Friday, July 31, 2009

kodiak to dutch...5 chignik cont

isn't this little bird cute! can't recall it's name. a birder on the ferry figured it out. it's just a cute little bird to me. below is just outside the donut hole. the boardwalk ends about here. the houses are small, all tend to have satelite dishes and are in varying state of disrepair.
sandra enjoys her filled scone at the donut hole in chignik. the place was packed!

our ferry awaits us at the end of the dock in chignik. i'll post more tomorrow hopefully...we'll see what tomorrow brings. off to make dinner. oh the picture below is outside chignik...i thought the green part looked a bit like the space shuttle. do you?

one night down 2 nights to go. they just called to see if i can come in 2 hours early...not happening. 12 hours is enough. seems like forever since i've been a nurse so i'm still getting back in the swing. i was on peds. i was a neuro nurse last night. one recovering from meningitis, one post op from a brain surgery (she had a stroke last year) and another with long history of brain cancer with multiple long term repurcusions. it's a frightening thing...this kid thing. so much can happen. as i get older i don't regret the no kid thing. i'm sure there can be great joy, but there can also be so much heartache. losing a dog is hard enough.

anyway...back to chignik.
i think mostly in this community they live a subsistence life style. that means living off the land and whatever government/native corporation money comes thier way. when the state was set up the natives in alaska did much better than the natives of the lower 48 did. they set up corporations to deal with the lands/money and depending on the corporation some did very well, others less well. i think most have done pretty well. we had to get land use permits on unalaska to hike on the land...the same was true when we went to st george island. actually, many don't bother getting the permits in dutch/unalaska. i think it's just respectful to obey those requests. they usually ask for less than $20 for the permit.
most of these small communities are ruled by thier corporations. there is no police force. many have unarmed safety...dang can't think of what they call them. safety officers...that is it. they call for state troopers if something bad happens. this can take awhile in this villiages as weather can prevent police from getting in. overall, they just take care of themselves out there.
my neighbor just stopped over to tell me she saw a black bear on the street as she came home from work.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

kodiak to dutch...4

was able to get a boat with the name chignik on it. i'll post more pictures later...but this is a start. below is at the dock as we prepared to tie up. i thought it odd to transport a 4 wheeler by skiff. seemed a bit dangerous, but 4 wheelers are main mode of transportation in most of the small communities of alaska. well at least in the summer...that changes to snow machines in the winter.

as you approach chignik you see this rock formation. apparently it is often covered with clouds and we were encouraged to take pictures before we docked in case it i got way too many pictures of it. will post others later as we approached much closer on the way out. it is a cool formation called castle cape.
below is the bell on the tustemena. the boat was build the same year i was born. it apparently has gotten an overhaul and is not going to be replaced as was planned previously. perhaps i should get an overhaul as well. it's not so simple for humans though.

the first community we stopped at on the ferry route was chignik. the entire community seemed to make thier way to the dock for the ferries arrival. i believe there are less than 200 people living in chignik. we had heard that there could be fresh donuts purchased here. sure enough a woman awakens early the day the ferry comes and bakes like crazy. the donuts were wonderful as was the scones and banana bread i heard. the prices were also not high. there was another little gift shop there. chignik is still on the alaska peninsula.
the community does have dirt roads and a nice boardwalk between homes. the homes are a bit run down and i noted many to have metal braces to keep them tied to the ground against the strong winds they must endure in the region. more photo's later....


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

kodiak to dutch....3

thought i'd toss in a few pictures from getting under way on the ferry. travel by ferry in alaska is it's own unique experience. i've taken ferries in southeast alaska and from whittier to valdez. now i add this ferry from kodiak to dutch to the list. this one only makes the run once a month. it used to go twice a month and may go back to that. for the tiny communities it serves, the ferry can have a great impact. i was on vacation so it was easy to forget that for many this was the way to go home. thier connection with the outside world. the community would get up and meet the ferry and thier family and friends who came home. they are at home on the ferry. the rest of us had to figure out a few things.
luckily my friend maria had gone the month before and gave us hints. there is a place to eat on board and the food is pretty good. it can be pricey to eat every meal there though so we utilized the microwave when we could. i decided to buy breakfast on the ferry and make sandwiches for lunch. dinner was a baked potato a few nights and cheese covered chips another night. betty crocker supplied desert. tasty!
above is a fin whale we saw en route. we saw several fin whales. i'd never seen these in the wild before so i was excited about that.
the first night after leaving kodiak we followed kodiak island for quite a few hours. as we settled in to sleep on the rolling vessel we crossed over to the peninsula. it wasn't too rough out there in our large boat, but it was like getting rocked to sleep. sandra and i had a room on board which was nice. i got the top bunk. our other friends tanya and maria found places on the floor on the solarium. there are heat lamps up there to help keep you warm. a few people put up tents up there on the top deck. windy, but commonly done on the ferries. other families settled in on the next, more enclosed level. any tables on the boat were taken over for the duration for the most part...which was a bit obnoxious. we did steal tables outside the dining room to play cards.
our first stop was chignik. the below sites are seen on the way there.

