Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fishing Trip, Part 2

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After leaving the sea lions we continued on to the sweet fishing spot. The water was beautifully clear along the pristine shores. By the time we arrived, it was fairly cool and windy yet sunny and beautiful. The seas were relatively calm and the outlook was promising. Paul set us up and it was a race to see who would land the first fish. We fished and fished and fished without any luck. On the plus side, Paul knew another spot where they always caught smaller halibut (in the 30 pound range). We figured a few smaller fish were better than nothing. So went to the new spot and fished and fished and fished. It was about at this point we decided begrudgingly to give it up. We did see a bald eagle and several porpoises as well as the sea otters and sea lions we had seen earlier. In a state of disbelief we headed for home. We stopped at the Visitor's Center at Portage Glacier. It is a nice facility with several exhibits, gift shop, and movie area. While driving home along the Seward Highway, a few miles outside of Anchorage, we spotted several beluga whales swimming along the Turnagain Arm. We didn't get that great picture we wanted, but it was rewarding just to see these beautiful animals. The Cook Inlet belugas' population has decreased over the last 20 years from a few thousand to about 350. Even though we didn't catch any fish, we had another great Alaskan day thanks to Mindy and Paul.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sunday, September 19th

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We got up a little before 6 and headed for Whittier. You have to go through a tunnel to get there. This is a World War II railroad tunnel that was converted to use for vehicles and railroad cars in 2000. In fact, it is the longest tunnel in North America shared by vehicles and trains. It is also the longest highway tunnel going 2.5 miles end to end. It is only open to automobiles at certain times of the day. Cars wait at each end until the tunnel is opened for scheduled one way travel. You better be there in line or you'll have to wait about an hour before your side gets to go through again.

We arrived in Whittier and got the boat into the water. After loading up, we set out for the sweet fishing spot. It was a beautiful day in the harbor. However, as we began to get out into Prince William Sound a bit, we hit a wall of dense fog. This made continued travel unsafe. We turned into a cove to wait for the fog to lift. After a while, we attempted to make it through the fog again. We were successful this time. After traveling several miles we saw a rocky shore full of Steller sea lions. You could probably smell and hear them before you actually saw them! We decided to take a short detour and check out these cool animals. The average male weighs 1,245 pounds and is about 10 1/2 feet long. The females average about 580 pounds and grow to 8 1/2 feet long. They feast on fish, squid, and occasionally birds or true seals. As we drew near to the shore, instead of diving into the water and disappearing as we expected them to do, most of them continued to stay on the shore and bellow. The ones that jumped into the water swam out to the boat and put on quite the water aerobic show. We watched them for several minutes. It was really cool to see these animals up close in their natural habitat.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saturday, September 18th

I had to walk to the Post Office by myself this morning as Greg is still not up to much exercise. After that built up my appetite, I decided to cook breakfast. I made grits, biscuits, and eggs with summer sausage (made from Dall sheep). The sausage was given to us by my friend at school, Terry. Her husband had killed a Dall sheep on a recent hunting trip and had the meat processed. The sausage was quite good and really spiced up the meal. Thanks Terry and Chris.

Later, we headed out to SBFs Mindy and Paul's home to spend the night. We picked raspberries from the patch in their backyard. Greg tried to befriend a beautiful jaybird. The stellar jaybird is large with beautiful coloring- its shape is close to the blue jay in Tennessee. However, the coloring is much different. We never got the exact picture we wanted because he couldn't quite stay still. The bird did come and get a peanut from Paul's hand. Mindy made a delightful dinner featuring Salmon Stacks. She created this after she had eaten something similar in a local restaurant. Salmon is served atop a crispy won ton with avocado, sour cream, cheese, and some other secret ingredients. Yum. After dinner, we visited for awhile and then turned in early to be rested for tomorrow's fishing trip.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15, 2010

My class went on a field trip today to Campbell Creek Science Center. It was a blast! The weather was foggy and quite chilly as we visited the creek. We searched the stream rocks for different types of insects. We did various educational activities to learn more about water.

Greg prepared dinner for us tonight. He made spaghetti using moose meat given to us by SBF Mindy. This was the first time I had eaten the ground moose meat. It has a really good taste and is very lean. Tastes a little different from ground beef, but is still excellent. This photo is of moose round steak which we will enjoy for dinner another night. I bet it will also be delicious.

Overall, it has been very quiet lately. We haven't been able to do much because of Greg's leg injury. This weekend there was excitement near us at the Dena'ina Center. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin held a speaking engagement on Saturday. This made for a circus-like atmosphere in our neighborhood. There was a huge crowd, lined up several people thick, all the way around the building. This line wrapped around a city block several times. To add to that, there were protesters on every street corner near the center. Hopefully, Greg will be healed enough for us to get out and about this weekend.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day! Yes, it has been a week or so since I put anything on the blog. School has been super busy and I've been working hard to get it in order. We also haven't been able to get outside much lately. Greg tore his calf muscle about 2 weeks ago. He had to visit the Urgent Care facility and has been on crutches since. The doctor told him it would take about 8-9 weeks to heal. Needless to say, he hasn't been able to do any walking and hasn't gotten out much except to go to work. Last week he did start a new job, still with the Bureau of Land Management, as a Contact Representative in the Public Information Center. He is back in uniform and dealing with visitors again.

Today our apartment building had a cookout for the holiday. There was a yummy spread of bratwursts, hot dogs, hamburgers, and all the sides. We thoroughly enjoyed being outside in the gorgeous weather eating all that good food. It has been perfect fall weather here for the last few weeks. I could actually see my breath as I walked to school on a couple of mornings. It gets up into the mid 50s to low 60s by midday. Some of the leaves on the trees have begun to turn a golden yellow. Gorgeous!