Saturday, July 3, 2010

King Salmon Fishing in Willow

King Salmon fishing opened at midnight on Friday June 25th. Tom and Elizabeth invited us up to their cabin to enjoy opening night.
We took their boat out on Saturday and enjoyed a chilly but exciting day fishing.

Ryan started a new type of fishing.... no... not really, you'll never guess what he and Tom were trying to find...

While Tom and Ryan caught the boat anchor before it drifted down river... Kelly managed to get her fishing hook snagged on one of her gloves. While trying to free one glove she ultimately caught both gloves on the same hook.
We drifted to another fishing spot and both Ryan and Tom were able to get a fish on!
Back at the house, we cooked half of Ryan's first King Salmon.

We paired the salmon with homemade sourdough made from a 25-year-old sourdough starter.

May Kenai Camping Trip

We finally had the chance to go camping! We scoped out the Kenai Peninsula during the Memorial Day weekend. Here are a few sights we saw along the way.

We decided to setup camp right on the famous Kenai River. We found a quite campsite just a short walk from the river.

Kelly started dinner around 9pm, hamburgers, corn, and beans.

After a safe sleep in bear country we headed to the river. This was our maiden voyage for the season. Clad in new gear and sunscreen we fished the famous Kenai.

After fishing for a few hours we headed down to Homer where we hoped to camp on the famous Homer Spit.
The Homer Spit was a great place to pitch a tent and have a bon fire for all of five dollars per night.

After a fun night on the beach, Kelly walked the boardwalk way before the rest of the camp had woken up. There was a ice cream shop for sale called the Frosty Bear. This building and business was being sold as a turnkey operation for $100,000.00.

We resisted the urge to have a permanent residence on the Spit and headed back to Anchorage.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Holiday Road!

There is a word for newcomers in Alaska... you are a "Cheechako" until you have celebrated your first year anniversary in this harsh climate.

Nine months ago, we were fresh off the plane, tired, excited, and a little out of sorts. The first day we were in our new apartment, while Ryan was at work, I decided to walk to our neighborhood coffee shop.

Before setting out on my first adventure in Alaska, I consciously decided to put on my "bear bells" that Ryan's mom had given us before leaving Colorado. After all, it’s Alaska right, there are bears on every corner… or so I thought. As I walked the four city blocks from our apartment to the Kaladi Brother's Coffee house... I cautiously scanned the neighboring sidewalk, houses, playgrounds, and trees for approaching bears.

I can now look back on that moment and laugh. What a Cheechako... I was. Cheechako is a “tenderfoot” stage that one will outgrow if they stick around in Alaska long enough. The best thing about living in a new place is the sense of wonder that you get walking down a new street for the first time. Whether you are clad in obnoxious bear bells (which are actually very useful in rural or wilderness settings) or you are just going out for a stroll... the point of living in a new place is exploration.

Recently Ryan and I decided to explore our local surroundings. We had the spring bug and decided that we wanted to go camping in the wilderness. It's Alaska right? You should be able to pitch a tent anywhere! We hit the road after half-a-day-prepping our gear, gathering firewood, food shopping, and filling up a tank of gas.

We drove along the coast for several hours, hitting several of our favorite landmarks. We visited several of our chosen campsites... ultimately to find that all of them were closed.

Silence and smiles, we pulled over to our last option for camping that night. Our “Walley World” consisted of hot dogs, smoking campfires, whiskey and sleeping bags. As we pulled up to the large gated barrier we suddenly had that song "Holiday Road" resonating in our minds.

Yes, we had prepped and traveled all this way to experience our first "Griswold Moment." Our last option for camping sat at the base of a melting avalanche zone. Yes, we are still Cheechako.

Outside the avalanche zone we poked around for a while. Once the sun started going down (10pm) we headed back to Anchorage. We fired up the toaster oven, and laid out the sleeping bags, and sipped nightcaps watching a movie on our living room floor.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

We are slowly thawing out in Anchorage, AK. After months of frozen darkness the sun has been going down around 10:30-11pm.

Although the snow has not yet melted, we are ending the cozy cycle of hibernation. Our neighborhood moose will be heading back into the hills soon, rivers will begin to flow, and soon there will be fish to catch.

Ryan testing out his fishing pole, stretching his legs for the season.

We have noticed a lot of strange things melting out of the snow lately... every other day someone finds a missing person ...... or a missing bicycle?

Our friend Beth was in Anchorage this past weekend so we all took a drive to Seward, about two hours outside of Anchorage.
Along the way we saw Dall sheep climbing the rocky hillside.

We had never seen an otter this close in the wild.
We could spot them by watching for hustling pockets of seagulls.

After meandering down the coast, we decided to stop at the Seward SeaLife Center. Just as magical as Seward it’s self; the sea life center is Alaska's only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center.

The sealife bird habitat was amazing; you can actually adopt one of the rescued birds and received information about them each month. The habitat for these birds was pretty amazing.

We fell in love with the resident sea lion, Woody. Woody, 11 years old, is twice the average size weighing a total of 2k pounds.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Home Again February 2010

This February, we were able to travel back to Denver to hang with the family. It had only been six months since we left for Alaska but we wanted Ryan and his twin sister Holland to celebrate their birthdays together. (The family secretly thought that Ryan and I were coming home to announce that we were pregnant.) Sorry for the disappointment everyone, it was still really great to see you!

The air was crisp and the sun was out. It was a perfect day for a walk around the Denver Zoo.
A & M are so big, and smart, we missed the heck out of these two.
Miss Nelson is walking and talking like a pro, she has being growing into a beautiful young lady

Kelly and her big sissy

Unfortunately we did not take too many pictures while we were visiting Denver. We were too busy talking, eating, and catching up with family and friends. After a fabulous week catching up with our loved ones we took a long layover in Portland, Oregon. A perk to living in Alaska is the ability to have a layover in either Seattle or Portland. We decided that Portland was a good choice since we had never seen the city.
We were pleasantly surprised to see green again! At the end of February, Portland was just beginning spring. It was a nice break to see life again before returning to frozen snow banks.
Off to Alaska, we headed back to the Portland Airport after a nice walking afternoon in a great city. Can you spot us in the reflection!