Tuesday, November 5, 2013

To the Lower 48 we went...

At the beginning of October, two of my dear Alaska friends, Emily and Tara, flew down to Atlanta. We stayed with my sister, hiked Stone Mountain and Sweetwater Park, visited the aquarium, and then headed to Tennessee to spend some time with my parents. After that short visit, we drove to Florida to visit with friends, went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (!!!), and then spent time with Tara's sweet family in Naples. We spent a lot of time of the road, but got to see a lot of wonderful people. It was so much fun experiencing the Southeast with my two Northwestern friends! While in Florida, Tara took us to a different beach every day... My favorite was probably Ft. Myers. We took a jet ski dolphin viewing tour, and that was a blast! Later that night, Emily got to cross "slack lining between two palm trees" off of her bucket list. I had not done a whole lot of traveling with friends, but I can't wait for more trips and more adventures to come!

getting ready to head up Stone Mountain

Sweetwater Colors

Me and Jen with the Girls

Em, me, and Tara

at the aquarium 

me and Em

We came all the way to GA from AK to see... Alaska Rocky Reefs... Ha!

Me and Rylee warming up after a swim in the lake

Inside Universal Islands of Adventure 

I found a pygmy puff!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Yay!

Me, Em, and Tara at the beach (quote by Sandy Gingras) 

As Em said... Alaska ladies with some color! 

enjoying sunset on the beach

going jet skiing!

the dolphins were SO close! 

one even had a baby!

Em slack lining! 

Our days at the beach went by so fast. Tara stayed in FL and Em and I went back to GA. When we got there, we found out Montana wasn't doing too well.  Poor baby had a cancerous growth develop in her jaw. After an excruciating few days trying to determine what the best course of action would be... there was really only one option, the one that broke our hearts the most. Tana added so much love and light and laughter to our lives... she is definitely missed.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall 2013... a couple of adventures

Homer & Anchor Point Adventure

The first weekend in September, Alex convinced a group of us to head to the beach for a night to camp.   I had not been to Homer, yet, and was eager to go, so why not? Camping is one of my favorite things to do for so many reasons. One being that it is just great to get away and be with people outside, without all the busyness of technology! The beach is another favorite of mine, and seeing as how we'd be camping on the beach... I packed my bag. We left pretty late on a Friday afternoon and got to our beach around 11.  Tyler, Alex, and Christian set up camp in the rain, while Em and I waited in the car listening to some music and chatting (and staying dry!). Around the time they finished setting camp up, the rain quit, so Em and I went for a walk on the beach with Dozer. There is something so magical about listening to the ocean waves hitting the beach! When we got back to our campsite, the guys had a fire going and we all hung out for a few hours. I think we all hit the sack around 3 or so... The next day we explored Homer and some places along the way- an amazing art gallery by Norman Lowell and a random coffee shack that had really good blueberry milkshakes. 

Tyler, Alex, me, Em, and Christian
Me and Tyler
Em and me

Denali National Park Adventure

Each September the park hosts a four-day event called "Road Lottery." During these four days, winners of a lottery drawing are given a chance to purchase a single, day-long permit, allowing them to drive as much of the Denali Park Road as weather allows. In years with early snow, the Park Road might open no farther than Savage River (mile 15); in milder years, lottery winners are able to enjoy a trip out to Wonder Lake (mile 85). My friend Ingrid won the lottery, and invited us to go along! As it is (apparently) a milder year, we made it out to Wonder Lake!! 

Ingrid, me, and Megan
Meg and me

Denali in the fall!

It is amazing how quickly weather moves in!! 

I had been inside Denali National Park 3 amazing times before, yet NEVER seen the mountain (top to bottom) before this (4th) trip. It is truly remarkable how the weather systems work around Mt. McKinley. Meg and I were both feeling like we hit the jackpot with the clear view of the mountain when we drove in. It was such fun seeing the park this way, too. A new experience! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Summer 2013 (Part 3)

the dinner crew - Christian, Tara, Kathy, Gretchen (Meg's mom), Megan, Emily, Alex, me, and Tyler
My 27th birthday came with this August 6th! I had really not planned on doing much of anything for this birthday, but my wonderful friends and family had something else in mind. For starters, Alex and Christian showed up at midnight with an assortment of items saran-wrapped to a wooden salmon and ton of Fireweed and other wildflowers on my windshield. After a picture, we called it a night, and to bed I went. I started out the morning by opening a lovely package from my family! It contained all sorts of goodies from my parents and my sister! Later in the day, Megan, her mom, and I went to the Alaska Native Heritage Center in the afternoon before I met up with Tara to get ready for dinner. Tara planned and coordinated getting everyone together for a wonderful dinner at The Bridge Seafood Restaurant (right on the water!) and then (most of us) went bowling after. It was definitely one for the books.

Alex, Meg, me, Kara, and Christian (with the salmon...)
dinner party
Em and me
No idea what Alex and Tara are doing... But I love it. 
Tara, me, and Em! 

my view from the front of the canoe
Floating in Portage is one of Tyler's favorite summer things to do... put the canoe and/or kayak in the river, paddle down to a slough, and fish... He had been trying to take me out there all summer, but the timing just never worked in our favor. Finally, in the middle of August, I had a day off when he was free, and the weather was good (well, not cold and raining)! We took the canoe, paddled down to his favorite slough, and fished. Ok, y'all... I'm all for canoeing (did a bit of that in the lower 48!) and being on the water, but fishing? I vaguely remember fishing for catfish on the Mississippi River bank with my grandpa when I was younger, but for the most part- fish are kind of gross. I was not optimistic about how much I would enjoy fishing, but OH WAS I EVER WRONG! It was SO fun. I didn't even catch anything, but it was fun trying.

Reeling it in

Tyler canoeing, catching and filleting salmon (he can also cook it- we ate some that night- DELICIOUS!)
Got a chance to go one more time a few weeks later with Ty and his friend Jeremy- it was a truly gorgeous day, and we had a blast! We took their neighbor's dog, Disco, too... They did all the work, and I just got to float in the canoe. :) Our fishing slough was pretty crowded, so we just floated on past and hung out on a deserted beach for a while. Really enjoyed the day!!

Em and me at the state fair!
The end of summer / beginning of fall brings about the State Fair! Em and I had a great time last year - and we did this year, too! I went two of the weekends- once with Alex and his mom (who was visiting from Oregon) and the 2nd time with Megan! Both times were a lot of fun... It is always cool to see all the insanely large local produce, check out the different food and craft vendors, and as an added bonus this year, the Young Dubliners did a free show- WAY FUN!

extra large produce

me, Em, and Alex
Meg and the Giant Pumpkin
Me, Bob (from Young Dubliners), and Megan

I was able to enjoy one last adventure during the month of August, courtesy of Scott, Andrea, and their girls! Scott works in Whittier and offered to take us out on the boat with them. Tyler was already headed back to the islands to work and Andrea had to work in town, but I tagged along with Scott and his daughters, Kelsey and Stacy. We had such a good time! Scott is a great captain and those girls will keep you entertained with their light, laughter, and stories!

gorgeous view... 
gorgeous day! 

Scott, Kelsey, and Stacy
my otters!
oh hi there!
Blue skies, a glacier, waterfall, ocean... Could it get any better?