Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Alaska Days 9 and 10

From the middle of the trail head - about another 2 miles up from here...

So here we sit in the common area of Robert Service Campground in Whitehorse, Yukon. We woke up in Tok, Alaska and drove the roughly 8 hours here today – as soon as we left the costal region of Alaska, where the rain was forcast to continue for 10 more days it turned sunny and warm. It seems as if it does in fact rain in the temperate rain forest…go figure. There is a fire ban in Whitehorse due to the long lived heat wave that has been going on here.

Our last day in Seward we hiked to Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park and got just about as close as you can get without actually falling in a crevice. They have roped off the side of the glacier (the toe is flooded) because of unstable ice mass and the potential for falling ice. It was beautiful, however, and the rain held off for the most part so it was a relatively dry trip.

Other than that it has been just driving. Oh, and I visited a Target before we left Anchorage and scored all the pet hair removal products you can’t get in Canada (see prior blog entry regarding my disdain). I think that has been the most excited I’ve been for the entire time we were here, which is so very, very sad.

Today we just went for a walk around Whitehorse, which is a very nice town. We then went to the world’s longest functioning wooden fish ladder to see where the salmon, grayling, and other fish spawn around the dam in the Yukon River. I was a bit disappointed that we’re in the middle of salmon runs (the silver salmon were just starting their run at the coast when we left and haven’t reached this far inland yet). We did see some long-nosed suckers (yay) and grayling in the fish ladder so I wasn’t quite as sad.

The internet connection is ridiculously slow here, so I don't think I will be able to powst many pictures, but I will do more when I have the chance.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Alaska day 8 - I should not be a sea captain

Stellar sea lions at the Alaska Marine Museum

My Puffin Friend

Fox Island

Stellar Sea lions on the rocks; Coral Cove

Puffins/penguin type birds

We took off this morning for our "cruise" to Kenai Fjords national park, although in the end only made it around Resurection Bay and a bit into the ocean because of 15 foot swells. On that subject, unbeknownst to me, I get seasick. I was handed the "Bag of Shame" to barf into this morning. I did manage not to lose my lunch, but it was touch and go there for a while. We also stopped on Fox Island (used to be fox farms there circa WWII) for a prime rib/salmon lunch that was great.

In other, and less disgusting news, we saw all manner of sea creatures today while on the boat and at the Alaska Sealife Centre, here in Seward. I got so close to a puffin it could have bitten my nose off if it wanted to. It turns out that I should have backed off becaus they're known to do that.

For the rest of today we're just hanging out in Seward and then we're back to Anchorage tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alaska days 4-8

So it's been a while since I had an Internet connection, thus explaining my lack of communication for those who are checking this out...

Some highlights from the last few days:

  • Getting on our Ferry, the Matanuska and sailing up the interior for two nights and one (and a bit) days

  • Whale watching on the ferry (Humpback and Orca). The Humpbacks were flipping their tails and the Orcas were actually jumping out of the water and "talking" to us

  • Visiting the Chilkoot Bald eagle preserve, where we found no bald eagles.

  • Visiting Crow Creek Mine where we panned for gold. There was no gold in them there hills.

  • Going to see the new Harry Potter and go to the Glacier Brew house in Anchorage

  • Chasing a Bald eagle down the beach on the Kenai Peninsula, where we are now.

We're headed out on a wildlife "cruise" tomorrow with Kenai Fjords National park, and it should be breathtaking - there is talk of whales, stellar sea lions, eagles, and Puffins. We'll see how many of those things we actually get to see... Also we're going to get our fishing licenses today I think to try and snag some of the Pink salmon that are starting their runs in the last day or so.

We haven't had cell service here for a few days, so if anyone needs to get a hold of us, just email as we have free WiFi for a couple days.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alaska day 3 and 4

Prince Rupert
Kleanza Creek Provincial Park
Theropod Tracks


Flatbed Falls

So we’re in Prince Rupert waiting to catch our ferry at 3:30 PM, lurking around finding unsecured WiFi again. Last night we camped at Kleanza Creek Provincial campground, and it was amazing. Virtually it was a rain forest – everything was covered in moss and it was dead quiet except for the creek running through it.

We drove for a total of 10 hours yesterday from Tumbler ridge to just an hour and a half outside of Prince Rupert (where we camped); it was a long day but made today very stress free.

Before leaving TR we went to Flatbed falls and I got to see where Darryl and his friends used to jump off the falls into the river when they were young. I won’t be doing that any time soon! More to come from the ship I’m sure… We also visited the Dinosaur Museum, which is located in the gymnasium of Darryl’s old elementary school. It was interesting – they’ve found three types of prints so far and some fossilized fish, plants, etc… Very good for the donation based fee they ask for when you enter.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Alaska Day 1 and 2

Tumbler point

Joan Lake

Kineuso Falls

Quintette Coal mine

Dinosaur prints

Mile 0

So I'm sitting outside a video store pigggybacking off of someone's internet to write this to you.

