Friday, July 31, 2009

Good Bye Anchorage, Hello Quinhagak

"Never be afraid to try something new!" ~Anonymous

Well, my summer in Anchorage is hours away from ending and my flight to Quinhagak is nearing. Not sure when I'll get a chance to blog again but I will get it figured out eventually and let you know how everything is going. This concludes part one of our Alaskan adventure (I have no idea how many parts it is going to have in all), so hang on, here we go! I chose this quote and verse more to calm myself than anything, positive self talk, lol, it's gonna be okay! In the words of my colleague Mike, "Yaw Hee!"

"Then you'll get where you are going, then you'll succeed. Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take."
Joshua 1:9

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Learning About My New Home...

"Every view of the world that becomes extinct, every culture that disappears, diminishes a possibility of life." Octavio Paz

"They are representing their cultures daily, they're really young ambassadors."
~This is a quote from the video above and I particularly liked it because all day I was inspired at how these kids were so beautifully representing Alaska and all the different Native Alaskan People.

Today I visited the Alaska Native Heritage Center and dragged Derek, a friend who works with the boys, along to enjoy the cultural/educational/inspirational experience. I like to think he was glad he came along. Who couldn't be after what we were invited into! We learned about the different Native Alaskan groups and where each is from, heard stories, watched traditional games, enjoyed traditional dances, ate traditional foods, wandered through a trail that has a traditional structure from each group, in each structure there were students who would share with us about the culture of that particular group of people and what was important about the structure. I was saddened to learn that one of the groups on the pan handle, the Eyak, are nearly nonexistent, they lost their last fluent speaker several years ago. It made me think of home and appreciate the importance placed on our students at LCO in learning their ojibwe language. How necessary it is to know who you are and how much of that is in a language. We don't always realize it but, if you've ever had the opportunity to speak another language, it really is interesting. There are thoughts and feelings that you can not translate to other languages. Therefore if you were to lose a language, dying with it are those unique pieces of life that only it can share. It is sad, but also something we can all be aware of and supportive. On a happier note as we traveled the trail, in and out of the different living quarters, we came upon the Inupiaq structure in which there were a few tourists ahead of us asking typical touristy questions to the sweet young girl who was stationed at that particular site. I'm thinking to myself that these poor kids must get sick of answering the same silly questions repeatedly. Not minding my own business, I overheard the inquiry "So what is this?" and thought that peripherally I saw a rather mystified man pointing at an obviously 'polar bear rug/hide' draped over a bench. I snickered under my breath, but when the witty gal shot back her answer I literally doubled over laughing out loud, "Oh, that's our Seal Retriever." It was too much, simply hilarious, I applauded her and snorted around laughing. The entire group of them, including herself turned and looked at me puzzled. Apparently, I was the only one who got it? "Seal Retriever??" I laughed again "Polar Bear-Seal Retriever, that was a good one..." She smiled at me pitifully and held up (this time in my clear view as well) a maraca looking device with two very sharp ivory tines sticking out of it, which the man had been inquiring about. "This is our seal retriever" she stated again and chuckled while the man just turned his back to me probably offended at my insulting assumption that he was asking about what a polar bear was. "...oh, I see." I responded sheepishly..."I thought you were making a joke, golden retriever...seal retrie...yeah anyway, I'm just gonna go now. My work here is done." I am so me. Foot in mouth. Maybe she'll use it sometime to keep her day entertaining, who knows. Derek thought it was funny. Of course maybe he was laughing at me, I didn't give him time to share either way, quickly moving on to the next 'structure' which turned out to be the public restrooms and he just kept on laughing.
This is where we spent the better part of today taking in so much incredible information that I need time to process! Absolute must see if you get up to the Anchorage area.

These are pics of the traditional structures that the Yupik/Cupik people lived in. If you look real hard you'll be able to find Quinhagak on the orange map too.

"...that’s one of the ways you build community -- you sit and listen to the other guy’s story. Don’t ask how long have you been here (every Alaskan asks each other that), or where’d you come from (most Alaskans ask each other that too). Let’s go back further, and really build an intercultural connection and ask who were your grandparents? How did your parents meet? Where’d they come from? How’d you ever wind up here should be further down the list."
~Father Michael Oleska
I just finished reading a great book by him Another Culture/Another World and the link below is a speech he gave that covers a snippet of what his book covers, I recommend it. I like the above quote.