above is a shot i took leaving kodiak. i can see my B&B from the boat. it's a green building with a red roof. middle right.
the next picture is of sandra and tanya in the solarium. it's a rush onto the boat to score your spot. many spots were already claimed as many of the other passengers actually boarded in homer and came to kodiak from there. it's a 9 hour trek.

as usual these are in no particular order. below is us waiting outside the ferry terminal. such a wet environment they have no dry area to wait for the boat. lucky for us the rain had calmed when we were waiting.
below is one of hundreds of puffins we saw as we traveled. we saw loads of them. never seen so many. we saw many,many birds. i'm no birder so i'm not very good at naming them. the puffins are obvious. most we saw were the tufted ones. i know there were thousands of shearwater??? birds outside dutch. the naturalist on board said it's the most he's seen for years. he was pretty excited. puffins can swim underwater...this one is taking off.

these last two pictures are back in kodiak. sorry. above is just one of hundreds and hundreds of crab pots laying about in all the communities. they just await the crabbing season. below is a seal playing in the waves on my tuesday drive.

watched my netflix "on a clear day" last night. it was a good movie. a guy losing his job and decides to swim the english channel. i liked when he was training in the local pool, he tries to rescue this cerebral palsy kid....those with the kid tell him the kid is fine. he just swims that way. the kid splashes about but makes his way to the other side of the pool. it's obviously a tough gig for him, but he shines brightly at his accomplishment. it inspires the man to follow through on his goal. i have it easier than so many others on this earth. it's amazing how those with disabilities will surpass all expectations while the rest of us fall so short of our potential.
i made it to the gym and did 44 laps in the pool myself. it was raining again but i managed 2 walks. blossom, rio and i got out to the bog and then later i took blossom up the road.
watching a show now about kids with mopd type 2. tiny kids who are proportionally okay, but the life expectancy is low. i'd be terrified to have much can go wrong. back to work tomorrow night. guess it got busy while i was away. 3 kids passed away this week. that is a sad number in a peds icu. suicide, car accident and liver. i'll stick to dogs. it's hard enough losing a beloved pet.
left my book on the ferry...dang it so i started a new book. it's about a guy who spends a summer walking with his dog, jane, from valdez to deadhorse. i picked it up as i was planning on doing the drive to deadhorse this summer. i called julie and cancelled this morning. i just fear that i will re-injure my back driving and lose more days of work. i had no issues driving on this trip...well it was getting sore in kodiak and was sore after the card game in the bar at the hotel in dutch. sitting is still an issue...i need to get it officially checked out. think i'll head to bed. more pictures of the communities we visited tomorrow hopefully.

kodiak to dutch...2

thought i'd toss in a few pictures before i hit the shower this am. i realize it's 10:30 am...but i have already taken the dogs for a walk in the rain so i'm not a total slacker. rio is still on bedrest...but i'm a horrible owner and took her anyway. her limp is greatly improved and she doesn't want to be left behind.
above is shuyak island. i took this as i flew into kodiak. shuyak sits above afognak island which sits above kodiak island. it's a lovely place to get stuck for 5 days if you ever get trapped there yourself.
below is from my walk on near island after the rain had subsided a bit. i loved all the mosses growing on the trees.

berries in kodiak were looking mighty tasty. almost ready...not quite. i wandered the downtown docks a bit as well. won't bore with too many dock shots, but may put more in later, especially if this rain keeps up. we tried to get a picture of the communities name on a boat in each place we kodiak...check!

above is pretty flowers that grew right in the rocks on the beaches. i thought they were quite pretty. below is a barn on the interior road i took across a section of the island. ranching has been attempted on kodiak for years with limited success. the bears tend to take some, the weather is rough. not many cows left there at present...may be some buffalo which did better. they were in the process of relocating and not sure where they are with that. if you look closely you can see the torents of rain falling on this and the other photo of the poor horses in the rain. i did see horses out there.
all were quite excited about some new wind power that just recently went up on the island. should have generated loads of power that tuesday i was there.

