Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Long Downhill to Winter

Thursday was the solstice. Now in the lower 48, I would imagine that very few people actually celebrate it. Here though, it's an unofficial holiday. It allows us to celebrate the "peak" of summer (it still does not feel like we're at the peak of summer yet) and it also signifies the long, slow downhill towards winter.
It's true. Every day this year will be a teeny bit shorter than the rest. We've got maybe eight weeks -- on an unusual year, maybe 10, before the termination dust appears on the Chugach range, signifying the eight week countdown to winter. We've probably got six weeks until the fireweed is at its' peak fiery redness, and berry picking season will be soon on its' heels.

I kept reminding myself of all this while watching the sun at 11:40 pm on Thursday:

Not much darkness is there? Four weeks ago, we were wondering if our willows on the right of the photo were still alive, and here they are screaming to get out of their flowerbeds.
I woke up the next morning to a completely different view and the smell of barbeque smoke:

We have three significant fires around Anchorage -- one on the Kenai, two in the valley. It's a big deal, although you won't hear about it on the national news -- apparently as long as we are not California, it's not a big deal. Who cares what happens to Alaska as long as we are not trying to build bridges?

We're having to ask for firefighters from the lower 48, and federal funding is now being used to fight the 80,000 acres on fire, which has already destroyed homes. That yellow film glaze is not a touch-up, that's the smoke from the fires sitting here on Lower Hillside.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Feed me!

By Popular are pictures of our monster tomato plants. If they get too much taller, I will have to cut a hole in the ceiling :)
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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Safety Girl takes a Tumble

This is a story about my new biking socks.

I got them today while we were getting our bikes checked out after our 16 mile epic (for us) ride at Eklutna Lake with friends. We had a lot of fun riding along the wee edge of the minor cliff down to Eklutna lake.

Everything was going well, and so when we got to a little piece of technical trail with roots, I decided to try it. My first spill resulted in an impressive bruise, a wee bit of knee scraping, and a bit of ego issues. I brushed it off, readjusted my seatpost which had become cockyswabbled, and then caught up to everyone.

The end of the ride is essentially the far end of the lake. You can see where a massive avalanche took out a good section of forest. We stopped to take a look before continuing to a rest area. When I got to get back on my bike, I slipped on the loose gravel. At that point, my leg went into the disc brake:

Bummer. The good news was, it stopped bleeding relatively quickly. The bad news was, we had eight miles of dusty, dirty and muddy trails to ride back to the car. Can you spell infection? But the view was nice from that side of the lake:

The way back was uneventful, and I was able to keep my hypochondriacal self in check mostly. We got ice cream and smoothies on our way back which makes all scrapes feel better, too.

When we were having our bikes checked on, I saw these socks and felt like "Ride Bloody" socks were speaking to me, and would be a good addition to my biking wardrobe. It's good to be a mountain biker!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Kenai, Crash n' Chicken

Last weekend, Frank, Galileo and I spent our time along the Kenai river with our neighbors (Hi :)). They have a great place right along the river, so you can watch the eagles be chased by the seagulls and also the moose wade through the shallower parts of the river.

We also went fishing! To fish on the Kenai river for King Salmon is a treat, even if you don't catch anything. It's so peaceful, beautiful and the river moves so fast!

I see that the Kings are definitely out now, with even Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage starting to run. Who knows, maybe we will get out there and try our rookie luck ;)

In other news, this has been the week of fires due to the lack of rain and the super-high winds. Tuesday, we had a downtown fire and a fire in the valley that took out a high school. Hopefully we get a reprieve from the forces of nature soon!

On the fitness front, Frank and I continue our pursuit of mountain biking, despite the wind and the bears. As usual, we take different approaches to learning a new sport. I use the "chicken" theory, which to means go slower and walk before I fall off the bike on big hills. Frank's "crash" approach is to keep going on the bike, and taking the fall sometimes when you have to. They are different approaches, each with their unique pros and cons. One thing is for sure, Mountain biking sure is fun!
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