Monday, February 15, 2010

July 2007

 From the archive…again, the kids are growing up too fast.




Lovely family day today.

The weather looked promising, so we made the decision to take our gang, minus our world travelin' Kyla, south to Girdwood, a lovely hamlet nestled in the mountains.  I have fantasies of resettling in Girdwood, but know that the absence of a local grocery store would tax my advance meal planning capabilities.  So, we make a visit when we can.

The first full weekend in July is the annual Girdwood Forest  Fair, a truly charming event, with a little something for everyone, from wanna-be Rastafarian youths to, well, subarctic suburbians.   You can check it out (don't miss the photos) here: 

The fair is a marketplace, with all the booths selling "Made in Alaska" goods, many of them quite creative.  There are two stages featuring live music and other random acts.  There are kids' activities, tons of food booths, and a rockin' beer garden (the "Vibe Patrol," in kilts, will check your ID when you enter and remove you if you are misbehaving.)
We've made it our tradition to attend the Forest Fair each year, and last year we added a pre-Forest Fair hike.  That went over so well, we decided to repeat the experience, on a different trail.  The location for this year's journey was the Winner Creek Trail, which begins behind the local ski resort hotel.  It was to be about a 5 mile round trip journey, and relatively level, ending at a "hand tram" (which turned out to be a wee bit different than what we had pictured in our heads) over water at the end.




Like I said, the trail begins behind the resort, and for that reason, it's as groomed and well maintained a trail as one can find in Alaska.  Positively Disney-fied, at least for the first mile and a half.  It's a lovely stroll for hotel guests of all hiking abilities, no doubt.  I did get a kick out of some of the signage along the route; a wee bit depressing, yes?






It was a forest-y route, with vertical lines dominating; lovely large ferns abounded and there were sparkling streams to cross.  We enjoyed occasional glimpses of the surrounding mountains, but they were not the stars of the scenery today.









Finally, we reach the "hand tram."  The only other "hand tram" experience Keith and I have had was over a rocky river, about 15 years ago.  That tram was quite low to the water, and one sat in it.  This tram was a wee bit more elevated:



Eek!  I'm certainly curious what sort of maintenance program is in place for the tram.  There was no official attendant for our mode of transport.

So, on to the fair:



"To where the water tastes like wine!"



Enjoying music, roasted corn, gyros, and lemonade...



Hula-hooping to the music...



Wares for sale...



Live bees?



Chillin' at the playground; it was adjacent to a terrific skate park, which was full of activity.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

June 2007


Beginning the process of archiving more old hikes from the Previous Blog…this was originally hiked and documented almost three years ago.  Much water under the bridge since these photos were taken with my old Power Shot.



Post Dinner Hike

The trailhead to Baldy is maybe 5-10 minutes from our home.  It's a short hike; maybe 2 miles or a bit less, but quite steep.  Tricky going down!  Spectacular views at the top.  Thought Keith and I might be able to make it a Dynamic Duo tonight, but the kids ended up wanting to join us.  Who can blame them when the weather was so spectacular?  Many others had the same plans for the evening; there were probably 20 cars at the trailhead; one of our fellow hikers offered to take a family photo.

Our goal:



Going UP!  Toddler out of backpack for now:



A view:



Toddler returned to pack and napping:



We made it!  (I don’t think we’ve been back up in our familial entirety since this was taken either…capture those moments, they are fleeting!)



Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hanging Valley, 9/2008

Another hike from the archives…



Making Some Fun:

Keith got up on Saturday morning with a bit of an attitude over his morning paper:  "There's never any fun in this house!"

After I went to check his birth certificate, and assured myself that my husband is, in fact, an adult, and not a grumpy teen, I got to thinking about our Options for Fun.  And, no, Mr. "I'm Bored" wasn't offering suggestions.  

To be honest, I'm not sure that he was protesting the absence of fun so much as the presence of many chores that would require his putting down the paper and leaving the bathroom. (Love ya, Babe! )

Yadda, yadda, yadda, a couple of hours later, we found ourselves out hiking the trail to Hanging Valley in Chugach State Park, not too far from our house.


The colors are...quite nice.





The entrance to our destination, Hanging Valley, as viewed from across another valley:


The scene as we make our way across the valley:

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Real men aren't afraid to hydrate via a hot pink water bottle:




Har, har, har…




Finally, heading up to the entrance of Hanging Valley:





And here we are; the valley was incredible.  Vast would be the word.  Admittedly, "vast" to the point where one occasionally wonders, "Where the heck is the end of this trail?  I wish I had brought some peanut clusters.  Or brownies.":



The bright green bits are the places where the snow piles up after avalanches, and is the last part to melt:


A Hidden Lake!



The sky was gloomy the entire time, and the rain was intermittent.


Wild Dall Sheep on the mountainside; I crept as close as I could:

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It looks like snow, but it was some sort of plant; a lichen, I think.  The ground here was very spongy.  There was a sheep trail along the ridge:


We inadvertently ended up following the sheep trail, instead of the regular trail on the way back, and found ourselves in a somewhat precarious position; had to pick our way down the mountainside:


No worries, I didn't fall.  This was my attempt to entice Keith into a "Wacky Poses for the Camera" game.  My hope was that he would eventually be convinced to do the George Costanza pose:


which I would gleefully post, and we'd all laugh and laugh! 

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But Keith was having none of the hijinks.  He did offer to trade some posing for a game of trailside Slap and Tickle.  I considered his offer, but the thought of exposing my Lady Parts to the autumnal Alaskan chill dissuaded me; not worth the potential Blog Hilarity.
So, moving on; actually, we're heading back out of the valley at this point, and on our return to the trailhead:




Keith donned his rain hat:





A good time was had by all...