Just another day.

If you want to see wildlife in Alaska, you can head into the bush and camp for a week stalking the animals or just sitting quietly. Or you can look for someone else pulled over on the highway. That is what we did. 
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We were just driving down the highway enjoying the view when we saw a bunch of people with big camera lenses looking up. Like good cheechakos, we pulled over to see what was going on. It was a bit too late in the day for my little camera to get a good picture of him, but it was cool to see.

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Lately, this big bull moose has been hanging out in our yard. He ate our rhubarb and wakes us up at night. Well, he wakes the dogs up and they wake us up. It is hard to explain how big they really are. they blend in very well and sometimes we walk right past them without noticing the first time.Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 5.09.19 PM

That is the latest news from the cabin in Anchorage. Fall is incredible here. As my fishing season winds down, we are starting to hope for snow so we can put our skis to good use. Until then, I will be looking around for large animals.Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 5.09.35 PM

Amanda’s Birthday.

The nicest part of road trips is being able to stop whenever you see something pretty. The problem in Alaska is that everything is gorgeous. It is hard to drive anywhere because you are stopping all of the time. It already takes a long time to get anywhere here. We headed to Homer for an overnight birthday trip.Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 10.36.30 AMWe stopped if we felt like it. If we saw a cliff and wanted to know what was on the other side, we went to check it out.Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 10.39.49 AMEventually, we made it all the way to Homer. We found our cabin and admired the view. Homer is beautiful with water everywhere and big mountains and glaciers visible from town.Homer spit is a big draw and we headed there immediately. Going into the Salty Dawg is mandatory.Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 10.40.14 AMWe found a great restaurant at the recommendation of our cabin owners. What a beautiful place. The decorations are one of a kind and the food was outstanding. We ate enough to keep us full for our adventures the next day.Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 10.40.51 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 10.41.33 AMThe next day, we looked off the balcony and figured we should get to the glacier that we could see while eating breakfast.Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 10.42.13 AMThe biggest problem is that it is on the other side of Kachemak Bay. Luckily, there are a few boat owners around that were willing to drop us off near Halibut Cove so we could hike to the glacier.

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We jumped out like a relaxed D-day and watched the boat leave.

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That is when you start hoping they will come back when they promised. Or that you will make it to the extraction point. Or that you should have brought some bear deterrent. Although we did have cell phone service the whole time. There are many well maintained trails on the opposite side of the bay. The hike was beautiful.

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We were making good time and decided to detour to Humpy Creek. Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 11.06.51 AM

While there were no Humpies (pink salmon), there was a beautiful view and a rare way to cross the creek. Well, it is  rare for us before moving to Alaska. This is the second hike we have been on with a hand tram used to cross a river.Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 11.07.09 AM

Eventually, we hiked to the glacier. It turns out we hiked to the lake that is made by the glacier. We couldn’t actually get to the glacier from where we were if we wanted to get picked up today.

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Amanda did get to touch the glacier. In her own way.

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We made it to the extraction point and survived. Somehow. The boat returned. We weren’t eaten by wildlife. We even had a delicious dinner in the car on the way back home.Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 11.19.59 AM

Happy Birthday Amanda!

Visiting Seward, Alaska.

Amanda’s parents were visiting and we filled our time doing great activities. Visiting Seward was one of the first things to do. We lucked out and left Anchorage on a beautiful sunny day. With minimal clouds and wind, we hoped that the weather would stay this way all day. Headed south, the views of Turnagain Arm were fantastic.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.03.15 AM

We arrived in Seward and puttered around town waiting for our ship to sail. When we left the dock we flipped through our brochure hoping to see some animals from the boat. Before we left the harbor, we were excited to see a few sea otters.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.06.17 AMWe were surprised to see lots of Humpback whales so close to our boat. There was even one breaching which was typical in Hawai’i, but pretty rare here.

There were lots of Stellar Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks which was very interesting. There were mothers feeding their babies and even one showboater sticking out its tongue.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.07.21 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.07.45 AM

We saw bald eagles, coastal mountain goats, and lots of glaciers. We spent most of the trip pressed against the railings on the side of the boat. The weather was great the whole time.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.05.01 AMScreen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.08.03 AMThere were glaciers and icebergs that were tough to imagine the size. They seemed small, but as we got closer and closer, they got more and more enormous.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.10.02 AMAfter the boat trip, we needed just a little more adventure. We headed to Exit Glacier to look for Obama’s footprints. We didn’t see any, but the glacier was beautiful.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.10.18 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.10.52 AMUntil next time. Thanks for reading.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.05.31 AM

Another amazing day.

