Monday, April 22, 2013

Mama Nature Day

Happy Earth Day everyone! 

I hope you got the chance to give Mother Nature an extra big hug today. Every Earth Day I go on a rant about how you should treat EVERY day like Earth Day, so I'll save you the torture and just give you a link for last year's Earth Day post HERE.

Words to live by...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fires & Brews

We went out to North Douglas again yesterday evening, with a plan to build a fire. The thing to do is bring your own firewood, or a truck load of pallets, since cutting down trees is bad and any downed wood gets burned up pretty quick. All we had was a bunch of cardboard, a bag of leaves, and a determination to scavenge the shore for driftwood. Luckily for us, the spot we picked had a leftover pallet that someone had left from the night before, and we were able to gather up quite a bit of driftwood fairly close by. I got the fire going while Dustin manned the grill. We enjoyed some burgers and dogs, and relaxed to the sounds of whale spouts in the distance and seals playing right out from the shore. Our friend Spenser showed up in his boat to hang with us for a while. We all enjoyed a few beers and admired the amazing beauty that surrounded us. Spenser had to leave to get his boat back before dark and ended up letting his keys go for a swim, which is a whole other story you can read about on his blog, AK Livin'. While Dustin was helping Spenser with the key delimma, I was relaxing by the fire with just myself and my beer. Some people with truck loads of pallets showed up and started a fire about 100 yards down the beach from our spot, which turned out to be some Eaglecrest peeps that I hung out with until Dustin got back.

God I love Alaska. Everywhere you look, there's beauty. 

The sunset was gorgeous, as always. I just can't imagine how anyone can NOT love Alaska. Being that I love snow, mountains, and pretty landscapes, I'm certainly in the right spot. 

Also, yesterday marked 5 years for Dustin and I. I can't believe it's been a half decade already! It's definitely been the best 5 years of my life. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be in AK, shredding such gnarly, amazing mountains, and living the dream. I couldn't be more blessed to have such an amazing man in my life :) Now, enough with the mushy stuff... onto the photos!

Enjoying an Alaskan Summer Ale with a spectacular view!
Dustin on grill duty
It's not a burger without Texas Pete!
Burgers and views

Looking towards the Mendenhall Glacier from North Douglas
A ferry headed to port in Auke Bay
Spenser coming in for a visit on his skiff
Twilight & Fireglow
Looking towards the valley from North Douglas
Same shot, but with an ember from the fire floating by
Bonfire time!
She's a blazin...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sunsets and Humpbacks

Yesterday we drove out to North Douglas to catch the sunset, and it was a beautiful one! We pulled in at False Outer Point, which is my favorite spot on North Douglas, and walked down to the beach to get some photos. The tide was coming in and the waves were pounding the beach, which made for such a relaxing sound as we watched the sun disappear behind the gorgeous Chilkat mountain range. 

After the sun was gone, we were on our way back home and as we were driving by the North Douglas Boat Launch, a humpback broke the water's surface just a few feet from the shore! Of course we immediately pulled over at watched this beautiful creature swimming around in Fritz Cove. It amazes me how close to shore they will get. I tried to get some photos but the only thing that ever broke the surface was it's back, and turns out Dustin got better photos of the whale than I did. That whale must have just been in a mellow mood. I have yet to see one breaching, but when I do, I know I'll be in awe of those creatures once again. I know I'll see hundreds of whales over the course of the summer, and get plenty of photos to share with you guys! 

Here are some of the better photos from last night.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Slushy Aurora Whales :)

Lots to talk about since my last post! 

The Slush Cup was an awesome event. After a leaky pond on Saturday, the event was postponed till Sunday so the pond could be repaired. I think it worked out for the better since all that muddy water drained out and they refilled the pond with pretty green/blue mountain lake water. There were lots of competitors, but only a handful made it across the massive 130 ft water pit. Dustin and I worked the 'Big Rippers Grill' with Tessa and Tommy and sold a shit ton of burgers, brats, and dogs. 

What gorgeous weather for the last day of the season!

Lots of spectators showed up to witness the soak-fest.
Is that a front flipping bunny? Yes, it is.
This guy SENT it!

