Friday, May 28, 2010

Camping in Kenai

This past weekend, we headed down south about 2 hours with some good friends for a weekend of camping. We went to the Upper Skilak Lake campground. We planned on camping and then doing a hike the following morning on the Skilak Lake Lookout Trail. We got to the campground around 3pm and picked a nice site within about 10 steps of the lake and the rocky shore. It was a beautiful, sunny day.
After we unpacked the car and set up camp, we began making the supper. We had teriyaki stir fry with veggies and chicken. It was tasty. For dessert, the boys had hot dogs. Then we all went down to the beach to play horseshoes. It was pretty rocky as you can see, so we cleared some rocks away so we could have a little landing spot for each little pole needed for our game.
After a few hours of our game, it was time for relaxing around the fire. Some little sparks burned a tiny hole in the knee of Steven's pants. By then, it was time for bed, although it was still very bright and sunny outside. We locked all of our food in these brown metal bear proof containers at the campsite, so we wouldn't have to carry it back to the car. Nice! Here is a picture of Melissa and I in the morning. We were warming up by the fire. Although my eyes are closed!
The boys however, did not want to warm up by the fire. Instead, they wanted to wake themselves up by running in to the frigid lake.Here is Steven. He was just a little cold, but insisted that 30 seconds after exiting the lake, it was much better and he was not cold at all!

After the swimming adventure, we did a little fishing. More like learning how to reel my line in and let it out. It was nice to practice, although we didn't catch anything. This picture is of Steven untangling my line for the 5th time. Ha.Once we were done fishing and packing up our campsite, there was no time to do the hike. :( Instead we spent a few minutes going down to the Russian River campground and fishing spots. Melissa and Dan fished here a lot last summer, so they were able to show us where to go and what to do while there. Apparently, there are tons of bear encounters at this river. Cleaning of fish had to be limited to certain areas, so as not to attract hungry bears. Mel said that last year she saw 2 bears cubs that would fish at the river. She saw them almost every weekend that she came fishing here.

This weekend, we will be in Vancouver, BC, Canada and on Sunday our 7-day cruise departs for Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and Glacier Bay National Park. Stay tuned for pictures next week!!!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Biking, Softball, and Sacramento

Last week I traveled down to Sacramento, California for training. While I was there I got to do a little sight seeing of the capital and Old Sacramento (the original town from the early 1900s which is now a big tourist trap). Sacramento is known as the "City of Trees" and they definitely have a lot of old growth trees throughout the downtown area. While there are some good restaurants and bars, it didn't seem like there was very much to do.
Even though Sacramento is about 50 miles inland, we still managed to find a Sea Lion on the docks by the river.

When I got back on Friday we played in our first Co-Ed Softball game. We lost 18-7, but had some fun! Rebekah played Catcher while I played Left Field and Pitcher. Our next game is this Wednesday and we will keep you up to date with how we do. I will also make sure to take pictures of Rebekah in some softball "action" shots.

On Sunday we biked the entire Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (#16 on the list). It was a nice day and the first chance we had to go biking this summer. We started down in Kincaid Park and biked up along the coast to downtown Anchorage where we had a car waiting to drive us back.

This weekend we are going camping in Kenai, so expect some pictures and another post early next week.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Mount Baldy

This past weekend, we decided to hit the trail for our first hike of summer 2010 (new entry #101). We headed out to Eagle River, Alaska which is about 10 miles outside of Anchorage. The trail was only 1.5 miles each way, but it was very steep on the way up. We were lucky and got to see some para-sailors who were taking off from the side of the hill. Apparently, they will "sail" all the way out towards Palmer before they will land.

The trail was pretty steep on the way up. There was still quite a bit of slushy snow and mud coming down the hill...we got our feet pretty muddy! This was surprising considering it was May. Once we got to the top, the view was beautiful 360 degree views of pretty mountains.

After a quick break at the top, we decided that taking an alternative route to the bottom would be our best bet. Actually, this was a pretty good plan seeing as how muddy the main trail was on the way up. We went down the side of the mountain, where lots of blueberries and crowberries were left over from the summer. The hike went well until we reached some large patches of snow. They were very slippery, so I decided to slide down on my bum and then use my feet to stop when I needed to.Everyone else decided this was a great idea too! This was a good plan for those that could "put on the brakes" so to speak. One of the friends we were with, didn't put on the brakes too well and it got a little out of control for him and he ended up in some bushes. Luckily he came out scratch-free. We continued down the mountain unharmed until we reached some thick bushes. We then had to climb carefully through the bushes until we were at the bottom. Here I am climbing through the bushes and the deep snow. My foot kept getting stuck in the snow and a few times, my shoe even came off!

We got to the bottom with some wet boots and wet pants. It was a fun hike and not too hard. I would suggest that anyone who decides to attempt this trail, wait until late May or early June.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Gray Whale Cruise

Last Saturday we drove down to Seward to take a Gray Whale Cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park. This year they were expecting over 20,000 Gray Whales to come along the Alaskan coast way along the migration path....however this year all the tours combined had only seen one, and the season is supposed to be almost over.
That did not stop us from seeing A LOT of wildlife (part of #86 on the list)...beginning with some kayakers...

Mountain Goats....

A couple of Humpback Whales...

Dall's Porpoises....

Plenty of birds...

Including some Bald Eagles...

And of course some big old Sea Lions jumping into the water...

And finally some great views of Kenai Fjords National Park and Seward.

This is the first of many adventures for this stay tuned!