Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Snow Machine Ride, BOW, and more

Spring is on its way here in Alaska. The days are much longer now and warmer too with plenty of brilliant sunshine. The ice is melting off the side roads and parking lots and it rains rocks on some of the steep slopes on the way to town. At this time of year the snow plows turn to rock plows. We even saw a couple of motorcycles out and about this week!

Today we took a snow machine trip out to Pinochle Pass which is not too far away. It is close (probably the other side of a mountain) to where they do the camp outs that I showed you in the last post. Rodney got a new machine (strictly for play, no work with this one) and we borrowed one for Oksana to ride so we all had our own machines to ride. Sergei has not had much luck keeping one of the Arctic Cats running so we just went with what we could get going at the moment. We were joined by Jared Thiessen and Derek Kolb. We had some technical difficulties getting up one part of the trail that had a ton of overflow. The machines couldn't get any traction on the ice and when one stopped moving forward, we all backed up behind it. We had to back up the machines off the ice and get a running start, taking them through one at a time.

But once we got up there, the views were marvelous! Rare clouds for this time of year:

Rodney on the new toy:

Me coming down a steep hill (and yes, I'm going to be sore tomorrow!):

Jared stopping for a minute to have a snack and enjoy the day:

All of us-es taking a little break:

The valley from up there:

A couple of moose were hanging out in the bowl:

Another break:
Oksana foreground, Andrei behind her:

We went into Anchorage earlier this week to take care of some paperwork and other errands and just get out of camp for the day. Hicks can't figure out big city rules (still enough ice we couldn't see any markings on the road and the meter didn't show that you couldn't park on that side):

I've been wanting for ages to get a panorama of the view as you drive from Anchorage toward Palmer and Wasilla. I finally stopped and tried it this last trip in. Not as clear as I've seen it, but now that I've got a good spot, I'll try it again another day.

Rodney spent 5 weeks battling the frozen sewer line from Alpine but once they got it thawed it was broken so they were still without that line before we had 200 women in for BOW! Here's the solution - they dug out a road for the pump truck to back down, fill up and haul it out. Kind of labor intensive but it allows us to use Alpine Camp for the rest of the winter. Alpine was not really built for winter use and the big question is whether to try to fix it so that it can be used in the winter without fighting the freezing. They'd very much like to, but it is expensive!

The BOW ladies gutted a couple of elk so the Bald Eagles enjoyed the remains:

I only took one BOW class this year, Dutch oven gourmet. My, but the food was DELICIOUS!!! Can't wait to try out some of the recipes in my own Dutch oven!

And last but certainly not least, we had some lovely displays of the northern lights in recent weeks. My pictures didn't turn out that well (though we think we've figure out why so we can try again next time) so I've borrowed some from Jamie Ruisch. I'll have to check with her on how she did it and see if we're on the right track or not.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A busy week post

What happens when I'm REALLY busy? I post pictures! :) Hey, I go with what works! Besides, no one ever complains when I post a bunch of pictures! First is Dufus, aka Eider. He snores too.

The teen's youth group had a formal dinner - Trayton, Oksana & Ali.

Carlen & Andrei were trying to look stern, but it took them a while to put on "the face." Personally, I like this one best:

It was REALLY windy this day so the mountains were all hazy, yet the sky was as blue as could be. Just an interesting twist on the normal scene!

Sunrise. I was too slow to catch the streak of red straight up into the sky!

I spend a lot of time on the road these days - 3 days on a normal week now. Fortunately the scenery is AWESOME! The Matanuska Glacier:

River ice - this doesn't quite catch the glacier blue of it, or the bucks and slides of the ice.

Another night I came home and mixed in with the glacier ice blue were sunset reds, pinks and oranges.
The men recently went out camping on their annual Mountain Man week. This past weekend was the family camping weekend and there may yet be a teen girl camp out next weekend. Here are a few pics from the family weekend:

The tent Rodney snagged off a military auction site - VERY cozy warm! It has the outer layer plus an insulated inner layer. Snow around the edges so the wind doesn't blow in. It was quite warm in there this afternoon with the sun shining on it even without the wood stove going.

Inside - Ryan Cote built the wood stove with a nice level surface for cooking. He and his family stayed out there this weekend. Thick foam mattresses for sleeping keep you off the cold floor. Some tents had bunks to keep people up where the warmth was.

Rough scenery out there too. Somebody's got to look at it! ;)

Morning commute

Morning commute