It started innocently enough. We skied to a cabin outside of town. We drove a couple of hours, strapped on our skis and backpacks, and followed the signs.We arrived at the cabin with the sun shining brightly.Inside, there was a fire still smoldering from the people that had left before we arrived. It gave us a very welcoming feeling.Dropping our packs, we headed back out.
There was even a wood fired sauna!Obligatory wood burning stove shot.Why wouldn’t we have smores?
We built a fire, made dinner, and had some wine. At some point, I went to put another log on the fire. I noticed this. Admittedly, I was a little tipsy and slightly confused. When I opened it, I found a ring. I put it on and did not disappear, so I was snapped back to reality. We were going to get married. The next day, we celebrated by playing outside some more.
We are not the type to waste time, so the following day, we submitted an application for marriage. A week or so later, we headed to the courthouse.It was after this adventure that we headed up to Hatcher Pass.
Skijoring with a dog is a sport in which a dog (or dogs) assist a cross-country skier. One to three dogs are commonly used. The cross-country skier provides power with skis and poles, and the dog adds additional power by running and pulling. The skier wears a skijoring harness, the dog wears a sled dog harness, and the two are connected by a length of rope. There are no reins or other signaling devices to control the dog; the dog must be motivated by its own desire to run, and respond to the owner’s voice for direction. – Wiki.
One of our new favorite places to visit (along with many other Alaskans) is Hatcher Pass. We have only been there a couple of times, but they have been memorable experiences. Especially on the west side catching fish in Willow Creek.
From the Department of Natural Resources, “The 300,000 acre Hatcher Pass Management Area primarily consists of mountainous terrain in the Talkeetna Mountain Range that climb from the 1000 ft. valley floor to summits higher than 6,000 ft. The area includes more than 30 prominent summits and associated glaciers.”It is always beautiful up there, no matter what the weather is.
We have been spending a decent amount of time cooking. I am inspired after getting The Food Lab. We caught some trout at a nearby lake. I wrapped them in foil, stuffed them with onions, tomatoes, garlic and lemon, and threw them on the grill while I seared my steaks. I have been using the sous vide method of cooking as much as possible lately. It has been incredible.
I have also been making pasta from scratch. It is a fun and delicious thing to do. The use of a stand mixer with pasta attachments makes it happen a little faster than if we were to roll everything out by hand and then cut it.
For a fast appetizer, I made asparagus with poached eggs and walnut vinaigrette. It was probably the fanciest sounding thing I have made.
Of course, half the fun of cooking is making something unhealthy. I have also been dabbling in frying things. Frying fish and chicken with a side of potatoes was delicious, but really made the house smell like grease and nothing feels very clean for a couple of days. Leftover fish sandwiches on homemade bread.None of this would be complete without dessert. Amanda made an insane gingerbread hollow cake lined with melted chocolate. Then we added homemade eggnog and whipped cream that we make minutes before stuffing our face. It has been a good first winter in Alaska. Who needs many hours of daylight when you can stay inside and cook!
Hit the frozen lake over the holidays. This is more fun than I thought it would be.
One of my favorite things about travelling is meeting new people. On our drive from Seattle to Anchorage we met quite a few people. Most are adventurous types. We tried to stay off the most popular roads and the like minded people were camped nearby. They were always friendly, but liked to give us the solitude that they assumed we were looking for.
Somewhere along the way, we saw a car pulled over. Usually, this means that there is wildlife nearby. This time did not disappoint. Our first grizzly bear. Close to the road and did not seem to care at all about what the cars were doing.
The car in front of us had a couple of guys taking pictures. These two guys were very excited to see a bear. It was their first bear they had seen on their trip. They were visiting from Italy and were driving through Canada to Alaska. I just got an email from them with some of their bear pictures.
I hope that they had a good trip and saw many more bears (from a safe distance).