July 25, 2016

Welcoming the Child of my Child!

Filed under: Family — Susan Stevenson @ 10:13 pm

Today, I received a text at 10:35am Alaska time.

We are at the hospital. Becky is dilated 8cm. Juliet is coming soon! (She was not due until August 14th)

At 11:11am (AK time), I received the text that she was here! (She was actually born 2:08pm Central Time, or 11:08am AK Time)

While I am a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see her born, I can’t begin to tell you how much joy is overflowing my heart. I can’t wait to meet her on Sunday!

Here are the very first photos of my precious granddaughter, daughter of my son Brandon and my beautiful daughter-in-love, Becky.

Presenting Juliet Rose Young <3 :

Juliet Rose birth announcement

I saw this poem online, and I love it!

Child of my child, Heart of my heart.
Your smile bridges the years between us.
I am young again, discovering the world through your eyes.
You have the time to listen. And I have the time to spend.
Delighted to gaze at familiar, loved features, made new in you again.
Through you, I’ll see the future.
Through me, you’ll know the past.
In the present, we’ll love each other.
As long as these moments last.

July 18, 2016

Find Your Park. Mine is Denali!

Filed under: Interesting Things,Roadtrips,Wildlife — Susan Stevenson @ 12:50 pm

**Warning – Photo heavy!**

My friend Joyce and I began talking about a week-long camping trip in Denali National Park, back when snow still covered the ground, the northern lights were dancing above, and a parka was the outerwear of choice.  When she made the reservation early this year, June seemed so far in the future. And then suddenly, it was less than a month out and Joyce was taking advantage of the warm weather and working hard to get her vintage 1973 Winnebago Brave ready to be off-grid for a week.

Cloudy Skies Parks Highway
We left Fairbanks on Sunday, June 26th under cloudy skies and intermittent rain. We were both very excited about spending a week at Teklanika Campground, 29 miles inside the park. The RV was crammed with our stuff as we drove, but we knew that once we had camp set up, we’d Tetris our bags, bins, and boxes so they’d be out of the way. Attached to the back hitch were our bikes. We had plans to pedal some of the park road. (Let me just say that my bike was less than 3 days old. I rode it TWICE – pedaling around my house the day before we left. And the last time I pedaled a bike was 14 years ago, when we lived in Florida. I don’t know what possessed me to consider riding a bike from Sable Pass (mile 39) back to the campground (mile 29). Temporary insanity, I believe!

We got a much later start than we planned on, due to last minute repairs/adjustments to some of the systems in Joyce’s RV, and the drive was rather uneventful until we neared the park entrance. Less than a half mile from the entrance, cars lined both sides of the Parks Highway – and for good reason; the orphaned moose twins were grazing on the shoulder.

Moose calf orphans outside of Denali National Park

One of the moose calf orphans outside of Denali National Park

One of the moose calf orphans outside of Denali National Park

The babies were only a few weeks old when their mother was killed illegally within the park. It’s a miracle they survived without her, and they became quite the attraction along the highway over the last few weeks.  We slowed as we neared the traffic congestion, and then pulled off the road for a few minutes so I could snap a couple of photos.  We were both worried as we pulled away – fearing it wouldn’t be long before they were hit by a passing vehicle.(Good news: The calves were first thought to have been adopted by a cow moose with one calf of her own, but were just recently captured and transferred to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near Portage where they will be safe and cared for. Hopefully they can be released back into the wild in time.)


June 21, 2016

April Travels – Part Four – The Pacific Northwest

Filed under: Outside AK — Susan Stevenson @ 6:13 pm

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright


So, when I left off in my last blog entry, we were heading up the Historic Columbia River Highway on our way to Moses Lake, Washington – home to our dear friends Randy and Celeste. Randy and Celeste lived in Alaska for about 30 years, and moved to Moses Lake nearly a decade ago.  Their choice to leave AK didn’t come easy.  There were a few factors involved – one being that they (especially Celeste) are avid gardeners and the short growing season here in Interior Alaska was quite frustrating for them. Especially as we are limited on the crops we can plant here. Steve and I hadn’t seen them since they left Alaska, and since Moses Lake is only about 275 miles from Portland, we just had to include them in our travels. We are so thankful for their hospitality in putting us up for a couple of nights.  What a wonderful couple of days we had with not only cherished friends, but amazing people!

The Historic Columbia River Highway, 30 miles east of Portland, is the oldest scenic highway in the United States. It was constructed between 1913 and 1922, in Multnomah, Hood River and Wasco counties. The highway is divided into three zones: the waterfall zone extends from Troutdale to the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks; the Columbia River zone extends from Cascade Locks to Hood River; the high plateau zone extends from Hood River to The Dalles. Not all of the historic highway is open to motor vehicle traffic (repairing it was abandoned during construction of Interstate 84). However, these portions of the road are open to foot and bicycle traffic and make up The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.

Perhaps the highway is better known because you can view and access many waterfalls along the way. Fed by glaciers and swollen by snowmelt and winter rains, the waterfalls plunge from sheer cliffs, hidden slot canyons and rock grottos rimmed by massive trees and moss. Many of these waterfalls are accessible year-round.

We made really good time getting to Moses Lake, even with a few stops along the way. Unfortunately we didn’t do any hiking (which was our initial intent), but we did stop to enjoy some of the waterfalls and the beautiful overlook at Vista House.

The well-recognized Multnomah Falls was even more beautiful in person than it is in photographs. At 611 feet tall, I highly recommend you go a few hundred feet up the trail, for a spectacular view from Benson Bridge. This gives you a closer look at both the top tier of the falls (542 feet!) and a vertigo inducing view of the lower tier (69ft).  Be prepared for mist on the bridge.


Vista House
Vista House at Crown Point
Latourell Falls Mossy Trees
Historic Columbia River Hwy


Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge OR

This is a view of the upper tier from the bridge:
Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge OR

        Looking down from the bridge to the base of the falls:
Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge OR

Another view of the falls from the trail:
Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge OR