Tuesday, May 31, 2011

halibut cove...act one...

i'm usually much more organized in my photo placement. these are a bit random so we'll see how that goes over the next few days as i load these. no doubt, there will be some doubles as i forget which pictures i've already put in.
over memorial day weekend i went with friends across kachemek bay to kayak in a place i'd never been, halibut cove. as always it was beautiful out in the bay and we had pretty perfect weather for most of our weekend. memorial day weekend is the start of summer in alaska, or so it seems. for most this is the first weekend of camping and many from anchorage head to the kenai to play.
took me a few days to remember to attempt some black and whites. for some reason being on the kayak shooting pictures i completely forgot to experiment. so no black and whites were even attempted until that last night on the beach. funny what a numbskull i can be sometimes. did play with the macro a bit. wish i would have taken all three lenses, but left my regular 50mm at home. used the point and shoot to fill in where marco and zoom missed.
was a busy week leading up to the trip. my back went into some spasms wednesday and i wasn't sure how this would all work out. called out sick one night which i think saved me. just spent the day resting, stretching, walking and then back to resting. did get one night of work in. kept fairly busy that night and it went fast.
got my rooms measured and now i await some sort of call i think to arrange the purchase of the products and all that. not really sure how that all works. if i don't hear from them soon i'll contact them i guess. suspect cleaning and moving stuff from the rooms is where the back spasms came from and it's hard to tell that all that much stuff has been removed. eek! still loads to do. my walks last week were bog, cheney and dog park all close and easy as i had all the lists of stuff to get done. still have lots to do to get ready for the next big trip and the floors. no pet sitters scheduled for my long trip so i really must get on that. hard to get these critters covered. may have to contact the expensive sitter and hope she is available.

we got dropped off at wrights beach. have no idea how that is spelled, but that is how i'm spelling it i guess. val and i both worked the night before, slept maybe 2 hours each and then did the long drive to homer. we did amazingly well, i must say. we just chatted the whole way and kept each other awake. most of these first pictures were taken on that beach where we stayed.

it wasn't as isolated a beach as one would hope as there was a kayaking symposium at the other end of the beach and so there were probably 20+ people also camped out there. we were at one end with a yurt so with the beach being as large is it was we didn't really run into them much, though the poor outhouse behind our yurt seemed on the verge of failure from the moment we arrived.

lots of bald eagles out and about. this guy was watching a crow or raven that was harrassing it. must have been too near it's space. i think we left homer for the beach about 6:30 pm so no paddle that night. we probably could have but always nice to get the camp set up, get a fire going and get something to eat.

the sun was brightly shining that first evening. i went for a short beach walk. above is the dinner mess left by the kayakers in the symposium. i realize that for most people if something is biodegradable it seemingly can be washed out into the ocean. best in remote beaches to store all food and trash properly though as food parts this large strewn about a beach is an attractor to bears. it also looks pretty ugly i must say. easy to tell what they had all decided to eat that night. wasn't actually too worried about bears with all hte camper activities on the beach and those around us.

put the macro on to capture a few snaps of the barnacles on the rocks at the end of the beach. our beach was pretty rocky. not much for tidepooling out there, did run into a few tidepools on the next beach over. at low tide the beaches seemed to go on forever. i know i was dropped out on one of those outer beaches several years back with my friend natalie as we did a hike out to grewingk glacier. we got dropped at the beach and then picked up at another point on the water. we paddled past it the next day.

cool to see the various barnacles in different stages of growth, plus to see all the other tinier stuff living on the barnacles.

thought this little flower was quite pretty. came out well. hard still to hold the camera steady enough, way to lazy to drag a tripod out there. a little patience and i usually can get at least one decent picture.

not sure where this boot came from, leftover trash, but for some reason it was set on this log and became a focal point in several photos. one mans trash is another's photo op.

a few more climbers fell down denali. apparently 2 died and 2 were taken to prov. a friend told me that in the news up here if a patient is taken to regional hospital or native hospital the names of the hospitals are used and if they go to providence it will often just say "to a local hospital". if it says "to a local hospital" that means to providence. i've been testing her theory over the years and she seems to be right. funny. haven't caught up on the local papers yet so not sure how the survivors are doing. one sounded pretty bad by the sounds of it. hasn't been a good year on the mountain. from todays paper it also sounds like a few children died in accidents over the weekend. one from a drowning and another child ran out in front of a car and was killed.

kayaks are also great to use in photography i find. a little colour is always nice. (especially if you forget to play with black and white).

