27 August 2008 Biking Dad

Not many 40-something women can call their dad a stud. Mine is. As we were biking a 28.5-mile tour of Anchorage's bike paths and routes today, I decided he was as good if not better a biker to tag. None of my non-blogging bike friends even responded to my tagging. I thought about tagging my friend Jeff in Talkeetna (who dreams about pugslies) but he'd probably think these questions are silly. Dad likes silly questions and may be amused by answering them. Hey, he braved moose and crawled under the Seward Highway to do all of the Campbell Creek Trail today; he's a sport and a dad willing to indulge his daughter.

Dad and moose at Taku Lake, Campbell Creek trail

Dad biking the Campbell Creek Trail under the Seward Highway

Biking Dad:

If you could have any one — and only one — bike in the world, what would it be?
The one I’ve got – Trek FX7.5. Because it’s the perfect old man bike.

If you had to choose one — and only one — bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why? Why would one be confined to one bike route? I can’t conceive of that being a possibility in my life.

What kind of sick person would force another person to ride one and only one bike for the rest of her / his life? Probably a close relative. Or the person who made up this questionnaire.

Do you ride both road and mountain bikes? If both, which do you prefer and why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrowminded? Only one because that’s all I can afford and it’s a good well-rounded bike to do many things. No mountain biking but it does road and trail quite nicely.

Have you ever ridden a recumbent? If so, why? If not, describe the circumstances under which you would ride a recumbent. Only at the gym. It doesn’t look comfortable to me at all.

Have you ever raced a triathlon? If so, have you also ever tried strangling yourself with dental floss? No, but I wear the shorts.

Suppose you were forced to either give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would you give up, and why? Ice cream. Why? Because you made me choose.

What is a question you think this questionnaire should have asked, but has not? Also, answer it. Anything but what you’ve asked so far.

You’re riding your bike in the wilderness (if you’re a roadie, you’re on a road, but otherwise the surroundings are quite wilderness-like) and you see a bear. The bear sees you. What do you do? I’d ask you if you have your bear spray with you because I wouldn’t be riding near bears at any other time.

21 August 2008 Butte

Our regional director came to Alaska for the first time for the big annual board meeting. My director asked me to show her the Mat-Su one day. He said that Karen was fit and active so I looked for something to do other than driving around all day. I've never hiked up Bodenburg Butte and thought it might give her a good overview of the Palmer and lower Valley area. The trail description said 'steep' and 'challenging' but it's only 1.5 miles so how bad could it be? Most of those trail descriptions are written for couch potatoes, anyway, right?

Thankfully, Karen is fit and enjoys hiking. She did mention recovery from ACL surgery last year but didn't suggest we turn around when the trail continued to head almost directly uphill with suspect footing on exposed geoblocks. I hadn't known that the visiting VP of Human Resources would be joining us when I picked the itinerary but she too was game for climbing to the top of the Butte. Two of my co-workers and two visiting photographers also huffed to the top.

From the top we had a good view of the farmland in the Butte area, the Knik and Matanuska Rivers, the Knik Glacier, and the rain storm approaching from the south. Back on the forested slopes we stayed mostly dry. We had earned a huge lunch at a new restaurant, Turkey Red, in Palmer.

16 August 2008 Resurrection Bay

Ahh, nothing I like more than a forest of dead trees. Some have thought my photographic fascination with leafless wood a bit odd. Landing on this spit at the north end of Fox Island and finding this standing dead forest was a pleasant surprise for me. I'm guessing that the land subsided over time or suddenly due to an earthquake and that the trees died as salt water became their only water source.

Despite the dead trees, this little spit is full of life. The fireweed was vibrant, along with tall beach grasses cow parsnip. At the end, four black oystercatchers wandered along the rocks and plovers dashed along the waters edge.

10 August 2008 Susitna River

On Friday we boarded the flag-stop train in Talkeetna (locally dubbed the Bud Car due to appearance, not refreshments) for the hour ride to Gold Creek. There the conductor deposited 7 of us and a lot of camping and boating gear beside the tracks. We ferried the gear down a steep embankment to the Susitna River bank. Gold Creek flows in just upstream of the railroad bridge.

We were an odd flotilla -- raft, Feathercraft single kayak, Klepper double kayak, and an Aerius inflatable kayak. One way or another, we all floated back down to Talkeetna in 2 days of floating. We ended up camping 2 nights on an exposed sandy-gravelly island because Saturday was so rainy, no one wanted to pack up to move to a better spot. Despite the weather, it was a very relaxing day of bocce, reading, visiting, napping, rock collecting, and eating. A beach vacation, Alaska style.

5 August 2008 Mushroom Eyes

Thanks to a field trip with Jon and Rose, Paul and I are getting our mushroom eyes.

Last evening I went for a little walk and run around the neighborhood. I found a large bolete (in the center of the photo) before I even left the yard. The next one, slightly smaller, presented itself half way through the outing.

This evening, we biked home from work through Bicentennial Park. Within a 100 yards of leaving the paved trails, Paul spotted some mushrooms. Half our harvest came from that spot. The rest of the ride was slow -- we were either watching the sides of the trail for more boletes or scanning the creek banks for bears.

Not all of these beauties made it into the saute pan. I found a few maggots in the trimming and cutting. And one turned blue so we threw it out.

We had another delightful dinner composed mostly of local foods -- mushrooms with herbs from the garden and a spinach salad from the garden with cucumber & radish from a Palmer farm. This meal was delicious, though not the exquisite feast that Jon prepared. Again, the satisfaction was increased knowing that we had gathered and grown much of it ourselves.