Saturday, July 2, 2005
June 1 - Rain, rain, go away...
What is one to say about June, the time
of perfect young summer,
the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months,
and with as yet
no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will
~ Gertrude Jekyll, On Gardening ~
For the past two days, we have had rain and dreariness.
Looking at the weather report for the upcoming week, it doesn't
look like there will be much improvement. Saturday, there may
be a few spurts of sunshine forcing its way between the clouds,
but other than that, we're looking at dismal weather. This rain
is more depressing to me than the dark days of winter were.
Nevertheless, I've continued walking with Rachael
and our pups. Yesterday, we walked 5 miles and today we walked
about 3.5 miles. It's good to get out and get moving, and it
really wears out the furkids. Sedona sleeps for hours when we
get home. One of the highlights of our walk (when it's sunny),
is letting Sedona swim in the Chena River. She is definitely
a water pup and loves to 'doggy paddle' around the river.
one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this
selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one
that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.
. . . He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer;
he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters
with the roughness of the world. . . .When all other friends
desert, he remains."
~ George G. Vest ~
I love my girl, Sedona.
She is my friend and my defender. This month, she will
be 9 years old. I hope I have her by my side, at least
another 9 years.
Steve and I had made plans to drive to Deadhorse
this weekend (the Arctic Ocean), but that's not going to happen.
The day before yesterday, Steve blew a seal on his back wheel
so it's in the shop being worked on. I'm just glad it happened
here in town and not while we were 400 miles away in complete
wilderness. Things certainly happen for a reason. With the weather
prediction being so poor, we would have been miserable anyway.
We did hope we could get away for an overnight camping trip
to the White Mountains, but might just scrap that idea too depending
on the weather. He's got a four-day weekend and it's such a
shame that Mother Nature isn't cooperating with us.
The camper is at the RV place being made ready
for summer fun. When we unwrapped it, it looked good as new
(and smelled new inside too!). I love camping and can't wait
to take it out. We leave on *block leave* on June 24th and won't
be home until July 10th. I'm hoping I'll be able to keep this
journal updated, but I'm not too certain. Perhaps I'll be able
to upload in fits and spurts.
It's hard to believe that it's June already. On
one hand, I'm thrilled that summer has pretty much arrived,
and that everything is beautiful and lush and green again. On
the other hand, I hate that the deployment is now only about
11 or 12 weeks away. I have a sad feeling that the time is going
to fly by. It is important to make the most of the time we have
June 7 - Lots of Roadtrips!
Sorry to have been absent for so long. Steve and I took advantage
of the four-day weekend he had and went on two roadtrips. On Friday,
we drove up the Steese Highway to Davidson Ditch - and then in
on the gravel road to Prindle and Ophir campgrounds. The views
were marvelous; much more scenic than last summer, when we were
plagued with wildfires and a smokey haze hanging over much of
the state. The campgrounds are wonderful, and I'd love to go back
and tent camp before Steve deploys. The mosquitos were a bit of
a pain, but we sprayed down with DEET and managed to fight them
off sufficiently enough to avoid having a miserable day.
On Sunday, we drove the Denali Highway. We were on the road for
14 hours and drove about 460 miles. But what an adventure! The
Denali Highway connects Paxson (on the Richardson Hwy) to Cantwell
(on the Parks Hwy). The road is mostly gravel (about 100 miles
is gravel out of 136 miles), but was a good road. We took our
time traversing it - a good four hours on the Denali Hwy alone.
I took so many photos, as it was absolutely breathtaking! Despite
the overcast and stormy skies here in Fairbanks, we had beautiful
weather throughout both drives, with only periods of rain or cloudiness.
I'm going to post many of the photos in thumbnail size to save
on speed for my dial-up readers. A few of my favorites, I'll post
full size. Enjoy!
Now onto the photos from our trip across along the Denali Highway.
Again, I'm going to post some in thumbnail size to ease downloading.
love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
The camper is now ready to use and we're both getting the itch
to go camping again. Block leave is in a few weeks, but we'd both
like to take the camper out before then. Now that the weather
is gorgeous, you'll find most Alaskans outside enjoying the all-day
sunshine. If I don't update very often, you'll know why.
June 11th - Lazy days and car woes...