chatted with my sister, linda and two brothers today, joel and tom. always fun to catch up. they'd all called over the weekend to wish me happy birthday. a few other folks called so i still have a few calls i'd like to return. another friend, anita, happened to be in town for her work so we got in touch and enjoyed a nice long dinner and chat at outback tonight. friends of old. funny how some friends it can be years and you just sit down and chat like it was yesterday.

also funny how friendships evolve and transform. so great to get a chance to visit with her for a bit tonight.

this is the yurt we stayed in. plenty comfy for the 5 of us.

some beautiful flowers arrived for me before i left anchorage. they hadn't bloomed yet so it was nice to come home just in time to see them bloom out. thanks rudy!! some of my tulip bulbs i planted in fall also bloomed which was great. the stuff i planted in the garden is begining to sprout as well. can never get over how fast stuff can grow up here once the light stays out like it does. the long days and late, late sunsets are also hard to explain and must be experienced. teh last night val and sandra went out for an evening paddle. don't think they even left the camp til nearly 10pm and probably came back close to 11:30, it was still pretty light and we'd just gotten a fire started. once the sun drops down it does get chilly, but it's still light out. it's currently after 11pm here and i can see very clearly outside. could easily collect firewood or set up a tent out there.

here is the water taxe all loaded and ready to go. thought it was funny that we changed water taxi's. guess we all have different expectations. for me, if they are pleasant, generally on time and get me there and back safely i'm happy. expectations can be a funny thing. if you have too many you will chronically be disappointed in life. thought the one we changed to was fine as well, but heard complaints. i'd use either company again no problem.

sandra and jennifer settle in for their dinner. they always plan tasty meals together while the rest of us eat pbj's or something. i think i did okay. we ate some out in halibut cove so this was an odd paddle in that sense. it's not too often that we can paddle to a resturant. will talk more of halibut cove in my next installment.

we could see for several miles but didn't see but a few otters from our beach and the birds and eagles.

the outhouse...began to fear that the floor would give way and i would drop into the muck below. not sure who is supposed to maintain it, but they are slacking a bit. of course, it could be that the kayak symposium people had some issue that we weren't aware of.

liked the smoke effect on this one.

beautiful clouds, all fluffy. it had really clouded up by the morning and was all grey. got some rain, but it never fell hard. well, it may have a little in the wee hours, but i was sleeping so no worries. there is a wildfire up out of fairbanks, rain must fall.

the land in the distance is homer and the spit could be seen from the beach. we could also see augustine and lesser iliamna and redoubt. (those are the prominent volcano's in the area)

this is from the other end of our beach, in the kayak symposium side of the beach.

on the left is halibut cove.

not a brilliant sunset, but there are no bad sunsets and sunrises and days like this. just happy to be outside and watching the sparkling on the water from all the reflections. we did have some mosquito's, who were large indeed, but not too testy from what i could tell. may have gotten bitten once, but nothing that really drove me nuts. i'm easily driven nuts by mosquitos and if i'm not complaining it's great. i've often thought that if you wanted to get information from me enclosing me in a room of ravenous mosquito's with no way to defend myself would be very effective. just so you know...i know nothing of any significant importance so lets not test this theory out.

obviously, that first night i was beat and happily turned in. we did our longest paddle on saturday. everyone did their best to get out for the calmer waters in the early morning hours. we weren't on the water at 8am or anything like that, but we did get out by 10:30 i think.

these are from the ride down/back. this is an old tavern on the spit. it's quite well known, "the salty dawg". most stop by and have a drink. we got in earlier than we expected on monday so val and i wandered around a bit and enjoyed the weather and atmosphere of homer. gotta love homer!

the entire wall/ceiling of the salty dawg is covered with money and items left behind by patrons. just one of those fun alaskan bars.

before we left homer val took me out to a local winery she and her friend enjoy and she bought some wine. we did some tasting before we left. i liked the bear carvings. very cute.

fun to just wander a bit around homer.

around the spit.

there are some large buoys out there. of course at one point i accidently called them boyees.

didn't see any of the deadliest catch boats out there. occasionally they are docked here. last year i think we saw one as we came back to homer.

that winery had a grand view of grewingk glacier.

then we stopped at the lookout to get this picture of hte spit.

we also remembered that on the drive in we'd seen this bald eagle nest at mile 147. we didn't have time to stop on the way down, but it was right on the side of the road. could be a rough first flight for thier kid.

at this point i'd put the camera in black and white and had forgotten that i had. this guy looked nice in black and white though so no matter.

one last picture of redoubt, a local volcano. blew recently. still for a bit of late. not smoking today.

not too organized, but hopefully, the next installment will be more fun. will do the paddling and halibut lagoon and cove.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

windy point to mchugh and other adventures of the day...

