Thursday, September 15, 2011
fun days off....
just dropped my friend carla off at the airport for the next leg of her journey. it all worked out for her to come up and join me on a road trip to denali and the denali highway. we had a great time. weather was mixed at times. i'll add those pictures in hopefully within the week. will put in these from the other days she was here. last time she was up here we also did a road trip. that time she helped me move from ketchikan to anchorage. my move and our roadtrip occurred during sept 11, 2001 events. we were in skagway when we got the news and then headed to the yukon territory and whitehorse. at the border we were told another hijacked plane was headed to whitehorse. the community center was cleared out and the poor korean jet, who just got lines crossed, had been brought down with fighter jet escorts and the pilot taken off at gunpoint. the city was quiet. luckily, our road trip together exactly 10 years later was pleasant and uneventful.
yesterday was a day of rainbows. we had mixed weather all day, but overall we had mostly sunshine when we joined tanya at powerline trail out glen alps trailhead way. thought we'd check and see if the rutting moose were about. they congregate there in late sept/oct. none spotted that day. but we did see several fabulous rainbows. we were just happy that the blue hole in the sky was mostly above us. always a treat!
tanya was kind enough to take a few pictures of carla and i. have no idea what we were laughing at in this, but we all had a great day out hiking. we went to the bridge that leads to hidden lakes. if we'd had more time and energy we would have completed the trail. tanya needed to get back and so we let the pups play in the creek and headed back.
carla and i headed out to girdwood for lunch and just to drive the seward highway, which is always beautiful. it was way windy that day as well. turnigan arm can get windy and it was surely more than the usual that day. we snuck in to girdwood and ate at chair 5 before returning home. we split a hamburger and also fish and chips. the halibut was better than the burger in my opinion.
the fall colours are coming on fast in our area as well. not nearly as far along as further north in alaska as you'll see in a few days. still many hikes i want to squeeze in before the summer is totally gone and the snow comes. carla did give me a long list of movies to add to my netflix list. we watched a few movies this week. both had denzel washington in them and neither had been seen by me anyway. one was a war movie with meg ryan, the other a movie about corrupt cops, a drug seller that dared to compete with the mob and an honest cop that caught them all. also a good movie. you'd think i could remember the titles. i'm sleepy though so it will come to me later.
also finished the book i was reading, "rowing to latitude". they have paddled to some amazing places, but they also seem to fly by the seat of thier pants. one day i suspect they will not return from one of thier trips. if they had let that fear rule them, they would have missed some amazing treks. hard to know...how careful should you be? adventurerers often die young, but they also lead rich and full lives. some of the stuff seemed a bit crazy and stupid. there are calculated risks and there are just risks.
the dogs had a blast running around. the sunny spot today seemed to be in kincaid. we did the loop out of jodphur. by the time the day was done, it had become a spectacular day. carla and i headed downtown so she could see this cool shop i like. it happens to be right by a restaurant i love. we had a late lunch, early dinner. her birthday dinner. i am a horrible friend and totally forgot that her actual birthday was sept 10th. there we were, together on the road all day and i didn't even say happy birthday. totally slipped my mind. we both got the herb crusted halibut which is always fabulous. we were at the glacier brewhouse by the way. that place can be packed but at 3-4 pm we had no trouble getting a nice table. will have to remember that for next time. we then headed to the native hospital to look at the crafts, they have amazing displays of native art scattered throughout the hospital. the craft store is awesome as well, but they have short hours. if we'd have thought we would have headed there before kincaid. oh well.
no rainbows today, but we had so many great ones yesteray we were satisfied.
carla insisted on cooking for me monday night. we had a totally low key day. after we drove the denali highway we were left with a choice. camp out in the tent all night or drive back to anchorage. we didn't get to the campground at paxson lake until close to 8pm. the sun had dipped before the horizon a bit. it was going to be a cold one. carla was willing to tent it, but i knew she'd be miserable and that the dogs and i probably would be as well. we all decided to just drive. sadly, there was construction on the richardson that delayed us and then i drove very slow as we had a few moose try to jump in front of the car. in glennallen we stopped for gas and saw some northern lights. those lights went all the way across the horizon, it was pretty impressive. not much traffic on the road at that hour, but the oncoming headlights blind you momentarily and after i got my vision back at one point i saw this huge rack from a moose headed up the side of the road at me. a near miss.
at that point i decided i'd take a wee nap in a turn out. i crawled in the back with the dogs, carla bundled up in the front seat and we tried to sleep. hard to get comfy and it was a bit chilly but i did eventually fall asleep for a good 45 minutes. woke at two am and drove slowly back to anchorage. i think we arrived about 5 am after having another moose try to jump out in front of us and even an owl that was eating carion on the road flapped off in front of the car. on the richardson we saw a fox on the side of the trail. more animal sightings after the denali than on it.
we crashed that morning and it was raining all day anyway. i think we may have just walked the bog. today we walked up patterson as it was so nice out. rio also got walked in the bog this morning. great to veg out monday and carla made a great salad and that tasty lasagna. we ate those leftovers these past two nights late in the evening.
moose sighting in girdwood the other day on thier bike trail. due to all the hunting action along the denali highway we saw all our moose and caribou in the form of heads on the top of 4 wheelers post harvest of meat. i am not anti hunting, but it is sad to see all those heads headed back on the highway. wanted to see a few live ones. we got that yesterday and today again. i drove to beer can lake after we'd walked jodphur just to let blossom wash off and cool off. on that little road into the lake we saw a mama moose with 2 babies, one was crossing in front of us...and then right around the corner we saw a nice bull moose. the bigger the antlers are not a sign of age but more a sign of health. we looked it up later. i'm always confused. they do shed thier antlers after the rut sometime and then regrow them in the spring. they must consume a great deal of calcium for this and it only takes about 3 months for the antlers to grow in. pretty amazing growth rate. before the rut they rub thier antlers against trees to remove the velvet and prepare for battle. the moose we saw today was doing just that.
this last rainbow of the day tuesday was on the turnigan arm.
we also were able to watch the show on the tapes done by jackie kennedy onasis just 4 months after jfk was killed. it was interesting. she was pretty candid in her opinions, especially about certain people. definitely a woman of that time in her stand by your man attitude. she seems to have evolved in the years past kennedy.
the sunrise i woke to this morning, maybe about 7:30 am. getting later and later.
rio and blossom on the couch this morning. carla kept threatening to smuggle pogi, my cat out with her luggage. she was quite taken with him. she had no plans on smuggling the dogs however. she has a pit bull at home whom she thought farted and snored a great deal...post rio she will never complain again about her pit bull. she thinks the rescue place should give me some sort of award for taking in rio and giving her such a good home. rio really is a sweetie though. despite her gaseous outbursts and room shaking snores.
a few from kincaid today. below is mr bull moose. his rack is less than impressive. the bull that nearly ran into us on the road had a much more impressive rack.
here he is rubbing off what may be left of the velvet.
the rest are pictures i took of the displays at the native hospital. they really have some great stuff, if you go you must ride the elevator to the top floor and then walk the stairs back down as there little displays along the staircase.
above are baskets weaved with grasses. often seen in the coastal communities and in the aleutians. below are my favorite baleen baskets. these are painstakingly made using the baleen of whales.
i think the baleen baskets are more prevalent along the north and western shores of alaska.
this cool basket was actually made from salmon skin. don't remember noticing this one before.
this next display is of a jacket. they used to make thier rainproof jacket out of seal gut or walrus gut, whatever was available. looks pretty cool and i guess it was quite effective.