November 22, 2014

It Lives Up to It's Name

No matter what you call it- Mount McKinley or Denali, the Athabascans got it right when they aptly named it, "The Great One". 

Marleanna and I decided to spend Thursday and Friday at her cabin in Willow to celebrate her being one year older (but not wiser we later learned) :)  We woke up Friday morning with plans to walk around on the frozen lake, visit neighbors, ride the quad and take a sauna. First and foremost, we wanted breakfast at the Willow Trading Post. After satiating our hungry bellies, we were homeward bound. Until... we crossed over the Parks Highway and looked to our right and saw this:

Ok not exactly this view, but similar, just further away. So, we decided to drive to Talkeetna to see if we could get a better peak. We did at the river:

And after hanging around town for an hour or so, we got this view from the a hill on the way out of town. The sun was just setting and it was amazing. Pictures really just can't do it justice. 

All in all it was a great time and I was reminded of the fact that I really do live in a truly spectacular place.

April 16, 2014

Almost Spring-- The reason we live in Alaska

You never know how much you take advantage of things like being able to wear shoes that have no treads, not having to carry Kleenex with you everywhere you go, always being on guard for that huge piece of gravel that is going to fly into your windshield with a sound that resembles a gunshot. Oh, Winter how we so love when you're gone.

Don't get me wrong, spring isn't all sunshine and roses either. It's a time where the snow melts and leaves gigantic pools in your yard that smell remotely like dog poop. It's a time where you see all the trash that has gathered along the roads. And it's a time where you want to pull out the cute shoes and skirts but it just isn't quite warm enough yet.

I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing out the facts. In the end, us Alaskans really have about 3-4 months out of the year that are thoroughly enjoyable. That is, if it isn't raining or if the mosquitoes aren't so bad you can't leave the house. So why do I live here?

Because it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Because it's a land of opportunity where if you wanted, you could do pretty much whatever you want; start a business, run for office, become a mountain runner, a deep sea crabber, or whatever it is that floats your boat (and hopefully keeps it afloat). Because even though it's the largest state in our nation, I can go to pretty much any place and know someone. It's that "small" of a state.

Don't believe me? Look here:

November 10, 2013

Oh, what a diference a month makes!

We went through October astonished by the beautiful weather and lack of snow.  As November neared, and a record of having no snow, we were thankful for the prolonged fall weather.

 A month and 10 days later, it seems as though winter has arrived. Oh joy.

September 15, 2013

Oh, What a Summer it Was!

Now that we are rolling into fall, I think back to pretty much the best summer weather-wise, I've seen since moving back to Alaska 7 years ago. SEVEN YEARS AGO- yikes!

Here is a look back at a few of my favorite moments of this summer:

The Girls.
The Girls are doing great! I have enjoyed them more than one could ever think they'd enjoy chickens. They are quirky, smart, and have become a great addition to my little family.

The Garden.
Gardening takes a lot of work and even more patience. Waiting for things to grow, questioning why things aren't growing, and then wondering what the heck you're going to do with all the veggies!  I can't wait for next year, the year of the epic garden!

Graduation. Graduation BBQ. Mom's Visit.
15 years of school. I should be a doctor, two times over. But alas, I am not.. I received my Bachelor's degree in Human Services and I am SO glad I'm done with it!  Aside from the degree, I also received a visit from my momma and a great graduation party filled with friends and family. 

Fun Things.
Fishing the Russian River.

Jessie and I camping with friends.

Hiking in Hatcher Pass.

Kayaking Eklutna Lake with Amia.

Fishing the Kenai River @ Matt's house.

Gold panning.
Fishing, camping, hiking, kayaking, more fishing, gold panning.. add to that berry picking, weekends at the lake, playing softball, and building stuff. Good times.

This summer was filled with friends.  I spent a lot of time fishing with my buddy Matt down on the Kenai and Russian. I also had the opportunity to meet and spend time with his amazing parents.
Marleanna and I have known each other through work
Mark and gold panning.

