Spring Break 2014 Day 11 (Thursday)

Weather – sunny 25*
Mileage – snowmachine: 53; walker 4.5
Dinner – Zuppa Toscana, apples, bread

My day was great for me – reading, napping, walking and talking – not so great for writing something interesting about it. Dave and Hannah-gita on the other hand had a wonderful day up in the mountains. I could tell by the grins on their faces and the sunburn that they had been in Glory Land. All through dinner they kept smiling, groaning over sore muscles and burnt faces, but smiling. They sipped their soup and told stories and smiled. Dave took a few still shots so here’s a little sampling of their day.

IMGA0022 IMGA0025 IMGA0026 IMGA0027 IMGA0030 IMGA0035 IMGA0040 IMGA0045 IMGA0049 IMGA0050


Spring Break 2014 Day 10 (Wednesday)

Weather – sunny and 25*ish

Miles – snowmachine: 36

Dinner – Potluck at Rowlands-on-the-Hill: Two versions of a southwest chicken soup, chips and cheese, hot cheesy pasta, yeast rolls, pistachio salad, green salad, chips, cupcakes, rice krispy bars, and another yummy-looking bar that I didn’t get to taste.

Dave and Hannah-gita left with the group around 10 this morning to take a ride up Fourth of July Creek. Dave says they took the longest, roughest, rockiest route across the glacier that the lead riders could find. Once up into the mountains it got a lot better. Dave says he only tipped Hannah-gita off the sled once. I heard that Ben dumped Sharon off their machine, too. I also heard that the Nitro regurgitated its oil after tumbling down a chute, so it’s spending the night alone in the mountains. Some of the guys will go out in the morning to retrieve it. And I heard that Nick was having trouble with his injectors. Although he figured out that they work better if there’s fuel in the tank.

While most of the crew was out riding the rest of us got ready for the pot-luck, and then headed up to Rowlands-on-the-Hill for the afternoon and evening. I got to play a bit of ping-pong with Andu, Caitlin and Keenan. That was fun; I haven’t played for a very long time. Well, it was fun until Dave got back and whooped the socks off me. Then I wasn’t having as much fun.

After dinner we had the annual sing-time. However, by 8 o’clock it seemed like most people had run out of steam and were ready to head home. So here we are putting the finishing touches on the day and preparing to hit the sack.

Here’s a few shots from the day…

Hannah Rowland

Hannah Rowland

Hannah-gita and Jay.

Hannah-gita and Jay.


Spring Break 2014 – Day 9 (Tuesday)

Weather – sunny and 30*
Milage – snowmachine: 41 miles; skier: 1 mile! Plus a quick ½ mile walk.
Dinner – Beef Bourguignon, mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms & onions, and corn, with pistachio cookies for dessert. This meal definitely gets me a “bless your heart!”

Ski Report – Wow, though it is evident that I do much better with a buddy (thanks Kim and Andu!) I went out again today and saw some improvement, namely that I stepped into my right ski like a pro and it only took three (yes, just three!) tries to get the toe hooky-thingy hooked on my left boot. My first few steps were uncertain and I was afraid that I was back to my old ooching routine, but after a few tries everything straightened out and soon I was practicing my slide and glide. I could hear Kim reminding me “lean a little forward, bend your knees a bit more and keep your poles in by your sides”. Do you know, these little tips reduce the flailing condition tremendously. I skied up to the airport turn off and back; today it only took me 35 minutes. Pitiful yes, but not as pitiful as the first two times I tried. Perseverance, it is the key.