We also FINALLY got to see the amazing, magical Aurora Borealis Saturday night/early Sunday morning. Words just cannot come close to describing how awesome it really was. I always thought the videos you see with the lights dancing around was super time-lapsed... which most of them are, but the best part is that they really DO dance around, just not quite as fast as they appear in the videos. It's a truly magical experience and I can't wait to see it again. This planet is one special rock in the universe. I tried to take some photos, but the aurora is super hard to capture on a point and shoot. Below are a few photos that others took from the same aurora event, but it's exactly what we saw with our very own eyes! 

Photo: Ron Gile
Photo: Frank Pierce

Photo: Frank Pierce

I also started training at Allen Marine a few days ago. I'll be mainly working full-time as passenger service and a back-up deckhand, but if a full-time deckhand position comes up then it's mine. I'm currently in deckhand training and have been learning all sorts of stuff about diesel engines, since part of the job is fixing stuff that breaks while underway. Just to be clear, I know absolutely nothing about diesel engines... three days ago. The training is pretty intensive, and honestly things seem a bit easier to remember than I expected. So far, if an alternator belt breaks or a fuel filter needs changing, this girl can fix it! I'm sure I'll learn a ton more over the next couple weeks and I can't wait. I want to learn everything I possibly can about how those boats work. I feel like I'll be pretty mechanically inclined after this summer :) What I'm even more stoked about is seeing whales and other Alaskan wildlife on a daily basis. How lucky am I?! What I feel like is a 'good omen' of sorts, is the whale I saw in Auke Bay before I went to my first day of training on Monday. Whales are such massive, majestic creatures! I wish I had a photo but all I had was my iPhone and it was too far away to really get a decent shot. Note to self: glue my camera to my side!

One of these boats will be my office this summer :)

Also, Dustin got a job with Eaglecrest working full-time over the summer on the mountain ops crew. He's super stoked about being on the mountain pretty much year round. This is an awesome opportunity to get more involved with Eaglecrest and I'm very proud of him :) Looks like he'll be getting a three day weekend all summer... I'll have to admit I'm a bit jealous!
Dustin also snapped this photo of our mountain view from the front of the house...

Lastly, I want to say how heartbroken I am to hear the news of a good friend's passing today. If you spent any amount of time at Beech Mountain Resort, you knew the friendly face of Scott Dodson. He was a truly good man and was the foundation of that mountain. Dustin and I both have had so many good times over the years with him. Many of the memories I have that involve Beech also include Scott. If you needed help with anything, he was always there with a lending hand. He loved that mountain so much, and it showed. I can remember countless times where I've laughed so hard it hurt, all because of Scott. May he be eternally happy now, without pain or suffering, looking down upon his family, the mountain, and people he loved so much. Beech Mountain Resort will never be the same without him. Rest in peace, Scotty.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Airport Dike Trail

I headed out to the Airport Dike Trail to find some friends that were kiteboarding by the channel, but thanks to an extremely slow Subaru dealership oil change this morning, I just barely missed them. This was the first time I've been to this trail, and I will certainly go back soon. It's very flat and borders the Juneau International Airport and the Mendenhall Wetlands State Park. The trail starts at the end of the runway, so the planes were landing and taking off right over the trail. I stood there for a while just watching the planes flying over my head. It was very windy which made for some interesting plane landings. Major props to those pilots for doing what they do. The wind was blowing the planes all over the place as they landed, but they seemed to pull it together right before landing. The wind was so strong it nearly blew me over just standing there watching them. AK wind gusts are the real deal. After seeing a few of the smaller planes get a bit squirrely in the windy air, I decided being directly under their path wasn't the smartest idea.

It was a super nice sunny day, other than the crazy winds. The temp was mid-40s, and about 10 minutes into my walk I was shedding layers down to just a tank and jeans. After being in the snow and colder temps most of the winter, 45 and sun felt like a beach vacation. I saw tons of squirrels, waterfowl and a few bald eagles in the wetlands. It also must be a popular dog-walking trail. I passed about 20 different dogs and their owners that were out for a sunny stroll as well.

Here's a short video and a few photos...