the horses were seen on pasagshak road. they looked very wet and miserable. the deer below was also seen on this road. no bears, but i did see birds, a bald eagle and seals playing in the surf. the greens of kodiak and of the aleutians were dramatic and spectacular. green is my favorite colour so i love all the variety and shades that are offered up in a rain forest. i always find the rain brings out tones not seen on sunny days so i'm happy i got to see this rain forest in both sun and rain.

above is a photo taken at white sands beach. that is at the end of the monaska bay road. on the rainy day i didn't go all the way to fossil beach on pasagshak road as it's pretty twisty, lots of mud and rocks. i'd only gotten a two wheel drive and the conditions hindered my desire to rough it. the silo's were in the fog...i guess the military still has silo's there on the island...not really sure if they are active, meaning i have no idea if there is any sort of warhead in there. security didn't seem insane so makes me doubt there is some nuclear warhead there...who knows though?
below is just a view from the road on monday. loved all the fireweed. it's near the top right now...the word around here is that when the fireweed reaches the top you have 6 or 8 weeks til winter. can't remember exactly. the bottom line is that summer is fleeting and winter cometh.

now i really must be off and shower....may post more exciting pictures since it's a rainy day here. just wish it all loaded faster. oh well. patience is a virtue (not my favorite one though). i enjoyed a nice long chat with my neice. she just returned from another neices wedding (her sister kacey). claire is 13 years younger than i. we always have fun chatting. also spoke to my sister, linda to let her know i was home and well.
still laughing about my dutch flight out. like being shot out of a cannon. the runway is very short and the ocean is at the end of the runway so you can't mess up. the pilot just revs her up as much as possible while holding her back and then just lets her rip. i think they are waiting til they have the guts to let her rip. kinda nuts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

from kodiak to dutch...1

the trail around gertrude lake....

just returned last night from another great trip. seems like it lasted longer than just one week though. i started off in kodiak by myself. the hardest part of leaving is these dogs. very anxious leaving them behind. i try and get everything all set up for them but i know it's never a vacation for them. my flight to kodiak was really uneventful, which is always nice. the weather there for my first evening was wonderful. it's my second time there. it's a huge island. i hadn't realized how large until it took forever for the ferry to pass by it. i guess it's the second largest island in the us....hawaii is larger. we flew over shuyak island before landing in kodiak..we spent time there last year so i got a nice picture. hopefully i'll load that later.

i got my rental car and found my B&B. the owner, mary, was very nice but a bit scattered. she'd goofed up and thought i'd never sent a check to hold my spot. it was sitting there and luckily i still had a room. the house was right near the downtown so it was very convenient. she was the first B&B in kodiak. she got her start when a plane was weathered in i think and they needed places to put the people. that was in the 80's sometime. she had a dog so that helped me wean off my pups for the week. after i settled in i headed to abercrombie beach for beach walks and i walked around gertrude lake. fun to be back in a rain forest...but have that rare sunshine. the trees are draped with moss. from there i kept driving to the end of the road and white sands beach.above and below are at fort abercrombie state park.

the next day was very wet and windy. i drove out the chiniak road and then on the pasagshak road. it was way to wet to totally enjoy the views, but i gave it my best try. i did see a cute deer on the side of the road and some very wet horses. poor things. mostly i was just wet though. the waves were large and there were seals playing in the surf and a few die hard fishermen trying for some salmon.

the wind died down in the evening and i went for a hike in town at near point on the other side of the bridge. it's probably good for me to take a holiday from the dogs on occasion. i went to a local beach before bed as it was a nice low tide and it was supposed to be a good beach. it had a nice view of kodiak, but i wouldn't say it was a good tidepooling beach. it was called gibson cove. rocky shores work better for this. i decided to go back to fort abercrombie in the am for the -2.5 tide.

really not that exciting there either, but i love to be out on the beaches and enjoying the surf and creatures of the inner tidal zone. did see a nudibranch, but my photo didn't turn out very well. oh well. one day i'll post one from my ketchikan days. that place is a tidepooling paradise.

overall kodiak is great and i could see myself living there one day. just lots to explore, more roads, more beaches. a short flight to anchorage or a ferry to homer. kodiak has some shopping. it's not a quaint town though like ketchikan or skagway or even homer. some communities are just more functional than others.

