Birds: 2 Rory: 0

Another beautiful hike. In fact 16/52 that I am trying to get to. It is nice that I need to gain elevation to get to these ptarmigan. It forces me to find difficult hikes.Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 8.23.05 AM.pngThis time I headed up Buffalo Mine Road. There are lots of ATV trails and it would have been nice to have one at some points. When I am sweating and tired I wish for an ATV. Then I remember how much healthier it is to be out there sweating and doing things under your own power.Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 8.28.40 AM.pngWe saw some squirrels and many birds that we were not targeting. The colors of the plants and trees are starting to change and it was a beautiful walk in the woods with the dogs and my bow in my hand.Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 8.28.54 AM.pngI also don’t spend much time in “the Valley” as it can have a bit of a bad reputation for being a rough area.

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The Reception.

After the park, we returned to our house to host a party. We did it all in our backyard.Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.58.16 AM.pngOur party favors were dog treats. Our cakes are from Jerome Street Bakery.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.58.58 AM.pngWe cannot recommend them enough. From their website:

“We specialize in fresh, seasonal, and organic sweets inspired by the abundance of beauty in Alaska- the dark snowy winters, the mountains, the wildness, and our lovely piece of earth we call home on Jerome Street (and the wildlife we share it with).

We are known for our gratitude cakes. All our sweets are a fusion of a love of baking and a love of the community.  100% of proceeds are donated to chosen monthly non-profit.

Every product is made with love and intention, therefore no one cake will ever look the same.  Each order is unique and personal to the individual or event, and is based on seasonal availability.”

Our “guestbook” was a canvas painted like our backyard. We asked guests to paint themselves in.Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.01.15 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.01.25 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.59.18 AM.png

Desserts were s’mores which included gluten free handmade graham crackers courtesy of the founder of Ben’s Muffins.Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.59.36 AM.pngLive music was provided by The Hot Club of Nunaka.Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.00.43 AM.pngThe parents looking proud.Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.01.45 AM.png

Return for the Kings.

Having successfully caught a King Salmon on the fly, I wanted to show me friends why it is so exciting. We headed back down to Anchor River and fished until nearly midnight. Hardly needed headlamps.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.47.56 AM.png Unsuccessful on day one, it did not matter with a “sunset” like this. Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.47.06 AM.png

The next day, the river was closed to fishing so we got to explore Homer and the Homer Spit. Homer is in the news lately because of the fight on immigration that it is battling.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.48.14 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.48.24 AM.png

The next day, the river was back open and we hit it early. We spent a few cold, almost dark, hours practicing our casts, and hooking and losing a couple of fish. Then it turned on. We found the right spot and the right time and we crushed it. The freezer is starting to fill.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.48.35 AM.png

Wolverine Peak (almost).

Hike 6/52 for the 52 hike challenge.

It starts off beautiful right from the trailhead. It is a big well worn trail at the Prospect Heights Trailhead.

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Then it slowly follows the appropriately named Powerline Trail.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.08.33 AM

This is quite an easy trail. It isn’t too steep, it is wide, it is gorgeous. I love Anchorage.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.08.44 AMThis time of year, there are flowers of every color outside. The pinks, the purples, the whites, the yellows, I wanted to show them all off. I wanted to sit and stare at them, I wanted to make sure I made noise to alert any bears.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.02 AMThe whole trail is very well marked. I brought a GPS, but really did not need it. Some of our adventures are totally unmarked and out in the middle of nowhere. This trail was nothing like that.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.15 AMThe views from the trail were incredible.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.27 AMI did not have enough time to make it to the top of Wolverine Peak, but I think that is it behind the dogs. The trail got steep, the day got late, and I had somewhere to be. I did get to hear coyotes calling as the sun went down. This place is amazing, still.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.42 AM

Turnagain Arm.

We live pretty close to Turnagain Arm. The arm is a 40 mile long waterway that has some amazing views. Any time we are headed south, we hug the water and drive carefully as we look for beluga whales to the right and mountain goats to the left. Turnagain Arm has steep mountains on either side that are usually covered in snow.

turnagainarm

Across the street from our house is Potter Marsh. In the winter it freezes completely and people go out ice skating on the marsh. When the water is moving, we see muskrats, lots of birds, and even salmon swimming. It is an incredible place to have so close to our house. Recently, the weather was in the single digits and the marsh froze. The place was packed with ice skating families. Then it snowed. That made it more difficult for ice skating, but we still were able to take the dogs out to run around.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 5.59.23 PMI am blown away by how gorgeous this place is. Every damn day. Just beautiful. It also feels relatively empty. We go running on one of the more popular hiking trails and hardly ever see anyone during the week. Sometimes we go a little further down the road (maybe 5 miles) to hike in a new spot.

Here, we started from McHugh Creek trail. The views across Turnagain Arm were worth the stop in the snow. Obi flushed a Ruffed Grouse on this hike. That was the first one that we had seen here. There is always something new here. It is incredible.Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.00.00 PM.png

Eventually the snow melted, which we didn’t expect so late in the year, and we got to run in shorts again. It was Black Friday and everyone seemed to live the REI #OptOutside idea. I am all for it. We drove to the trailhead so we could spend more time running through the forest. It was the busiest we had ever seen it. There were about a dozen people out there.

Once again, we had to stop and take a picture. Sure, our run times slow down with snow, ice, mud, and picture taking, but it is definitely worth it!Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.00.24 PM

Secret Lake

I am a little hesitant to mention the name of this hike or where it leads. Maybe I won’t mention it here, but if you ask I will tell you the name and it will be easy to figure out how to get there with a little research. We went on the afternoon of a holiday. Luckily, I didn’t have school, or I would feel guilty about not studying.

The hike started at an unmarked trailhead. We passed through many different kinds of environments.

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The birder is always busy.

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There were beautiful marshes and meadows.

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The dogs were well behaved as always.
Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 7.50.06 PMWe eventually made it to a beautiful lake where the clouds would come rolling in over the mountains and restrict the visibility to just a few feet. Then as fast as it started, the wind would push the clouds away and the trees, lake, and surrounding peaks would be visible and inspiring.Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 9.38.31 AMThe wildflowers were beautiful in the meadows on the trail leading to the lake.Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 9.39.56 AMAt the lake there is a cabin that is open to the public and stocked by generous hikers. There were three cots, a guitar, Ramen, canned foods, and a spinning rod. Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 9.38.49 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 9.39.32 AM

Craptastic Science.

This amazing article from National Geographic has me carefully watching my dog poop. According to the article, “under stable magnetic conditions the dogs would always poop and pee while facing either north or south. This provides convincing evidence that dogs can sense magnetic fields and are sensitive to even small magnetic-field variations, say the researchers”.

Now I know that my dog is amazing. Probably more amazing than most children I come across. But this just proves it. In the back yard, Lando has peed facing north 3 times and 1 facing south. We are 4 for 4. However, I don’t know where the sun was. Maybe he didn’t want to stare into the sun. He is a cautious dog and temporary blindness would freak any of us out.

Also, knowing how sensitive a dog’s nose is, I can imagine that he wouldn’t want to be downwind of his poop. I know I try to stay upwind. Don’t worry, I will keep watching to see if this experiment is valid.

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