"Love from the center of who you are, don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle....Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with (everybody); don't be the great somebody."
Romans 12:9-10,15-16

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rumors of Reds...

“Have you considered that if you "don't make waves," nobody including yourself will know that you are alive?”
~Theodore Isaac Rubin
Josh, Sam, Derek and I hit the soggy trail this weekend in search of those rascally salmon but to no avail. Not that they weren't out there (i.e. my chosen quote) we literally watched them jumping upstream 'making waves' and could not, even after hours of trying, get one on a line!! This weekend the salmon won. Thankfully, word on the river was we weren't the only disappointed anglers running all over the Kenai in search of a hot spot.

We did manage to see a sow grizzly and 2 cubs on the banks. The mother even fought off another bear who was apparently getting a little to close for comfort. Then we watched a couple more wandering in, I tried to video them for you but you can't really see them. I was hoping the bears were having better luck fishing than us:)

Sam with the only 'red' caught all weekend.
Sometimes things just don't work out as planned but time with my bros and friends was precious as I leave for Quinhagak on Saturday! Josh snapped these pics out the window on our way back.

Riding around in the car looking for fish, maybe that's why we didn't catch any???

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when test and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."James 1:2-4

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday Party to Gram!

"A Grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher and a little big best friend."
~Author Unknown

Our Gram More Recently:)

Our Gramma cerca 1930:)

Happy Birthday Gram! We love you from Alaska! Hope you have a fun party!
Josh would like to add a few quotes of his own:
Grammas are like money, you just want more of them.
Grammas are like rain, when they are falling you just wanna catch them.
My Gramma's the best I don't care about the rest, except my other Gramma (of course).
Now we are done cause we are going fishing, we wish you were here with us!
"I am reminded our your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now I am sure, dwells in you as well." 2 Timothy 1:5

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Mother Figure

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take." ~Cardinal Mermillod

"Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older. But grown, in my heart it don't mean a thing."~ Toni Morrison"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go, I'm standing here outside your door..." Yep that's our Mum all packed up with her fish and suitcase. Hard to imagine she made the 3500 mile car ride up here with me carrying only a teensie tiny blue bag (due to my over excessive packing, she was limited as to how many bags she could check in my car). She has multiplied as you can see. Brought her and all her gear to the airport this morning and said bye until Christmas I guess, wow that seems like a long time away. The apartment is quiet and very empty. (Get used to it Rach, yeah, yeah, I know). All day yesterday she kept saying, " Oh this is so sad." Then with big puppy dog eyes, would look mournfully at Josh, Sam and I. Moms are great aren't they? We love ours and she loves us. Yep, I'm gonna miss my little Sherpa Shadow. You'll have fun down south Mom! You've had a good run of it here in Alaska! Bonn Voyage! We Love You!!! Thank You for all your help, support and just general being-there-ness. I miss you already. Here's to you Mum!!!!

Grab the Dare Rope #3! Do something that shows your mom or someone who is like a mom to you (maybe that's your dad), how much you love and appreciate them (not only on Mother's Day)! Call, run over and give a hug, or say thanks, just something out of the ordinary:)

"...and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. Her children respect and bless her..."Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!" charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!" Proverbs 31: 25-31

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Bird Creek Experience

"One fish. Two fish. Red fish. Blue fish. Black fish. Blue fish. Old fish.
New fish. This one has a little star.
This one has a little scar. Say! What a lot of fish there are."
~Dr. Seuss

