Monday, July 2, 2012

my niece claire is in town, first few days!

totally have gone over budget on photo allowance. she's my niece and i just had to take loads of photo's. i don't get too many family visitors up here so it's always exciting.
she came with her super nice friend, emily. the first day was a bit wet and i wasn't sure what they were up for so i started with an easier hike in kincaid, look for moose. we took the jodphur trail in and then cut over for the water view.
the next day we got more adventurous and lena joined us as we headed up on our quest for hidden lake. really more of a tarn.
i will admit that it was still quite socked in when we got up in the higher alpine and there was still lots of large snow patches. the trail was a bit sketchy. i tend to err on the side of caution and after a few failed attempts to get to the tarn we receeded. of course, as you can see from these photo's the sun graciously joined us as we headed home.
the first day we ate at the bear tooth and then after our hidden lakes hike we joined friends at glacier brewhouse for a goodbye party. the guest of honor was busy and stressed with moving things and was quite late. it was a fun dinner anyway. had wanted to get claire to this place for some favorite seafood meals. the dessert was also fabulous. some peanut butter thing.
the first day we also hit the museum and did some shopping downtown as it was still a bit rainy. always good stuff to do on a rainy day. we had prep work to do in there as well for this weekends trek to byers lake cabin. we are back from that and i'll post those pictures hopefully tomorrow night.
claire and emily will be headed to homer tomorrow.
the lupine is always so lovely. lots of it on the sides of the road heading up to byers this weekend.
the girls got a rental car and headed to talkeetna early so they could take the flightseeing/glacier landing tour. turned into a lovely day and they got a fabulous trip. i headed out to byers and battled hoards of mosquito's getting our gear out there. not sure i've ever encountered such beasts. they went through my pants and i am chewed up everywhere. luckily, i did bring several mosquito hoods and even pants and jacket. for that first 1/2 mile run to the cabin though i had neglected to bring those items in the load.
no mosquito's on the hidden lake trail. claire wore several items from my closet as is common for guests. hard to know how to pack for alaska summers. i laughed as i have photo's now of several people in the same fleece.
blossom was upset that we were all on this cool rock getting photo's taken, she eventually joined us and when we were done seemed to desire her own photo op on the rock. she is adorable and i was happy to oblige.
claire and her friend emily...and blossom
here we are after blossom joined us. i think the dogs have won the girls over. last night rio was snoring and making that cabin vibrate which is her way, suddenly i heard the girls start giggling up on the loft. they had little hope of much sleep last night but were good sports about it all.
there is still a nearly 2 hour drive north to denali national park and they were slated for a bus tour today at 7 am. they had that 1/2 mile walk out through the hoards of mosquito's to take, plus the drive. sounds like they made it on time, enjoyed thier tour and are slowly making thier way back here. they were going to stop in talkeetna for dinner...they discovered it's charm and great food options the other day.
the trail gets a bit sketchy here and there, but we all had fun and didn't get too wet.
lena makes her way through the boggy bits.
the fog kept lifting, but not enough for us when we were up there.
katie and karen joined us the first night until almost midnight the next night. alicia joined us the second night. great to have a fun gathering out there at byers lake. alicia, claire and emily all took a side trail and their first 1/2 mile walk out was a bit more complicated and bug ridden. they marveled that i could have dragged the wagon over the terrain of that trail. at some point all figured out that they had taken the wrong path and aside from alot more bug anxiety all was well. no search parties were required.
one of the snow patches we encountered.
still quite a lot of snow up there. byers was loaded with wildflowers in addition to the usual loons and mosquito hoards. it took me 4 wagon loads to get in, but we had lovely fires and ate well and i only needed two wagon loads back out. alicia helped me. with the dogs the mosquito count was even higher. poor rio really attracts the bugs. i'd guess she had a good 200+ bugs attached to her by the time we arrived at the car the first trip. i left both dogs in the car, as that was what they both seemed to want. the mosquito count in the car was horrific when we got back. amazing how many can hide on a dog. there wasn't much point swatting them out of the car there in the lot as the number out seemed to be doubled by the return that came in.
our only hope was to start driving and leave the windows down and swat bugs as i went. eventually the numbers decreased and i began to feel as though i was some sort of mosquito bus driver. next stop talkeetna, all who want off in willow, houston, wasilla....i kept rolling the windows down and swatting more out. still some in the car as we pulled into the drive. rio was happy to be home and safe from the bugs.
love the rocks and all the lichens on them.
crossing the rushing creek, again, and again.
mani and blossom were thrilled by the large snow patches and entertained us all by getting the zoomies on every one. they were both tired on the drive home i'm sure, blossom was. i fought a few mosquito's in the bog that morning to give rio a walk. at the time it seemed like alot of mosquito's but post byers, it was just a small swarm.
blossom looks so cute! she got tennis ball time in every day.
i actually rarely use head nets for mosquito's but this time i even pulled out my mosquito jacket. the first time out i was pulling the wagon, holding both dogs, wore a backpack and though i'd sprayed myself with deet i had obviously missed a few key spots. keens were a bad idea for sure. i have tons of bites everywhere, those buggers went right through my pants.
stopping for lunch in the alpine.
lena above, claire and emily below.