My car died. I turned the key in it and it seemed to want
to turn over, but wouldn't. It is currently sitting behind the
AAFES auto shop waiting to be looked at. I hope it's nothing huge
came and picked me up on Thursday afternoon, and we went out to
lunch. It was so wonderful seeing her and Courtney again. Courtney
is just the most precious little girl I have ever seen. After
lunch, we headed over to Pioneer Park so I could get some photos
of her. It was extremely crowded over there -considering it was
midweek. The tourist season is definitely underway.
School is out now too, so there were lots of children in the
playground as well. Church groups were having picnics/BBQs, and
tourists were in the shops, which are now open for business.
It was a gloriously warm day and the sun was shining. We all
got a bit of pink on our cheeks. I love spring and summer in Alaska!
On Friday, Steve had to work a few hours and then met me at the
Soldier Appreciation Festivities. Community businesses had set
up booths, and had drawings to win lots of great stuff. There
was free food and drinks, and entertainment. We stayed for a few
hours and left just after the smokejumpers jumped in. I got a
huge bag of 'goodies' (the typical freebie stuff you pick up at
community expos), as well as some neat things - like books, videos,
From there, we ran to Blockbuster and took out a few movies (some
horror flicks) and sat in for the rest of the day. The heat has
been oppressive and we've had fans going all over the house. The
one downside to living in Alaska - very few homes have air conditioning.
The upstairs is even warmer and sleeping can be uncomfortable.
Steve came downstairs and slept on the sofa last night. I didn't
have a problem. I didn't even realize he was missing until I woke
up this morning. With it being light out all day, waking up at
4am feels like 8am.
James and Rachael rented a boat from Outdoor Rec today and took
it out this afternoon on the river. The four of us are going to
take it to Pike's Landing tomorrow for lunch. I'm really looking
forward to spending time on the river. I hope the weather is nice
- and not too hot. Steve and I may take it out tomorrow night.
It doesn't have to go back until Monday. Not a bad deal, since
the Rec Center is closed on Sunday. We're splitting the rental
fee and other expenses with them. That way everyone saves money.
I've missed walking with Rachael in the morning. It feels good
to get out there and get some exercise. When Steve's home, we
tend to be lazy and eat way too much. I'm thankful for the walks
during the week; they *hopefully* counteract the bad habits we
have all weekend.
June 12th - Boating on the Chena and Champagne Brunch
We woke to rain and all four of us were keeping our fingers crossed
that the rain would at least stop long enough to allow us to take
the boat out on the river. We got our wish at about noon. About
twenty minutes later, we were on the river and on our way to Pike's
Waterfront Lodge at Pikes
Landing. The river was like glass
in many places, and not choppy at all. We weren't the only ones
taking advantage of the break in the weather. We passed fisherman
standing on the shore, kayakers paddling lazily along the river,
and other boaters enjoying some time on the Chena.
It took us about 40 minutes to get to the lodge. A nice, leisurely
and wonderful ride. The fresh air was a welcome respite from the
periods of cloudiness we've been experiencing. When we arrived
at the restaurant, our hope was to order lunch. Little did we
know, we had arrived during the Champagne Brunch (buffet style
dining). We did a quick walk around the buffet tables to see if
there was food we wanted to eat, and decided we would indeed be
staying for the Champagne Brunch. For $18.95/pp, we ate until
we were exploding. Washing it down with two glasses of champagne
was a nice touch. The menu included salmon, halibut, prime rib,
ham, breakfast fixins (eggs, biscuits and gravy, sausage), fruits,
veggies, and cheeses, and lots of different salads (potato, pasta,
macaroni, etc). The dessert table was heavily picked over (we
got there at the tail end of brunch), but still offered up some
chocolate cake with chocolate icing, chocolate mousse, and key
lime pie - as well as many cookies and small finger cakes. We
ate until we felt like we would explode. We certainly got our
money's worth (Steve got his AND my money's worth!).
The ride back was even more pleasurable as the sun was starting
to break through the clouds. I took my Canon G2 with me (just
in case I would have gotten it wet, or flipped the boat, or any
other disaster), so I was able to get photos.