after i went tidepooling i ran errands and eventually met up with my friends who were arriving in kodiak to catch the ferry. sandra, tanya and maria's flight was late, but they got in without issue. scott and jacqui weren't so lucky though. they were unable to even get out of cordova due to high winds and sideways rain. not sure what they did instead, but since he'd managed a room on the ferry i sent tanya running to try and get that bunk on board. they didn't get it, but only spent one night in the solarium and were able to obtain a bunk on the ferry for the second two nights. they wanted to run more errands and then we ate waited.

i'll talk more about the ferry run later...after i get a few more kodiak pictures posted. i'm really debating the plans i'd made for august to drive to deadhorse. i just had too much time off in july and need to bank bucks before i take more time off. i hate to disappoint my friend, but i really don't think it's wise. my back held up fairly well during the week, but is still sore and hurt pretty badly after a game of nertz in the dutch harbor bar saturday night. sitting in a car for a good week not really a good plan since that is the place that seems to cause the most pain for me.

little side note...turns out the pilot who rescued us when we were stranded by weather on shuyak island was the same pilot that went out to pick up timothy treadwell and instead found the carnage. willy in the beaver....he never mentioned a thing. anytime it came up in kodiak the opinion was that the guy was nuts and an idiot. most alaskans don't have a very high opinion of treadwell. it's such a small state. my taxi driver in anchorage was the father of a aide i work with in peds and the other guy who was at the B&B, his uncle came to pick him up, ate breakfast and turns out to be the father of a nurse i work with in acc.

what kodiak lacks besides general quaintness is good restaurants. they are this huge fishing place and yet, there isn't much as far as eateries. they have "henry's" which is the big game in town...i have never been impressed. thier fish and chips is horrible.
kodiak is nice for females. i turned a few heads, which i don't do that often anymore....stopped one fisherman dead in his tracks. i just laughed. they do say girls in alaska look great until they get on a plane heading south. of men in alaska, it's said.."the odds are good but the goods are odds"...of course i usually add they are odd and frequently drunk as well. in kodiak...lots of fisherman. so i guess just fishy there.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

pig at dog park and other tales...

it's not too often you see a pig at the dog park, but yesterday we saw this guy, "bacon" enjoying the sunshine. he's quite a cutie. he even did a few tricks. blossom was very curious about this creature. she seemed to sense it didn't quite fit in, but she liked him well enough and it was difficult to redirect her back to the walk as she kept going back to investigate the pig one more time. very cute!

so my friend sharon's dog turned 1 and she wanted a dog party/walk. i was on call the night before so i decided to take blossom to the dog park before the big walk as i was running errands in prep for trip. first i heard a splash as we walked by, then this beaver kept swimming along where we were walking. blossom went in and the beaver started making his way over. so i called her out. finally the beaver came out of the water and ate whatever it is beavers i got a good look at him. the beavers are known to take on dogs at the dog park and i was happy i avoided any extra trips to the vet this week. he is kinda cute though.

as i left the dog park i had to stop for this mother duck and her ducklings who were crossing over to the lake. i always find it funny watching them casually move about the city. ducklings are adorable. i did see one yesterday all alone though...poor thing.

so we just met up at the camp bell airstrip trail and took a nice walk there. rio had to be left at home. she is eating a bit better...not outstanding, but at least she is more enthusiastic. she's not happy about being left behind and i always feel badly leaving her, but i knew when i adopted her she wasn't going to be walking with me for years...i'm happy that she has been able to have a good life here and if that is more sedentary now, it will be okay. she is still limping, but seems less painful. the brat is good at sniffing out the pills though and avoids them when she can. the walk was fun. the dogs had a blast. after the walk we brought the dogs to my place where the humans bbq'd and the dogs played in the puddle pool and wrestled.

can't say i've had many dog parties, and of course, they could care less, but it was a fun day. dogs just love to romp and all were exhausted! above is out on the trail, michelle, linda and sharon....and dogs teva and blossom. below is the birthday dog, cooper, enjoying his frosty paws snack!

