May 26, 2012

Well, spring is finally here and things are growing fast to utilize the short summer months. We have been busy living and enjoying life the last month or so. Hiking, fishing, boat work, picnics on the beach and just getting out and seeing people. My work with the theater is pretty much wrapped up for the season and will get some time off before the summer STAR program and then another break before the new season starts up. In the meantime I am working full time at the lab and some small gigs here and there. So all in all things are going really well and we are loving the lifestyle we have chose.
As an example of this I got a rare opportunity to capture some truly amazing footage this week while at work. My office is about 300 ft from the harbor we live in, a 1/4 mile walk around the back to actually get there though, and it overlooks beautiful Auke Bay. Shortly after arriving at the office we saw some whales just off the breakwater. The night before had been a brief sunny evening so Sarah and I went out to have a picnic at Sunshine Cove, watched whales, sea lions and even did a little fishing (no luck), when we got back to the harbor there was a mother and a juvenile whale feeding right in the harbor. They had been there for a while and we saw them very close up but only briefly. The whales were back but this time it wasn't dark and I had my camera, so out the door I went. At first they were on the other side of the bay and they were just rolling back and forth lunge feeding, but then the young whale seemed to figure out how fun it was to breach. He just kept doing it over and over about every 30 seconds or so and as he did his mother followed him. They came across the front of the breakwater right in front of our office, not more than 50 ft. away!! So needless to say I got some great shots and thought to share them, so here goes....
This is looking across the bay, as you can see the whale watching boats didn't even leave the harbor for about 2 hours while this show went on. These folks were really getting their money's worth!
The guy in the skiff got a really nice show, he put down his pole and picked up his camera! Smart man

The whale actually breached twice right in front of him. I kept hit my multi shot button and after looking at the pics its like seeing the same jump over and over, just slightly different backgrounds. It was quite the show for everyone.

This was a nice series of shots and the boat gives some nice scale.

This is right in front of our office, I spend many evening hours fishing off that same point. This guy and his dog got a really close shot, I wish I had been down there

This is a cropped shot, the original was sent to our local paper for their local wildlife photo section

Well, the whale kept going up the side of the bay, around the point and into Fritz Cove, then came back out and ran the outer islands (Spuhn, Battleship, etc) and then went out to Favorite Channel. Most the pics as he left were not as good and eventually I just had to go back to work, but when we looked up for the next few hours we could see him playing out in the channel. Truly an amazing morning!

March 20, 2012

Not the recommended route

So after weeks of working and fixing the boat, Sarah and I had to get out into the woods. So after contemplating our choice of trails (higher means snow and avalanches, lower means boring) we decided to go with boring. Well sorta. We spend a fair amount of time out at Pt. Bridget and so we decided to try out this other trail we had seen along the highway that leads into the south side of the park. Well the trail itself was a complete joke, ten minutes later and we are at the beach. Nice for an evening run out after work, but we were looking for adventure. So we decided to hike up the coast towards Camping Cove Cabin and see what the scene there was. This cabin had been on our radar for some time, but we never actually made it there, till today. The hike up the coast was beautiful, partly sunny, cool breeze from the north and a hint of spring all around us. We went through several little picnic areas and eventually found the cabin. Most this part of the trip was uneventful, it was after the cabin that things got weird. Now we have been all over this point, but not to this side. After leaving the cabin we immediately ended up loosing the trail and heading into deep snow. We brought our micro spikes, but not our snow shoes so we decided to head back down to the beach and walk up it. It didn't seem like the point was that far. Ha ha ha. Just like a mountain, you never see all the ridges in the middle. The point we were looking at wasn't the one we thought it was and neither was the next or the next, well you get the idea. At a point we decided that going back wasn't an option due to the terrain we had already crossed and the amount of time spent. The amount of daylight left was getting short and we knew if we could just make it to Blue Mussel Cabin we would be able to walk out the two miles left in the dark if we had too. This is our usual stomping ground. So off we went. Along the way we did some pretty sketchy crossings clinging to rock faces and hoping we didn't slip into the ocean. Some of these were damn near vertical. This area drops 500 ft. in less than an 1/8 of a mile. Wow! We did some crawling on hands and knees over snow that we really weren't sure of its depth or attachment. We decided on several occasions that there just wasn't any option and scrambled our way up into the trees, continue along until we couldn't get through the under brush or the land simply fell back into the sea. Then we scrambled down again and continued on the coast. Now for the family, we played it safe and we helped each other when needed and spotted some of the really sketchy spots to make sure the other knew where to put foot/hand etc. One of the other deciding factors was the tide was going out so our options would increase, although as we learned, some places just never have a beach, or a trail in the woods. It was the first hike of the season, really pushing that, lol. We got out there with a roar and both got home safe. Tired, sore and starving and a bit dehydrated, but really glad we challenged ourselves and held together as the strong team we have become over the years. Below are pictures of what I could get, at a point the camera got put away and only cell phone pics available, at some points there just wasn't picture taking time or place. Also I have included a map of the direct line circumnavigation, but this doesn't account for the up and down or the bouldering/scrambling that we did. Straight line is about 9-10 miles, but we figure it came closer to 12, at least it feels that way. Little stiff today! lol
This was the first little cove we came to, it has 3 private cabins and I wish I could live there, but the land is in a state park now.