Yesterday we drove 7 hours through Dawson Creek, where we took the photo at the "Mile 0" post, which marks the beginning of the Alaska highway. We then continued on to Darryl's home town of Tumbler Ridge, which is where we've spent the last day - we leave tomorrow for Prince George area and then we're off to Prince Rupert.

While in TR we have visited Flatbed Creek, where we saw the dinosaur footprints and drove around town to see all the houses of the people we know from here. Today we went to Kineuso falls, which is higher than Niagara falls, but has less water volume. Very impressive! While on the road out of Monkman park where the falls were, we stopped at another waterfall called Joan falls - you basically have to lower yourself down a steep hill with a rope to get to the bottom but it was so awesome. We also saw the old Quintette mine where Darryl's Dad worked while they lived here.

We then took a rest at the camp site for lunch and afterwards went to TR point. It was a breathtaking view and I was constantly thinking that I heard bears in the woods. I assume that will be standard for the rest of this trip.

More to come later!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First-Person Shooter Disease

A funny clip for those of you who play the first-person shooter games....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wall-E and Purple

Isaac and Abbi got two new kittens this week - Wall-E and Purple are their names. My niece is absolutely obsessed with the color purple and this explains her kitten's name. Wall-E is the fuzzier of the two and his name is fairly self explanatory. They are hilarious to watch, and have basically murdered Jenn's lilac bush with all of the pouncing they do. But it's worth it. Especially since it's not my lilac bush.

Jill's Jellybeans

Well, the third Sparling wedding is rolling around this Friday, and as such there are many wedding-related duties to be performed. We, however, have gotten off pretty easy and the only task we managed to pry out of Jill's hands was finishing her wedding favors.
After learning to tie the elusive "Tiffany Bow" (flat bottom) the last 75 of these little puppies went fairly easily. Especially since I enlisted Darryl to help with the cutting of ribbon and filling boxes with Jelly Bellies. We may have eaten some of the candy, but I can't verify anything.
As an aside, there are such things as Jelly Belly Recipes - basically combinations of the gourmet beans to eat at once that will form something spectacular in your mouth. My favorite is the strawberry Jam +French Vanilla = Strawberry Shortcake. Look it up, it's well worth the trouble.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day at the Beach

Abbi resting on the rocks

The Boys

"Family" Photo

Isaac catching some rays

The Girls

Nate Just chillin' like a villain
We had a great (but very tiring) time at Glennifer Lake with some old friends this past weekend. We decided to bring the kids along for the ride, and they played in the water and Isaac and me went fishing with very poor results :(
However, we had a great time and it was nice to catch up with friends and family. Great place to go for the day if you haven't been, the water is far cleaner than at Sylvan because it is a man-made lake (Dixon Dam).

Garden - July 4 2009

Update pics on the garden.  It's been slow to start and slow to grow due to the cold dry weather.  Hopefully things will pick up here soon...

However, we have a bumper crop of mushrooms growing in the lawn due to the sudden torrential rain for three days straight.  It is so dry the moisture can't even sink into the ground, so it just sits around growing fungus.  Awesome!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bears and Salmon....and Cougars, oh my!

Well, we leave for Alaska in only one week. The next seven days are sure to go by very quickly what with Jill's wedding and getting all the odds and ends for the trip sorted out.

In honor of the upcoming trip, I thought I'd post some fun facts about Alaska Salmon.
There are five species of Alaskan salmon: Coho, Chinook ("King"), Pink, Chum, and Sockeye ("Red"). While we are in Alaska the late run of the Kenai King salmon will be going - these guys on average weight 30-40 lbs, and the largest ever caught was 97 lbs. in 1985.
While I hold little hope of catching anything, let alone a trophy fish, I do look forward to trying my luck along with the rest of the world when we're out there. I'll certainly post the picture if I manage to surprise myself.
Up until yesterday, my only fear in relation to this Alaska trip are the presence of Bears, which are sure to be numerous. While we are all there fighting for some Salmon, the bears are there and want their share too. I was relatively confident that with a can of bear spray we would be fine.
Until Darryl mentioned that the thing I really need to be afraid of is the Cougars. Awesome. And what can you do to protect yourself from a cougar? Nothing. That's right. So this should be an interesting trip, to say the least. If I come back dismembered, you'll know what happened.

Melanie and Copper on BTV

Melanie and Copper (the gigantic beagle with the green bandanna) were on BTV yesterday promoting Beagle Paws! Congrats on your fame Copper - try not to let it go to your head.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Free Stuff!

To commemorate the grand opening of the Starbucks in the Meadows, this company dropped free samples of their Pike Place coffee and Green tea on the doorstep of every resident in our area. I have never wanted to go around stealing something off doorsteps more badly in my life. I heart free stuff.

Rain, rain....

Well, it finally happened - it's raining in Edmonton. Although I'm not entirely sure how much good it's going to do now. The hay has already gone to seed and is pretty unsubstantial around here. I can't imagine that it's much different anywhere else in this drought-stricken province. Hopefully the rain will continue on during the week as forested - my garden might actually start to grow and my lawn could potentially stop crunching...here's hoping.