Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I've been in Kodiak for two days getting prepared to take off--today we have a 36 (!) hour ferry ride and then two plane trips to my final destination of Port Moller. But it will take ten days, as I will be disembarking along the way to help out at other field camps. It'll be cool to check out different ports along the Aleutians. I just got some brand new raingear and Xtra Tuff boots, courtesy of Fish and Game. Nice to start off the season with new gear, even though I have to return it at the end. Kodiak is beautiful and rainy, as I expected. Lots of fishermen (people) coming and going. It's a pretty big town--it even has a Subway sandwich restaurant, which serves a salmon sandwich. More later, I hope!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I'm off to Kodiak and then the Aleutians for what promises to be an exciting summer of Wildlife Tech research for the AK Dept. of Fish and Game. This is a part of the state that I've never been and am looking forward to exploring. I hear there's internet but we'll see...In the meantime, here's a parting shot of one of Dave Dalton's dogs getting cozy at Dawson City at the halfway point of the Yukon Quest, 2006. I might have gone overboard with the straw but they seemed to love it. You're probably an animal lover if you check out this blog, so you've noted the cuteness of the dog's expression in this pic. That bottom lip gets me every time. I hope to be posting again soon!

Another look at the grizzly who was really responsible for starting this whole blog thing in the first place.

Dealt With Accordingly

When hiking in the forest, it is common to see wildlife trails near the main trail, which are used by bear, moose and other creatures. A lot of times these trails are faint, but sometimes it's easy to tell they are well-traveled. My work partner called this one the "Super Bear Highway."

Saturday, May 26, 2007

An old miners cabin way out in the bush where I stayed one night during a two day dog mushing trip. It doesn't look like much but it was a huge relief after ten hours of mushing--the last several hours in the dark. Check out how deep the snow is--it took about 45 minutes to snowshoe in from the trail. I actually crawled a lot of it due to ill-fitting snowshoes. Miners, mushers and the like are responsible for its upkeep so that the next weary traveler has a place to stay. There were many holes in the walls where curious bears had made their way in to investigate possible food options. They were patched up nicely with cardboard. I couldn't say what was living in that mattress but I was more than happy to sleep on it. This is the closest to "middle of nowhere" that I've ever been, which was exciting in its own way!

More from the farm in Homer...the first time I've ever seen chickens in snow!

I've been busy getting prepped for the summer--making sure I have my Helly Hansons, XtraTuffs and all the other Alaskan gear I need in order--in the meantime, here are some pretty sunset shots from a farm I stayed in Homer.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"Thank You, You Came Here"

A few weeks ago I was doing a petsit in Thunderbird Heights, which is adjacent to the Athabascan village of Eklutna, about 25 miles north of Anchorage. Eklutna is the oldest continually inhabited village in the Anchorage area, and settled 800 years ago! Apparently, Catherine the Great of Russia, which claimed ownership of and did business in the area, sent Russian Orthodox missionaries to Eklutna in order to convert the natives...I think this has happened a lot throughout AK. There is still a Russian Orthodox church there, so I went to check it out. I loved the colorful "graves," and have since found out they are "Spirit Houses," which I learned more about online:

"The main point of interest is the Eklutna cemetery which has several dozen 'spirit houses.' These are a mix of Russian Orthodox and native funeral practices in which, over a deceased person's grave, a small house, perhaps four or five feet long by two high by one and a half wide, is built for the purpose of giving a new home to the soul of the deceased. The spirit houses are painted in the traditional colors of the deceased's family and are often quite colorful." Very cool!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Porc butt

I was keeping my eyes open for wildlife on my drive up to Fairbanks this week. I didn't expect to see a porcupine! I first spotted him almost on the road, so I shooed him off. Hence, the shot from the back. He went to camouflage himself in some branches. The he decided to climb a tree to really hide. They remind me of small dogs--SO cute!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A drive-thru "restaurant" along the Parks Highway. I stopped out of curiosity but was only brave enough to order a's not exactly Carney's (those of you in LA will know the place)!

If you live in Alaska, you might have seen the anti-Meth commericals that have been playing a lot recently during primetime. Here is an image from the "Meth Jump" commercial shoot. My truck was also featured in that one. I had to be a bit of a stunt driver! You can check it out at:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My favorite old sled dog blissing out on a perfectly comfortable sled on a sunny day. Ahhh, retirement....

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Just playing with the "charcoal" effect in Photoshop! Trying not to waste TOO much time!!

I don't know why the architecture in Nome is so bizarre. I am sure it has something to do with all the snowfall.
Update from Ni (thanks, Ni!): "Nome's main street looks like those old west towns where they all had false store fronts. The idea is the bigger your front the more buisness you would get. Nome seems to have tried to keep its wild gold rush feel, thus they still use that style of building.
I do know it does not help with snow. Flat roofs and large flat fronts can cause bad drifting and roof failures."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

the glue pot

An interesting storefront in Nome. There were many!

What Glacier Bay is famous for...

The small town of Gustavus had a Fourth of July parade last year. There was a bike decorating contest. (Yes, it reminded me of Bolinas!!)

This was a popular hangout spot in Glacier Bay National Park.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

We were allowed to take dogs to bed with us at night. They might have worked during the day, but at night the dogs I selected had it pretty good. I wished I could have taken every dog, of course.

Sometimes tourists from the cruise ships would bring an elderly relative along for the helicopter ride. Those people had the option of not having dogs pull them but rather taking a more mellow ride with humans pulling them! They still had a great time.

Like I mentioned, nothing new happening. I warn you the pics are going to be old but I'll still post some. Here is the kitchen tent on the glacier. That is freshly baked bread. There is a full time cook who makes delicious meals every day. The people are pretty serious about good coffee, as well. I was not expecting this! Even though you're seriously isolated, you're eating well and drinking good coffee.