just waiting for the pig pics to load and then i'm off for a walk with blossom, followed by some laps if i get my act together and one last errand. then i really need to get down to packing and cleaning the house a bit so all is ready. this is always the part i dread. the preparation. once that is done and i'm on a's all out of my control and i can just relax. the dogs will just have to be as there is nothing i can do. i do hate leaving them though. i know it's good for me to take a break from the pups and have fun . may be good for rio too as she may rest better without me to follow around. i just hope she eats.
work was a bit easier last night. the back is slowly improving. the pain is easing. i can even sit in the car at times without that horrid pain. off to the park...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

more southeast alaska

so am enjoying looking through some southeast shots. above is from another hike. i believe this is ketchikan lakes. always great views...worth the hiking. below is a big bog pond on the deer mountain trail...huey used to love to take a dip in here.
below is huey and fozzie bear...well i never actually knew that dogs name, but he kinda looked like a muppet. spent alot of time with huey on this beach. i think it's south point higgins beach. huey loved to dig and swim. have thought of huey these past few days as rio isn't feeling well. when huey died it initially looked like his neck didn't improve and the vet was going to take xrays...requiring anesthesia..requiring a lab check...which showed him to be in advanced kidney failure. he died a few weeks later. rio is limping on her right front. she started limping last week that i noticed. yesterday she skipped breakfast. very odd for rio. she's never missed a meal for as long as i've known her.
i took her to the vet yesterday and we took xrays. i went back with her as she doesn't seem to want to be away from me....ever! the vet said she didn't see any signs of bone cancer yet in her shoulder. she's on more pain meds, but still obviously still very sore. her eating is much less than previous. i've been cutting hot dogs into her food. she's doing a bit better.
of course, i leave next week on holiday. part of me is very anxious to leave when she feels ill, but i think it may be good for her to be without me as she won't feel so obligated to follow me everywhere and may actually rest a bit.

below is huey on that same beach. obviously a different season. he is carrying a "stick". huey always found the smallest of stick to carry. i always had bruised calves from him and would try and put the bigger ones into the trees above to prevent the obsessed lab from continuing to injure me. a friend often laughed and said she could tell which trails i'd hiked recently because of the huge logs in odd places above her. small town. gotta love it.

below is another beach walk in ketchikan. i really miss those beaches. i love beach walking, tide pooling and just gazing. if you look closely below you can see the large bird..great heron i believe.

below is just another picture from the ferry trip from ketckikan to juneau and back. just another beautiful day in southeast alaska. did i mention that the ferry called me...i have a bed on the boat!!! very excited. i went online and paid so that they wouldn't change thier minds!! so sandra and i have sleeping quarters on the tustemena. nick names "trusty tusty" and " the vomit rocket". not sure i like the second one. i have my scopalamine patch though. i dont' generally get seasick, but bristol bay and bering sea are not a place to mess with seasickness.
spoke to the others going and they will call the ferry on the off chance that they can get last minute room as well. we'll see.

speaking of ferries...there is one now. below is again that same beach..another day with huey. in the distance you can see the ferry on it's way through. it may be a cruise ship though...can't really tell. when i lived there you had the binco's out and were always monitering the boat/ship activity. you knew the ferry schedules and boat names.

a lighthouse sits on an island... i believe this is out of juneau someplace. can't recall though the name or exact location. dang...why didn't i write on the back of the photos.
next is a standard photo of the mendenhall glacier in juneau. janet and i took a nice hike around there.
spoke to scott and he just returned from kayaking harriman fjord in prince william sound. the group of us paddled that a few years back and he said it was amazing how far back many of the glaciers have receeded. he said several were technically no longer tidewater glaciers and were instead becoming hanging glaciers. he had a great trip though.

the below photo takes us back to ketchikan. i recall i stopped on the way home from work as i saw these 3 eagles perched on the float plane dock. was a peaceful sight. long as i roll around the floor every few hours i'm doing quite well. driving is still tough. i managed work last night..though work is a bit of a misnomer. i had one patient who was stable. so the gods were with me. tonight i'm on call. there really just haven't been any patients for a month...good for kids, but eventually i'll need to actually work again. winter will come again and all these healthy kids will get respiratory illnesses.
was walking in my local baxter bog the other day. there was a note saying a large black bear was recently sighted there. eek! this happened last year as well. overall, not too many bear encounters in anchorage so far this year. not like last year. this months alaska mag has an article with one of the victims from last year. she doesn't recall much...which is probably best.
the other thing in the bog that i found humorous is that there was in the past a cranky old guy who always yelled at me for having the dog off leash. i hadn't heard him yell for a long, long time and assumed he'd kicked it...but yesterday he was back at it. i yelled back that i had thought he had died and was happy to hear he was still alive. he stopped yelling at that.
well...time to stretch the back again.