Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial day weekend.

I joined my sister (Elizabeth), Ali, Corrie, for a trip down to Homer for the weekend. It's been a long time since I have been down to that part of AK. It's really nice when the weather is good and we had great weather for the weekend with partially clear skys and nice views of the mountains across the Cook Inlet.

Hitchhiking south out of Tok. I caught a 60 mile ride with an old friend shortly after taking this. It's kind of cool hitchhiking when you can randomly get rides from people you already know.  

The Matanuska Glacier. 

Helping Ali practice balancing on the way to Anchor Point. 

Triumphant rock climber.

I've been as far west as you can drive in America. I went the southern most point in Key West a couple years ago and I'm hoping to make it to the northernmost point sometime in June. Sadly, the eastern most point will have to wait for another trip.

Our campsite at Anchor Point. A seven person tent seems like overkill, but it's pretty nice for camping with a three year old. 

Bald Eagles soaring along the coast were almost as common as Seagulls. They really have different flight dynamics, which, made it fun watching them flying together.  

Mount Redoubt smoldering across the Cook Inlet.

Looking out from the end of the Homer Spit. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Around Alaska

We did a bit of a trip around the state on the way to Denali and dropping Stephen off at the airport. In anchorage i did some work tearing down a green house to move it for my sister. I'll spend some time putting it back together in a couple weeks. I've spent a couple days at my dad's house now and been busy with planning for the trip. I've got a couple more tickets in place now and I'm working on what I want to do and where as well. I've also started a caffeine purge. It was pretty hard to find any motivation the first couple of days without coffee but I'm feeling a lot better now.

The Alaskan Range from Delta.

I was going to order the #1 and ask for biscuits and gravy instead of toast...
Then I saw they had already named that option for me.

Tearing down a green house. Ali is pretty good at picking up nails and putting them in the bucket.
She can also pound them in if you start them for her. 

One of the best pairs of shoes I have ever owned. After 3 years of international trips, mountains, and hitching to AK they still look pretty decent on the outside. But, they were starting to fall apart inside. 

Thankfully everyone at RIEtech gave me a REI gift card as a going away give. And, they still sells the same shoe (The North Face - Hedgehog III). So, I was able to get a brand new identical pair. Thanks everyone at RIEtech!

Lion Head Mountain on the way back form Anchorage.
I've always like that mountain though I called in sore thumb until a year or two ago.
It's a great short hike and I may try to spend the night on top sometime this summer. 

Some of my dad's bees are getting kind of spoiled with their front porch view...

Denali Alaska

Pictures from Denali National Park. The road was closed for snow less than 1/2 way to the end. I am planning to go back later this summer and go all the way to the end. 

Perhaps the most over designed doors I have ever seen. One hundred and twelve bolts to hold a door together?
Are these supposed to be bear resistant? I think the latch will break...

Mt McKinley/Denali in the distance.

Corrie, Nick, Stephen at the end of the drivable road. 

Caribou in the Savage River.

It was a very cooperative Caribou and Corrie has an excellent zoom. (CG)

We got up at 5 am so we could see Denali at sunrise. Turns out that was about an hour early.
We made coffee while waiting for the sun to burn off the clouds.

Using an almost empty milk jug as coffee cup saves a step... 

This is why we got up early

Denali (CG)

Denali (CG)

Moose just down steam from where the Caribou was on Savage River.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Road to AK

A few pictures from the drive between Washington and Alaska. Some of the pictures were taken by Stephen or Corrie so I've included their initials in the captions.
Mt Baker on the way out of Washington. (SB)
There was excellent snowboarding up there on a previous trip.
Lac La Hache in BC. (CG)
We camped next to the lake after discovering our planned campsite wasn't open for summer yet. 

The Buck Burger at the Buckinghorse River Lodge.
They serve and excellent burger and a pretty good breakfast too. 

Sunset over the Buckinghorse River in BC. We camped here the second night.

Corrie and I standing by the river. (SB)

The Northern Lights. (CG)
The problem with trying to see the Aurora in the summer is that it never gets dark. This was taken between 11 and midnight. 
The Alaskan Highway in Norther BC.
I've always liked the way the road just stretches out here. 

The first of the bears we saw and the beginning and numerous bad puns. (SB)
Another Bear (SB)

I think this was the fifth bear. We quit stopping after that. (SB)

Mountain goats crossing the road just north of Stone mountain. (SB)

Liard Hot Springs at the very northern end of BC.
It's been like this for most of my lift, but by next summer they will have a new deck and stairs. It was nice to meet the engineers working on the plans. 

Springtime in the Yukon!

The old Tanana River bridge site just east of Tok. (SB)

Monday, May 21, 2012

One week and 3000 miles later I'm in Tok AK.

I left Washington a few hours after my last post as I headed into British Columbia with my friends Corrie and Stephen. We drove up through BC and reached the Alcan highway on Tuesday. Highlights from the drive up the Alcan include seeing the northern lights, 14 black bears, a grizzly, a lynx, a moose, a few sheep, and more caribou and bison than we could count (I'll get some pictures up soon).

We made it to Tok the morning of the fourth day and spent the night before heading on to Denali. It's really kind of crazy that I made it to so many national parks in the lower 48 before making it Denali. It's a really beautiful park, even when it's still in the early stages of spring (again, pictures to follow). I think I will try to get back out there again in a month or so. 

After Denali, we drove to Anchorage on Saturday where we immediately got drafted for a greenhouse relocation project my sister came up with. We took Stephen to the airport and I spent the night in Anchorage, did some yard work Sunday and drove into Tok about 1:00 am this morning. 

Here is the route starting where the last one ended in Wenatchee. The trip is sitting at over 5,600 miles so far. I think I might just stay home the entire day today...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quick tour of the NW, Now on to AK.

We spend Friday night camped next to the ocean as planned. It was a beautiful night and we got a good start the next morning arriving at Tillamook just as they opened the tour. We were told it only took an hour, but it took us almost three. I do really like cheese and found the whole factory pretty fascinating, especially the free samples...

After the tour we headed North of Seattle to Heather lake to camp out in the mountains and roast our haul of cheese over a fire. It was another perfect night even with several feet of unexpected snow on the ground. The good news is that my sleeping gear has now been fully tested. We spent a lot of time talking and throwing snowballs for my brother's dog Tagg to chase. Cheddar cheese curds are excellant roasted over the fire on a stick.

Last night I tried a form of networking couch surfing, staying with friends of my fourth grade teacher after my brother dropped me off. It was pretty fun and good to catch up with an old teacher and friend. My ride to AK is here though, so it's time to go. I'm not sure If I will get a chance to post in Canada or not. If not, I'll be back on in another 2000 miles...

Wind blasted pines on the edge of the Pacific. 
Watching the waves coming in at sunset. 
Tagg chasing a stick into the Sun.
My brother's dog is one of the best behaved dogs I have ever met and also really likes playing fetch.

Some people have accused me of being a bit of a snob about cheddar cheese and my preference for Tillamook.  
It turns out I just have good taste. 
I wish they sold those 40 lb blocks at the store...

The view from our camp site at Heather Lake.
The picture isn't upside down, the reflection was so perfect it was almost disorientating. 
Tagg sitting by the lake.
On the way back down from the lake.