Category Archives: Travel

Our Final Day

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Day 8 – Last Day

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Woke up stiff as expected. We take showers and then head to restaurant to grab breakfast.

Pack up car and head into downtown Talkeetna. OK, I am officially bummed out. Talkeetna downtown is the cutest town we have come across thus far and I wish we would have come down here last night. Lots of little pubs and little eating spots. One of the little pubs/restaurants was on Man vs. Food for this monster hamburger that Chad and I, had we not just had breakfast, want to split and eat! Dammit! The town is soooooo dang cute and quaint and I could seriously see myself living here.

We walk around for a bit hoping that we get hungry so we can try that hamburger but we just are not hungry enough. Bummer! We decide to head out and make our way to Montana Creek for one last fishing stint before we head back to Anchorage.

Our plane leaves tonite or should I say tomorrow morning at 1:30AM, and we told ourselves when we arrived in Anchorage on Thursday, that in one week, in our very last of hours here, we would have pizza at a place that is known to be THE BEST PIZZA……The Mooses Tooth.

…..and it was! Super duper yummy pizza!!! It was the restaurants anniversary and they were having a big parking lot party while we were inside eating. Rapper Mos Def was hired to play. There were tons of people. The most we have seen since the airport last Thursday.

We finish our tasty pizza dinner and then head over to a place called The Backpackers Inn which is a hostel and we go there to see if we can take showers. We pay $5.00 and let me tell ya, had myself a wonderful HOT shower. This place was better than the lodge we stayed in last night. Way better!!! Clean and up to date. If you ever need a cheap place to stay, I would recommend The Backpackers Inn.

After our showers we head to airport. Time to say good-bye to Alaska! Our maiden voyage has ended. I am sad to leave this magnificent state.

I love it here!

More Mushrooms
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Proud Mr Fishin’ Magician!
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Downtown Talkeetna
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Talkeetna
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Moose Shop Talkeetna
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Such a cute downtown!!
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Man vs Food Restaurant!
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Byers Lake

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Day 7 – Byers Lake

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Today we take a drive out to Byers Lake which is a short drive from the hotel. We have no plans and don’t even know where we are staying tonite but decide first on the agenda is to hike around Byers Lake. It is beautiful. But then what is not out here?

We take the Lakeshore Trail then the Cascade Trail which leads us to a suspension bridge over a spectacular view of this stream with large Red Salmon swimming underneath us. The sun is shining and the river is soooooo gorgeous. The only sounds we hear are that of the stream. It is once again, a peaceful silence that is unexplainably surreal. I sit and then lay down face up in the middle of this suspended bridge for a while and allow the sun to warm my face. It feels incredible. We hike to the Cascades and once again, a magnificent sight. Stunning waterfalls cascading down a mountain. Of course we are the only ones there and get to enjoy these falls selfishly all to ourselves. We almost turned around before we got to the falls cuz we came across fresh bear tracks along the trail and it kinda freaked me out, but Chad insisted we trek on. Shit! I am glad he pushed me cuz it was worth it.

After our hike, we head into Talkeetna to find a place to eat and stay. It is suggested by a local couple we run into at the grocery store, we try a place called Latitude 62 which is a local place, Grill & Pub plus they have lodging. Perfect!

It is a cute place from the outside and the inside restaurant is homey. We order dinner and decide to stay at the lodge. We pay for our room, get the key and proceed to room #7. We shoulda taken a look at the room first. Uh, the room was just that, a meager looking room with 2 beds and a teeny tiny bathroom. That was it. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a room of this caliber before. Thank god for the 2 shots of Patron I took at dinner. I looked at Chad and raised my eyebrows and we both started laughing hysterically. Oh well, let’s just deal with it we say. It kinda smelled like pee too. It was gross to say the least. I pulled out the scrabble game and jumped on the bed which had springs…..yep, hard metal springs in the probably 50 year old mattress. We played scrabble for a bit then called it night. I’m pretty sure I’m going to wake up stiff tomorrow.

Denali State Park
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Clouds
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Peace
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Cascades at Byers Lake
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Suspension Bridge
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Abandoned Cabin
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Suspension Bridge
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Denali State Park
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Photo 1
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Mt. Hunter in the background
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Denali State Park
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As far as the eye can see
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Byers Lake
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Cascades
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Trapper Creek

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Day 6 – Trapper Creek

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today is Tuesday! Shower Day…..I am sooooooo excited to get my shower!

We didn’t get up this morning until 10:30. We have been going, going, going and obviously needed the rest. Felt so good to just sleep in and not have to be up so early.

