With Friends Like This

When friends come to visit, I like to take them to do things. Like see dead whales.20171029_135446.jpgOr go up hills.IMG_3862.jpgCarve pumpkins.IMG_3867.jpgMake them look at tall things.20171103_144738.jpgMake them look at pretty things.IMG_3915.jpgMake them go up more hills.IMG_3914.jpgMake them take selfies with me.20171102_152319.jpgMake them like it here.IMG_3916.jpgI showed them some glaciers and told them that the water was cold.20171101_165656.jpgI guess that some people need to figure things out for themselves.20171101_165751.jpg

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Birds: 3 Rory:0

Hike 17/52. this time, we took off towards Matanuska Peak. I had never been on this trail and I tend to stay away from “The Valley” as I don’t like meth or replacing car windows. For Obi’s happiness, I decided to risk it.

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 8.54.38 AM.pngIt is a steep hike in the typical Alaska fashion and covers 5,670 feet of elevation gain in 4 miles. When you turn around, the views keep getting better though.Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 8.54.53 AM.pngEventually, we could see Matanuska Peak.Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 8.55.16 AM.png

I can never quite capture the beauty in a picture. Our hike was slowed by me turning around and “oohing” and “aahhhing” to the dogs every few minutes.

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We saw one grouse on our return to the car. It flew far away very quickly. At least we saw one.

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Obi seemed to have a good time and that is all that matters.Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 8.55.34 AM.png

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.

Birds: 1 Rory :0

Feeling semi confident with my bow, I am looking for places where I can hunt small game. Having two hunting dogs, it seems that I should take them and put them to good use. One area open to hunting that isn’t too far away is the Powerline trail. Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 4.42.16 PM.png

Near Indian Valley, hunting is allowed. I headed over there for my first time on the far end of the trail.

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It was a beautiful hike and I was too low in elevation to get to any ptarmigan. I think. That is what I tell myself. We did not see any birds. At least I got some steps in. And is was hike 15/52.Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 4.42.04 PM.png

 

 

Can’t Stop on the Kenai.

This fall has been incredible for fishing the Kenai. Maybe it is always like this. It seems like I made the right choice moving up here. We have made friends with our incredible neighbors and some seem even more fanatical about fly fishing than I am.

Dolly Varden and Rainbow Trout have been caught and released by us more times than I can count. Here are a few pictures of the events.Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.31.48 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.32.24 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.31.29 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.33.23 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.32.49 PM

I Can See Russia From Here.

Well, the Russian River is a close day trip. This trail always seems to be under construction. It gets the heart racing as there are supposed to be lots of bears up here.Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.51.18 AM.png

This is where I start singing to myself. Loudly, poorly, and probably getting the words wrong. I sing more when I don’t bring the dogs. It is like a circus with two dogs with bear bells, me with bear spray, and still trying to fish. Sometimes it is nice to just hit it on my own. Terrifying, but nice.

The first fished I picked up was a Coho Salmon. Accidental. I was aiming for trout. It was a good problem to have. I need a bigger net.Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.51.32 AM.pngI did get into some trout. This one was fun.Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.51.48 AM.png

Nothing special about it, but I saw a little something stuck to it.Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.52.01 AM.png

Cool my first ADF&G tagged trout.Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.52.32 AM.png

Having worked briefly in the fisheries industry, this was exciting for me.

There are still lots of Sockeye Salmon in the river.

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They are occasionally caught as well. It is like dragging a tire upstream, but still fun on a 5 weight rod.

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There are plenty of decent trout to fool as well. Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.53.31 AM.png

I sang alone on the walk back to the car. Happy, tired, and in one piece.

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