Friday, July 22, 2011

Biking, hiking and eating - a wonderful combination!

As if the last few weren't bad enough, I waited too long and too much happened in between so this post is going to be even longer than some others in recent history! Rodney and I helped park cars for the Fireweed 400, a 400 mile race from Sheep Mountain to Valdez and back. It started out as a cool and damp day and they even had one guy drop out from hypothermia. There were a lot of different brackets, including a couple of HAND racers! This guy was doing the 50 mile race but there was one that had started earlier that was planning to go all the way to Valdez! 200 miles!

This was the start of one of the "just for fun" races, I believe the 50 mile "beginners" race.

The 400 mile race had actually started the day earlier as they expect it to take about 24 hours. The winner this year (Eric Christensen below) finished in a little under 24 hours, down from the record (I think held by him) of about 19 hours.

It turned into a lovely day so we stopped to check out the Glacier park on the way back. It's right down the road and we'd never stopped there!

Rodney spent part of one of those lovely summer days painting bed liner in the back of the truck. It looks AWESOME! In this picture Oksana is tattling on Ellie who is trying to climb out of the truck window.

So I took the energetic little monkeys off for a little walk out to the air strip to see the horses in their summer pasture. Ellie thought she might kill one if only I would let her off that leash!

Todd and Jared brought some more horses out while we were over on that side of the lake. Or maybe they were rotating horses. We didn't stay to find out.

We took a little hike in our back "yard" one Sunday afternoon and ran across all sorts of flowers out now. Some variegated dogwood.

The Larkspur (much like Delphinium) is blooming.

It wasn't cold. Oksana had just covered up as we went through a lot of patches of Cow Parsnip which can cause a rash.
Waiting for Sergei to show up with the naughty Basset. She must have taken a short cut home though because we never saw her after this point but she showed up almost immediately once we got back home.

A moose wallow.

This week's hike was around Caribou Creek but not until after I stopped at the church to wait for the fruit truck that comes up from California with fresh fruit all summer. YUMMY peaches! :) The church has a lovely wildflower garden out front.

The Caribou Creek hike was nice, but not a favorite. LOVED this little stream flowing down the mountain!

And the view of Fortress Ridge was lovely.

So was the view of the Caribou Creek valley overlooking the Glenn Highway.

Caribou Creek is really running this time of year.

Some people were panning for gold in the creek. You can just see Fortress Ridge in the back of the valley in this picture. That's basically where we hiked out to along the top edge of the creek.

Naughty Ellie continues her naughty ways. We suspect that she steals the rabbits from the lynx occasionally. This one she buried in my potato patch and then retrieved after it got to smelling just right. Or wrong depending on your opinion. She desperately wanted to bring it in the house, but the mean old lady wouldn't let her.

But she sure loves a boat ride. If we engineer this correctly, we may be able to use those ears as sails.

While we were hiking Caribou Creek, Andrei and the current group of camp cooks were slaving away in the kitchen preparing dinner. They had arranged a cook off with 4 teams. They had a bunch of rules - things that they could or could not use and then had to come up with a main dish, a salad and a dessert. All of the dishes had to have rhubarb in them. Here Andrei is adjusting the temperature on the chicken that Pepper is cooking. Andrei, Linda and Pepper were team 4.

Jake fried his chicken. He and Brianna (below) were team 3.

Adri and Jonathan (Sunshine) were team 1.

Gene and Blaine (Archimedes) were team 2. It's hard to see in this picture, but the bowl contains John Deere Egg Salad - colored yellow and green eggs with a stalk of rhubarb stuck in the middle. All of their dishes were John Deere themed.

This is most of the hungry judges who didn't eat much all day in anticipation. They had to taste every bit of every meal made. Left to right are Rachel Cote, Derek Kolb, Kay Woodwyk, Ali Ruisch, Mulan (camp name - I don't know her real name) and Chelsea Meeuwsen.

The cooks wait for the results. Hmmmm... They are fraternizing! Jonathan (Sunshine) is under the arrow. I missed him in the kitchen.

And the results! Adri's team won but Andrei, Linda and Pepper were only 2 points behind! Most importantly, everyone had a good time, including all the diners!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day and Lion's Head hike

Happy Independence Day! I hope everyone was able to take some time to thank God for the sweet gift of independence that we enjoy here in the USA and to think about the service men and women who have put their lives on the line to secure that freedom.

I never seem to figure out how to load the pictures in order so I'll start with today's activities and work back! Since we don't have any hours of darkness on the 4th, we don't really celebrate with fireworks all that much. Fireworks are usually reserved for the winter. Instead, we launch cars off of cliffs and bowling balls out of cannons. Why? I have no idea other than that maybe someone decided once to try it and it became a tradition? Maybe someone will fill me in! Arnie Hrncir invites the community down to his place for the festivities. Ryan Cote and his father in law prepared one of the totaled camp vehicles by removing anything of value and taking all the glass out of it. Then they got it running enough to propel itself over the cliff. Those are people standing up on the cliff edge for perspective.

It was necessary to take a peek at the car after it got to the bottom. Doug, Austin and Randall Theissen and Molly Althens check it out.

I even took video of the car going over for ya'll!

After the car was launched, they moved on to shooting bowling balls out of a home made cannon. Here's the ball, the inside view of the cannon and below that is the view of the cannon after it blew the ball in a direction not intended. Arnie almost blew a hole through his river boat! They put sand under one side to "point" the cannon, but the wind was pretty strong today and it went quite a bit to one side. The second one they shot off landed much closer to where they were shooting for, but I think the first one gave Arnie enough of a scare that he didn't want to shoot off the third one!

And of course, video of the bowling/cannon ball. The video isn't all that great, but the commentary and sounds of the ball can be clearly heard.

Many in the community, including most of the camp counselors, were there to watch the goings on. Dorothy had her mare and colt there which was quite a thrill for many of the kids. The colt was quite sweet and let just about anyone pet him. Sergei took Dorothy's other mare off for a ride up the hill for a bit.

The dogs were a bit annoyed that we had left them home today so we took them for a quick boat ride when we got home.

Eider thinks the spray is something he should catch for some reason. Not a great picture, but it shows how far over the edge he has to reach to try to catch the spray!

It was a gorgeous day today though and I couldn't resist a picture of Victory Peak and then the hill toward Hick's Creek behind our house too.

This is how Eider the Dufus sleeps.

And I couldn't help but toss in a picture of an iris down by the lake on a rainy day this past week. We're so thankful for the rain after the dry spring we had!

We've been trying to do some short day hikes and since it was a beautiful day last Sunday, we decided to take a hike up Lion's Head after church. It isn't a long hike, or all that difficult, but it is quite steep and with temperatures in the 70s, brilliant sunshine on our backs and no wind on that side of the mountain, it was downright HOT! This rock wall gives a good indication of how steep it was.
There were so many pretty wildflowers blooming! Below are Jacob's Ladder with Bluebells and Dogwood below that.

It didn't take long for the scenery to become AMAZING!

By this point I had seriously overheated so we cut my pants off to make shorts and used the leg pieces to tie my hair up. The heavy black shirt didn't help! It was soooooo worth it though! I'll just let the pictures do the talking for the rest of the post. Not much else to say with such beauty!

This is actually taken from the road afterward, but is one of my favorite views of the glacier and the mountains behind it.

And I'll end with another in the ever changing view of the mountain out our front window!

Morning commute

Morning commute