We (Sam, Derek-who works with the boys, Richard-works with the boys, Mom and I) joined the masses along Bird Creek this evening for the beginning of the late run of Pinks (also known as Humpys) I'm slowly learning all these different salmons. They call it 'combat fishing'. Here's an article about the combat fishing on the Russian which we did earlier this summer. Anyway last night it seemed like the whole city was out:) Bird Creek is one of the closer and easily accessible from the highway, salmon streams near Anchorage. We sneakily, according to Sam, (Sam and Mom down climbing )chose a parking lot on top of the ridge (less cars, traffic, and people) and rightly so because the trail we had to navigate to get down to the river while arms loaded with rods, tackle and mom was straight up and straight down through the brush (remember what loves to be in the brush by heavily fished salmon streams....yeah). Then we managed to emerge just past the wrong side of a "Private Property" sign posted on the bank. (Sam, Richard and Derek fishing right) Quickly moving to a legal location, we commenced fishing! Within 5 minutes a big brown bear lumbered out about 50 yards upstream to join the festivities, only to be shooed away by a father/son pair uncomfortable with sharing the same portion of river. (left high tide that's us in the middle) We waded out almost to the opposite side of the river (knee deep). I found myself continually backing up toward the middle of the river (toward the bank from which we had started) little above my knees...thigh high...waist high...Mom bellered from her post on the bank (she was stationed there to keep track of the bags, fish, etc.) "Hey, you guys everyone is out of the river?!?" just as one of our backpacks was floating past her. We looked around...ah, yep, sure enough we hadn't noticed that the tide was rolling in, everyone else was climbing out and we were still in the middle of the river. For Sam and I, in our chest waders this wasn't a major emergency but for poor Richard in his thigh high boots, whoops, though a little more wet than he'd have liked he made it back to shore. (Right us in the river)We all caught and released lots of pinks. We think I almost caught a King too!!! I didn't get him in all the way. Sam caught a Chum. Meanwhile, investigating a secret spot further up the road, closer to Girdwood and evidently having quite an adventure of their own was Josh and Mike. As later recounted by them over pizza at the Moose's Tooth, what had started as a short scouting venture turned quickly into a episode off Survivor Man. (left catching a fish!) Apparently the hike across and up river was considerably longer than estimated and included bushwhacking through a 'bear maze'. Along the way there was a brief and unsettling encounter with a very agitated mother moose and calf. Convincing them rather than trek back the way they had to come they should instead, according to Josh, "Fjord the river!" Again the estimated depth was sightly miscalculated and significantly over their heads. Mike flailed across with 2 fishing poles and Josh splashed over with 2 backpacks strapped around him. Both characters were in full fishing apparel including chest waders (not the smartest move). Mike hauled Josh in with a branch he found, increasing the likelihood of both surviving, cold but oxygenated. Unfortunately, they never did get to see if the secret spot was full of fish, but were thankful to have lived instead. (above my first 'pink')

"I'm going out to fish,' Simon Peter told them, and they said, 'We'll go with you.' So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing." John 21:3

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lessons From A Civic

“People need trouble -- a little frustration to sharpen the spirit on, toughen it. ~William Faulkner

Guess what I did this weekend...

So after watching 2 engineers, 2 race car drivers, and the 'me and mom cheering squad' struggle unsuccessfully for two hours with a slim jim and hot dog stick (from the campsite next to us) to unlock the bulletproof Civic which was now reeling in pain from scratched paint, torn weather stripping around the door then the general wrenching and prying taking place. As if that wasn't bad enough I've got my pom pom mom next to me snickering "Whew, well I'm glad it wasn't any of the rest of us who locked those in there, glad it was Rach." Lucky for her that's when, Dwayne and Mel swooped in to save the day. Mel introduced himself "Well, I'm a retired locksmith from Saskatchewan, eh. They don't make them like they used to but I can get ya in shortly." Dwayne chimed in "We just couldn't watch you kids any longer." They both chuckled and Mel went to work with the help of the already assembled stellar team. Within a half hour and (eeeerrrrkkk, owwwwouch, I winced to myself) a few dents later, we were in. ALWAYS, ALWAYS put the spare key outside the car not in the glove compartment.....expensive lesson learned. It was a bittersweet ending to an attempted fishing trip with boys' boss and family in Seward. Seward is a great little fishing town on the Kenai Peninsula. At any rate, we tried to offer our dynamic duo a monetary reward but Sam reported that Mel almost hit him and said, "Son, someone did something kind for me and told me to do the same for someone else so there yas go, now you go do the same:)"

Grab the Dare Rope #2! Following orders:) Pull a Mel & Dwayne! Be a good neighbor, go out and do something kind and helpful for someone you do not know when they are least expecting it. Take nothing in return.

