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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Hike 1/52 – Hidden Lake.

Starting off this hiking thing. Trying to nail 52 hikes in a year. There are so many hikes near us that I wanted to find a way to keep track of all of them. For Hidden Lake we started at the Glen Alps Trailhead. It was a Sunday and the parking lot had the most people we have ever seen. It was about half full. We left the parking lot at about 1 pm. There was a mixture of snow and mud for most of the trail along the powerline. It was also the busiest here. It was relatively uneventful. We have hiked and ran along the powerline trail a few times. It is the busiest hiking area close to Anchorage. Sometimes there are moose hanging out, but the sheer number of dogs and people usually makes them a bit skittish. About 2 miles into the hike, we veered left. Crossing over the south fork of Campbell Creek, we stopped for our first photo. Lando loved looking in the snow. Obi was off chasing birds.Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.32.10 PM.pngThe lower elevations did not have as much snow. The south facing slopes were pretty snow free. There are fantastic boardwalks on the popular trails that help mitigate damage to flora. It also helps keep us a little less muddy.

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As we increased in elevation, the snow became a bit more prevalent. Being Alaska, one we left the parking lot, there were no signs. I feel like every trail in the lower 48 has  at least a half dozen signs. Here, not so much. Maybe that is why this place is called Hidden Lake. There was worn in trail which made it easier to head the correct direction.

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This is a warm spring. There is no snow at our house, but this trail starts at about 2200′ above sea level. Once we got off the busy Powerline Trail, the ptarmigan were everywhere. The dogs loved it. Here is Obi pointing to a well hidden ptarmigan in a tree while Lando looks for something hidden in the snow. Can’t see Obi?Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.23.54 PM.pngLet me zoom in for you. Does this make it easier?Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.24.25 PM.pngEventually, there was lots of snow and the occasional postholing. Sometimes lots of postholing. The weather stayed nice and a sunburn at the end of the day was mildly surprising.Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.43.38 PM.pngAbout 4 1/2 miles in, we made it to Hidden Lake. It looks like it will remain hidden a little while longer. We ended at about 3700′ above sea level.Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.44.32 PM.pngIt is an interesting time of year. Too much snow down low to ride bicycles on the trail, but not quite enough snow to make it worth dragging skis up to the top. It is also nice enough to hike without snowshoes and only deal with a bit of mud and wet ankles at the end of the day. We were lucky enough to see some mountain goats as we ate our lunch at the lake. This place is amazing. Until the next adventure!

Moose and Motorcycles.

As I was coming home from work one recent morning, a moose crossed the road in front of me. Luckily, I had plenty of time to stop. Then the moose stopped as well. He stood in the middle of the road and I stopped. Idling the bike, I lowered my feet unsure of what to do. If he charged, could I turn around fast enough and gun it? Probably not. Would we play chicken and I try to skirt around to the other lane? Doubtful. We looked at each other for a while. I think that he realized that I wasn’t too much of a threat. He walked down the road keeping a wary eye on me.Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.17.12 AM.pngHe was on the same side of the road as I was, so I was going to have to drive on the opposite side of the road to give him plenty of space. A couple of cars came by. Some stopped to make sure that he wouldn’t charge them as well. Some zoomed by either not noticing or not caring. I slowly started approaching him from behind, but got into the other lane (hoping there was no oncoming traffic) and he stopped to watch as I passed him nervously.

These giant animals are still amazing to me. To the locals, they are like dairy cows in Wisconsin. Big, never trusted, and seen everywhere. Locals don’t take pictures of moose. I still do. I got home and took the dogs on a short walk. A few minutes later, this brute come clomping down the road just like he was when I passed him. He still didn’t seem to have a care in the world. He is a true local.Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.18.08 AM.png

Ocean View.

There is a common thing told to people moving to Anchorage. Avoid any neighborhoods with “view” in the name. Mountain View is dangerous, don’t move to Fairview, Oceanview, well you probably can’t afford Oceanview. The same could be said for Goldenview, or that Goldenview is too far south. Oceanview is our new favorite place to hang out. We can walk to a beach that has been covered in snow lately. The sunsets are amazing. There are usually as many moose as there are people we don’t know.

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Lando leading the way to the beach.

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Amanda found the perfect tree to take a picture of.

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The dogs loved sitting on giant pieces of ice that float to shore at high tide.

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The weather lately.

We are not from here, but the people that are have been telling us that this is not normal weather. This article says that “Anchorage is poised to see the breaking of a weather record that has stood for more than half a century, after more than a month without significant snowfall.”

snowfall_2016.jpgWe bought skis and even got to use them once or twice. That was it. Somehow, Alyeska has gotten over 500″ of snow. The base of the resort is mostly dirt and mud though. Currently, there are many cloud free days. With higher temperatures, we are out hiking in places that we didn’t think we would be until later in the year.Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 8.49.43 PM.pngThe lingering sunsets have been quite incredible. Even with a little Instagram editing.Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 8.49.53 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-16 at 8.52.28 PM

Fur Rondy

The Fur Rendezvous kicks off the couple of weeks before the Iditarod. With our lack of snow, the activities were shortened. We still had fireworks, running of the reindeer, and dog sled races. Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 10.07.45 PM.png

There was also a fur auction (relevant to the name), blanket toss, and yes, a cornhole championship. Next year, we hope to participate in the fat tire bike ride, snowshoe softball tournament, and of course the outhouse races. But what did we like the most? Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 10.30.45 PM.pngThe dogs!

Rudolph is delicious.

Reindeer are caribou that have been domesticated. I have been told stories of people separating a few caribou from the wild herd and starting their own reindeer herd. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work as the caribou sometimes come and steal their herd members back. Thus turning the reindeer back into caribou.

Reindeer is often available in grocery stores, restaurants, and meat stores. Indian Valley Meats is our local meat store. Maybe most rural areas have a place that will process your meat for you, but it is not something that I have experienced until moving to Alaska.

There are some laws about selling wild game. From ADF&G, “It is illegal to buy, sell or barter game meat. Unprocessed meat and other game parts may be transferred to others permanently (given as a gift) or may be transferred temporarily for the purpose of transport…  Any meat you plan to give away must be in the same or better condition as meat you would keep for yourself”.

Why get bacon in your breakfast bagel sandwich when you can get reindeer sausage

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