Updates from Alaska

I’m not really sure where the summer is going – or where July went for that matter. It’s been a month since my last post (oops). July was filled with lots of sunshine and picture-perfect weather, which doesn’t lend itself to sitting inside on my computer. And between the hikes, the dinners, the dancing, the berry picking, and the general summertime shenanigans there was barely time for work. But it was time well spent, of that I am sure.

Fourth of July

The month opened with lots of Fourth of July celebrations. What the town of Cordova lacked in a nighttime fireworks display they made up for in their awesome daytime activities. The morning started off with a Kelp Box Derby (think: soap box) where adults and children raced homemade vehicles down the hill on Main Street. This was followed with a town-wide block party, kid’s games, a massive BBQ, pie bake-off, and of course a square dancing competition.

Grand Finale of the Kelp Box Derby
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Adorable

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Berries

Salmon berries were in full swing and are just only beginning to peter out. Blueberries, strawberries and the highly revered nagoon berry have all made strong appearances and Liz and I are in full jam-making mode. We’re up to about three dozen jars and we haven’t even started on blueberry yet! And the berries are amazing. They are easily on my list of my favorite things about Alaska.

Blueberries!

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Picking blueberries is quite labor-intensive

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Watermelon berries!

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Friends

Fishing isn’t too great this year, which is a tough break for all who make their livelihood from salmon. On the plus side, however, it means that all of my fisherman friends are hanging around town with nothing to do…which has made for a fun social scene. And hopefully the next run will be open soon. Fingers crossed!

Best hula hooper there is: The Magical Eloise

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Hanging out on the deck outside of our house and enjoying the sunset. And Teal, of course, photographing all she can. PS: she’s amazing. Check her out here!

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The facial expressions in this shot crack me up. I think we were talking about black slugs.

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Salmon Jam

Salmon Jam is a three-day festival with local artisans, yummy food, marathons, and live music. I ran in the 10K…I’m not quite ready for the half marathon yet….but soon! The entire town filled up with tourists, fisherman were around, and everyone came out to join in the festivities.

10K-ers lined up at the starting line

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Not a bad looking starting line. This made me think back to my 4am runs through the dark streets of Bangalore. This area may be slightly more conducive to running.

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Finish line!

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Hiking

The gorgeous weather has allowed for lots of hiking, exploring, and outside adventures. I finally made it all of the way out the road to see where the bridge (which used to connect Cordova to the rest of the world) was washed away. I saw a bear, but only the silhouette running away from us through the forest. Still working on my bear and moose pictures…I am very determined and I will capture some before the end of the summer!

Immature eagle snacking on salmon scraps while simultaneously fighting with crows

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Power Creek – I love how the glacial silt makes the water such pretty colors

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Beautiful sunset over the Sound

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Greetings From Alaska

I’ve been primarily offline the past few weeks – I came back to the US in mid-March and spent a very nice two weeks at home enjoying some quality time with my favorite people, consisting mostly of endless Easter egg hunts, Legos and delicious food. Now, after what felt like a never-ending string of flights, I’ve finally landed in my home for the next six months: Alaska.

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Sunrise over the mountains surrounding Anchorage during the world’s longest layover

Though it took almost as long to fly to my little ocean-side Alaskan town as it did to get all the way to Bangalore, it was so much more pleasant. Even as I am writing this, sitting in Anchorage airport, the check-in assistants are singing songs to passengers and I’ve seen at least five frequent fliers come in and greet the attendants by name and get received with a big hug. It’s not in an obnoxious way, either…just sweet. Everyone is so friendly! I really loved India, but it was definitely time for me to take a break and try something new – and I think Alaska will be just the thing.

As usual…I’ve done my research and I’ve come up with my Alaskan bucket list to complete over the course of the next 6 months. Other than eating as much seafood as possible, soaking up fresh air and enjoying the wildlife…there are a few things I don’t want to miss out on.

Drunken Moose – This one might not be possible since I’m coming in the summer…I might have to settle for seeing a sober one instead. I listened to a podcast recently which described how moose end up eating rotting crab apples to make it through the winter in cities around Alaska. The fermenting fruit has an intoxicating effect, meaning cities sometimes have 1,400 lb drunken beasts roaming the streets. I think the winter has been fairly mild, however, and it’s already April. I’m betting that the foliage that is already available is much more appealing than fermenting apples…but I’ll still be on the lookout.

Glaciers – There are few other reasons to venture out to the freezing tundras…but seeing some stunning glaciers which aren’t likely to be around for much longer is definitely one of them. You will find me riding a dogsled pulled by some adorable huskies and kayaking through glacier rivers…among whatever other activities intrigue me as well.

Climb Denali – Denali, the tallest peak in North America, is obviously on the list…as long as my knees cooperate. This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the US National Parks, so it seems only fitting to spend some time in Denali National Park and summit the 20,310 foot peak. Guess I better order those glucosamine chrondroitin supplements now!

Northern Lights – no Alaskan bucket list could be complete without seeing the Northern Lights! The strength of the lights depends on the year and the lights peak every 11 years. The last peak was in 2013…but there should still be plenty of solar storms and sunspots to fill the sky with colors and keep me entertained regardless!

Fly in a Float Plane – These are the small planes that fly low to the ground for amazing sight-seeing and can also land on water. They provide a totally different view of the wildlife and can land on the WATER! Sounds like something I need to do.

Know of other things I should try? Let me know!