Wednesday, October 19, 2011

churchill 2006

today i walked spencer loop with tanya and amy. soon it will be covered in snow and taken over by the lycra's. not many pictures taken today. it's kinda a hilly trail, mosty up it seems. i think it's probably 3-4 mile loop. i could never ski it. it's skate skiing heaven.
this time of year the photo ops can be a bit limited so i often grab some old cd's from my film days and put them in the computer and onto my shutterfly account. a testament to my fear of fire, which i got from my mother who got it from her father, who i'm told lost a young sister to an accidental fire while he and his 4 brothers stood helplessly by. anyway, there was a mixture of cd's from various kayak trips, the pribilofs and these from churchill, in canada.

i can't say i'm the globetrotter i had once dreampt of being but i have seen polar bears and walrus in thier natural environment and i suspect that not too many people can say that so i'm pretty happy with my limited travel experiences. what i've done i've loved. we do have polar bears in alaska, i've never seen one in the wild of alaska. the best time to see them here i understand is after one of the natives whale hunts. the bones and scraps are left on the beach and the bears come pick through it all. kaktovik is begining to get more organized in thier bear adventures and a co-worker is up there now. hopefully, she is getting some great pictures and seeing amazing sights. fingers crossed. above are a few fox on the outskirts of churchill.

i may make it up to kaktovik for an alaskan bear adventure one of these days. we went to churchill in 2006. it was our big adventure for that year. a group of friends joined me. we stayed out on the tundra lodge, which is more like a train situation. there were 2 sleeping cars, a dining car and then a car for education and hanging out. the tundra buggies attached to the main lodge, we called the lodge "the mother ship". you could see polar bears pretty much at all times out there. we stayed for 4 days, 3 nights if i remember correctly. the bears are free and the humans are caged in this trip. our feet never touched the ground and in such close quarters we got to know all the other people on the trip with us. the lodge housed 38 guests i believe. my friend maria and i made it our mission to get to know everyone! it really was a great group of people overall and everyone seemed to have a great time.

these pictures were taken in churchill when we got back to town. they had a nice community center with hockey, swimming and curling. i'll have to check out curling. we have a curling center up here. i could still have a shot at going to the olympics....curling is my best hope!!

i have a feeling my body is going to be in pain tomorrow. spencer loop is a work out, then i decided to hit the gym. i want to start doing other things there again, not just swimming. so today i got on the treadmill and jogged a 15 minute mile. i know pretty dang slow and pathetic for those of you who jog at all. i'm not a jogger, but i know there is value in jogging. after my tiring mile i got on the rowing machine for 5 minutes. done right 5 minutes on a rowing machine is a decent to the pool for a 30 minute 15 lap swim!! just took ibuprofen and i hope i can get out of bed in the morning. the pool was booking. don't think i've ever seen so many kids there. it was like swimming in an ocean due to all the wave action. flying balls kept coming into the lane and then kids to retrieve the balls, my kickboard kept getting taken. i practiced holding my breath as it's always so peaceful and quiet under the water.

mom and baby polar bear.

at any given time you could look out and see several bears. i'd say 2-12 at any given moment. some were far off, others walked right up to the tundra buggies to check us out. the bears are just hanging out there waiting for the ice to come in so they can wander off and hunt. in the meantime they rummage about, play fight and dig for seaweed to munch on.

my friend maria and i found many ways to entertain ourselves. had to take her picture here as she totally looked preggers. she has since had a few kids but in this picture she is just keeping her camera equipment warm! we spent a great deal of time laughing out there. i mean you can only look at bears so much and take only so many pictures of them. we had film cameras still, i'm sure we were the only people there who still had film. we both had a small digital as well. i had just bought my first little powershot canon specifically for this trip. i wish i had taken video as the play fights were so cool. everyone i had spoken to had said how much memory that would eat up. it took decent pictures and i learned alot about digital on that trip. i mean 4 days with more experienced photographers. many with the big lenses were kind and even offered to let us borrow them. i was happy with my 300 zoom and was afraid i'd accidently drop one of those huge lenses.

the weather started to turn to snow on our last day there. loved this mom and her two cubs all snuggled up against the cold.

apparently a black bear cub got away from it's mother in ketchikan today. it wandered into the local grocery store and cruised through the fruit and veggie aisle. he finally got grabbed up and escorted back outside.

this guy is walking around the mothership.

the wheels are at least 5 feet tall. no worries.

maria wanted me to get a picture of her with her tiny digital next to one of the big cameras we were surrounded by.

we did get some northern light views (aurora) while out there. always a nice treat. it's pretty country, flat, but pretty. i guess the snow had fallen fairly recently before we arrived so we were lucky. before that it was white bears in mud. it's fairly predictable when the bears come to hang out, but it is a risk. if the ice comes in the bears go. we hit it right.

the group that was on our trip included people from many nations. japan, germany, mexico....this girl below was from a family from mexico, 3 generations. super nice folks and i think maria and i fell in love with the grandpa.

i'm sure the bears loved the smells coming off our buggy. bacon in the morning. we each had our little bunk and it had a porthole. at night you could wake up and look out your window and watch the bears wander around. they could walk under the mothership.

they are so dang cute, it's easy to forget they see you as prey and are quite hungry.

thier paws were huge, kept trying to get pictures just of thier feet.

the next day we saw tons of sparring between the bears. we never wandered far from the main mothership as all the activity was right there. that first night, which i think many of these are from, we took pictures of the bears in fading light like we'd never seen them again.

we saw plenty though, we never needed to worry.

bedding down by the mothership.

added a few more apps to my phone last night. tanya just got an iphone so we were all playing during coffee yesterday. found a few fun games to add.

it was hard to go to sleep that first night knowing all those bears were out there. not that i was scared, just so dang excited! such a cool experience!! don't know how long the polar bears and walrus will be able to survive out there. the ice is melting and it's getting tougher for them. i hope they adapt, but that doesn't always happen or not quick enough to save them in the wild. i kept reading about it and that prompted me to just plan this trip. see the bears before they are lost to the wild. the walrus have been hauling out near pt hope i think up north, which is unusual. last year they got spooked and many were killed in the melea. (spelled that wrong and i'm too lazy and sore to get up and make the 2 steps to the dictionary. )

the natives in the area build these rock formations. i thought they were pretty dang cool.

back to the recent....see not much to take pictures of here except the critters.

above pogi and ms breezy and below blossom on spencer loop.

spencer loop takes you up, up up to the downhill ski area. i think hillside is used a great deal by the snow boarders. as you can see there is also a ski jump in the back ground. who thought of this idea. drunk men no doubt. seems a bit crazy, lets build a huge ramp and then just ski down and hopefully we can land the jump! doesn't seem to be a huge margin for error. wouldn't mind going down and watching other crazy people try it though. some things just seem like a bad idea. of course, i'm admitedly a chicken.

soon the snow will fall, for tonight, it was polar bears. hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane....i know i did.

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