James and Rachael Trujillo
Me and Steve - just chillin'
Downtown Fairbanks from Chena River
Pikes Waterfront Lodge - Dock and Deck
June 15th - Anniversaries and Cotton Snowstorms
The first thing I want to do is congratulate Steve and I on our
SECOND anniversary of living in Alaska! Two years ago today, we
pulled into Fairbanks and began the adventure of a lifetime. Of
all the moves that Uncle Sam ordered us to make, this has indeed
been the most spectacular. If not for the army, I'm not sure we
would have ever had the opportunity to explore such a wondrous
state - let alone live here, make wonderful friends, and experience
some of the best of God's handiwork. I never want this fabulous
dream to end...
Today, the balsam
poplar is shedding it's seed pods in a riot of blizzard-looking
snowflakes. (We also call them cottonwoods, but I did some research
and discovered that cottonwoods do not grow in interior Alaska.)
These snowflakes are not made of ice crystals, but they fill the
sky as if snow is indeed falling. The pods are quite the bane
for someone with allergies, or asthma (as I have). The tiny fuzzy
pods are heavy in the air and somehow even find their way into
The window screens, where we have fans perched, are thick with
the fluffy snow-like pods, and cleaning them will surely be a
chore when the onslaught is finally over. When it rains, the seed
pods are swept from the trees and rinsed to the ground, but when
it's windy - look out!
Tonight, while eating dinner, Steve and I did a perfectly choreographed
dance of waving away the minuscule pods before they could land
in our meal. Some are so small, that they are sucked through the
window screen and circulated around the house by the fans. I find
This photo was taken from my back
porch up toward the eaves.. You can see the pods in the
air flying around. It is not a pleasant feeling to inhale
one or two while you're outside walking, or running, or
doing some other activity. I'll be glad when the 'shedding'
season is over and the air is clear again. I've inhaled
so many pods, I can only hope I don't grow a poplar tree
in my nose. *grin*
Vacation is now only 10 days away. Both Steve and I are looking
forward to getting away and doing some camping and exploring.
Next week, a friend of mine from Anchorage is coming to Fairbanks
with her husband (he'll be doing some work here on Wainwright
and Eielson). She has three great kids and will be here for more
than a week. Unfortunately, we're going on vacation, so I can't
spend the entire period of time with her, but I do intend to spend
the first few days with her at least. I'm planning a BBQ here
at our place next Thursday. I plan to invite the Spivey's and
the Trujillo's to join us too. I'm also looking forward to showing
Lisa around Fairbanks. She's never been here before, so it will
give me a chance to play 'tour guide' for the area. Lisa is also
an avid photographer, so we'll surely have our days filled with
looking for photo ops.
On a downer note, my Nissan is still dead. Tomorrow it is going
to the dealership to be diagnosed. I'm already hearing the 'cha-ching'
sound of dealership fees in my head. The local mechanic couldn't
figure out what the problem was. All I know is that, after almost
a week without wheels, I'm ready to part with any amount of money
to get me mobile again. I hate being stuck at home. At least I
still have foot power. Rachael and I have been very good about
maintaining our 4-5 mile walks every morning. I feel beat up when
I get out of bed the next morning, but it's a good feeling to
be out exercising.
June 19th - Father's Day, Missing Daddy, Preparing for Vacation
Yesterday, Daddy has been gone for 9 years. I thought about him
all day long, but I didn't let it get me down. He wouldn't want
that. I wish he was still here. I miss him so much! Especially
since he died so close to Father's Day. That makes it even harder.
I wish I could pick up the phone and call him and wish him a Happy
Father's Day. *sigh*
Today, for Father's Day, Steve and I went out to breakfast. We
ate at The Bakery - our favorite place for breakfast in town and
it was crowded - even at 9am on a Sunday morning. Apparently everyone
was celebrating Dad's Day with a breakfast out.
It's been raining all day - and downright chilly too! I don't
think it got out of the 50s today. We had to move through the
house closing windows to get it warm in here. What a horrible
turn of events weather-wise! I hope the sun comes back again tomorrow.
This past Friday afternoon, Steve and I attended a BBQ for the
company. He and I slipped away and took a walk through the campground
and the woods. It was nice to spend time together, holding hands,
and talking about when we arrived in Alaska. We passed by the
campsite that was our 'home' for two weeks and smiled with the
memories of walking Sedona along the path that runs through the
campground. Wildflowers abound and they are such a beautiful thing
to see! Later on that afternoon, we drove up to Birch Hill - taking
the dirt roads for some different scenery. We saw a lone moose
and a lot more flowers. It was nice to get out in nature.
