23 sep 13 summer highlights

The first snows of the season stuck to the ground today, so I'm inspired to edit some of the summer's photos and post up the highlights.

In June we visited family in Colorado for two weeks, and I biked the back roads of Boulder County with my dad.  The September floods wiped out most of the bridges, and he says we couldn't do any of those rides to Hygiene, Berthoud, or Mead now, or even pedal the bike paths of Longmont now.
Our neighborhood is a popular moose nursery.  This moose cow and her days-old twins spent an afternoon nibbling on the flowers at the back steps.

In June and July we enjoyed perfect summer weather.  One evening we hiked in the Glen Alps area of Chugach State Park near our house.

My bike club pedaled 12+ miles past the end of Eklutna Lake in Chugach State Park for a long weekend.  The weather was fantastic.  Here's my bike on the return loaded with empty water containers strapped to the top of my sleeping bag and pad which are bungied to the rack which holds two panniers with my clothes in 1 and group and my food gear (coffee pots etc) in the other.  Bear spray in the bottle cage, snacks and small camera in the handlebar bag, and water and extra clothes in the daypack on my back (not in picture).

Our sailing weekends were too few but highlighted by sunny days and fair breezes.  I plan to post an album about our time in Prince William Sound this year.

Django was a great boat dog!  He looked this cheerful and excited whenever I brought out his life jacket for taking the dinghy to shore (except that one rainy weekend when none of us really wanted to be outside much)

31 jul 13 The Summer Day

Yesterday Anchorage continued setting a record for the most consecutive days at 70 degrees or above -- 15 days.  This summer has seemed close-to-perfect and it's a constant topic of conversation even after two months of great weather.

Two weeks ago, as that 70+ streak started, an acquaintance of mine ended her life on the shores of Turnagain Arm.  She had worked her entire career to protect Alaska's beauty, wildlife, and ecosystems, but she wasn't always able to take joy in that beauty and wildness. 

I am saddened by her intense despondency and her death.  I am grateful that I am able to feel joy in these perfect summer days.  My yoga instructor read this Mary Oliver poem to us yesterday, and it struck me for the way this summer makes me feel and the incredible loss to the Alaska conservation community with this death.

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA
Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver.
(I encourage you to buy all the Mary Oliver poetry books that your arms can hold.)

13 apr 20 signs of alaska spring

Two weeks ago we were 20 degrees below normal, then 10 degrees below last week, and finally yesterday we topped 40. Spring is coming!
Spring snowfall - 12" on April 9th

Icicles on the berm along the driveway

seedlings in the living room window

snow biking wearing just a sweatshirt

16 mar 13 burma shave* talkeetna-style

from my creative and talented friend (and long-lost cousin) Doug
and his brilliant compatriots

2013 flying by

imitating street art with the Buttons on a very cold Denver day
 The Iditarod is almost over and I'm just now uploading my first blog entry of the year.  2013 has felt fast and furious times.  Good thing that fun has been part of that.  We went to Colorado in early January to visit family.  At the end of January we flew to Hawaii for a two-week vacation with the usual mix of biking, snorkeling, and hiking.
Paul mountain biking a dirt section of the King's Trail in Puna

Paul snorkeling in the Wai'opae tidepools in Puna

Birding in the remote Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the flank of Mauna Kea
And on Valentine's Day, we adopted another member into the pack.
Django! ball hound