Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18th

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Took a cold walk to the post office this morning. The temperature was 0, but thankfully the wind wasn't blowing too much. The sky seemed to be clouding up quite a bit so we may have more snow this weekend. We walked by the town square which is located in front of the Performing Arts Center. For several nights we have walked over and tried to take a picture of the Christmas tree with the lights on. We obviously haven't mastered night photography because none of the pictures come out right. They always seem to blur or have trailing lights or something. So I'm afraid you'll have to settle for a picture of the gorgeous Christmas tree during the day. Greg took a bus to the library and returned some DVDs for me while I prepared lunch. It would have been awhile before the next bus and he was getting cold just standing still and waiting. So he just started walking, and walk he did. He walked all 34 blocks back home. His nose and cheeks were quite red but the return bus only beat him to the station by 5 minutes. He did have a late nap to recoup before we walked across the street to a Christmas bazaar.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday, November 30th

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Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and ate too much like we did! We went out to SBFs Mindy and Paul's home for the great feast. It was a very snowy day. It snowed about a foot at their home. After dinner we played the Wii sports games with Mindy, Paul, and Mindy's cousin, Hunter. Don't think it was enough of a workout to make up for the abundance of calories we had just consumed- but it was fun. Greg did box enough that he was sore and could barely move his arms the next day! I stuck to tennis and bowling!

As you can tell by the photos, winter is here until at least April. Tonight the lows are expected to get down around 0. It will be a balmy 12 for the high tomorrow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday, November 22nd

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Well, luckily Greg had snapped these pictures of a fluffy snow here this weekend. This morning we woke to a covering of nasty ice! It was difficult to walk to the bus even wearing the traction grippers on my shoes. City buses were not running due to hazardous road conditions. Finally made it to school, safe and sound. The snow is much prettier and enjoyable!! I don't think I'll ever tire of watching it snow. Hopefully, we can get out over the Thanksgiving break and see more beautiful snow as we walk along the trails. My Dad will be having his heart surgery Tuesday and I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers. I'm sure he will be fine!
We would like to give a huge THANKS to Kimberly and Flegont. This gracious couple lived here in our building and gave us so many wonderful things when they moved out! We are so appreciative and really were touched by their thoughtfulness. Thanks and good luck to your family!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Homer Trip, Part 4

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Headed out of Captain Cook State Park running on petrol fumes. We tried in vain to remember the last gas station we passed on the long remote road into the park. Luckily for us, we made it to a station. We filled up the tank and headed for home. Drove back through Kenai and stopped in Soldotna for a quick break and snack. Since we had about 2 hours of daylight left to enjoy, we decided to drive through some of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge roads. The Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. It offered beautiful mountain views, gorgeous lake views, and some great fall vistas. We nearly had the road to ourselves as we passed only about 3 other vehicles. We stopped at many of the lakes and tried to capture some mirror images of the mountains as they were reflected in the lake. Since we were pretty much alone in the middle of nowhere, we didn't wander too far from the safety of the car. We wandered around this area for about 2 hours and then forced ourselves to leave as it was getting dark. Of course, by the time we got back on the Seward Highway, it started raining and this made driving difficult. We finally rolled back into Anchorage about 10 and grabbed some food and went home to the apartment. Greg took the rental car back and walked 17 blocks home at 11 at night- but he was off work the next day so he didn't get any sympathy from me.

Update!! Anchorage got its first official measurable snowfall today (Nov. 2). There had already been trace amounts of snow reported 8 times so far this season. Since 1939, there have only been 11 times when the first snow came in November. The average date for the first snow is October 16.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homer Trip, Part 3

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Got up this morning just in time for free hotel breakfast. We sat out on the balcony for a few minutes enjoying the gorgeous view. A bald eagle flew within 20 feet of us. We continued to watch as this majestic bird soared high up into the morning sky. We noticed the sea otters on the bay and the many coastal birds atop the water. On the way out of town, we stopped at a couple of souvenir shops. Our only purchases were some fresh Washington apples from a local stand. Along the road toward Kenai, we spotted some type of lighthouse at the edge of a mountain ridge. We drove along the Sterling Highway to the north and on to Captain Cook State Park. It has some awesome views of the ocean. It is a very remote area. We probably passed maybe 3 other vehicles on the park's main road. We pulled into a parking area for a quick restroom break. However, as soon as I saw this sign I no longer needed the break. Luckily, we didn't encounter a bear but we did catch a glimpse of a bull moose along the edge of the woods.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Homer Trip, Part 2

