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Steelhead Fishing in Alaska.

This was my first attempt at steelhead fishing since moving to Alaska. I have been talking about it and hearing stories for a while. I was told that we should have pumpkin pie for breakfast to keep the fish gods happy.

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Finally, it was time to make the four hour drive to the place I have been hearing all about, Anchor Point. Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and the Anchor River are all on the road system and have great access. This means nothing if you don’t know anything about the area. The first stop was the world famous Fly Box.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.06.26 AM.pngOnce we had the hand drawn map (it costs extra) and the magic flies, we were on our way. The first stop was the Anchor River. Mark and I took a lot of selfies.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.06.59 AM.pngWe both caught some fish right off the bat and felt pretty good about the trip we had made. They were not however, the Steelhead that we had come looking for.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.07.38 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.08.15 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.11.31 AM.pngNow we were in an area that they apparently don’t like people getting too close.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.11.59 AM.pngI know why they don’t want you around. Because they really do have big fish in Anchor Point! My very first Steelhead and I could not be happier.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.10.12 AM.pngOf course we kept fishing and kept getting luckier and luckier.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.12.59 AM.png

I was feeling pretty chuffed by the time #3 grabbed a hold of this magic fly.

The next day, we got up feeling like we might know what we were doing. The lack of pumpkin pie for breakfast proved us wrong. The next day, all of the fish were gone. So we left. Ready to return next year. I am starting to feel like the fish themselves. I will be returning to the same rivers around the same time each year.

Hiking Eagle and Symphony Lakes.

Hike 7/52 for the 52 hike challenge. This is a popular trail and quite an easy hike. Most of the mild uphill is in the beginning.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-39-39-am

Eventually, you make it into the valley below. The creeks that drain out of the lakes are two different colors.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-42-14-amI am still addicted to panoramic photos.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-40-38-amThe further into the valley you walk, the more boulders begin to appear.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-41-03-amEventually arriving at the lakes, you can see why the two creeks are different colors.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-41-17-amOne lake (Eagle) is the turquoise color of the glacial silt. The other (Symphony) is snow melt and precipitation. They are separated by a narrow ridge. It is a beautiful hike near Anchorage.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-41-33-amThe creek crossings were easier for some of us.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-42-48-am

Driving into Denali.

When your friends win the lottery and call you, make sure you answer the phone.screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-06-58-amscreen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-07-10-amscreen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-07-26-amscreen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-07-57-amscreen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-08-24-amscreen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-08-32-amscreen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-09-06-amscreen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-08-53-amThere are only 4 days that anyone can drive into Denali, if they win the lottery. We scored some of the best weather I have ever seen up there.

House Swaps.

It has been a busy end of the summer. I love the fall for fishing though. This monster trout was gorging on salmon flesh. Quite a memorable fish for me.


Small crowd at Bird Creek in August.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-52-14-pmAmanda completed her first marathon.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-52-31-pmWe still had some nice weather along the coast.


We moved out of our house that often had moose in the front yard.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-54-10-pmBut we bought this house and put a fish in the front yard. screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-54-21-pm

Mostly, we bought it so the dogs would have a big back yard.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-54-34-pmThe trails nearby also are fantastic.


I love fall fishing. screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-55-26-pm

Wine in Wisconsin?

When you are in Wisconsin, there seems to be a bit of drinking going on. When you are on vacation, there seems to be a bit of drinking going on. When you combine the two, it gets fun. We stopped at Wollersheim Winery and Distillery for a tasting and tour. It was fantastic. The grounds were beautiful.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-6-23-01-pmThe history of the place was fascinating to me. From their website, “In the 1840s, the Hungarian nobleman Agoston Haraszthy discovered the sloped land where the winery sits today, and planted it with grapevines. During his short time in Wisconsin, Haraszthy also incorporated the state’s first town, Sauk City.” What a busy guy. I also like where his head was. He eventually gave up Wisconsin for a different wine growing area, California. Turns out, it was a good move.


