DSC_0147

First dual mode rail/vehicular tunnel.

Longest dual mode tunnel in the United States.

DSC_0150

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.

DSC_0241

DSC_0175

Portage Glacier and Portage Lake

DSC_0248

DSC_0249

So basically, you are driving on the railroad tracks.

Whittier Tunnel

DSC_0170

DSC_0172

DSC_0171

DSC_0158

  DSC_0177

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.

DSC_0168

DSC_0214

DSC_0210

DSC_0212

DSC_0213

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

DSC_0216

DSC_0221

DSC_0223

DSC_0226

DSC_0243

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.

DSC_0189

DSC_0203

DSC_0191

 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.

 DSC_0312

DSC_0309

Bug dope and mosquito coils are a must.

DSC_0304

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…

DSC_0303

DSC_0302

DSC_0301

DSC_0298

DSC_0297

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

DSC_0296

DSC_0286

DSC_0280

1069939_10151793336926303_1184677660_n

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.

DSC_0314

DSC_0315

The Last Great Race

DSC_0316

DSC_0317

Reddington pups

Reddington pups getting socialized,

Photo by Moe.

DSC_0340

DSC_0344

Leonhard Seppala

DSC_0333

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.”

DSC_0332

DSC_0331

DSC_0330

DSC_0329

DSC_0327

Eagle overlooking the blue waters.

DSC_0107

DSC_0094

DSC_0085

DSC_0082

DSC_0084

The last trip of The Rust Princess…

DSC_0080

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.

DSC_7686

The hill starts to fill with tents.

DSC_7710

DSC_7718

Took a little walk about.

DSC_7725

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.

DSC_7729

The stage.

DSC_7736

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

DSC_7748

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.

DSC_7757

DSC_7758

DSC_7759

DSC_7763

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

DSC_7771

Moon rising over chicken butt?

DSC_7785

DSC_7799

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.

DSC_7803

The road is brutal but worth it.

DSC_7808

My favorite river, the 40 Mile!

DSC_7813

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.

DSC_7821

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

DSC_7840

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

DSC_7843

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

DSC_7846

Yay puppies!

DSC_7849

DSC_7853

DSC_7859

This is the life!

DSC_7875

Soft, feathery horse tail ferns cover the forest floor.

DSC_7884

The sauna.

DSC_7885

Dried salmon to feed the dogs through the year.

DSC_7888

DSC_7892

Wayne, working on a dog sled.

DSC_7900

Scarlett watering the tomatoes in the greenhouse.

DSC_7904

DSC_7920

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.

DSC_7922

DSC_7929

A little afternoon snack.  Dried salmon.

DSC_7935

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.

DSC_7939

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.

DSC_7941

Finally it was time for me to go home.

DSC_7943

DSC_7947

DSC_7948

DSC_7951

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.

DSC_7970

Arctic Lupine line the road side.

DSC_7976

We do have sand dunes in Alaska.

DSC_7980

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.

DSC_7981

DSC_7982

DSC_7983

DSC_7986

DSC_8000

DSC_8004

DSC_8016

DSC_8020

DSC_8026

DSC_8028

DSC_8051

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

DSC_8056

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.

DSC_8060

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.