"...Looking for a loophole, the religion scholar asked, 'And just how would you define 'neighbor'?"

Jesus answered by telling a story. "There once was a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took all his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill. I'll pay you on my way back."
"What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?"
"The one who treated him kindly," the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, "Go and do the same." Luke 10:29-37

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Attempt #1 at Finishing Crow Pass Marathon With Qualifying Time: Success!!!!

"When was the last time you did something for the first time?"
- Kobi Yamada from "Ever Wonder"
(Photos of the Race!!)
(Map of the Race!!)
(Article of the Race!!)
(This last link is a long one but they interviewed me and I ended up on the local

It wasn't easy by a long shot but we managed to come plodding into Eagle River Nature Center
today, finishing the truly wilderness Crow Pass Crossing mountain marathon in 5 hours and 5 minutes!!!! Yes, we evaded the bears, conquered the river and just barely made the first time cut off on top of the mountain! 53 minutes was our time for that first portion and we needed to get up there in less than 60, whew one down! We were allowed to continue. (To the left, Sam and I- 4 am, getting ready to head to the start) From that point on atop Crow Pass in view of Raven Glacier, we spent the next four gloriously dogged hours clutching along slippery sloping snow fields on the sides of mountains, traversing swift current waist high frigid glacial run off rivers (locking arms and crossing in groups so as to not get swept away), maneuvering through 8 foot tall grasses on paths no wider than a deer trail laden with heavy root systems waiting and successful in throwing me off balance and onto my nose at least 6 times but without major incident, Sam got a good laugh. (To the right, us at the start with our very full camel backs) This was also the perfect location to run smack dab into Yogi, (Thank You Jesus, we didn't) there was a lot of hollering going on "WaaaaHoooooEeeeee!!!! HAAAAALLLOOOOOO BEEEAAAARRR!!! Incoming!!!!! WooooHooooo!!!!" greetings from all of us, letting the furry locals know we were just passing through no harm meant (the bears deposited many warnings to us in return, dotting the trail, fresh and jam looking) I was pleased they'd been feasting on berries, no shoes or anything. (To the left, the start-all of us speeding away to get to the pass in under 60 mins)We were mucking through swampy slick mud paths, tip toeing makeshift bridges, balance beaming fallen log bridges, clinging to solid bridges over 150 foot slamming waterfalls, scrambling up boulder fields and scree, edging along eroding cliff trails beside the rapid river, gripping a worn out slivery old yellow tow rope secured to trees enabling us to down climb a steep embankment, hauling ourselves up a wooden ladder placed strategically by some kind soul where otherwise the race would have ended (the wall being too vertical to scale), nearly losing the obscure trail multiple times but for our fellow race-crazed-marathoner's past experience with the vague route, suddenly sprinting at one point with the loud warning cry of the gal running behind us who was being stung by bees! (Above at the Nature Center just after finishing)The entire time lugging full camel backs and trying to take in scenery so stunning, awesome and inspirational that I regretted my choice to leave the camera behind! We made the final push uphill through the welcomed widening Nature Center trails encountering the first spectators all cheering and offering their (well-intended but all over the board) ideas of how much further we had: 'Good job only 3 miles to go!' then the next 'That's it 5 miles left!' then 'You're almost there 4 miles to go!' 'Almost, About 3 miles left!' What???? How much do we actually have??? '100 yards downhill!' as we rounded a corner and stared up the trail... The emotional drain at this point was exhausting. Just when we had all but given up, the finish was in sight!!! Against my serious doubts, we would in fact, not be disqualified! We had finished under the 6 hour cut off!!! 5 hours 5 minutes! Whew again! We giddily fell into the arms of Mom and Josh anxiously awaiting our arrival (of course Mom had serious reservations about the whole thing to begin with, bears and all). Brandon, Ang and the kids all came out to support our crazy endeavor as well. Thankful for family and friends, what a blessing! So Sammie finished his first marathon and with no more than 8 miles under his belt of so called training (that is not normal or recommended)!!! Incredible though, he's a natural and what a way to start???? I'd be scarred if I were him. But if you know Sam, all in stride, he'll probably do more;) It was crazy! We (I use we loosely;) loved it, and now we are sore. IB Profen is our friend;)
Grab the Dare Rope #1! Try something new, absolutely something you have never done before, maybe something you have been unfoundedly afraid of enter a local weekend race, who cares if it's only 100 yard walk, just pay your fee, sign the waiver and do it for of the fun, camaraderie, and go-to-it-ness, even more drag your sibling, parent or friend along:)