One of my Dad’s favorite questions is, “Well, did you learn anything?” Yes, Dad, I did. Here are the lessons I learned during my ski today:
1.) Beginners should always look where they want to go. Not to the side. Not at the little rocks that you know are going rip the slick stuff off the bottom of your skis. And definitely you should not look behind you at the snowmachine coming down on you.
2.) Beginners should remember to breathe. Holding your breath while you are exerting yourself only clouds your thinking, not to mention your vision.
3.) Beginners should think about skiing and not about what they are going to do if a.) a moose pops out of the woods and starts chasing you; b.) a wolf pops out of the woods and starts chasing you; or c.) someone spouting heretical theology pops out of the woods and thinks the same way the moose and wolf do. By the time I got to the heretical theologian I was ready to tear his head off. Ahem.
4.) Cross-country skiers should keep their toe-nails short. There is a lot of toe work happening with the whole slide and glide thing. I must find my clippers.
5.) Skiers should always, always, always wear sunglasses when skiing on sunny days. Where did I put those sunglasses? And the aspirin?

Today’s snowmachine ride was up McCarthy Creek to the Rock Glacier; yes, a repeat of an earlier trip. The area is ideal for skiers and snowboarders. The creek trail is getting really worn out, so the ride is pretty rough. Hannah-gita says it’s the worst one on her knees so far. She enjoyed the day visiting with people and watching the action. Her neck and back are stiff, but recovering. Dave once again set himself up so that he could do the filming. The GoPro got put on time lapse duty. It captured the spectators enjoying the skiers, snowboarders and ‘machiners. He also had out the video cam to catch everything he could for the movie. He’s in the process of editing right now and I see lots of big sweeping vistas, rooster tails, aborted climbs and swift ski/boarding descents.

Here are a few shots from today…

The Spectators.

The Spectators.

Ben does a wheelie.

Ben does a wheelie.

Skiers and snowboarders.

Skiers and snowboarders.

Spring Break 2014 – Days 6, 7 and 8


Weather – cooling down

Miles – snowmachine: 29; skis: 1 (!)

Dinner- Chili

Today’s activity: Beaver trapping towards the Chitna. Most everyone machined out to a lake watch Keith and Jay put in a few beaver sets, and play on the lake. Phillip showed up in his little plane and generously gave rides to Hannah-gita, Kimberly, Sarah Sackett, and Axel. He even played tag with the snowmachiners.

Dave’s got good footage of the day. It’ll be a long evening editing.

Kim and Andu stopped by our cabin in the afternoon and invited me to go skiing. With Kim’s good advice and excellent encouragement, I was able to actually ski (not ooch!) all the way to the airport turn-out and back. I could not believe how much easier it was to do today. I think I might actually be able to learn how to do this. The only down-side is that my knees are REALLY feeling it. Once again I must remind myself “perseverance is the key”.



Weather – coldish -4*, sunny

Miles – snowmachine: 40 something; skis: nope, nada

Dinner: Stir Fry, Rice, Pot-Stickers

Spent the morning in church with Rowlands-On-the-Hill.

Afternoon at Bonanza Bowl. I can’t give an eyewitness report since I wasn’t there. However, Dave and Hannah-gita came home with smiles. They said it was awesome. Hannah-gita did a bit of skiing. She performed a few face plants and even managed the very rare (with good reason) land-on-your-face-and-fold-yourself-in-half trick. Her back made interesting clicking sounds as her heels came up and over to touch her head, but she says she’ll be recovered soon. A hot shower and a good slathering of Deep Blue Rub helped her sleep.

Again, Dave has a goodly amount of footage to go over.



Weather – a somewhat cloudy 20*

Miles – snowmachine: 16; skis – ummm, still on break/recovery

Dinner: Shepherd’s Pie (OK, actually it’s leftovers (cabbage rolls, meatloaf, baked pasta) covered with Cheesy Mashed Potatoes – but doesn’t Shepherd’s Pie sound a LOT better?), Baked Cauliflower, Jell-O

Hannah-gita is stiff and sore from yesterday’s adventures, but it did not stop her from heading out with Dave and the rest of the group to climb the ice falls on the Nizina.

Dave is home with the GoPro and Canon full of pictures – thousands of pictures. He set up the Canon to take a series of shots. And he attached the GoPro to a long stick to follow the progress of the ice climbers. He’s got a lot to edit tonight. There are some very good snaps of people ice climbing and enjoying the bonfire. I’m thinking this year’s movie is going to pretty good.

We hear rumors of a long trip tomorrow – so I’d better get this thing posted and head to bed.