We pack everything up and load the canoe and off we go. Get to main shore and start our hike back to the car. It has been raining again and the trail looks magical. Everything is wet and the lush foliage is dripping with rain drops and the colors have much intensity.

What we have noticed is the abundance of variety of mushrooms. There are so many different kinds of all shape, color, and sizes. Chad and I have become obsessed at looking for mushrooms that we stop often along the trail to photograph them. The trail we are on is very foresty like but in a mystical sort of way. With the colors being so intense and the lush foliage with huge ferns everywhere and the large sizes and colors and shapes of these mushrooms, it feels as if we are in a fairyland. At any moment I wouldn’t be surprised if Tinkerbell and Peter Pan appeared. It is something out of a movie no lie and NO! We did not eat any magic mushrooms either, hahahahahaha!!

We finally arrive at our car. Pack it up and on our way we go up to Trapper Creek, where our Lodge awaits us. It is about an hours drive. We arrive and WOO-HOO! It is a very nice place. Kind of reminds me of being in Disneyland. We get our keys and head to the room and I am first in the shower. Ahhhhh…..how great it feels. My hair was so dirty it didn’t even lather up the first time I tried to soap it. My hair is soooooo dry it is falling out in clumps.

Another attempt to wash and it comes somewhat clean.

We head to the onsite “Alaska Grill” and man oh man….cheeseburger and French Fries never tasted so good!

Squeaky clean and a full belly…..ahhhh such is life!

Red Mushrooms
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The Lodge
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Funky Mushroom
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Beautiful
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Interesting
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Happy Mushrooms!
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The Lodge in Trapper Creek
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Gorgeous
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Crazy Pretty
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On our way to Red Shirts!

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Day 4 – Off to Red Shirts Lake

Sunday, August 21, 2011

5:45AM alarm goes off. At least it is not raining!! we pack everything up and head to the airport. Time to go back to Anchorage and drive up into Nancy State Park.

We make a couple stops along the way, sporting goods store of course, for MORE fishing supplies and fuel for the stove. We find an Internet cafe so I can charge my handy dandy iPad and publish the last 2 days blog. We stop at a liquor store to pick up some..well….liquor cuz they don’t sell it in the grocery stores.

We make our way into Nancy State Park and pack the things we “only” need for the next 2 days as we have a 3 mile hike through the forest with our packs on. We come across a couple of hikers and assure ourselves that there are no bears or moose in the area. Though Chad is packing a .44 and I have a bright yellow bell that jingles with every step attached to my pack, you are still on your guard just in case. We are told to talk loud to each other and Do Not be Silent!

We stop at the half way mark which has taken us about an hour, and rest and eat some granola and drink water. The weather today is beautiful thank god! Sunny and a warm 61 degrees! I actually am not even wearing base layers today.

We complete the rest of the hike which was not grueling by no means but still pretty intense with a 50+ lb pack on my back. Chads is twice the weight of mine plus he is carrying his camera strapped to his front which is super heavy in itself. We load the red canoe which is waiting for us at the end of trail, hop on in and paddle about 15/20 minutes to Red Shirts Lake and the island where the rustic, and I mean VERY rustic cabin awaits us. There is no electricity, no running water, no sewer system.

I won’t go into details but I’d rather sleep in the tent. There is an outhouse but oh man…..I can’t wait till Tuesday where we will actually be staying in really nice hotel, or at least it looked really nice on the Internet. Soooooo looking forward to flushing toilets, a shower of which I haven’t had since the first day we arrived in Anchorage which was Thursday. Can’t wait to shave.

Well, by the time we get everything unloaded, we are both exhausted and Chad opts to NOT go fishing. I was like “WOW” he must be super exhausted to pass up throwing a couple of hours worth of of fishing in before we need to get a fire going and dinner started. Which by the way I passed up cuz I was way too tired and freeze dried food in a bag was not cutting it for me at that moment. We get the fire going and sit around it and talk for a spell. After a couple of hours, I say my goodnight and crawled into my bag. Chad sits, feet away from me eating something out of a bag…I think it was Mac n Cheese. He said when he climbed into his sleeping bag, he was asking me questions or trying to talk to me but I was out! I don’t recall him trying to talk to me.

The road into Nancy State Park
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Cabin view
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Fishing Spot in Kodiak in our campsite
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Le Outhouse on Red Shirts Lake
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Master Chad, him bring back wood for fire. He goo
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The Fly Fishin’ Magician!
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Master Chad guards his throne
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Mushroom’s galore! The are a variety of mushrooms
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View from our cabin
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Cabin on Red Shirts Lake
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Hiked 3 miles with this on my back!
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Day 5 – Day 2 at Red Shirts Lake

Monday, August 22, 2011

Boy did it feel good to sleep and not have to get up before the sunrise. We actually were in bed last night before midnight and up at about 8:30. We needed that! In such a much better mood today. The weather is cloudy but at least it is not raining.

