Monday, December 3, 2012

Cod in Kodiak, Attractions in the Southwest, and Thanksgiving in the Mountains

A lot has happened since my last post and I apologize for my lack of diligence in maitaining the blog.  Anyway, that leaves me with a lot to catch you up on in one post.  I'll go for the highlights...

Back in September, one of Sarah's clients offered to take me on his fishing boat with him.  Sarah works in fisheries management and her clients are generally large bearded men (see below).  He had just gotten some new gear to try out and could use a hand and company for a 3-day trip, I was not particularly useful in either regard.  

Our fearless captain, George H.

Our trusty vessel, seen at port in Kodiak, AK.

Me and a vanquished Cod fish.

Nothing too interesting about this picure.  I just look excpetional.

Shortly after my excursion into Danger Bay, Sarah and I traveled down to Arizona. The good folks at the Credit Union National Association host an annual attorneys' conference and this year brought us all to Troon, AZ.  A little area outside of Scottsdale - simply wonderful.  The girl isn't bad either.

The Hertz guy offered me a pretty good deal on convertable to drive through the desert for four days.  Sarah instructed me to immediately accept the offer.  In the picture above, we're stopped in one of the many national parks in the area, which was open all night.  With the cacti and coyotes surrounding us, Sarah and I found a lovely little place not too far up the path ... and well, let's just say, it was the first time I felt like mother nature was actively cheering for me.  If you've ever heard a pack of coyotes howling, you can imagine how I felt.

We'll end this post on a family friendly note, it being the holiday season and all.

Sarah's mom and cousin came up this year for Thanksgiving.  Though not pictured, Sarah's cousin James is a lovely fellow.  Her mom is nothing short of fantastic.  I will point out to my family that they are always welcome to visit as well.

We traveled up the road a bit from Anchorage and stayed in Talkeetna for Thanksgiving weekend.  The wonderful little Alaskan town is best known for its pie and access to Denali (Mt. McKinley).  The three new women left in my care - Beth Ann, Sarah, and Stella the dog.  In truth, all three do way more to care for me than I do for them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You Otter Know

Otter puns have become something of a hobby for me.  Fortunately, there are no shortage of puns to make and no one ever gets irritated by them.  

Riding the waves - he otter be careful. 

The large mass on the left is actually a raft of otters, which is what you call a group of otters hanging out.

Bears of Katmai, Future Wife

Since Sarah has agreed to marry me, I think she will be okay with me publicly mentioning that we are in a relationship.  To be honest though, I haven't checked, so I might have to amend this post later.  Anyway, she and I went down to Katmai National Park last weekend to hang out with the bears.  The Park (and Preserve) has the highest concentration of Brown Bears in the world.  These brown bears live on the coast and live on grass and Salmon when they're around - so, they get to be a little larger than their inland brothers, who feed mostly on berries, grass, and maybe some bushes or something - I'm not really sure.

A sow with her two cubs.  It's tough to see all three in this picture, but if you look to the right of the sow, you will see the other cub's nose poking out.

Brown bears will not see humans as a food source, unless people condition them to that perception.  As you can see, this doesn't mean they're not curious about us, but we got pretty close and left unscathed. They have plenty else to do (eat, play, mate).


Sarah and I with some flowers.  The darker ones are brown lilies - they are known for their distinct scent and unusual nickname ("Lady on the Pot").

Sarah is looking at me skeptically in response to some claims I made about being able to "take" the boar seen in the background.

We were on very flat land that allowed us to approach the bears without surprising them.  When done slowly  and quietly you can get pretty close to the bears - we were about ten feet from this guy.

I think the set of pictures below pretty succinctly tells the story of bear motherhood.

Yells at children to stop fighting; children don't listen...

Tackles child in hopes of ending conflict...

Everything seems okay; mother turns back...

Children continue; mother gives up.

29" Sockeye

I've had some trouble recently adding text to the blog posts.  I could have easily resolved some of these difficulties with technical upgrades (fully functioning laptop, etc.) or I could spend that money on fishing gear.  I made my choice.

Fortunately, it seems as though Google has updated things to work more easily with my system.  So, we're back on track and I caught my inaugural Salmon (pictured above - it's the one on the string).  For those curious, it was caught on the Russian River, using a Russian River fly, of course.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Caines Head

About two hours south of Anchorage is Seward, AK.  A town known mostly for its fishing (see earlier post about unsuccessful fishing), but also its incredible scenery and its propensity for rainfall.  Lowell Point State Recreation Area sits at the edge of town and about five miles in from there, by foot, is Caines Head.  The hike there is something incredible in itself.  There is a two mile section along the beach that can only be hiked at low tide - otherwise you're left trying to navigate some pretty steep cliffs.  A couple people have died over the years by not paying attention to the tide schedule. 

Once past the rocky stretch, travelers can go on to a separate secluded beach or hike to the top of the Head and tour Fort McGilvray, a remnant of Alaska's preparation for a Japanese invasion during World War II.  Although, the Japanese did invade, they never made it past the Aleutians, thus the massive turrets at Fort McGilvray never fired a shot in anger, nor did the men stationed there ever see combat.  The War in many ways, though, was harder on these soldiers than their compatriots in different theaters.  The isolation and unforgiving Alaskan climate made it an unenviable station.

Fortunately, for me and Arnie, we timed our trip to catch the last beautiful of weekend of sunshine.

Notice how Arnie does not care at all what I am doing.

Muscle Beach.

Mussel Beach.


Inside the abandoned fort.

View from the old turret placements.

Where the large guns used to sit and where Arnie thought about jumping into a pool of really dirty water.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Matanuska Glacier

I've thought for a long time that my bed is too soft, so I went north this weekend and spent Saturday night on a glacier.  Though I subsequently found out there is a much easier way to access the glacier, my route took me about five miles through the bush.  Of course, those who know me well, will tell you that I never have a problem diving into the bush.

The glacier is the giant ice slide on the left.

That's actually a pretty impressive fire, considering I'm camping on a giant block of ice.

This (hole in ice) was where I almost fell into freezing water of unknown depth with no one around to help except my Basset Hound, who is a complete wimp, by the way.  Fortunately, I caught myself on the sides of crevasse and only submerged most of the lower half of my body.  Needless to say, I was glad to have extra socks.