Tuesday, May 23, 2017

more from last summer and fall.

 planning continues.  trying to catch up on a few more pics from last year before the big summer shots start up again. I'm always behind it seems but fun to toss in a few older ones from time to time.  still a bunch from the iditarod that never made it in.  i read today that PETA is making a big push to stop sponsors for the race and thus stop the race.
 pups are feeling rambunctious at this time despite two walks.  we did campbell airstrip and around, about 4 miles and then later did the bog on leash.  thinking i should take advantage of the light and try to get in a leash only walk for added training.  they attempted to bolt after a magpie once but i won.  they did well pulling "off trail" for passersby.
 these are pictures of humpback whales coming back from holgate.
 several calls.  feeling a bit like omg what am i doing.  you forget how planning this trek to round island can be.  you have to remember that it will all work out, that things just work different out in the bush.  they have grown so used to unpredictability that they don't sweat it.  you'd think I'd be better at it.  i got great at it when i lived in Ketchikan for 6 years.
 i make all these reservations and plans but really it's just an outline...what really ends up happening is just a guess.
 always lots of seagulls where the whales are.
 chatted with a friend in Ketchikan for a bit today.  she can see the whales bubble net feeding from her front deck.  i have never seen that.  one day.  she says they have restricted one form of fishing in areas closer to the town so the wildlife sightings have bumped up.
 so my loose Alaska village plan for the moment is.  fly out of Anchorage Saturday afternoon.  hope the flight isn't cancelled and they don't lose my luggage, this happens with some regularity.  no way i can camp on Round Island without my gear.
 i have booked a place to stay. the same place we stayed at in 2012.  Kingfisher house.  it's a bit out of town but clean and quiet.  they won't be there but he said he'd leave a car at the airport with a key in it for me and some directions.
 next i wake up early in the morning Sunday and leave car back at the airport where i found it.  i catch a flight out with Grant Air.  weather permitting i get taken by boat out to Round Island that afternoon.  he called to say he needs to pick up some injured fishermen Sunday morning.
 weather and waves permitting i should be picked up again on Friday.  my plane leaves Togiak in the afternoon and then i have a flight out of Dillingham like 1/2 hour after i get into town.  lots of room for error in this scenario.
 admittedly it is nice to not be doing this trip worried about an entire group of people.  it is stressful doing it with just myself.  it was infinitely more stressful going with a group where i felt responsible for all.  it's all worked out both trips and we all had a great time.  we did lose luggage last time. half of our crew lost their gear...it got there in the nick of time and they made it out to the island.  we came and went on our planned day the second trip, though that last bunch of us would have happily stayed another night or two rather than deal with those rough seas.
 my first trip we ended up losing a day on the front end.  that trip I'd hired a fisherman to take us out.  it's an 8 hour boat trip from Dillingham out to Round Island. seas got rough on our first attempt, we ducked into a bay and held up there for a bit..but it never calmed so we just headed back to Dillingham. the next day we took off again with fair weather and beautiful flat calm seas.

 these are fall so the pups are a bit smaller.
 we ran into a woman in the bog i have seen there for years.  she always loved Blossom and today was the first time i guess I'd seen her for a bit. she asked where Blossom was....
 still tear up thinking about that dog.  she is very missed.  such a great dog.  these pups are great, don't get me wrong...but that Blossom was just a super dog.  she was perfect for me in so many ways.  these guys are as well...you just can't replace any of these dogs.  they are all such individual personalities.  Rio and Blossom were a great pair.  gone but never forgotten.  she expressed her sadness and told me how much she had always really liked Blossom
 these are from a Denali Hwy crossing last fall.
 this next group is out at Ulake.
 slowly packing and hoping everything works out.
 next trip will be to Kennicott Mines and McCarthy.  have never been there so that should be fun.  looking forward to seeing Togiak though in my first draft schedule i won't see much of it.  that last day could find me in Togiak overnight or on Round Island. i may see way more of Togiak than i ever hoped.  haha.
 big baldie at the dog park....always a bit scary as there are often little dogs which could be of interest to a large bird like this.  i do recall this day and warning any owners of small dogs to avoid this area.
 there is my girl. I'm sure she was already feeling the effects of whatever Cancer was probably growing inside of her.  she never stopped playing though and enjoying her life.  that at least brings me some peace.  her days were great until those last few.  her spirit never diminished.
 the eagle takes off...love to watch them in flight.  i never tire of the beauty and wildlife of this place.
 settled on another tree as we looped back around towards the car.

 Ivy was still testing out the waters.