First task out of bed, we boil water and make ourselves instant Starbucks coffee! Gotta love those little one serving stick packs:) We kinda just do nothing this morning and then about 10:30 ish or so, we hop in the canoe and guess what we go do? GO FISHING! I am the wingman and have to maneuver the canoe around the shoreline while Chad can fish. We are fishing and hoping to catch Pike so we can fry it up for dinner. We are out on the water for a couple of hours and catch nothing! Being on this vast enormous glass like lake surrounded by Christmas pine trees(which I believe are noble firs though Chad claims they are Blue Spruce) birch trees, and many other evergreens with not a soul in sight is very peaceful. The silence you hear when the talking ceases and the paddling halts is a very intense sense, almost deafening if you can believe such a thing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this kind of silence before. I am loving it tremendously. This is a place untouched by man and very similar to what I would imagine heaven being like. Since we arrived at Red Shirts Lake yesterday we have not seen a single soul. It is a crazy, unbelievably, surreal silence here. No cars, no freeways, no airplanes, no people. Just water, and the rustling of trees when the wind decides to show itself. In the distance you can hear a loon cry out. Chad and I both agree it reminds us of the movie On Golden Pond.

We head back to the cabin to grab a bite to eat. Chad pulls out our rations and we decide to have “brunch” which consisted of freeze dried Huevos Rancheros and Chili con Carne. Just add hot water. Oooohhhh yummy. Not! The uh, Huevos Rancheros looks very unappealing, more like egg soup. I can’t do it I say. The chili….not so bad. I opt for the chili and Redneck over here decides to MIX the Huevos and the Chili together and proceeds to add spices and diced shallots and jalapenos which we carted with us in our packs, and a shot of whiskey. It looks like vomit soup by this time but he eats it with not a drop to spare.

We head back out into the canoe of course….for? MORE FISHING! We are out on the lake for hours upon hours to only catch a small little pike. I weathered rain, a sore butt and fatigued arms for this puny little thing? What-Ever!

While on the lake we actually saw a group of 6 coming in on canoes to one of the cabins across the lake on another island. But cannot see them nor hear them from where our cabin sits. We pull up the canoe onto our site and Chad proceeds to clean the pike for dinner. I stand from the porch, a good distance, while he fillets the fish. He cuts open it’s belly and to our surprise pulls out a mouse, a bat and a frog. I am screaming and no way in f’n hell am I going to eat that fish now! NO F’N WAY! ……but Redneck here, he continues to fillet it and he is excited to cook up his fish. I have another agenda for my dinner. I am going to slice up the onion and jalapeño we have left over and bread it with my bread crumbs I brought and then fry it up in some olive oil. Yeah I am looking forward to that alongside my pack of freeze dried rice and himalyan lentils. (just add water). Going to wash it down with some tequila and call it a night!

Tomorrow……I shower! It will be a celebration! I stink!

Beautiful
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Cabin view
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Cabin view
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Another island in view from our cabin
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More view from cabin
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Water is like glass out here
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The shorelines are gorgeous, Gorgeous, GORGEOUS!!
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Such Beauty
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On our way to Kodiak!

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Day 2 – On Our Way To Kodiak

Kodiak island

Friday, August 19, 2011

4:00 AM. Well looky that, it’s dark outside.

4:45AM in taxi, headed back to airport to catch a 6:30 flight to Kodiak Island where hopefully we will be staying for a couple of days and what I mean by hopefully is this…..

6:00AM we board the plane, find our seats, settle in. Chad proceeds to talk to the very nice man next to him about fishing and lures and size and fishing and more fishing, did I mention fishing? I’m chatting with the little girl next to me who lives on Kodiak Island and I hear this man telling Chad that this is his 3rd attempt to make it into Kodiak. Whuuuuuuut? Apparently the weather in Kodiak yesterday was not conducive to the plane landing and the plane was directed back to Anchorage until the weather let up. Another attempt later on in the day they tried again and nocando. wTF? I hate flying first off and listening to his tale of the plane trying to land and the flaps pointing down, landing gear set and to have to pull back up and turn around and try again and again to only be routed back a 2nd time started to get my stomach all up in an uproar. Oh man, this is it, I’m going to die.

I listen intently to him say on top of all that, at the end of the runway is a big mountain so the captain needs to make sure that there is plenty of room to break and halt the plane before you hit smack dab into it.

This is not looking good I think to myself.