Marleanna and I hiking Rabbit Lake.

Gene and I camping.

Greg on our last camping trip in AK.

Tara and I camping in Hope.
Matt rowing us down the Kenai.
for the past 4 years, but we have become really great friends this year. I spent time up at her cabin in Willow, playing softball, and going on a few hikes.
Greg left Alaska this year for Denver and it's been sad without him here.  I hardly did any real camping because it's just not as easy to camp with other people.  I miss that guy.
Tara and her husband came up from Washington to visit and fish this summer and it was great to catch up. I hadn't seen her in almost 10 years. We met playing soccer while we were in high school and have remained in touch throughout the years.  I was her Maid of Honor in her wedding and now she has 3 kids! Crazy!

  End of Summer. 
With summer coming to an end, I can only be thankful for the time and experiences I've had.  Having been unemployed through the course of the last year and a half, I will be heading back to work soon.  I will miss the time off, but I won't miss being poor. 
Luckily I had this time to spend with my friends and family, and I can look back at this ever-so-trying time to see some rays of sunshine.

August 13, 2013

It's that time of year again!!

What time you say? Canning time!

I happened to be in possession of 20lbs of pickling cucumbers and I am itching to get them pickled and canned.
Rather than use the same recipe I concocted last year, I've decided to try a few trial recipes.  I looked up 4 new recipes and made one jar of each to determine which one I liked best. 
The differences in the three aren't drastic, but the ratio of water/vinegar/salt is different, and one recipe called for apple cider vinegar rather than regular white vinegar.  One called for peppercorns and another one uses spices from a pickling packet (thanks Mom!).
I didn't can them so they are refrigerator pickles which means I'll be able to taste test them in the next week or so... stay tuned!

It's too bad that my pickle connoisseur friend Greg isn't here to help judge.

July 22, 2013

Fish On!!

This past week has included tons of driving, lots of casts and a few Advil-- but it sure has been worth it! My buddy Matt invited me down to float the Kenai and fish at his parent's house.  I was hesitant to go at first because the last time I fished with Matt, we almost got eaten by bears.. but I decided to go anyway.

The first day, Matt took myself and two of his friends, Chuck and his wife Andy, down the Kenai in a boat (rowed by Matt).  We stopped to fish unsuccessfully a few times but the views and wildlife kept us intrigued.

Then we got back to the house to enjoy more fishing and a few catches.
The house backs up to the blue water of the Kenai River with a large patio area, fire pit and gazebo for shade.  The place was filled with people from California to Virginia who were enjoying this epic summer we're having here in Alaska.  I left with a cooler full of fish and a great experience under my belt.

Fast forward three days and my brother and I decide to try our luck at fishing.  Matt said to come on down and did!  We made the 2.75 hour drive in about 3 hours because of the ridiculous amount of traffic, but showed up to a beautiful day on the river.  We didn't catch much (Mike=2, Beth=0) but my time was spent making dinner and soaking up the sun.  The drive home was a horrible way to end an amazing week of fishing- cars backed up 2 hours south of Anchorage going 5-10mph almost the whole way home.  Add in being tired and having drank too much water and it was not a pleasant drive home!  
Either way, totally worth it.

June 20, 2013

Our Last Hurrah.

It's been 4 years since Greg and I first camped together, and now after several amazing trips our journey together in Alaska is over.  He is heading to Denver, leaving me with no camping partner. Here's a look back at 4 amazing years:
Greg attempting to cross a river along the Denali Hwy. It was freezing cold; we didn't make it across.
Greg on Byron Glacier
Portage Glacier hike
Gull Rock.  The best camping spot EVER!
Halloween. We were Vigilantes from, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
Greg, Jeff & I on our way to McCarthy
Pirate Party @ Darwins with the crew.

Spring hike @ Hatcher's Pass
I sure am going to miss that guy.  I guess I'm going to have to find another camping/hiking/biking/backpacking partner soon or I might go through withdrawals.  OR I just might have to make my way down to Colorado and continue where we left off here.  :)