June 23 - Midnight Sun, Baseball Games, BBQs and Vacation Time
I have been a horrible journalist over the past few days. Time
has just gotten away from me, and I've been very busy visiting
with a friend from Anchorage. Lisa is a gal I met online a while
back. I got the opportunity to meet her in person back in January
- when I went to Anchorage for a visit. She is in Fairbanks this
week with her husband (and children), while he does some work
on base. Lisa has never been to Fairbanks before, so I was enjoying
my role as tour guide for the city. It really helped that this
week was such an entertaining week in Fairbanks with the Summer
Solstice Festival and the Midnight Sun Baseball Game. In addition,
Fairbanks is a flurry of activity with all the tourists who have
descended upon us. I like when the tourists come to town. I like
that I am considered a 'local' now.
On Tuesday, Fairbanks had our longest day of the year - a full
22+ hours of daylight. In actuality, it hasn't gotten dark in
a while, but officially, June 21st is the longest day of the year.
To celebrate, downtown Fairbanks puts on a street fair with musicians,
food, arts and crafts, classic cars, games, etc. I took Lisa and
her children downtown to check it out and snapped a few photos.
Later on that evening, Rachael asked me if I wanted to go to
the Midnight Sun Baseball Game to see the Goldpanners play. This
year is the 100th anniversary of the game, so ticket holders got
commemorative baseballs for the event. The Midnight Sun game starts
at 10:30pm and is played with no artificial lights. There's no
need for lights, as the day goes on forever. We stayed for a few
innings until our eyes got tired (despite the light!). I did manage
to take a photo of the (nearly) midnight sky. These photos from
the Solstice Celebration and Goldpanners game are in thumbnail
size. Click on them to see them larger.
|Click thumbnails to enlarge
Most Unrestored Car
Cotton Candy Boy
Golden Heart Plaza
In other news.... my Nissan is dead. The engine is blown. The
Alaska estimate to put a rebuilt engine in? $5200. For that kind
of money I might be able to find a vehicle from this decade. I'm
glad it happened now, and not before. I hate being without my
own car, but once Steve leaves, I can use his truck.
Today, we picked up the camper and towed it over to the house
to load up for our trip. It's so hard to believe that we're leaving
in two days. We're both so excited, but there's a degree of melancholy
surrounding this adventure. We know that when we get home, time
will be slipping away from us quickly. I hate that he's leaving.
There are wildfires in Fort Yukon (NE of Fairbanks) and they
are affecting the air quality in the area. Today was a good day....
the winds were blowing away from us and the sun came through for
our BBQ. It was wonderful to have the company of friends around
us. Susan and Stephen came over - with 'dad' Butch. James and
Rachael were here; Lisa and her husband Rob came with their three
children, as well as another coworker of theirs, Mike. Steve played
BBQ chef. (He's the best!) And then Steve and James cleaned up.
What great guys!
Tomorrow, we load. Saturday we leave. I don't know when I'll
be able to post again. I will try to keep this journal updated
as we are traveling, but internet connection could be iffy. I'll
do the best I can. But if you don't hear from me for two weeks,
you'll know why. Until next time...
June 26 - Anchorage Hiking
Although I am posting this on the 26th, I have no internet connection
here, so you won't be reading it until later. I'm going to continue
to update my journal with commentary and photos, even though I
can't publish it yet. I'd rather keep on top of it while we're
traveling, then try to play catch up. Hopefully, I'll be able
to get online in Seward (we'll be there until the morning of the
We left Fairbanks yesterday - a little later than we planned
- but we weren't really on any time crunch, so it was no big deal.
We pulled away from the house at 9am, stopping to eat at McDonalds
before getting on the Parks Highway and heading toward Anchorage.
The drive was long, and mostly uneventful. There is road work
going on just west of Fairbanks, so we had the dreaded pilot car
situation for several miles. I didn't even bother taking my camera
out until we got south of Denali. Even then, there wasn't much
to photograph. Mt. McKinley wasn't out, so there was no sense
stopping at the lookouts.