Well we take off and the flight is not so bad but coming into Kodiak my palms started to sweat and my heart started beating abnormally fast. We land! Pheww! Everyone on the plane starts clapping. The airport is a tiny little building with one gate. There is no jet way and the plane literally lands and you pull right up to the building, exit the plane and walk from plane to the building which is crowded with people that from the murmurs I hear, have been stranded on Kodiak for 2 days due to the horrible weather. Chad and I look at each other and say “what do we do now?.” we ask a few people about lodging but are told lodging is very limited and most likely booked. Maybe we should rent an RV. I pull out my handy dandy iPad and start a search for RV rentals. No such luck. Looks like were tenting it….in the rain. We collect our luggage, pick up rental truck and first stop is to Mack’s Sporting Goods shop for fishing supplies then a drive which is a short distance to Buskin State Park where we set up camp…..in the rain. Campgrounds are beautiful. We select campsite #4 which is very wooded, secluded and serene. Across from us is a huge field of purpley colored flowers about 4′ high surrounded by enormous Christmas tree looking pines. It is a gorgeous site to see even “in the rain.”. Like a mystical setting in a fairytale book.

After camp is all set up we head into the town of Kodiak to grab more supplies….fuel for cooking, charcoal, firewood, some food necessities. We explore all over and drive down to the docks and check out the harbor and all of the fishing boats. It is such a cool scene. This is truly a fishing town. People are very friendly and there are lots of tourists, mainly men from all over the country looking to fish, hunt, explore. We find a small restaurant and grab some breakfast before heading out to our first fishing spot. The Olds River which is about a 20-30 minute drive. On our way to “Olds” we see bears! Yes bears! Right there on the side of the road playing in a big field adjacent to a river. 3 bears! Oh man they are soooooo cute. They are very playful and we observe and take many pictures of them. We watch them in the river snagging salmon after salmon. They could care less that people have gathered and are watching them. It’s as if we are not even there. 30 minutes go by quick and it is time to mosey on our way.

We get to Olds river and set up our spot which we will spend numerous hours fishing this river that leads to the ocean, and is actually packed with pink (Humpy) Salmon. It is so packed you can see them one on top of each other and you can see them above the water and they are just everywhere. Chad aka….”The Fishin Magician” he dubs himself as, hooks up the poles and the fishing begins. Personally, there wasn’t enough of a challenge for me to want to fish. The river was so abundant, most every time you cast a line, you’d hook a fish, but Chad didn’t mind that at all. The Fishin Magician was on a mission to catch a silver salmon which we now learned don’t start swimming upriver for another 2 more weeks, and also he was wanting to hook a King Salmon as well. After hours of this, he ends up with a pink salmon which he cleans and fillets right there on the bank. We wrap it up and stick it in the cooler for dinner. By this time it is 6:30 and we pack it up and head back to camp.

Oh and btw….it is still raining!

Campfire is started, in the rain, and we prepare our dinner which consisted of steamed broccoli, a very large New York Steak we bought at the grocery store earlier and the fresh caught salmon. Everything tasted delicious. All of this done……in the rain!

We retire to the tent at about 12:30 and we are asleep before our heads hit the pillow. It has been a long, long day.

Kodiak Bears along theRussian River
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Our campground
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Marina
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Crab cages
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Day 3 – Day 2 on Kodiak Island

Kodiak island

Saturday, August 20, 2011

SATURDAY August 20

7:30AM-This is what I hear as I’m curled up under my sleeping bag……”Brandman! Time to get up!”. Uggghhhhh I sigh, I’m not getting up right now I think to myself. I was freezing last night and I’m tired! No way am I getting up!! But after about 15 minutes of listening to him hustle and bustle outside the tent, I crawl out from my cocoon, throw on my what seem to be seven layers of clothes and slowly crawl out of the tent. It is still raining! Rained all damn night! I am soooooo tired and soooooo sick of the rain! Another day of rain, great!

We make coffee…..I drink coffee…. I feel much better. Clean up our campsite and we are off again to go fishing.

We first head down to the docks again cuz Chad wants to find a place to buy some fresh halibut for dinner. We find a cool place and not only do we buy fresh halibut but some huge ole Alaskan King Crab legs that we also purchase for dinner later tonight.

We are soooooo excited for dinner.

On today’s agenda, we decide to take a drive to the Pasagchak river and see how the fishing is going out there. Pasagchak is about a 30 minute drive past Olds River. Again on our route, we see bears….Yes! Bears. Kodiak Bears! They are the same ones we saw yesterday but they are maybe 20/30 yards away this time. Super close. It doesn’t get any closer than this.