A little further up the coast we found this camp area that is obviously well used by the same group. It even has a basketball hoop on the tree and large area to hang around the fire

They named it Camp Freedom. I like, would be a perfect place for a cabin right back in the trees

After wandering down the beach we finally made it to Camping Cabin, it sits in the most beautiful well protected little cove with a really deep bay that is so clear you can see all the way to the bottom. Going to have to stay there some time soon.

This is looking out from the cabin, as you can see there is a snow storm coming, the white out conditions it brought helped us to loose our way

The last of Mab island and off into the snow flurry we went.

Sarah looking up the coast as we discuss our options.

This is what we were looking at. This terrain continued for about 4 miles. If you look in the back ground you can see an almost vertical face we had to cross. There were deep ravines we had to go around, and headlands that we had to go over. Somewhere along this route a whale surfaced right next to us on the shore and a sea lion followed us for a couple miles keeping us company and I am sure laughing at us.

We cheer ourselves for a job well done and look to the next leg. From here it is about 3.5 miles to the truck
By time we cleared the mile of beach and looked to the trail the light was almost gone, about 7 pm, we still had 45 minutes of hiking through the snow and forest before we reached the road. There we had another mile and half to hike back to the truck. I pushed us so hard, our knees where shaking and we were tuckered out, but we were so close and all I could think about was going out for dinner and stuffing myself on some fatty foods. I sang cadence and plowed through in just under 40 minutes, a record for us in any condition!
We started our hike at the arrow (bottom of map) we then headed north. At about pt. 2 we lost the trail and started following markers that we thought would take us home, but no they ended at a cliff about 100 ft tall. From there we got back to the beach and headed north. The area marked 3 is the most ridiculous coast to walk on, there is no safe passage by foot and I recommend using a pack raft if you want to go this way. Not the recommended route!! At the north tip there is an cabin, that is Blue Mussel, but the actual trail picks up at the next cabin, near the red 11. From there its smooth sailing over ice and snow. We have since spoke to others that have tried the same trip, no one has found that damn trail from this side,  most turn around but those that do what we did, understand and feel for us. All in all a great trip, next Echo to Berners!!! Not without a boat!! Lol

February 7, 2012

A week of "summer"

Well we just got back this weekend from a week long trip to Oregon. The weather was awesome, like a summer day here in Juneau, ha ha ha. Fifty five degrees and sunny! We had a great time seeing friends and visiting our favorite restaurants. We also did the classic and spent time shopping for things you just cant find or afford in Alaska. Lance and Mary were kind enough to lend us their car and so we even got some coast time in. Nothing like putting your toes in the sand and relaxing while thinking of the frozen harbor back home!! So as usual we will just get to the point and present the pictures!!
After a few days of eating and drinking we needed a hike, so we went to the gorge, not really needing to go play in snow, plenty of that back home! For those that don't know this is Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge, shot from parking lot to include the wonderful old building.

Final destination of our hike, triple falls
small but nice looking little fall on the way up

my good friend Anthony, was good to see him and get out in the woods together

Silliness in the woods, these two with their smart phones are "fishing", seriously guys? your in the woods,  ha ha ha.  (Matt, Sarah, Anthony enjoying the wonderful world of technology)
Out at the new garage at my folks house. My niece is so cute!! Sarah is trying to hide her Alaskan eyes from the sun! lol

Seal rock beach, just down from the folks

More Seal Rock Beach

Beautiful sunset!

Took my sister's new dog down to the beach, it kept chasing and biting the waves, sometimes getting its whole head buried, absolutely hilarious

We also visited the aquarium, thought this one turned out pretty good

Sea otter at the aquarium

After buying shades Sarah was much happier! Last stop at the beach, Agate Beach, before heading back to the valley

BW artsy shot of Agate Beach head

Visited the boys a couple of times, this time Cody played us some songs he has written, pretty good! I don't know where they get it, definitely not from me as those of you unlucky enough to hear me sing know! lol
 After the coast we stopped to see Fred and Jessica for a night in McMinnville, but there isn't photo evidence of those shenanigans, ha ha ha

On the shuttle plane from Portland to Seattle, sun lit the prop nicely!
All in all, we had a wonderful trip, thank you to everyone for a great time, we miss you all already. Next time you get to come up here! lol

January 27, 2012

Winter in Alaska

Well hello to everyone. Been very busy with work and play up here. Not too much to say right now, just thought I would post some shots taken around the harbor after one nights snow! It has been coming down pretty good, but this all occurred as we slept. Crazy!

Overall snow accumulation is the front part, this took two days to collect. I tend to keep the plastic cleared off, but left this for giggles

So much snow fell that it couldn't melt fast enough and covered the bay in snowbergs

The wind pushed all the "snowbergs" into the individual fingers of the dock

Looking from main dock to the beach next to my office. Harbor dept and ramp are in the far background

My part time job is at the building on stilts, took this picture in reverse of prior, shows just how much snow accumulated in the harbor over night

My truck was completely clear at about 9 last night, today it still hasn't moved and the plows buried me, almost cant even see it! lol. Gotta take her out tonight and clear it.

Afternoon view from office to the harbor.
Unfortunately there was a loss with all the heavy snow. This old wooden sailboat just couldn't keep up anymore. I have no idea what the plan is for salvage, but presently the dock is holding it up. So very sad.