Monday, July 30, 2012

Chena Lakes: winter vs summer

Chena Lakes is one of my go to places -- perfect for snowshoeing in the winter, and kayaking in the summer. It's interesting to compare the seasons in pictures.

Winter sunset:
I believe this was a "sundog" day. The phantom
sun is to the left.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bright Lights Big City

I ventured to Anchorage last weekend to visit Hollie, Henlie and Jon. It is a long drive but infinitely more scenic than driving between the Bay Area and Los Angeles. No McKinley or moose sightings this trip, but I also didn't get pulled over by the troopers.

The weather in Anchorage unfortunately was dismal: cold and gray, lots of rain. So much for the great Alaska summer! A rainy Saturday was a good day to be crafty -- we made "calming jars".

Monday, July 16, 2012


This past weekend I was in Seattle visiting Cicilie. What a great time we had! We went on the Seattle Great Wheel.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


* I started this post back in March and seemingly forgot to finish it off. It's a bit late, but worth posting as it was a wonderful experience witnessing one of the greatest races. 

When I was a kid there was a York Peppermint Patty TV commercial where a woman ecstatically shouts, "When I bite into a York Peppermint Patty I get the sensation of driving a dogslead across the frozen tundra....Wshew......Wshew"


I realized when I mentioned sledding in yesterday's camping post, that I never posted a blog entry about sledding this winter. Shame on me!  I loathe thinking about snow right now, but this was such a fun day it deserves to be blogged. It certainly went into my memory jar. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Camping in the Interior

Over July 4th I went camping with Agent 007. (His name is Ken, but 007 is just more fun.) This wasn't camping that I'm accustomed to. First, we arrived in daylight. Not just because there is still 24 hours of daylight, but because we actually got to the trail head at a reasonable hour. Usually my camping trips consist of Julia and I reaching our destination at 1 in the morning and camping in the ranger station parking lot. Sometimes we accidentally camp in the trail head parking lot thinking that it's the campground, only to be awakened the next morning by people parking their cars next to our tent. How rude!

This trip was off to a good start. Except for one minor detail. We were riding 4-wheelers 18 miles to our cabin destination and I had never been on a 4-wheeler before.  Well, there was that one time this winter when sledding with Blair and Mark. I remember the look of fear that passed over Mark's face as I climbed on and asked him what the silver doohickey was for. "The brake", he grimaced. Good to know.

Our view for much of the ride.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ice, Ice, Baby

There are some activities that are quintessential Alaskan. Ice climbing on a glacier is one of them. Not that you can't do this elsewhere but when you combine it with camping at the foot of the glacier and not needing to use your headlamp all night, well, it's an experience that is unique to Alaska.

Last weekend BFF Julia visited me from California. We went ice climbing on the Matanuska Glacier as neither of us had ever done that before. What an experience! We were able to camp at the glacier the night before climbing day. 

Our view from the tent.

What a surprise it was to see the moon! I haven't seen it since April. It was a bittersweet moment though -- I miss seeing the moon but it's appearance means the end of summer is near.

The next day we met our guides and got geared up for the climb. There were six people in our group -- I was the only one without any climbing experience.
Julia, ready to go!
At the Moulin.
Waiting for the ropes to be set.
Julia climbing.

Lock and load.
Up I go!
Trying not to wet myself as I descend.

Julia looking so stable, but really trying not to fall.

We climbed at two different places on the glacier, and were able to do as many climbs as we wanted. Our guides were great, although... Julia and I were told if we didn't stop whispering we'd have to be separated.

I am actually climbing here -- not
hanging on for dear life as it appears.

Super Twins!

Me climbing the crack. "It's just like going up a staircase!"
said Richard the Ice billy goat. Uh huh.

Our guide, Richard, not letting us fall.
Hanging out at the wall. This is shortly after I fell
through rotten ice up to my hip, in glacier water.

Our crampons were no joke.
The day after ice climbing we drove to Talkeetna and had lunch before stopping in at Denali National Park. Unfortunately it was cloudy all day and Julia didn't get a good view of Mt. McKinley. This means she'll have to come back for another visit!

The rest of the weekend we spent enjoying the Fairbanks sites. Julia witnessed first hand all of Fairbanks treasures. That took 20 minutes and then we had a drink. :) It was a great weekend catching up, doing new things and enjoying summer.

And you know you have a good friend when she'll hold your cat so you can clean his poopy bottom when he's having digestive troubles. Poor kitty.