Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
~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. http://www.lcoschools.bia.edu/ 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.
Monday, July 27, 2009
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
Thursday, July 23, 2009
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
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. http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00548/species--kinds.htmll They call it 'combat fishing'. Here's an article about the combat fishing on the Russian which we did earlier this summer. http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=10553485 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. http://www.alaskanoutfitting.com/fishing/birdcreek/birdcreek.shtml 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
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. http://www.sewardak.org/index.asp 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
- Kobi Yamada from "Ever Wonder"
It wasn't easy by a long shot but we managed to come plodding into Eagle River Nature Center
Friday, July 17, 2009
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!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
at Summit of Bear Mountain
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! http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=HGA048-008 (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
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.
This is the Alaska State Flower
We attended the Bear Paw Festival http://www.bearpawfestival.org/ 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.