Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Year of Color

When I was in Anchorage 3 summers ago, my roommates and friends were closer to 24 than they were to my age of barely legal at 21, and I remember thinking how much I wanted to be 24. It seemed like they had their lives together and were just that "perfect age". My definition of perfect age has since been obliterated by all of the really cool 20, 30 and 40-somethings I know now, and now that I'm at that "special" mid-20s age, I've realized it really is just a number. My frame of mind has shifted severely since that first summer, I'd like to think mostly in good ways. The experiences I've encountered in the last year have been many of which I had not pictured, some good and some really crappy. But in the end it has all come back to living and loving and learning and pursuing that peace and happiness which attracts us to where we are,right?The one thing I really noticed when I chose these photos out of my last year as new places, accomplishments, and notable experiences, was how much color there is. And that is just awesome.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Skiing and Mosquitoes Just Shouldn't Go Together..

But today they did. As I was near the end of a very pleasant ski today at a warm 43 degrees, a big fat slow mosquito zoomed by my head.With recent temperatures not hitting any crazy warm values, this spring has been very slowly evolving. It does not quite feel like the mosquitoes should be hatching so early. They are not bothersome by any means, but just a sign of the months to come!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


How does that phrase go? April showers bring May mosquitoes? Errrr ummmm.. flowers?! My least favorite time of year by a big stretch. Maybe the end of the semester puts a big damper in it, too. Maybe it will snow another 5 inches and I can run around excitedly driving everyone nuts until it all melts a few hours later. Here's to you classmate, who last spring snidely said to me, "we'll see how much you love the snow next year when you're here for the full winter". You were wrong. I still love every millimeter of it!
But in trying to be positive, it feels good to go fast again on the bike again and to pick up speed without worrying about frostbite to the nose and cheeks. The wind actually gives something of a pleasant feeling and the aroma of Fairbanks summer is returning. No more freezing the toes off wearing just a thin pair of socks and tennis shoes. No more 300% effort to go the same distance. No more headlamps for the normal day. No pogies, no studs, no problem!

On another positive note, my summer plans just got exciting. Not only do I have a second visitor (my sister Patty!) coming, but I also scored an awesome field work trip.. as a volunteer. I am more than thrilled to explore new Alaskan territory this summer. And this is my last summer to really screw around without too much hassle of getting time off/figuring out how to pay the bills. The fact that awesome opportunities are still unfolding for my 4th(!) summer in Alaska, makes me happy to have made the choice to be here. The source of adventure and company involved has evolved over the years but it is still available and I think always will be with a little bit of enthusiasm and willingness to try new things.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

1st Annual Chena River Cabin Olympics

High temp: 44 F
Low temp: 22 F

Introducing your 2009 Olympians...
First event, walking across the porch on stilts...
Then a mad dash over deep soggy snow to the hula hoop section!
Batman learning how to fly.
And up next is Steve the Joker splitting wood!
The team activity - three-legged race! Darcy and Mark smoked the rest of us.
The after-party...
And a camping experience above 0 degrees Fahrenheit, like heaven!
(First photo of the Olympians and photo of the three-legged race start are thanks to Steve the Joker. The rest are from yours truly.)

Oh no!!

I saw my first bug in the outhouse today. Blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Easter "Egg" Hunt.

Thanks to Stef for beginning something last year that might just be a hit every year.. the annual PBR easter egg hunt!!!

Becki helped the easter bunny decorate and hide the "eggs" this year.. some of which they hid a little too well.. there are a few unaccounted for in the woods..
Here are some of the attendees ready to slog thru the snow finding "eggs".
Some of the snow was knee-deep, verging on hip-deep in some spots. Lucky for the hunters, the easter bunny and her assistant broke the trail of which the "eggs" were not far off of.
"Are we having fun yet?" was the line said before this picture was snapped. Clearly, everyone was having an awful time. Especially Jessie...
Darcy is peeking out from the woods... later, she would be standing on the front porch and have a pile of heavy snow from the roof fall on her and knock her burger straight out of her hands, into the hands of the dawgs. This event created a mass game of throwing snowballs at the snow on the roof trying to knock it down.
Little Michael was a big fan of the dogs - I think he was a puppy in a previous life. He is even wearing dog booties as waterproof mittens! Brilliant!
And ahhhh a sign of summer!! BARBEQUE!!! My favorite. Funny we were able to keep both doors of the house open when it only hit 49 at the airport. The sun was so bright and warm it was another perfect day to be outside.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ice Climbing at Fox Creek

Carlene, Celine, Scott and I visited the tripod down in Nenana on the way south.

Then we drove farther and got to Fox Creek where we would set up ropes and do some ice climbing. This was my first time out since last April, and first time trying out some new second-hand gear. We had to hike a little ways to get to a good vertical climb. This made for an interesting descent at night to the point where we had to repel down one of the ice-hills we got up without a problem earlier in the day.
Below Carlene sets up ropes on our icefall. Her and I have been planning on ice climbing together since July - I am glad it finally happened before the icefalls are all gone for the summer!
Below is Scott showing us how it's done - under the bluest skies!
Celine kicks up some ice below. We shredded this thing in spots by the end.. there is a reason you wear a helmet when you are climbing!! By the end of our day the icefall was obtaining waterfall-like qualities to the point where the one line made us look like we were peeing, ha ha. We were all pretty water-logged by the end.
You got me down there, right??? Talk about learning to trust people.. and gear. This is one way to do it!
Scott coming down from the top...

Phew, that was a challenging day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I smell it...

Ok, biking home from work today I swear to you that in the small amount of dirt that was exposed, the summer time Alaska smell came back. If you have been following my blog in the last 3 years, you'll know exactly what smell I am talking about. I still don't know what it is and thought it had to do with the green trees but apparently not. It is a very distinct smell that I still can place from my first day landing here in 2006.. Maybe I am going nuts but I promise you that I got a small "poof" of it today.. and it made me smile. Winter is breaking...