We rain into rain once we hit Wasilla, and the temperature went
from 73F to 51F in about a mile's drive. There was road construction
there too, which caused its own stresses. We were happy to hit
Anchorage (and sunshine!) and pull into our camping spot at Anchorage
Some photos from the drive down. They are posted in thumbnail
size. Click to enlarge:
Hurricane Gulch Bridge
On the road again
The Range southwest of Denali
After setting up camp, we went out to have dinner at TGIF. I
was craving an Italiano Sandwich and Potato Skins, and when you
don't get a chance to eat at TGIF (there isn't one in Fairbanks),
it's a real treat! After dinner, we came back to the camper, finished
unpacking our luggage into the camper, and watched a movie. We
were in bed by 10pm - exhausted from our trip.
This morning, at 10am, my friend Angie picked me up for a day
of hiking in Chugach National Forest. I met Angie online and was
looking forward to getting to meet her in person and go hiking.
We picked up another friend (Jennifer) and headed to Girdwood
(40 minutes southeast of Anchorage) - home of the Alyeska Prince
Hotel. It's a wonderful resort which does a booming business in
winter, and a terrific business in summer too. Just beyond the
sky tram that takes you to the top of the mountain, is the start
of the Winner Creek Trail. This trail was ours to conquer today.
As soon as we got to the start of the trail, we couldn't miss
the hand-lettered sign warning of a fresh moose kill and a black
bear in the area. The sign unnerved me a bit, but at the same
time I didn't want my apprehension of encountering a bear to overshadow
the enjoyment of exploring new territory and seeing beautiful
The trail is fairly level initially, and boardwalks lead across
the boggier areas. Soon, a gorgeous turquoise stream comes into
view and the urge to jump in and cool off is overwhelming. The
mosquitoes were annoying, but the bug spray I carried helped to
fend off their attack.
A few wildflowers were blooming along the way, but mostly I was
intrigued by the overabundance of ferns - many species - which
lined the path. And the trees... so much taller than what we're
accustomed to in Fairbanks. The path led through a rainforest
and it was a lot more humid (and full of mosquitoes) in many places.
But, what an adventure! Especially when we reached the gorge and
stood on the bridge looking down on the fast running water and
falls below. Just beautiful!
At the end of our climb was a hand-tram car which crossed the
gorge. If you wanted to continue on the hiking path, you had to
take yourself across on the tram. Since fear of heights was an
issue with both Jennifer and myself, we were looking to Angie
to try out the tram (for photo ops). As soon as she stepped on
it and it started swaying back and forth, she decided she wasn't
going to be adventurous. I can't say I blame her. Just standing
on the platform looking down made me have an attack of vertigo!
We turned and headed back - hiking 5 miles roundtrip. My muscles
are feeling it now, and a foot rub would be wonderful. We stopped
for lunch in Girdwood, at "Chair 5" - a bar/grill with
delicious sandwiches and a wonderful atmosphere. When I got back
to the camper, Steve was already back. And on the kitchen table
was a glass with wildflowers (which he had picked) in it. What
a guy! *sigh*
Here are some photos from our adventure. Click on the thumbnails
for larger size images:
Sign at Trailhead
Map of Trail - we went to the tram
Lower Creek View
Boardwalk through Rainforest
Sunshine through the leaves
Jennifer and Angie on Path
Alyeska Prince Hotel
Waterfall in Motion
Steve went fishing while I was gone, but didn't catch a thing.
He's chomping at the bit to get down to Seward and hopefully catch
some salmon. I wish he'd catch some too. It's all he's talked
about for weeks...
June 27 - Trip to Seward
The drive from Anchorage to Seward - as always - was breathtaking.
The mountains grow tall on the horizon and are striated with snow
and ice. Glaciers are visible as you make your way around Turnagain
Arm and onto the Kenai Peninsula. It's a humbling experience and
one that makes a person feel so small. The Seward Highway
is two lane - one in each direction. There are several turnouts
along the way for slower moving traffic to pull off and allow
people to pass. There are also gorgeous rest stops; places not
just meant for stopping to use the restroom, but for stopping
to gaze out upon the spectacular landscape. We stopped at one
and enjoyed lunch, while looking out across small rolling hills
which led off to mountains. Even Sedona enjoyed a romp in the
After setting up the camper at the Seward Military Resort Campground,
Steve and I took a drive 'downtown' to check in for my glacier/wildlife
cruise (tomorrow). The tide was in, and the wind was strong. We
were glad to have sweatshirts with us. But when the wind stopped,
the sun was warm. You just never know how to dress to be comfortable,
so you have to prepare for everything!