Here are a few pics for your enjoyment (sorry about the poor resolution – hazards of slow internet) …

Jay augering the holes for a beaver set.

Jay augering the holes for a beaver set.

Playing tag with Phillip

Playing tag with Phillip

The Clan

The Clan

David R owning the falls.

David R getting a grip – sort of.

Spring Break 2014 Day 5 (Friday)

Weather: cloudy-ish morning, sunny-ish evening. It really depends on which direction you are looking at any given time. Temperature: 40+*

Milage: snowmachine trip: 1 mile; walker: 2.5 miles

Dinner Report: Baked Pasta, Green Beans, Green Salad, Carrot Sticks, Oatmeal Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies. Tammy, Axel and Caitlin ate with us and shared the salad and cookies.

Well I had big plans to hop on my skis again today and try out a new trail. But my knees are unhappy, so I limited myself to a walk instead. Sadly, this means no amusing story for you.

Dave and Hannah were also a bit under the weather this morning, so we puttered around the house ‘til we felt like moving. Dave ended up spending the bulk of his morning straightening out the A-arm on his machine. He set up a system of boards and straps. Hannah and I assisted him by holding boards in place, prying at strategic moments and even jumping on the boards when he told us to. It was an interesting experience and he says that the A-arm looks beautiful. (I say, keep the spare coming, Ben!)

Dave also wanted to reattach the belly pan, but had to go looking for a riveter and rivets. He brings action packers and bags and boxes full of extra parts, pieces and tools but didn’t happen to have that particular tool with him this time. He and Hannah road over to Tammy’s place, then on to Keith’s shop and finally ended up at Laurie’s before they got all the parts together to rivet the belly pan back on.

In the meantime, I stopped by Tammy’s and she and I took a walk down to Keith’s bridge and back. Then we stood on our porch, in the sun, and gabbed for a while longer. I couldn’t believe it was after three when I went inside.

I pulled out my book, curled up on the couch and relaxed. A couple of hours later Hannah and Dave arrived and said that they (including Tammy, Caitlin, Axel and Jubal) were going to run out to the ice caves on the glacier for a quick peek before dinner. They headed out and I settled in again with my book. But they were back again a few minutes later. Jubal had clutch issues with his loaner machine. He and Axel went up to Keith and Laurie’s for parts and then back to the townhouse to fix it.

Tammy, Axel and Caitlin came over for dinner and afterwards they played a round of Skip-Bo with Hannah. We heard from Jay that they’re close so we are keeping our eyes open for them.

I hear that tomorrow the crowd is planning to go beaver trapping. Woohoo! I’m sure there’ll be some good stories from that trip.

Spring Break 2014 – Day 4

Spring Break – Day 4

Weather: mostly sunny. Temperature: nearly 40*

Miles: snowmachine – 29; walker/skier 4+

Dinner Report: Meatloaf (ketchup for Dave and Hannah-gita), mashed potatoes, peas, strawberry jell-o with apricots, and a smoothie

After a morning of house chores, I (Renee) decided to try out the cross-country skis I’d borrowed from Erin Williams (thanks Erin!).  Just as I’d been instructed by Jay, I carefully chunked the blue wax on the bottoms of the skis and smoothed it out with my new cork block. I felt almost professional. This feeling didn’t last long. Next I laid the skis out on the snow and tried to step in just as I’d seen other skiers do. Thus ensued a very frustrating few minutes as I made multiple attempts to get the little latch to clip onto the wire on the toe of the boot. Finally accepting that I was doing something wrong I noticed the lever just above the catch, I flipped it up and what-do-you-know parts and pieces moved! So I spent  many more minutes getting my left toe hooked and latched. And the right foot – oh my goodness! – it is difficult to stay upright when one foot is strapped into a very long skinny board on top of icy snow. Sheesh. You must imagine the flailing and thrashing going on. However, I persevered and eventually got myself clicked in. By this time, I was sweating and tired. I’d already had a major workout and I hadn’t yet taken a single productive step. But my skies were on and I had the poles in hand. I was ready to roll, er, ski!

