Tuesday, September 28, 2010

White Mountain Bound Again

Just signed up for the White Mountain 100 Race for 2011. Finishers from last year got a chance to pre-register a few days early and judging by the overwhelming positive reaction to the race last year, we guessed it would fill up pretty quickly.

So we sat with our laptops and hit refresh until the Register Now button showed up at exactly 12 am. Yes, pretty sad, but we didn't want to risk it.

We are in! I have actually been riding my Pugsley for the past week because my other bike is broken and I haven't had time to fix it.

I rode it out the Powerline Trail one day after work last week to climb Ptarmigan Peak and had a blast coming back in the dark on the Pugsley. I forgot how it just rolls over everything.

Winter is almost here!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Catching up and Mount Jumbo

I have a lot to catch up on with this blog. I thought about not sharing my summer experiences and just picking it up now, in September, only blogging about things moving forward. But I realized that we did a lot this summer and I want to share it and document it.

Plus I have some photos I want to share. And I didn't realize how much I missed blogging until I started writing again last week.

I guess I will pick up where I left off. May was a busy month for me. We had such nice weather that I was out rock climbing a couple of times a week, and even did my first rock lead. But as I suspected my interest in rock climbing waned after I hit all the regular spots.

Brian and I went on a two week vacation and when we came back we had six straight weekends of trips planned. That combined with bike training and there just wasn't any time to climb.

We took two weeks off at the beginning of June to tour Southeast Alaska by ferry and then headed up to the Yukon for some mountain biking.

After our one way flight to Juneau we stayed with our friend Ben's parent's in Douglas. I think I like the Douglas side better than the Juneau side. You can watch the cruise ships come down the channel and park themselves at a safe distance on the OTHER side of the water. You can hike out on the beach and it's quiet. I don't think tourists make it over there. It feels more like a community and less like a tourist town. I imagine that's what all of the Juneau area is like in the winter.

We decided to head up Mount Jumbo because it was close and we only had about 4 hours before dinner. I now understand why our friend Ben is such a strong and fast hiker. You step out of town onto the trail in Douglas and you immediately start going straight up.

We climbed up through the forest for about 45 minutes and then came out to this boardwalk and the blaring sun. It was about 75 to 80 degrees for our entire stay in the Southeast. A nice change from what we are used to in Anchorage, but not ideal hiking weather.

There was still quite a bit of snow towards the top. We decided to turn around when we were almost to the top because we didn't want to be late for dinner, but we did get some great views of Juneau before heading back down.

My favorite part of the hike was this meadow of wildflowers about half way up.

That night after dinner we hiked along the beach in front of the house.

The next day we decided to try to climb Mount McGinnis before having to catch the ferry to Sitka, more on that to come..

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The New Look!

If you regularly read blogs through Google Reader or some other RSS Feed subscription program, come over and check out the new look of my blog!

I'm really impressed with the upgrades that have been made to Blogger lately. I was considering moving over to wordpress and designing my own theme, but Blogger now makes it really easy to customize your blog and really make it your own.

Now all I need is a new name. The title doesn't really make sense anymore. I stole it from that stupid advertisement for Alaska back in 2005. It was meant to scare my friends and relatives into coming up to visit. I really don't like it, but am horrible at naming things, so it has stayed the same over the years.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Above the fog on Flattop

This summer we had choices to make. We could sit inside and wait for it to stop raining, or we could head out in search of better weather. We chose the latter for the most part. If we couldn't find better weather we just played in the rain. And we had a blast.

Last week Anchorage was covered in fog for a few days straight. The cool thing about Anchorage and fog is that you usually don't have to go very far to rise above it.

Jill, Heather and I drove up out of the fog to Glen Alps to hike up Flattop, because we heard rumors of great weather up there.

And we had some of the most spectacular views from Flattop ever.

People complain about the weather in Alaska a lot, but the unpredictability of the weather is what I love most about living here. If it were sunny and warm all of the time I would be bored.

And I wouldn't get to have days like this.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nancy Lakes Canoe Trail

Niko is kind of a nervous dog. He shies away from anything new that he deems scary. He hates the water, but Brian and I thought it was time to test out his sea legs.