We stayed in for dinner - stuffed shells and meatballs (Mmmmmm)
- and will be hitting the sack early. Steve has to catch his shuttle
bus to the marina for his halibut fishing trip at 5:45am. I leave
on my wildlife cruise at 8am. I hope he catches some fish. He
had no luck yesterday. Bringing in some fish would make him a
very happy guy!
And now.... photos. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photos:
Remnants of Portage
Sedona romping in the grass
Rest Stop Panorama - Heading to Seward
Tern Lake - Heading to Seward
Enjoying the Thermals
Lily Pond Lake
Lily Pond Lake Panorama
Seward Marina Panorama
Bunny at Seward Marina
Dock at Seward Marina
Resurrection Bay Panorama
Resurrection Bay Panorama
June 28 - Cruising Kenai Fjords
I had a hard time sleeping last night, and woke at 2am - wide
awake and staring at the ceiling. It was chilly in the camper
too, and I even considered turning the heat on. Instead, I snuggled
into Steve hoping for some more shut-eye. I think I finally fell
back to sleep at 4am. His alarm went off at 5am so he could get
ready for his fishing trip. I got up with him, had a big cup of
coffee and managed to get my second wind.
After checking in at the Kenai Fjords Cruise desk, I walked down
to the boat and waited until it was time to board. Always the
talkative one, I struck up a conversation with a woman standing
next to me. She and her husband looked to be in their 60s. Dressed
in leather, wearing Harley t-shirts, and heavy boots, it was pretty
easy to tell they were bikers. They came up on their bikes - all
the way from Texas! - sleeping in a tent the entire way. They
were halfway through their month-long vacation and were heading
to Valdez next.
I decided to sit topside, and in the rear of the boat - outside.
I was certainly dressed for any kind of weather in several layers.
I was wearing a thermal top, then a fleece vest, and then Steve's
arctic fleece jacket. I even had wool socks on. Boy was I glad!
Once the boat got into open water and opened the throttle, the
wind was kicking and it was chilly! But I wasn't about to give
up my good seat (and view) to go inside with the less hardy (or
dressed inappropriately) people.
We saw otters almost immediately, and once we hit the more open
area of Resurrection Bay, we saw the first of many spouts from
a humpback whale. All of the whales we saw seemed to be in feeding
mode; sliding smoothly just beneath the surface of the water,
taking a breath when needed, and then submerging again. I did
manage to get two photos of a whale tail as one dove deeper.
I struck up a conversation with two couples sitting near me.
One couple - from Ontario - started their trip in upstate New
York, made their way across the northern USA, stopping in the
Black Hills of SD, visiting Glacier National Park in MT, and then
crossing back into Canada to pick up the Alcan to Alaska. They
towed a 5th-wheel and were camping right on Resurrection Bay.
The other couple were from West Virginia. Both are artists (she
is a potter and he is a leather worker), and she also works in
the school system as a counselor for children. They flew into
Anchorage, rented a car, and explored the Kenai Peninsula for
12 days. Seward was their last stop (they are leaving today).
They hiked and kayaked out of Homer, took a bus into Denali (McKinley
wasn't out), and visited all the galleries and museums they could
Both couples had a lot of questions for me about life in Alaska
and I was happy to talk to them about it. I gave them my business
card - with a link to my photo gallery - so they could see photos
I've taken of other areas in Alaska. Both couples were very interested
in the Northern Lights. I hope that they get an opportunity to
visit in the wintertime, so that they can experience them firsthand.
Of course, when I mentioned lows in the -50F range, they didn't
seem very happy!
And now... onto the photos. Click on them to enlarge.
Cataract Cove Waterfall
Cataract Cove Waterfall
Puffin Taking Off
Lazy Sea Lions
Thar She Blows
Glacier View Panorama
I'm not sure when I'll have time to update again. It might not
be until we get to Homer on July 2nd. I'll do the best I can.
June 29 - Exploring Seward
It was a fairly lazy day for us today. We had to tackle laundry,
and managed to sleep in until after 9:30am. Once the chores were
complete, Steve and I drove around Seward and down to Lowell Point
Beach. Lowell Point is a 'bedroom community' of Seward and a few
miles past town. There were a couple of little waterfalls
along the way, and we stopped to get a few photos. Lowell Point
is very small and self-contained. There is a public beach and
we made our way to it. Although we've been to Seward several times
in the past, this was our first time exploring Lowell Point Beach.