A goofy clip of us, dazed, starved and trying to recount the event.
(Women's Results)

"I'm not saying I have it all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on the goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision-you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it. Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running the same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals and trying to get you to go along with them." Philippians 3:12-17

Friday, July 17, 2009

Here Goes Nada!!!!!

"The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals." ~Hal Higdon

To my delight and Sam's dismay, we just got back from our meeting for the Crow Pass Crossing Marathon! Up until 5pm this evening we didn't even know if we had gotten in! We made the cut (see Sam's 'Please Let Me In' letter posted July 8th).

Our names were on the "List". So we intently listened to the directions and warnings which I've taken the liberty to sum up as follows: "There will be bears and there's a good possibility you'll get eaten, you must carry from start to finish (yes, we will be checking)- long underwear, rain gear, water, hat/gloves and a partridge in a pear tree to slow down your getaway from the bears we just warned you about, you must make the first 3 severely challenging vertical miles in less than an hour or we'll disqualify you, if you do make the hour cut off you will probably drown while crossing the river because it's really too high to safely cross this year, before you drown don't forget to get your wrist band so we know you didn't cheat and crossed the raging rapids at the correct spot, apparently the wrist band will also inspire us for the second half (I wondered if it's edible), you will get lost because there are more trails than it's even worth our time explaining and they aren't well marked, there is absolutely no medical help, communication is impossible, the trail is constantly changing we never know what dangers lurk about from moment to moment, so do not get hurt as it would be highly inconvenient, annoying and frustrating for everyone involved, finally you have to get to the finish in under 6 hours or again we'll disqualify you! So that's pretty much it. Have a good race."

The gentleman sitting behind us exclaimed "These guys are the race Nazis!" Stay tuned! We'll be up at 4am tomorrow morning and on our way with 148 other race-crazed-marathoners to the start in Girdwood, 26 miles through the Chugach State Park and on to the finish at Eagle River Nature Center! Yay!

"...Run hard and fast in the faith." 1 Timothy 6:11

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hikers In The Mist

Josh, Mike, Me, Drew, Sam
at Summit of Bear Mountain

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds." ~Anonymous

Trying to squeeze the life out of each beautiful summer day that Alaska offers us has reminded me of childhood. Those warm, seemingly endless days when even as the sun would set we'd continue to ride around on each other's 'bike pegs' and 'kick the can' in a whole block's worth of backyards with all the neighborhood kids. Darkness would go unnoticed along with hunger, finally we'd be beckoned home. Begrudgingly we'd drag in the back door, scrub up quickly, dirt still streaking our 'all played out' faces. We'd lament the close of another vacation day and often fall asleep sitting at the table in our supper. Then still trying to fight sleep, we'd stare out our bedroom windows with eager wonder about what tomorrow's adventures would hold for us. Yep, it's just like that right here, right now in this amazing place:)