Giving myself a little push with my poles I promptly shot backward. Not the direction I was expecting. More flailing. I tried again; I gave a little push with my poles and leaned forward, sort of lifting my feet lightly off the ground – success! forward motion. Another push and this time I tried gliding one foot ahead of the other, another push and another slide. Wow, I’d moved 10 feet away from the cabin. I reminded myself perseverance is the key. I skied (I’m using this term loosely) out to the road and awkwardly turned right and shuffled my way up the track toward the airport. It turns out that Thursday is mail day and everyone (and there are a lot of people in town right now) was headed to the mail shack. This means that there are a lot of people who witnessed my very unprofessional attempts to ooch my way up the road. I was really hoping that the camera crew that’s in town filming a reality show was very occupied somewhere far, far away. I made it to my turn around point – approximately 150’ up the road and got turned. Headed back to the cabin there is a slight down grade. I mistakenly thought this would make my life easier. No. I started going too fast, like I approached snail speed. My skies headed in different directions and since I’m no longer that flexible something had to be done quickly. I fell over. Deliberately. Then I tried getting up. Not easy when the icy road slopes downhill. I thought, “Please don’t let anybody come by. Please don’t let anybody come by. Oh shoot, here comes a snowmachine.” For the life of me I could not get myself up until the rider was close enough to get a good look at me. So I smiled and waved as he drove slowly by giving me The Look.

Arriving home, I removed the skies, put them neatly away and changed into my walking boots. I comforted myself with a four mile trek, knowing that I’m good at walking anyway.

While I was having my skiing/walking adventure, Dave and Keith flew up the glacier to locate some ice caves they’re interested in exploring and they flew over to visit Phillip who’s in town for a bit. When I got home from my walk Dave was back and busy replacing the carb boot band on his machine.

After lunch Dave and Hannah-gita took off with Keith, Hannah, Jubal, Tammy, Axel and Caitlin for a run up McCarthy Creek. They made it to the Rock Glacier and played there for a bit. (NOTE for those who know the creek: In January, during the big thaw and rain, McCarthy Creek ran so deep that it flooded the tunnel about 4 feet deep. There are ice chunks up in the woods 15 feet above creek bed level.)

While everyone else was headed up McCarthy Creek, Laurie skied over to our place and we visited for a couple of hours. Laurie’s my skiing hero. She just started skiing a month or so ago and she’s already confident enough to ski from her place to town and back, a good 16 miles! Way to go, Laurie.

Tonight Dave and Hannah are both tired and sore and cheerful. They are happy for the short little trips they’ve been taking every day to get themselves broken in for a longer trip. We’re enjoying ourselves with cups of Russian tea and cocoa, movie making, and book reading. A good ending to a good day.

Spring Break 2014 – Day 3

Weather: occasionally breezy; sunny, sometimes cloudy, but mostly sunny. Temp: near 40* most of the day, dropping this afternoon/evening.

Big activity of the day? Filling the fuel tank for the oil stove. All went well right up until the freighting sled loaded with the full fuel tank tipped over on the trail behind the house. Dave quickly got things moving in the upright direction with a couple of straps and two come-alongs. (The things that man can do with a come-along.) Hannah-gita and I got to help by pulling and pushing the levers. Axel, Jubal and Caitlin arrived to help up just as we got the sled righted and in position to hook it up to fill the tank.

Dave and Hannah-gita head to the glacier.

Dave and Hannah-gita head to the glacier.

After lunch, Dave, Hannah-gita, Keith and Axel took a very quick run up the glacier to locate some ice caves. Axel had to be back home for a class so couldn’t stay too long. Keith decided that with the tracks on the glacier he could do a fly-over and would be able to pinpoint the cave’s location for the next trip out. Hannah got very friendly with the glacier a few times when she landed face first following a couple of unplanned ejections off the ‘8’. She says it tastes pretty good.

Dinner’s over, dishes are washed, business taken care of, so it’s time to pop in a little Hogan’s Heroes and relax.

Night all!