mowed the lawn today, still need to start packing for round island. hoping all goes well for that trek. wrote a note to the fish and game guy as we need our day permits for that one day that isn't covered. claire and emily head to homer tomorrow so i may try and take the opportunity to start packing and prepping. seems like my gear has gotten tons of use this summer. it's never been put back in storage, just repacked for next adventure. will be nice to chill the latter part of july and august and then it will be fall.
summers are fast and furious but i do love them. we shouldn't have many mosquito's on round island. too much wind. i obviously have a low tolerance for them. though this weekend there were so many it was ridiculous and pointless to get annoyed, all you can do is laugh. we managed to do the 5 mile walk around the lake and even do a side trail up to the waterfall. many thanks to katie for hanging at the cabin and watching rio. i left her with a mosquito hood and jacket.
always relaxing to just chill and read. denali came out the first night, but not the second night. some folks from kentucky were staying at cabin 3 and asked us to call if denali came out.
mani is so cute.
cool rocks
lena, claire and emily enjoying the hike in the alpine. i love to get people up here as it's such totally different terrain.
my niece fun to have her up here visiting.
she is actually allergic to dogs but seems to be doing quite well on whatever meds she brought with her. she's been pretty tolerant of them considering she doesn't generally hang out with dogs.
living with dogs has it's own challenges. she has kids though so i suspect it's just a different set of challenges.
flowers. so nice to have flowers everywhere. did see lots of wild iris along the highway by eklutna and several on our walk around byers lake.
no big wild animal sightings out at the lake. was happy to not repeat the porcupine chase of last summer. i was able to spot a moose a few blocks from the house here and the girls went out to snap a few pictures of it by the bus stop. always so funny to see moose wandering around the streets of anchorage.
hopefully, they had some decent animal sightings in denali. not sure either of them had much battery left in thier phones or cameras.
claire and lena.
claire and emily.
me with the girls. i'm trying to get some laundry cooking as i suspect they'll want to do a small load before heading to homer tomorrow. i suspect they'll be in late tonight.
still reading the book about don sheldon. he was a pretty adventurous pilot. not sure i could crash planes as often as he did and get right back in. those little plane crashes do seem more survivable which is probably why i prefer them to the big jets. they do seem to crash more frequently though. i still have a few more plane trips to go. not too worried. i actually love small planes...hate the big ones though.
i may have to plan a thanksgiving trek to texas this year. split between houston and dallas perhaps.
took them to the cake studio for tasty desserts. there was this little oreo cookies/cream number that was quite delicious.
these are from our first walking adventure in kincaid. they seem to be enjoying all thier walking. the brush is a bit thick in some parts.
they got in after midnight the night before but with time changes they were up pretty early. i'm not a coffee drinker but luckily there are a few options within walking distance. they discovered kaladi's, a local favorite.
blossom and rio joined us for this one.
emily and claire. they did a semester in london and have lived in the same city for several years.
these are from the day before they arrived actually, still catching up a bit. columbine.
i drove up to hatchers pass to meet up with a cousin i haven't seen for years, laurie. she was with a group painting on the side of the road. i had the dogs with me, but there really wasn't a good place to walk them so they were a bit restless. we did have a decent visit for about an hour and then i headed up to independence mine to let the dogs stretch before i headed home and finished preparing for claires arrival.
the mine is always cool. that day there was patches of fog and of course, residual snow still.
the road up was a mess and it took me miles out of my way to get around the detour. what a bother.
the dogs were happy to get out and walk around.
there was a fine mist all around.
i still have a few pictures to post from the don sheldon cabin and lots from byers so i will try and catch up on those before i head to round i've no doubt i'll take loads of photos there. just plugged in my solar charger to get it precharged. may need it on this trip. someone might.
was looking on amazon as shelly had this cool thing at the cabin. it was a tiny thing that allowed you to use your ipod to listen to music. didn't require actual speakers though. you set it on a box or whatever and that became the speaker. quite cool.
it's getting too late to order anything new for the trip. i may hit rei for a more comfy sleeping pad for my big anges bag. i'm getting old and i wouldn't mind some extra padding out there. would take the other one as backup i think though.
i have 150 pounds of gear. will take those dramadery's filled with water so that will add up fast. we are usual under weight though.
great week with great people. kind...i'm into kind these days. i never was one of those mean girl sorts and i don't have any desire to be.
thought this one with the water was cool. should have experiemented with the big camera and slowing the water a bit. felt a bit rushed that day. the to do list was still long.
can't believe we are leaving on sunday...aack!!
these old buildings are always fun for photo ops though. need to get to kennicott mines one of these days. so much to do so little time and funds to do it.

the river in hatchers is so pretty.
here i am with my cousin laurie. great to get a chance to see her. as i said not too many relatives head up here. she sounds like she's having a fun trip up here. it looked packed with cool stuff.
rio at the dog park
the blue heron was spotted again out there.
flowers at the dog park
wild roses, wild geraniums
these last ones were posted on facebook by karen. thanks karen for sharing them. she is really enjoying photography more and more so always a great one to have out on a trek!!
emily and claire discover head nets!!
a group shot on night two. we had a few nice campfires out there. the first night we got the added bonus of denali.
well, i really should zip out and buy some cat litter. thanks to karen for these last 3 photo's. always fun to get some shots with me included!! more hopefully tomorrow!!!

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