 Blossom shows them how it's done.  Huey had shown her the joys of swimming just before he passed away.  the dogs are all connected to each other.  Butch and Huey were together a few years before Butch passed on.
 i suspect this was our first Monday walk last fall.
 Blossom always knew where the mud was and loved to just lay down in it.  she did not like the hose like this pair does though.  they love the hose...so they are always very clean.
 will be a bit before we see the bulk of the mushrooms, though they are growing now i know.  the bulk really hit their stride in the late summer.

 i probably have already posted these but who knows.  so many pictures.  haha.
 not much else of note today in my area.
 can't believe how much bigger they are!!
 adorable. i really do love this pair.  I'm already missing them and dreading leaving them.  it's really tough to leave my dogs. that is always the way it is.  i suspect it's probably good for me to step away for a few days every so often though.  it's not easy though.
 they are both super sweet!! they do make it a bit easier to move forward after the heartbreak of Blossom's loss.
 dogs are just such a constant in your life.  their routine is your routine.  they are so happy to see you and be with you.  they share so many of your life experiences with you, both good and bad.  they don't even realize that you aren't perfect...because to them you are.  they forgive you when you  behave badly, they wag and have an endless supply or love for you.
 can't think of any human besides my mother that has loved me so unconditionally.
 love when moose bend down to eat grass.
 airstrip on another day...now everything is so green.  :-)
 I'll leave you with some swans. always majestic.
 so i guess i will be stressed until i land on the island safely and then begin to be stressed again as soon as i leave the island until i land safely in Anchorage again.  that is how it is.  the more you get out there though the more risk there is in life. better to have explored than to have stayed safe at all times.  life can be uncomfortable, life can be stressful and scary.
 if you are never uncomfortable or scared then you are probably not doing it right.
 these birds travel great distances. we have the Arctic Terns here that travel from Antarctica to Alaska each year.  they have the longest migration that i know of.  in a few months they will turn around and do it again.
 hope I'm not pushing it by attempting this trek one more time.  hope that i get on the island and it's peaceful and fills my soul with joy as it has in the past.
grateful for:  a.  opportunities  b.  fear and pushing through fear.  c.  overcoming fears and surviving

well, hello Sailor!!