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As we made our way on toward Homer, we took a slight detour to check out a Russian Orthodox Church. This beautiful older church was perched atop a mountain ridge surrounded by a white picket fence. The community of Seldovia, across the bay from Homer, was an early Russian settlement. We hope to charter the boat across to check it out next time we visit this area. In the meantime, visiting this neat church will have to do. Upon entering the city limits of Homer, we stopped at an overlook of Kachemak Bay and the city of Homer. This was breathtaking- the views were phenomenal. We tore ourselves away from the views and headed on into town to find a room. We drove down the Homer spit. The spit is a narrow 4.5 mile piece of land that juts out into the bay. During tourist season, the spit is packed with visitors and traffic clogs the single road down the spit. There are a multitude of shops and restaurants lining the shore. Today, however, there were very few people and most shops were closed for the season. Ahh, just as we like it. We decided to stay at the Lands' End Resort. This is the very last thing at the tip of the land- hence the name- Lands' End. The room was tiny and Greg swore he had seen larger walk-in closets. But to its credit, it had a balcony with awesome views of the snow-covered mountains and the beautiful bay. After dropping off our luggage we hit the beach. Greg picked up shells for the nieces while I looked for sea glass. As we continued along, we found several interesting things including dead squid, jellyfish, a string of mollusks, and many ravens and gulls with relentless appetites. Upon passing the squid, Greg picked up a large amount of string. He said we needed a soda can pull tab. I just happened to be standing by one so he took his multi-tool and fashioned a hook from the pull tab. He tied it on the string and then proceeded to tear off a piece of the dead squid (gross!!!). After throwing the bait in the water, it took him just 8 minutes to catch a small halibut. What a survivalist! He did throw the halibut back and we finished up our walk on the rocky shore. To top this great day off, we drove into town and had a delightful dinner at Crabbies. At the request of the neighboring table, the restaurant even put on a small laser light show- well, homemade and low tech laser light show- but amusing and entertaining all the same.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Anniversary Trip

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We have been pretty busy lately. Greg's leg is almost back to normal, just in time for our anniversary weekend trip. Our weather here has begun to cool off dramatically. In fact, we got the first taste of snow on September 26th. It is called termination dust because it signals the end of summer and warns that the first big snow is right around the corner. I know it is hard to see the snow in the pictures but it sure was exciting to watch. It didn't add up to any accumulation in the city but the mountain tops are tipped in white and we know that the snow will begin its progression down the slopes and into town soon.
We rented a car this Saturday morning and headed south. We decided to drive down the Sterling Highway and go wherever the road led us. We saw more beluga whales along the Turnagain Arm as we headed out of town. Oddly enough, we didn't see a single "tourist goat" on the mountain along this area. The tourist goats are the ones that come down the mountains near Beluga Point and stand near the road. This often causes traffic back-ups as people try to capture them with their cameras. Maybe since the tourists are gone, the goats have also gone to their off-season homes.

The fall leaves have begun to turn colors as you can tell from this photo. This picture was taken along the Kenai River between Cooper Landing and Sterling. We stopped in Sterling and ate lunch. We continued down the highway and decided to head on to Homer. This stretch of the Sterling Highway offered some beautiful views of the mountains across the waters of the inlet. We stopped along the way and took pictures of a couple of volcanoes. These 2 volcanoes, Mount Iliamna and Mount Redoubt, which had a small eruption in 2009, were the first volcanoes we had ever seen up close. Well, if you can call 52 miles away a close distance. Still, they were quite impressive and a little menacing! Mount Redoubt is in the picture behind me and Mount Iliamna is in the background of Greg's picture.