We have been so busy that I am having trouble keeping track of everything we have been doing. Today was pretty incredible though. It was a lazy day and we started late. Eventually we got out rock climbing. As we head south from out house we probably have one hundred climbs within 10 miles. We are out of shape, but it is sunny and we like being outside.Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.46.59 PM

On the way home, we stopped to get some water. Obviously, we are smart enough to not buy bottled water, so we brought our bottle to the source. the locals are always here so we figured there was a reason. Turns out, it is pretty good.Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.46.12 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.45.59 PM

On the drive home, we saw people pulled over and look into Turnagain Arm. A pod of beluga whales were feeding on salmon with their friends the seals. We sat on the side of the road and watched this sunset and admired the whitest whales we have ever seen.Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.15.28 PM

Moving to Alaska – Day 13.

We began our day with butterflies in our bellies believing that we would be rolling into Anchorage today. The house search began in earnest. We had three places that we were interested in. One place on the east side, one place one the west side, and a cabin really far south. The cabin was just out of town. It was the first place that we looked at. It felt a bit like a scam as the owners live in another town. The only redeeming factor was that there were keys so we could go inside and check it out. Most scams don’t allow you to do that. (We have never lost money, but a little time to a scammer.) It was a cute cabin, but small.

The next place we looked at was a two bedroom typical house. It was on a road next to a house that looks like the next house which looks like the next house. The last house we looked at was pretty much the same. A couple rectangular bedrooms with a bathroom. The houses could be in Michigan, Washington, or Florida. They were nice, but no charm. No Alaska feel. We went back to the cabin and looked again. We thought we could make it happen. Sure it was small, but it was a mile away from Chugach State Park. A park that is a half a million acres in size. We are across the street from a wildlife preserve. We have moose in our yard. We made the cabin work.

We ran to Point Woronzof for this view.
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We went to the state fair to see Garrison Keillor.Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.36.16 AM

We even got out fishing.Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.36.40 AM

We built a bed frame. Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.36.58 AMOur nice neighbors told us to pick raspberries before the season ended. So we did and made little pies.Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.37.15 AM

We hike around the immediate area a lot. This is one of the most popular hikes, Flattop.Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.37.42 AMWe really like to sit in our little cabin and look out the window with our dogs.Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.36.26 AM

We have made it to Alaska and we are settling in well. Thanks for the encouragement from everyone.

Moving to Alaska – Day 7.

You can skip this video if you are sick of the sunset timelapse fetish I am currently in love with. The sun just refuses to go down as you drive north during the summer.

Our next stop was Prince George. Prince George is a city. It is the 4th largest city in British Columbia. Like most of the area, lumber, oil, and mining are the major industries. This causes large swaths of forest to look empty. There is always a smell in the town. A smell that just smells industrial. It wasn’t pleasant and we didn’t want to stick around. We figured that we needed to stock up on all of our supplies because from here we would be taking the road less traveled. You see, most people head east and then north. They take the historical Alaska Canada Highway. Otherwise know as the Alcan. I am sure that it is beautiful. The fact that the whole 1400 miles was created in less than a year in amazing. But we were ready to get away from the hordes of RVs and all the people with their small dogs inside of them. Our route took us east on the Yellowed Highway to Kitawnga where we would turn north.

We needed lunch and somehow scored the best place in Prince George. Duck confit poutine?! Maybe this town isn’t so bad.Poutine

We had been following large rivers for most of the trip and it was fun to see the rivers I have only read about in fly fishing magazines or heard about from expensive guided trips. On our way to Kitwanga, we stopped short of Smithers at Telkwa to camp. It was another provincial park and someone seemed to be having a 19th birthday party. 20 kids, big trucks, loud music, and big fires. God, I am getting old. We drove through Houston, British Columbia and I had to take a picture with the largest fly rod in the world.Houston

Everyone started to get a little cramped in the car so we had to find interesting positions. Obi Wan

Moving to Alaska – Day 3.

We swam, we found waterfalls, we fished. We paddled around in our canoe and swam when we felt like it. We found leeches. We found rainbow trout. We found it relaxing. We stayed another night.

Here is the sunset before my battery died.

Lando in panorama mode.

Appropriately name Turquoise Lake just up the road.

Amanda at Turquoise Lake.

There were a few fish rising every evening.

Good night!

Long, beautiful sunsets every night.

Obi Wan vs squirrel.

Everyone loved this campsite.

Amanda's new bikini.

Swimming every day.

The family in the canoe.

The canoe was a great thing to bring on this trip.

Suns out...

Fun fooling fish.