Sunday, July 27, 2008
This was our first trip to Cama since the park opened in June. Unfortunately, we had to be back by midday Saturday, so it was a short overnight trip, but it was fun to see the place with kids and guests. I think the last time D and his friend A were up here was when I brought them up here for a really low tide when they were in 5th? grade. They played with the football and the frisbee for a while, but eventually started searching for teenager size logs to launch.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I got up early this morning, swung by Fuel for coffee, the North Bend MacDonald's for breakfast, and was on the trail above Alpental shortly after 8AM. Which meant that I was already heading back out by the time the crowds from Seattle were arriving - heading into the mountains with gym shorts, sneakers, and sometimes, with a small Dasani bottle held in one hand.
The trail on the north side of the ridge, which drops down to the lake, was largely covered in snow and the lake was deserving of its name. It was a beautiful morning and if there was anyone else at the lake when I was, I didn't notice.
Friday, July 04, 2008
Another all-day boat trip to see glaciers and wildlife. Fortunately, it came with dinner and D wasn't too bored to tackle the prime rib. Besides eating, he played cards and slept, although he joined us on deck now and then - probably when sleeping and playing cards got too boring.
We ate while drifting off the front of Holgate Glacier. The sun came out as we headed out to the Beehives and the Cheswell Islands, where we got great views of puffins, kittiwakes, and other diving-swooping-perching things. We managed to see several humback whales - including one or two that actually managed to get completely out of the water (which is pretty amazing for something that big, if you think about it).
We planned the trip way back in January and for various reasons our schedule had us arriving in Seward on the 4th. In hindsight, it's amazing we were able to find a place to stay, since the 4th is a big, big deal in this place. We arrived by train from Anchorage a little after 11AM and walked the 1/2 mile or so to Murphy's Motel where we unloaded our stuff, then joined the throng headed into downtown.
The big attraction is the Mount Marathon Run - a desperate scramble up and down the mountain behind town that grew out of a bar bet a century ago. They claim this is the oldest organized running race in the country, after the Boston Marathon. We were in time to see the parade, which was colorful and a little hokey, the way parades tend to be. We got to see Ted Stevens, the still-living senator they named the Anchorage Airport after. Then we walked up to the top of Jefferson Street to wait for the men's race to come up from town and disappear up the mountain. The runners scramble through the trees, up the scree, up the slabs and the waterfall, whatever works. 45 minutes or so later, they reappear, tumbling back down the slope, blood on their knees, mud and snow on their clothing, and waving at the cheering crowd.
Seward was pretty gray most of the time we were there - but the hotel had a TV so D could watch football (or at least football news shows about quarterbacks with short-lived retirements) while his dad wandered beaches backed by parking lots filled with RVs.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
The weather was so nice that we took the plunge and signed on for a flight around the mountain. We chose to pass on the glacier landing to save money, but then ended up getting it thrown in as they juggled planes and tourists for the afternoon flights. It was probably the most expensive thing we've ever done on a per hour basis, but I don't think we had any regrets. Wow!
They land heading up hill on the snow and then take off going back down. The takeoff was cool - it felt like sledding (in a big enclosed toboggan) and all I could think of was Calvin and Hobbes heading toward the jump...
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
The weather stayed clear (or awfully close to it) so we continued back through Anchorage and then kept going north - calling ahead to find a room in Talkeetna - where we pulled in around 10PM. We checked into our room above the dining room at Latitude 62 - not much of a room, but the only place under $100 the entire trip.
We drove up to the big, fancy lodge on the hill to slum a little bit - and check out the views. D wanted stay in the car, but when we returned to tell him that a bunch of college age tour guides were tossing a Frisbee on the front lawn, he perked up. They played with the disk while the sun the sun set directly over the Alaska Range - we had to drag him away after midnight. It would probably have stayed light enough to play all night long!