So when Drew piped up "Bear Mountain! You need to hike Bear Mountain." He didn't realize he had inadvertently just volunteered yet again to be the mountaineering guide for our rag tag troop of overly enthusiastic cheechakos! (pictured above is the Alaskan method of communicating the most recent wildlife sightings and fair warnings for future hikers, just jot it down and duck tape 'er up)
Bear Mountain was a hike straight up. No breaks just a steady vertical chain gang to the top. What we did find as we pushed our way through the thick forest was that in trudging out of the trees we were in turn climbing into the clouds! Another great analogy of life, somedays your are trekking through the jungle of undergrowth and other days you climb out into the clouds! K maybe its not as profound as I want it to sound but I tried;) It was a 3 mile round
trip, according to the computer information that I had been reading we were supposed to give ourselves 3 to 4 hours. We, of course came sliding in sideways to the trail head at about 2 pm to begin our jaunt (Drew had a friend he had to pick up at the airport at 4:30) he was our guide, again you do the math. About half way up the mountain, Mike, whom I will now refer to as Cptn. Insano, proceeded to run past the rest of us at a pace I wouldn't even pretend to entertain and we quickly lost him in the clouds (that may have been part of his plan all along). Drew patiently led us upward though I know he was probably chomping at the bit to get a move on. I'm sure it pained him to not take off in a sprint with the Cptn (pictured left, proudly awaiting the rest of us "What took you guys so long?"). Anyway we all successfully made the climb and were thrilled to find blueberries and crowberries growing at the top. Crowberries weren't such as hit, Mike said don't bother eating them their no good. Drew countered that they are edible and many sourdoughs eat them. Josh then had to sample a few and decided he'd stick to the blueberries. Resting and visiting at the top, Drew made the comment "The most amazing people I know I have met on the top of mountains." Moses would surely agree. Anyway, we had a mini photo shoot in the clouds for your viewing pleasure then we'll be taking you on a run down the mountain Alaska Style;)

Anybody for a run down the mountain???

"He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. By his power he churned up the sea.... By his breath the skies become fair.... And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! How then can we understand the thunder of his power?"

Job 26:7-9, 11-14

Monday, July 13, 2009

Invite Life!

Hi Everybody!

"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it." ~ Danny Kaye

Greetings! From the already getting darker every night land of the midnight sun! They say summer goes fast and apparently they aren't kidding. Since solstice we lose about 4 minutes of light per day and we are definitely noticing it. We almost have total darkness from about 1 am to 2:30 am. Our endless daylight is melting away! But we got to see the full moon, I forgot about the moon. Wow time is flying, it has already been one month since I left and I leave for Quinhagak in 2 weeks.
So what have your neighbors to the north been up to lately???
Hum, Mom and I have continued to check out local hiking spots such as: Potter's Marsh - (not my personal favorite). I found you pretty much fight foot traffic on a 1/2 mile long boardwalk built over the marsh, while trying to avoid bumping into the die hard bird watchers who occasionally forget to look beyond their binocs, granted there are many avian friends to spy so I don't blame them one bit;)

We cruised around Eagle River Nature Center which also happens to be the finishing point of the Crow Pass Crossing Race that Sam and I are hoping to get into next weekend. So many flowers! I thought I'd share them with you. Unfortunately I can offer no names as I have no idea what most of them are called so feel free to let me know;) A lot will look familiar to all ya'll in WI and MN.

This is the Alaska State Flower

Captain Skylar paddled me around Mirror Lake one hot day! What a treat! Even though we had to keep one eye on the float plane landing strip which coincidentally happened to be most of the lake. Still not sure what our plan was if we found that someone was landing? Praying for observant pilots I guess:)

Mirror Lake

We attended the Bear Paw Festival this weekend in Eagle River. They had everything from a 5k race (I jumped in about 10 mins before the start), a fair, and all kinds of main stage events to the community parade (in which Skylar skated with his hockey team). The whole town comes out. Reminded me of home.

Hockey Player Skylar (Above) The Video is a Sample of the Local Talent at the Bear Paw Fest

Finally we decided tonight we should probably check out the first 3 uphill miles (everyone warns that part is the toughest) of the Crow Pass Crossing Race we might (I hope please pray) be running this weekend. So with full camel backs and Drew as our guide off we went to Girdwood to trek up those first 3 grueling miles to the Crow Pass Since announcing our desire to attempt this race we have heard urban legends that we need to make it there within an hour or we will be disqualified from the race. Even if we don't make it I think we should keep going, the views this evening were gorgeous:) From there we hit the Moose's Tooth for the best pizza in town! If you ever get up this way I highly recommend the 'Backpacker' pizza;)

"What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with wisdom at Your side, made the whole earth overflow with your wonderful creations." Psalm 104:24