Hiking Bird Ridge.

Hike 12/52. Bird Ridge ain’t no joke. Especially in the winter. It is only 2.5 miles each way, but 3400 feet of elevation gain. Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.34.06 PM.png
4 dogs and 3 people made it damn near to the top.Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.34.34 PM.png

We went up, up, and up some more. Like a snowy stair stepper.Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.35.54 PM.png

The views seemed to just get better and better. Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.37.03 PM.png

We made it as close to the top as was safe and returned to the car.Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.37.12 PM.png

Walking was a little tricky for the following few days.

Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree.

Every year, I complain about finding the perfect tree. Every year, I go out and whine for hours about how cold it is and how dumb we are for being out there. This year was no different. We went out in stupidly cold temperatures and looked at hundreds of trees that all looked the same to me.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-18-37-pmI stopped to take a couple of pictures. I was pretty happy when we weren’t actively hunting for a tree. It is rather beautiful. I hate to admit it.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-19-33-pmThis is my favorite way to look at the trees. From the warmth of a car.

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We headed into Hope, Alaska, hoping (hahahahaha) for a warm meal or really just for something to be open. There was a kayak place that will microwave a sandwich for you. The cafe was closed.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-20-20-pm

It was rather beautiful, but I hate to admit it.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-20-37-pmWe found lots of snow. That is better than last year!

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Beautiful. It is all so damn beautiful.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-21-04-pm

Just Another Creek.

We headed up the Parks Highway (names for George Parks, not Denali National Park, even though that is the direction it heads) to follow little blue lines that we had seen on Google Maps. We found a place where the power lines cross the creek. This is usually a good spot to access the water.

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Many other places I have fished have lots of private property preventing a person from accessing the water. Here, you really just can’t get to the water. The bushes are too thick, the mud is too deep, and there are no trails. It is perfect. When you do get to the water, you might be on a cliff too high to fish properly. The other side of the river always seems to look better than wherever I am standing.

Plus, there is the added bonus that I am always looking over my shoulder for wildlife. Maybe something to see that is cool, maybe making sure that nothing is going to attack me. Either way, I feel like I am always looking out for something. We found a piece of water that looked like it would have some fish. The water was higher than we wanted though. It was muddy. There were hardly any bugs (except the mosquitoes). There had to be fish here.

It was too early in the season for anything salmon related. No eggs yet. No flesh unless it was left over from last year. These are meat eating trout. It was time to swing some streamers. The bigger and uglier the better.Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 2.36.34 AMSomehow, we fooled them again. Total solitude. Hungry fish. The fear of being attacked by wildlife overcome. Mosquitoes swatted. Headed home, we felt accomplished. Rugged. Alaskan like. Bear spray safely in the car unused, we stopped by Starbucks for our usual chai lattes. We aren’t that rugged.Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 2.36.56 AMAs the fishing season starts to heat up, my heart races more and more before each adventure starts. Every time that we step outside, I am amazed at what we see.

Hike 2/52

I am counting my runs as hikes. They meet most of my made up criteria. A few friends, Amanda, and I went running at Campbell Tract. There are over 730 acres to play in. It is across the street from work. We ski the trails in the winter and run there in the summer. It is outstanding. Bears, moose, birds, and all of the other Alaskan wildlife can be seen here.Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 12.47.10 AM.png

In fact, there is a part that is closed when the salmon are in the creek because of the high bear activity. We ran 8 miles and had a great time. We did not see any large mammals, but that is always okay with us. They probably see us and we get to see them when we are least expecting it.

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The biggest adventure.

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.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.20.21 PMWe arrived at the cabin with the sun shining brightly.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.21.58 PM.pngInside, there was a fire still smoldering from the people that had left before we arrived. It gave us a very welcoming feeling.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.23.47 PM.pngDropping our packs, we headed back out.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.24.39 PM.png

There was even a wood fired sauna!Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.24.49 PMObligatory wood burning stove shot.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.34.54 PM.pngWhy wouldn’t we have smores?Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.35.10 PM.png

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. Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.44.38 PM.pngAdmittedly, 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.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.42.34 PM.png

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.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.32.48 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.33.08 PM.pngIt was after this adventure that we headed up to Hatcher Pass.