we did see a bald eagle out there but not this guy. it was soaring overhead on the winds of the arm. turnigan arm that is. the hike we did started at windy point and it did live up to it's name. we walked through the rainbow trailhead and on to mchugh where we'd stashed a car to drive us back up the seward highway to our other cars left behind at windy point. the hike was just over 6 miles i believe.

these are in backwards. i was joined by tanya and maddie, maureen and sandra. sandra claims i gave her no indication of how difficult and long this hike was, but she had also said she had been on this hike years ago and really liked it so wanted to go. i usually just shake my head and know that no matter what, it's my fault. hehe. anyway, it is over 6 miles. we just did a one way. you can go even further on to potter trailhead from mchugh. that would add another 3-4 miles.

there is a part right before you get to mchugh with this scarey scree section. if those rocks give way there is a long and very steep fall coming your way. we were very careful. i leashed blossom, which she was bummed about. maureen carried kaya. above tanya looks to be trying to encourage maddie to stay away from the edge.

this is before we hit the worst of it. that last mile or so does take you out on the edge several times. never like that with unstable rock like this. the dogs don't like it on thier feet either. blossom crashed pretty quickly in the car.

we were delayed getting back to our cars at windy as after we all loaded into tanyas car for the short ride to windy we discovered her battery was totally dead. she asked some kind man if he'd be able to assist with a jump and about then these 3 army guys in fatigues showed up and sandra and i hitched a ride to our cars with them. by the time we got back, tanya's car was running. i grabbed blossom out and we all were done for hte day. i'm sure maddie earned some ice cream.

she is quite the trooper. not too many kids her age would be so obliging to a hike of this length and difficulty. there is a pretty long and steep up section. it was a nice wide trail, but it went up for ever it seemed.many people take the trail from mchugh to windy for just this reason.

the scenery and plants along the way were quite beautiful. we had a lovely day. i would have done the swim, but rio was totally glued to me when we did get home. i knew slipping back out again would be stressful for her. got to get her used to blossom and i leaving her alone more with summer here. she could not handle a hike like this one. so i got a bit of extra mileage in taking both dogs in the bog first.

i have kept myself quite busy these last two days trying to start emptying out these two rooms and also trying to pack for this weekends kayak trip. they come to measure tomorrow. suspect i give them money for product soon after that and then i've got to get the rooms prepped and painted before the floors get put down. eek!

above is tanya and maddie and below is a group shot. sandra, maureen, tanya, maddie and i. the dogs aren't always very cooperative with group photo. we got one out of three.

today was a work day for me. got more done and spent some time at rei and freddies. still have a few things i'd like to pick up tomorrow. baked cookies last night and that was mostly what i ate for most of the day. the cookies or the dough. met up with sandra and lesley at simon and siefords tonight for dinner. i know i spelled the name wrong. it's a great place to eat in town. we got free deserts due to it being all of our birthday month. we try to get out to celebrate our birthdays together with a meal. nice to relax and chat for a few hours. i had the steamed clams appetizer and a petit filet mignon for dinner.

the girls and i did a few loops in the dog park today. the temperature read 66F as i drove past. very warm day for us here. the dogs appreciated the chance to cool off in the lake. we rarely get over 70 degrees here even during the summer.

have had a net flix movie for over a week and haven't had a chance to watch it yet. looking forward to getting this floor project done. then i can think about the closets and recarpeting the hall and stairs as well.

sad fact i read in the paper the other day. in congo 48 women are raped every hour. it's officially the worst place on earth to be female. the militia's use rape to destroy villages. so sad what people are capable of doing to one another, how can such hate really exist. those poor women. jsut horrific what some people endure in thier lifetimes. seems all i can do sometimes is be grateful to have been born in a place where i have relative safety and comfort at all times.

when i looked back at the view behind me i realized that it wasn't that far back that we were at the level of the road down there. rainbow trailhead is at the bottom and it quickly goes upwards at a steady pace. i prefer going up to going down for my knees sake. they felt fine on this hike. my hip was mildly achy but not too bad. today i jsut felt a bit sleepy overall.

beautiful and green throughout hte walk though.

we cross this creek before we start making our way up. great opportunity for the dogs to get a layer of mud off. they also got in at mchugh creek which was helpful. blossom can sure hold alot of mud in her coat.

sandra and maddie bring up the rear. maddie is always helped along by a tale and sandra can tell a good one.