There's also a hiking trail that leads along the coast. But it's
called a 'tidal trail', since it's dependent on low tide to be
passable. It was chilly on the beach, but the views were magnificent.
The sky was a bit overcast, which added to the mood of the walk.
There aren't any seashells on this beach. Instead it's comprised
of a soft ground shale-like substance (the texture of sand), and
larger pieces and slabs of shale-like rock. Going barefoot could
be tricky. Besides, the water is sure to be cold. We weren't feeling
adventurous enough to wade in it. However, there were several
children frolicking in the surf. BRRRR! It didn't look very appealing
We drove back into Seward and took a drive up and down the streets
of the historic area. (Only a few square blocks) We also drove
out to the start of the trail up Marathon Mountain. Marathon Mountain
is the location of the yearly July 4th footrace. Runners literally
race up the face of the mountain - more than 3500ft in elevation
- and then down again. The record is just over 40 minutes. We
stood at the base of the mountain, where the trail starts, and
looked up in amazement. How anyone could run that trail is beyond
me! It is said that those coming down can get pretty beat up on
the rocks and shale - since many fall. With my stamina, I'd roll
down the hill. :)
And now for some photos from Seward. Click on the thumbnail to
view it enlarged.
Wild Daisies and Mountains
Lowell Point B&B
Kayaker in Resurrection Bay
Lowell Point Beach
Lowell Point Beach
Lowell Point Beach
Van Gilder Hotel
Glacier View from Seward
June 30th - Cooper Landing, Kenai Lake, Russian River...
We left Seward fairly early and took our time driving the short
distance to Cooper Landing. The highlight of our morning was coming
upon several eagles sitting in the trees and watching the salmon
traveling upstream in the creek below. We pulled off onto a turnout
so I could take a few photos. How exciting! I hope to see more
eagles when we get to Homer.
When we arrived here in Cooper Landing, the campground (Princess
Lodge RV Park) wasn't full and we were able to take our spot immediately.
It was still early enough for breakfast, so we ate at the Lodge.
Breakfast there has always been delicious, and we weren't disappointed
We then took a drive to Sterling - which is where Steve is leaving
on his guided fishing trip tomorrow. I have to take him to the
meeting place, and Sterling is about 35 minutes from Cooper Landing.
He has to be there at 5:30am, so it looks like it's going to be
an early day for me. After I drop him off, I'm coming back to
the camper, walking Sedona, and grabbing a bite to eat before
I drive back toward Sterling and meet up with another online friend
named Sybille, as well as seeing Ron again. (Steve and I met Ron
in person last year when we traveled the state. I met him through
the Alaska Living group.) Sybille lives in Nikitski (north of
Kenai) and I met her through the Alaska Living group as well.
I'm looking forward to meeting her in person and spending some
time with both of them. I'm not sure what time I'm going to have
to pick up Steve from his trip, but at least I'll be keeping busy
The three of us don't have any hard plans (at this time), and
I'll be happy even if we just spend a few hours visiting with
one another or driving around sightseeing. On Saturday morning,
we leave for Homer.
Steve and I took a drive along Skilak Lake Drive - a gravel road
that leaves the Sterling Highway and then meets back up with it.
It takes you past some gorgeous overlooks of Skilak Lake and other
lakes and streams. Unfortunately, there are wildfires in the area
(sparked by lightning), and the horizon is very hazy. I'm hoping
the wind continues to blow away from the Peninsula, so that the
rest of our trip is enjoyable.
Later on this evening, Steve went fishing in the Russian River.
Taking the ferry across, he found a spot between the other anglers
and cast his line. He returned to the camper 4 hours later - wet.
The third Red Salmon he hooked broke the line, he lost his footing,
fell into the river, and his waders filled with water. He wasn't
cold, but he said he felt like an idiot. However, when a guy a
few yards downriver had the same thing happen, he didn't feel
so bad. He came home with three nice size Reds. They're filetted,
shrunk and sealed with our Food Saver, and packed on ice in the
Here are a few photos I took today, while out driving (Click
on the thumbnail to enlarge).
Ready to Soar
Kenai Lake - Turquoise Waters