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.

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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.

Takin’ a Break for the 4th of July

NOTE: I had this post ready to go weeks ago; but our internet has been down. Rats. Sorry for the delay.

With a tarp over the walls, and it being the beginning of July, the guys decided they could take a break for the 4th. We took our usual trip to McCarthy leaving Wednesday after work to drive all night so that we wouldn’t miss any of the July 4th festivities. We got in to the cabin at 5 a.m. and crashed into our beds to sleep for a few hours. By 10:30 we were up and ready (sort of) to face the day.

The Annual 4th of July McCarthy Parade lines up in front of our house before processing into town. So as we walked in we got to see the “floats” up close. They ranged in size from a semi with a log mill loaded on the back to a remote-controlled monster truck. This holiday is McCarthy’s biggest day of the year, its population swells to several hundred people for the weekend. And this parade is one of the highlights.

The big boy of the parade. A Rowland semi with log mill on the back.

The big boy of the parade. A Rowland semi with log mill on the back.

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Ben and Dave braved the slack line.

Ben and Dave braved the slack line.


The kids (I know they’re adults, but still…) all went off in various directions going on hikes, visiting relatives, more hikes, etc. Dave and I stayed pretty close to the cabin. We did venture out for a trip to Kennecott to look around. But mostly we just enjoyed our own home place. Ahhh. I really LOVE having a cabin when I go camping. 🙂

Kennecott Mill building

Kennecott Mill building


That’s my man.

Looking out over the glacier toward McCarthy. Yes, those gravel hills are actually glacier.

Looking out over the glacier toward McCarthy. Yes, those gravel hills are actually glacier.

Holly got us all looking for copper nuggets, she was very specific on the size and quality.

Holly got us all looking for copper nuggets, she was very specific on the size and quality.

Ben is carefully combing the hills for copper for Holly. Such a weird, er, good man.

Ben is carefully combing the hills for copper for Holly. Such a weird, er, good man.

Gravel boarding using a rusted barrel lid was the new sport of choice for this trip.

Gravel boarding using a rusted barrel lid was the new sport of choice for this trip. Notice Wyatt rubbing his hiney, he’d already tried it.

There's my manly men. So intelligent, so brave.

There’s my manly men. So intelligent, so strong, so photogenic.

Person men + water= MUST DIVERT!

Person men + water= MUST DIVERT!

They were positive this rock  had to me moved to another location. The aesthetics of the creek were not improved (in my opinion).

They were positive this rock had to be moved to another location.

One evening friends and family gathered for a BBQ around our big fire pit. We amused ourselves and one another with our grilling skills (or lack thereof) and witty conversation.

Bridger was grillmeister for his household.

Bridger, grill meister for his household.

Brittney and Kaleb...

Brittney and Kaleb…

Bridger and Julie

Bridger and Julie…

Kim and Jay

Kim and Jay…

Esther, perfecting the sear on her marshmallows.

Esther, perfecting the sear on her marshmallow…

Keith and Laurie

Keith and Laurie…

Kelly and Kim giving Jubal a talk.

Kelly and Kim giving Jubal a talk…

Dave toasting his marshmallow sans stick.

Evening entertainment: Dave’s sans stick marshmallow toasting trick.

Our evening concert.

Our evening concert: The Soggy Boots Band (yes, that’s their name) gave us a bit of bluegrass.

Our normal five day trip was shortened to four this year and we decided to go home by way of Palmer since we wanted to visit friends at Victory Bible Camp and attend a wedding. With the 4th behind us the guys are looking hard at what needs to happen next on the house project.

Lunch at Liberty Falls

Lunch at Liberty Falls

Ben hopped around so fast, it was difficult to get him in focus.

Ben hopped around so fast, it was difficult to get him in focus.

Holly, Ethan and Hannah Shafe friends of ours from Senegal, West Africa. Holly is working in Fairbanks this summer, Ethan and Hannah are working at Victory.

Holly, Ethan and Hannah Shafe, friends of ours from Senegal, West Africa. Holly is working in Fairbanks this summer, Ethan and Hannah are working at Victory.