the rapture has been moved to oct 21st. chatted with my sister today. she laughed when i told her that i figured god was probably quite able to keep a secret and i hadn't gotten the impression that we would be told the time and date of the rapture. that wasn't the impression i got from my readings in the bible. this guys said that as it turns out may 21 was spiritual judgement day so we've apparently all been judged and it's thus decided who comes and who doesn't so no point preaching at this point. guys gotten millions in donations. sometimes i think i ought to start up a religion and cash in. it's crazy that people buy into these nut jobs and give up everything they own in the hopes of salvation. seems so absurd that anyone would fall for it, but people do over and over. eternal salvation and a good diet, either of those things will get you rich if you are convincing enough.

apparently 1 in every 6 american kids has a developtmental disability. the report suspects that many of these are due to misdiagnosis or over diagnosis. you think? everyone is great and if they aren't we will give them a pill. some of it is just behaviour issues or even...shocker....bad parenting. i suspect people often don't have the time to bother trying other options, it's easier to just medicate.

on other news, they want to add a second parking area to glen alps trailhead in town here in anchorage. people keep parking illegally on the road in a fire lane and then get ticked that there are expensive tickets on thier cars. climbing flat top is very popular. there are loads of other trailheads though. perhaps they should encourage people to just alter their flattop plans if the lot is full and try exploring the other trailheads.

liked the view shot in black and white.

maddie really is a great kid. she's out for the summer. guess tanya and family will be at the same yurt we're at starting the day we leave. maureen will be paddling halibut cove as well, but in a different cabin. i've never been there so excited to check it out.

everyone enjoys coming up the hill. haha.

apparently noone told maddie if she makes faces like that it could freeze that way. i remember being told that when i'd make goofy faces. kids crack me up!!

blossom and i enjoy a short break.

maureens dog kaya obliges me for a photo op. such a cute pup! could tell he got tired that last bit, but really, for a smaller dog, he did great!

loved this one of maddie and tanya.

in this one we were jsut getting started and maddie was enjoying the strong wind action at windy point.

as i approached the area of the big pond in the bog i could hear the birds all going nuts so i went to the look out to see if i could see what was up.

the birds were all going nuts and then i glanced over to where they seemed to be swooping and squaking and noticed this large bald eagle maybe 30 feet to my left. the gulls kept doing fly by's and screaming at this bird. he looked innocent enough, but then i'm not what he finds interesting as a meal. those birds wanted him gone and they were not giving up. all of the bog birds seemed to be united in thier goal.

the intruder must be forced out. ducks, maggies, geese, gulls all on a mission to rid thier area of the dreaded bald eagle.

wish i'd been smart enough to put this all on video as the pictures just dont' do this incident justice. i was loving it. laughing my arse off. the eagle finally swooped off his branch he hit the water, but i don't know if he got anything or not. check out his wing span compared to the little gull chasing him.

all the birds were up, above are canadian geese.

the birds all chased him around and around in the bog area and he finally gave it up and moved on.

got another treat in the bog yesterday morning as this cow moose had some new baby moose. saw her the other day getting a sip of water in the bog and she must have delivered soon after that. these two can't be more than 48 hours old. so cute!

a few people have already been kicked getting too close or spooking mama moose with new calves. depends on the moose i've found, but best to err on the side of caution with all these new babies popping out.

we were pretty far off and they had the trees and brush to hide in. not the best pictures but i'd like to keep taking photos and not be ticking off some mama moose.

we took off from windy point, but many people stop to look for mountain goats/sheep there. these look like sheep to me, rams. saw them just as we were taking off for our hike.

the devils club is bursting out all over. from the looks of it, this trail will get thick with it soon.

had forgotten that i was still in black and white for the shot below. it is actually a macro shot of a common orange lichen. looks pretty funky up close.

we were very excited to see all the little wildflowers that were blooming already out at windy point. had my macro, but it does require a steady hand and a steady plant helps as well. with the wind that wasn't without challenge. these turned out not too badly.

i'm not always the best wildflower identifier, but i know the one below is lupine. in some areas at the right time of the summer there will be purple fields of colour that are just amazing. love lupine.

tanya is my friend who is good at the wildflower identification. my friend quinton lives in wyoming, but he is good at plants in general.

great day of hiking with friends. hopefully many more long walks with friends as the summer progresses.

probably a bit disjointed so i apologize. i feel a bit disjointed right now. it's almost 2am. it's light til almost midnight so you just keep doing stuff and then suddenly see a clock and think, oh crap i should get ready for bed. you lose track of time up here. the light is out for hours and hours. it could be 11pm when you look outside and realize you haven't watered the garden, so you go out and water. there is no way to know the time of day. it's just daylight. had friends up visiting. my friend looked up at the sun and guesstimated the time was about 2pm so we had plenty of time to do this or that. i then pointed out to her that the sun is no help in telling time here. the time was actually 7pm.