 a few from the walrus cam at explore.org.  soon i will be there...very soon, weather willing.
 never thought i could plan a trip to Round Island so fast but here it is, coming together for me.  i have plane tickets to Dillingham on Saturday.  hoping to secure a puddle jump plane out of Dillingham that night to Togiak. i have a place to stay in Togiak and my ride arranged out to Round Island and back.
 Claire is back from college so she will take care of the pups and house sit.  will be pricey, of course, but no more than if it'd planned it months ago.  air miles for the trek to Dillingham.  B&B, flight to/from Dillingham and the boat...gas prices have increased so that is the only one that i'll be docked for planning late.
 the boat captain did figure out that I run the non-profit group so hopefully that makes my welcome into Togiak even better.  i'll toss in some stickers and grocery bags for those who are helping me with each step...also need to toss in stickers and pamphlets to leave on island for future visitors this summer.
 got my permit so that part is complete as well. chatted with Ed today.  he may use me as a mule to take some stuff out to the island.  as long as it's not too heavy we are good. so a busy day getting everything.  just had to leap.
 so out to Round Island again.  one friend said something about me having already been here.  i know...but it does beckon me.  she kayaks to the same places over and over...so when you love something you love it.  has felt like i have wanted to return/needed to return after starting this non-profit group.  need to take more photo's.  now i need to take pictures somewhat from that angle. what would be helpful in the future projects, what would those who are interested in the island and the walrus want to see.  it's also good to meet the folks in Togiak and have their support for the group. make sure they know we support them.
 maybe find someone there interested in becoming more active in the group.  i'm not living forever.  this place needs to be protected and i'm sure they have a greater stake in it there.  at the very least...as i said, it would be great to have their support.  he figured out from my name who i was.  he did seem to be happy about the group existing. Togiak is a small town.  the pilot i'm trying to get is his uncle and the  B&B is run by the captains aunt...who is the pilots older sister.
 these pics are from various hikes and rambles.
 this one powerline.  i went to powerline today but it was super windy so we did a bit of an abbreviated hike.  the pups are always just happy to be out
 yesterday it was raining but we got a nice long walk in.  ended up running into one of the docs from work and his son so we all walked in the rain together.  i think he worried the son was slowing me down.  the pups don't run slower cause we walk slower though...they just run.  the longer it takes us to walk the more they run. so a win-win for me.
 it can be tough to get motivated to walk in the rain but once i'm out there, i really enjoy walking in the rain.  no bears or moose spotted either day so that is always a bonus.  safety in numbers anyway. his son did great really.  that was a pretty long trek for a 5 year old. i'm sure like my pups he was tired after.  he got pretty good at the chuck it.
 always great for my pups to get kid experience.
 still a lot to do to get ready to take off for the week.  puppy directions for sure.  emergency note. clean house or at least make it look less embarrassingly messy...haha.
 still patches of snow.  debated a run to Homer or Seward.  even started to pack car a bit, but then i realized if i was going to go to round Island i was going to have to dive in and make some calls.  i can only procrastinate so long and then you gotta make it happen.
 also chatted with the handyman who will make the base for the little library and the bench.  hopefully get that done when i get back and then i can get that out front.
 another adventure i've wanted to take is to drive over the top of the road highway out of Chicken and then take the ferry in to the Yukon Territory and drive back down to Whitehorse and Haines.  supposed to be pretty.
 i'm booked up for Kennicott so that will finally happen.  should be great flowers at that time.  summer is always so fun and adventure filled.  so i'll probably use my July time off for a big road trip.  the pups will be experts when summer is all over.
 this guy was along the coast trail by the dunes.  did not want the pups chasing him down this steep hill...instead we spooked him and he ran up the trail from us.  so now i had to move slowly, not knowing where he'd ended up.  it's a thin trail with steep drop offs.  never saw him again.
 that was another windy day.
 still gotta check our WARIS mailbox.  probably not much there, except the bill for the box probably. it's about that time.  we were created in 2014...has it really been that long?
 want to get a few more memory cards...you never want to be out there and run out.  no place to charge anything.  i'll charge up my remote chargers and i have a solar charger so i'll charge that up too.  not much hope of the old phone lasting too long.  at Hallo Bay i just totally shut it down when i wasn't snapping a photo with it.  keep it in airplane mode when it's on.
 what camera equipment to take.  gotta keep weight down.  i do plan on taking 2 pads for my sleeping bag.  tent sleeping is not as comfortable as it was 20 years ago.  when we paddled Point Adolphus, Scott and i both scored an extra pad...made quite a difference.
 luckily, i have the bulk of the gear. each trek is a bit different in how you plan.  for bigger flights it's better to be able to put all in big duffle bags then break it down into smaller dry bags for the smaller flights and boat.  so i'll back smaller bags into the duffles.  still it's a lot of trekking of gear.
 i ain't getting any younger...haha.  my Birthday is Sunday so i will be hopefully traveling to the island with zero wind and many cool wildlife sightings.
 the kids on the trail to the dunes. of course, i kept yelling, "on trail" to Tusker who kept spying things down the cliff. i feared he would take off...
 always like this tree.  just pretty
 still protect these guys in their more wild puppy state by avoiding certain trails that my brain deems too dangerous.  haven't hit the potter to mchugh trail for a bit but i did have that one super horrible day out there...i will return one of these days.
 the grebes have built a nest out on University lake.  all the critters are getting ready to have babies. so cute.
 always pretty. the beavers are having babies out there too and they can be very protective.  for sure they have attacked dogs out there. must be careful.
 a pair of swans were hanging out there these past few weeks.
 just loving all the fresh greens out there.  so beautiful.  we get this every year. no old leaves here.
 the devils club starting to grow too.
 these are the fiddleheads.  i think there were some folks gathering these.  i hear they are tasty if you saute them in butter.  of course, most stuff is great if you saute it in butter, right?

 always enjoy looking up at the trees. no trees on round island.
 when did it get to be after 11 pm. have been texting a friend and writing .
 the pups are getting better at moving forward and not wrestling on the trails continuously. it still happens but they chase the ball more now. they tend to take turns chasing.  Tusker mostly will wait for Ivy to chase though and then just steal it.
 he's so cute. i love snuggling with them in the mornings. so cute.
 more fiddleheads.  every week everything just looks so different.  it's amazing how rapidly the changes happen with summer.  the growth is astounding really.  you can literally watch the grass grow.  you leave in the morning and when you return later, it has grown.

 these guys will unfurl soon.

 love the trees!!

 new bark will form.

 guess i should get off this computer and crawl into bed.  lots to do tomorrow.  backing, planning.  gotta call little plane and see if he can get me that late or if not him if i can find someone else to.  that is the only gap in my plan so far.
 going along though it's not as stressful.  planning for several people and worrying that they won't have a good time or things will get messed up...it's more stressful by nature. overall, i enjoy planning the trips and going with others, but i will kind of be nice to have a chill time.  it's been stressful these past few months. it will be nice to be totally news free out there and clear my head.
 hoping for calm seas and warm weather while i'm out there...and lots of walrus.  hope they decide to be there when i'm there.
grateful for:  A.  the opportunity yet again to go to one of the most magical places on earth (imho)  B.  for the health to be able to take these adventures  C.  to be able to help make a difference in this one place, for these animals.  i'm just one person, but we all can have an impact if we choose to.