Monday, October 24, 2011

the day i paddled 22miles and more polar bears

met with my friend amy for a loop out campbell airstrip way. felt great when i woke but the day pack started to get my knots worked up by the end of the hike so i decided perhaps i should just chill today. pretty day though. blossom and rio were happy to get out and about. not much to take pictures of this time of year so i loaded a few more oldies but goodies. these first ones are again from churchill, canada. it's a great place to see polar bears...while they last!

i was mesmorized by the paws. of course i'm hoping all predictions are wrong and these great bears will live long on our earth and not just in zoos. i'm not against zoo's. i was actually trained as a zoo keeper at the los angeles zoo and volunteered as a keeper there for many years. it's just not the optimal way for these animals to exist. i prefer to see them roam free. nothing beats seeing wildlife, wild.

cooked up a nice beef stew in the crockpot while i went out walking and later tonight i baked some chocolate chip cookies. i'm a bit cookied out right now. cookies always make me thirsty. the dough is the best though. i debated other cookies, but went for the classics....just like my mom used to make. i'm happy that she taught me how to cook her favorite and thus my favorites.

the bears roamed around the mothership quite a bit so we always had something fun to watch even if we were eating or trying to get some sleep for the night. our bunks had a little window and i could lay there and still see polar bears by the light of the moon. they could walk underneath the mother ship. i'm sure we were a curiosity for them.

maria shows off our individual quarters.

maria and sue in the dining car.

we roamed about town for a bit before boarding the tundra buggy bound for the mothership. no polar bear sightings in town.

we found some cute puppies to visit.

and i liked this cool rock painted with polar bears.

the compound is referred to as bear jail. problem bears will eventually get put here if they don't stay out of town. they will be released when the ice comes in.

more of the trio of mom and two cubs trying to stay out of the storm.

watched alot of useless tv today. a show on coupon clippers. i really should use more coupons in my life, but these people are kinda nuts about it all. most of them have several spare rooms filled with stuff they got free really, but will never be able to use. loads of medications and vitamins that will no doubt expire before they are used. i mean it would be great to have a neighbor who is a coupon maniac in the event of a natural disaster. they are stocked. my place is too small for that much inventory and one must also consider how many hours it takes to organize and plan a shopping trip. it is impressive that these people have grocery bills that total up to over $400, but pay maybe $15.

another show, sister wives, is a reality show about polygamy. having been raised mormon a show such as this always gets my interest. overall i think marriage in general is a better deal for most men than for the female of the species. though many women work outside the home it seems the work details in the home are not that equally divided. mormonism started out as a polygamous organization. mainstream mormonism has tried to steer clear of it's history in this fact. they still do practice polygamy in the next life though again most mormons, especially converts, seem to ignore or deny this. when the church did away with the practice on earth they were careful to not denounce it. the founder, joseph smith, was a firm believer in the practice, though his wife, emma was opposed from what i've read. don't think i'd do well in a polygamous marriage. i'm sure i wouldn't be able to control feelings of jealousy and my self esteem would be low to say the least.

from what i see about modern mormonism it is pretty far removed from the vision of the founder, joseph smith. more and more the main church seems to want to blend with the other christian religions, which is funny since the message joseph smith got in his vision was that none of those churches was right. most of these largely organized churches have become just another corporation in my opinion. still people seem to enjoy having a church to belong to and rules to follow and raise thier kids with so as long as people are happy with their chosen religion and do not negatively impact those who believe differently, what do i care really.

i haven't attended the mormon church with any regularity since my earlier 20's. after that i helped run girls camps for many summers after i'd officially left and when i moved from ketchikan to anchorage i officially had my records removed. it freaked me out that each time i moved the church was able to relocate me within 6 months. when i moved to ketchikan a guy from the church contacted me at work while we were both working which i thought was very inapporpriate and unprofessional.

it wasn't the polygamy issue that drove me away. not any one issue at all. i just read and studied all that i could find and asked questions, read books. in the end i just didn't believe in the mormon faith. it's not an easy church to be part way in...or part way out. since my whole family remained active it was frightening to break away on my own. at first i started just working on sundays, skipping out. my family wasn't one to confront, though i think i tend to be. did get a long 5 page typewritten letter from one sibling, in it i was told that nobody is truely happy who isn't mormon and i can't remember it all, but i know i cried a great deal over it.