We made it out of the winery, even if we wanted to stay, and found our way (barely) to a farm. It was a beautiful space with chickens, a cat, a dog, some kind of farmers, and an old farmhouse. It was a great way to be introduced to the next part of our adventure, the Wisconsin Dells.


Bakeries, Boats, and Buskers.

One of the things that I love about vacations is being able to spend time looking for the perfect bakery. We spent one morning visiting a few and trying their baked goods. The best pastries seemed to come from Door County Bakery. They also had the best flowers outside.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-7-27-39-amWe also had to explore the area by bike to find the best beach. I think that we all agreed that Ferdinand Hotz Park was the best place to have lunch. This is the view of Lake Michigan from the beach.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-7-28-00-amThis is the view of the beach from Lake Michigan.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-7-28-17-amFrom our apartment, we walked down to the barbecue overlooking the almighty Green Bay where there was live music. The small figure on the bottom left is a guy playing a guitar and singing. What a way to end vacation days!screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-7-30-39-am

Kayaks and Flames.

We got out early one morning and joined a kayaking group in the cold, but beautiful waters of Lake Michigan. The weather continued to be spectacular. Our group hugged the coast exploring caves and occasionally getting our breath taken away by plunging into the lake.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.03.46 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.04.06 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.05.00 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.05.26 PMWhen we headed out for dinner we went to a world famous Door County specialty, the fish boil. Scandinavian immigrants brought this tradition to Door County. It is a great way to feed a lot of hungry people. Fish, potatoes, and onions are all boiled together. After about 30 minutes, a thick film coats the top of the water. To get rid of the film, but keep the water hot for the next boil, kerosene is thrown on the flames. The water boils over the pot keeping the remaining water hot and ready to cook the next batch rapidly.Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.05.59 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.06.10 PMAfter returning from Wisconsin, I found out that Anchorage has its own fish boil.

Headed North to Door County.

“Door County” is mentioned a lot when you are in the Midwest. We left Milwaukee and headed north. We were going to the famous Door County. Door County is known for its camping, beaches, and cherries. Also, true to midwest style, everyone is very friendly there.

The blue skies were tremendous as we sat in the air conditioned, cruise controlled truck loaded with bikes and luggage. The countryside was better than I expected. Corn fields and dairy farms were everywhere.

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We rode bikes into and through Peninsula State Park. Peninsula State Park has 460 campsites, an 18 hole golf course, a theater in the summer, big sandy beaches, and miles of bike trails.Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 7.15.46 AMNicolet Beach as a storm rolled in.Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 7.14.11 AMWe made it up to Gill’s Rock in the very far north of Door Peninsula. The weather continued to be perfect as we mingled with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins while eating, drinking, and watching the sunset. Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 7.14.48 AM

Visiting Wisconsin.

We recently took a trip to Wisconsin to visit Amanda’s family. The first stop of the whirlwind tour was out to eat. We love cheese, and I love fried food, so I was in heaven eating fried cheese curds. These Wisconsinites take their cheese very seriously. Almost as serious as they take their beer consumption.

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That night we walked along the water of downtown Milwaukee and it was beautiful. The air was warm and the sky was dark. After our first summer in Alaska, I was surprised by how much I missed the dark skies. I will probably be eating my words this winter, but the dark sky was beautiful at night. Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 8.36.18 PMMy father in law likes to ride motorcycles more than I do. He offered me one of his bikes one afternoon and I couldn’t say no. It was hot out and beautiful to ride by miles and miles of fields. Blue skies with green fields and an orange bike. I couldn’t stop smiling or sweating.Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 8.36.36 PMWe never stopped moving on this trip. I was introduced to the Bugline Trail. It is a fully paved trail that passes by homes, limestone quarries, and railroad tracks. It was a lot of fun on a bicycle built for two.Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 8.37.22 PMEvery ride needs a destination. This ride happened to turn around at a pub that has been around since 1862. We stopped inside for a quick blast of air conditioning. And maybe a beer or two. We definitely had a weasel peter sausage. Thank you Hanson Brothers Pub.

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