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 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!

Spring Break 2014 Days 1 and 2

Day 1 – We made it to McCarthy safely. LONG trip this time. 9 1/2 hours. Old truck, old trailer, old driver (he said it, not me!). Move in went well as it was warm: a balmy 38*. Started the oil stove only find find it wouldn’t draw. Thought the stack was blocked. Dave climbed up on the roof (after putting the ladder up on sawhorses in unstable snow!) and looked down the stack while I stood on the ground praying and thinking things that won’t be shared in public. All is well, he didn’t fall (thank you LORD!), the stack wasn’t blocked – it finally warmed up enough to stop belching black smoke into the cabin. 

This is a sight that always makes us smile.

This is a sight that always makes us smile.

Day 2 –

Weather: cloudy, and falling slop, 40*

After our move-in last night, it was good to have a quiet day to finish the set-up process. We got up late-ish and puttered our way through the morning. Jubal came over around 10 looking for a new carb boot. Since he runs a 600, Dave wasn’t able to help him out. Axel dropped in about 10:30 to see if we needed any help with anything. He was just in time to catch us sitting down for brunch, a nice spread of cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs and bacon with a glass of orange juice to wash it all down. Soon Laurie and Hannah arrived on skis, having heard from Axel that we were eating breakfast. (Small town dynamics at work – your business is EVERYBODY’s business!) We were getting down to a good visit when Keith arrived with his lunchbox. While their lunches disappeared we caught up on each other’s lives.

Late in the afternoon Tammy, Axel and Caitlin came by to see if anyone wanted to take a quick spin up to Kennecott via the wagon trail. Dave and Hannah suited up and they took off. They ran up to the Bonanza Bowl and checked out the conditions. Snowboarders and skiers don’t worry – they’ve left it pristine for you.

After a four-course dinner we’re ready to wind things down for the day. What will tomorrow hold?

(NOTE: I wanted to add many more pictures but the internet is very slow here, so until I figure out how to reduce the file size, I’m thinking the pictures will be few. Bummers.)