eventually in life you must be true to yourself. fear is not a good way to live. you must make a choice and stand by it. only then can you be happy. i don't think there are many rewards for martyrs who are simply martyrs out of fear and not for true convictions. i left and i'm more happy. have there been repurcussions. i'd say yes. there will always be a divide with my family, but then as i've seen over the years, that divide exists even amongst those who have stayed in the church. the church itself creats the divide. you are beholden to your individual ward and all the responsibilities there. i used to laugh at all those "family first" commercials...from what i saw it was really always, "family first...after the church".

not sure what these guys are. we saw them out of whittier on a kayaking trip to blackstone bay. must have been early spring so the birds were probably transistional. appear to be geese of some sort, snow? not sure.

we didn't take too many pictures on this trip as it rained and rained and rained. luckily the water was flat and calm over all. just 4 of us on this little journey. scott, bob, natalie and i. it was natalies first trip and almost bob's last. it was pretty miserable out there in all that damp, cold, wetness.

we were supposed to camp out at decision point and then head back to whittier the next day, but the weather was miserable, we were wet and when we got to decision point it was over run with like 50 campers...a super sized group. they were nice and boiled us some water and got us warmed by thier fire. we decided to paddle on. that meant we did 22 miles in one day. when we got to whittier i noticed that my friend scott had put a rope on the back of his kayak for towing...i asked him if he had done that for me? he had, but i proved to be tougher than he expected..or me for that manner. that summer i also hiked the chilkoot trail. a good year for me.

a few random dog shots that turned up on the rolls. blossom is checking out the moose on the other side of the fence. you can just see it's ears.

out hiking in the bivouac trail system.

below you can barely see rio's brace. she wore that for 2 years to protect her knee. it seems to have done the trick and she has been brace free for some time. we still have the brace. sure was better than putting her through surgery. she was still able to hike and play.

back to kayak pics.

always glaciers when you hike in prince william sound. haven't seen any obvious signs of the spill left when i'm out there, but i probably am not observant enough for that. there are over 100,000 glaciers in this state. they are unable to research all the glaciers or moniter all so we don't really know what is happening with all. most of the glaciers that are monitered are receeding though there are a few that actually are growing which is perplexing. i know over the years that i have paddled out in pow i have noticed the glaciers receeding dramatically at times.

we camped on the snow, above the tide line. it can be a bit chilly to camp on snow, but it's also very soft. no rocks!! we were warm enough in the tents. i think this picture may show the only blue sky we saw all weekend.

didn't pull the camera out when the rain was pouring down so this was one lucky moment of a break in the rain. after this the pitter patter increased to full on deluge. thank god scott brought his big walrus tent thing for us to chill under and try to cook.

home sweet home....

no chance to allow anything to dry out this trip. we drove the road back to anchorage and unloaded in our damp clothes. not easy doing stuff when you are so chilled.

the snow was out late that year. the cd said june, but with the old film days it could be weeks before you actually took stuff in for development. i was usually pretty quick.

hanging glacier. tidewater glaciers are still calving into the water...this one has receeded back.

so hard to show the misery of this trip in the photo's. i have always hated camping in the rain. i am cool with hiking in the rain all day, i just want to be able to return someplace warm and reheat.

this bird i know. an oyster catcher. they are pretty common in prince william.

almost 2 am. was up late last night watching a movie. i think i had seen it before but since i'd just read the book it was "suggested" from i was interested to see it. the movie, "simon birch". the book, " a prayer for owen meany". they did take a great deal of liberty in altering the story from the book. i did love the book and i enjoyed the movie as well. people can be cruel, but there are enough people who aren't that you can get by.

3 sad paddlers in blackstone bay!

these are just a few pictures i had taken of the dogs as soon as i had my little new digital camera. i suppose people with kids always test out their new gear on thier kids, for me it's the dogs.

wanted to have a few pictures of the dogs to take with me to churchill. considering i was at risk of not getting back it was a comfort to have the dogs with me. of course as we were getting our instructions for post crash i had determined that if i survived a crash i was taking all my film with me. they say leave your stuff on the plane, but i had just payed some hard earned cash for a polar bear trip...the film was coming with me if i had to evacuate the plane. it is funny the stuff that goes through your head when you think you may perish. i was in a panic about the gum i was chewing. my fear was that i'd survive the crash and then choke on the gum. eventually, i squished the gum in the emergency card.

i really wanted to return home to these faces. i still love coming home to these sweet faces!

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