We shoot more pics and head on our way. We get to Pasagchak and learn that the fishing is horrible and nobody is catching anything. We decide to forego the fishing there and check out a place called Surfers Beach a little farther down the road. After that we head back.

We make a stop along side the road cuz we see tons of salmon jumping up out of this bay.

Chad, The Fishin Magician, hooks up his fly pole, throws on his waders and heads down to the banks and is in the water quicker than the blink of an eye. Ultra fishin’ Dork!

Back at camp the rain has finally let up and we organize and get the fire going to prepare our delicious dinner of Halibut and King Crab legs! OMG! It was truly the best halibut and king crab we have ever had. We wrap it up for the evening which is now 1:30AM and we have an early morning alarm set for 5:45AM. Uggghhhhhh…….need to catch an 8:30 flight back to Anchorage for our 2nd leg of our trip! We are headed up to Nancy State Park where we will hike about 3 miles to our canoe that awaits on Red Shirts Lake and canoe out to our cabin that awaits us.

Kodiak Island is a very unique place and I highly recommend visiting if you ever get a chance. People were very friendly and if you like quaint real deal fishing towns, this is the place!!!!

Bye Bye Kodiak…..We will miss you.

Big Bad Bear
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The field across from our campsite
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The Fishin’ Magician
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Bears playing
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Bald Eagle
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Pink Humpy Salmon
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Harbor
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Kodiak’s
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Headed To Anchorage

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Hello Alaska

Bye Bye Cali

The morning started off with a message to Chad regarding Jack Howard. The woman who we took jack to last night can now not watch Jack because Jack messed with her dogs chi and her dog was up vomiting all night. So now we are on a mad hunt to find someone to watch Mr. Jack Howard for the week. Hopefully we get this resolved. I feel bad for Jack:(

Well jack made it to my house!!! Thanks Jamie and Maggie:) and thank you to my mom who now is not only dog sitting for the 3 little soldiers, but 3+ Jack make 4!! Almost a battalion. Hahahahahaha! Oh boy.

Landing in Anchorage, It felt reminiscent of a winter day in December. It was cloudy, drizzly and cold. It actually felt refreshing. Not much to write about other than after settling in to our hotel, we headed to the downtown area and grabbed some dinner (our last supper so to speak) which consisted of a steamy, piping hot bread bowl of seafood chowder. Warm and yummy in our tummies:) mmmmm mmmm good.

After dinner we walked around the downtown area and checked out a couple of bars. DUH! A given right? lol!!!!!

By 9:30PM, it was time to call it a night even though it was still light as day out.

I can see how you can lose track of time out here.

Back at the hotel, hot showers were in order. Apparently my last for awhile.

With a 4:00AM “rise and shine” wake up call, it was time to bid our day of travel and our night, farewell.

Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.


Day 1 – Headed To Anchorage

Thursday, August 18, 2011


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Life Is Good

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Life is Good


Day 1 – Life Is Good

Tilden Park, Berkeley Marina

Friday, August 12, 2011

The day started with a trip to REI Berkely. Bought our Alaska rations and then some.

Looking forward to freeze dried Mac n Cheese, Red Beans & Rice and more!!!!! YUM!

Cheese Board Pizza was our next stop and if I was a tad more hungry, Chad would have not had to eat the entire half pizza.

Next leg was Tilden Park.

Gorgeous weather, views galore, and the Gotham City as a backdrop was out of this world.

I learned today that Jack’s dog tag actually says “Jack Howard”…..this just cracks me up!

JACK HOWARD!!!! Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!! LOVE IT!

And Jack LOVES to hike…….his leg up at most everything he comes across.

I also confirmed today during our hike in beautiful Tilden Park that Chad, who also goes by the native name “Manboy Who Sucks His Thumb” is a dorkus mungus.

Our next stop…….Berekely Bowl, for more Alaska rations, then the Marina where we met up with Chad’s (Manboy Who Sucks His Thumb) good friends, Captain/Chef Mr. Scott and Uber Photographer, Mr. Kurt. Both very gracious people and honoured to have met them.

Red Red Wine, good food, great conversation and intimate company has topped this already perfect day, a Friday to put in the books!!!!!!!

CHEERS!

Lunch in Berkeley at Cheese Board
[          Map]Tilden
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Tilden
[Map]Tilden
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Does this not look like Gotham City?
[Map]Jack Howard
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Jack loves to “Hike”
[Map]Awww…Jack
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Jack is my Sundial
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Berkeley Marina
[Map]Captain Scott
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Jack is soooo cute
[Map]The Funky Bunch
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[Map]“DORK”
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The End:)
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