Next summer we plan on taking some time off to travel around Alaska and some of the trips we have planned involve boats. So this Saturday we headed up to Nancy Lakes and rented a Canoe to see if we could get Niko in it.

We thought it would be a disaster. Niko would most likely not want to get into the boat, then we'd force him in, he'd pull his stiff leg move that he uses when I try to give him a bath, eventually we'd get him into the boat and he would tremble the whole time all the while trying to find a way out.

It didn't exactly go like that.

He got in the canoe on his own, with only a small bit of trepidation...

And off we sailed into the fog...

The trail consists of eight miles, fourteen lakes, and thirteen portages. Each time we neared land, Niko would get ready to dismount. He'd jump out, we'd carry the canoe to the next spot and he'd jump back in.

Inside the boat he laid down and even took a nap.

Sometimes he'd hear a loon calling and stand up, but Brian would start to gently rock the boat and Niko would lay back down.

It could not have gone more smoothly. Here he is practicing his zen canoe Buddhism. He really wants to jump at that dragonfly, but he is restraining himself. Impressive.

Niko "tundra dog" is more versatile than we thought.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An American Wedding

I think my sister got it right. Have the ceremony amongst a small group of close family on a remote island in the Caribbean, relax and enjoy the actual day. Then come back to your home town, invite everyone and part-ee, part-ee, part-ee.

One of the great things about hosting your wedding reception in your backyard is that you don't have to go home at 10pm when the time is up, you can make (almost) as much noise as you want, and you don't have to worry about staining the carpet. Okay that's three things. How does the song go.. Have you ever been to American Wedding... non of that applies here.

I spent most of last week setting up for my sister's wedding reception, which was held in the backyard of the house I grew up in. I would work on the reception by day, and visit friends at night. Every time I come home I worry that things won't be the same, or things won't be as fun as they were the last time, but then I see my friends and family and realize it just keeps getting better.

The party was a huge success, with almost 100 people in my mom's backyard, a tent, catering from a great Italian restaurant, a band, and cops showing up to tell us to keep it down. In my opinion if the cops don't show up, something went horribly wrong.

We danced all night to the band until the cops showed up. One of the neighbors had complained that we were too loud. But one of my best friends husbands, who is also a cop, went and talked to them to smooth things over and let the band play a few more songs.

I thought it was a good idea...

Now it's catching on...

By the way, the song they were dancing too, was "Grow Old with You" by Adam Sandler...

This picture looks harmless, but after the slow song, they sped it up and the less than sober people started dancing quickly with the candles in their hands and risked spraying hot wax all over everyone. I had to run around and pry them from their hands.

Congrats to the happy couple!

Thanks to Kate for all the great photos, even though we yelled at you for making us pose and blinding us with your unnaturally bright flash, we love you for documenting our lives for the past 25 years.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Congratulations to Angie and Eric!

My sister got married in Turks and Caicos last weekend and followed it up with a fantastic party in Allentown, PA this Saturday.

We stepped off the plane in Turks and Caicos and were hit with a wall of heat - 110 degree heat index to be exact. It was quite a shock to my system after 14 hours of traveling and coming from 60 degrees and raining in Anchorage.

We have had such a good time with our family and friends over the past two weeks. It's amazing how easy things are when you are with people who you have known for years and really connect with. Life is good when you can share it with people you love.

Here are some photos from the past two weeks.

Before the ceremony...

The beach ceremony...

Cooling off in the air conditioned bar (note the shiny face and fallen hair, it looks like I just rolled out of bed!)...

Reception in a gazebo by the beach...

Photoshoot on the pier afterwards...

Good times were had by all. It's been a crazy two weeks and we are back in Anchorage enjoying the fall weather and being out of the heat. I have to admit though it was nice to be at the beach, smell the suntan lotion, swim in the ocean for hours at a time, and of course, have all you can eat and drink for five days!

Somewhere along the way I picked up a nasty cold and am trying to recover as I work from home on the couch. More pictures to come from the reception in my mom's backyard...