Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I like cheese....NOT

So I decided that this entry will mainly be pictures...because I know all of you are tired of reading words when you can be instantly gratified by cool pictures!!! (P.S. I survived the canoe trip. Although I came devastatingly close, I did not die.)

Me and my precious shotgun last Wednesday at the shooting range. Don't I look so hardcore?

Shooting at the rushing "bear." That little screen thing in the back is a snarling bear about to eat me!
Sam, me, Julia, and Eve on our rafting trip. I did not discuss this in an earlier entry. Last Thursday, we went on a rafting trip (I think there were about 20 people in all) down the Kenai River. I think we rafted 10-12 miles...but I could be wrong. We saw amazing scenic vistas everywhere we went. Unfortunately, I didn't want to risk anything happening to my digital camera, so I couldn't take any pictures. All these pictures are happily provided to you by Eve Smallwood (copyright). This trip we probably saw the most variation in wildlife we've seen the entire time we've been here. We saw a moose and her (maybe) 4-day old meese babies, a beaver, a black bear and HER two cubs (amazing - unfortunately, nobody had a camera with a battery left at this point, so we couldn't take any pictures. But, we were driving back from our day trip in a huge 15-seater van when we saw a bear on the side of the road. And in all seriousness, the bear and her two cubs were literally 4 feet from the van. We got such an amazing view of them. And those pictures, my friends, are only in my heart.), a lone black bear, several eagles, several murganzer (sp?) ducks, goldeneye and harlequin ducks, and so much more. Our rafting guide person is a birder...so he told us all of this neat stuff about the waterfowl commonly seen. He said that hardcore birders travel from all over the world to see harlequin ducks right here in Alaska. And here we saw them everywhere. I felt so priviledged.
Here's a picture of the moose and her two babies. They were so unbelievably cute. They were all awkward on their legs.

A picture of us on the raft. I'm in the front. Sam and Julia are in the back somewhere, if you can spot them out. The rest of the people on the boat are trail crew and fire people. Anyway, after our rafting trip (which lasted about 4-5 hours) we went on a boating trip across Skilak lake. We saw a glacier in the distance (whose name fails me at the moment) and the absolutely breathtaking Kenai moutains surrounded us. We stopped onshore at a cabin and did a little roleplaying game to practice a potential emergency situation. We had to use the 7 survival rules to discuss and determine what we would do if we were stranded on this island with just the stuff on our backs and in our pockets. Mucho fun. Later that night (and unfortunately, or possibly thankfully I don't have pictures of this) we went to a bar and did some karaoke. Dad, I would have made you proud. Julia and I sang "Take on Me" by Aha! and "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" as duets. Although I suffered sweaty palms and shamefaced embarassment, it was hellishy funny. I kinda wish we did have pictures. Anyway, here's pictures of our canoe trip:

This was on our first day of canoeing. It absolutely poured on us the entire day. It was miserable, but fun (surprisingly). This little area was a portage, but thankfully, was one that we could canoe through. The other ones weren't so painless. We had to portage through muck that made you sink 'til you were knee-deep in sketchy brown stuff, with it underneath your nails, covering your hands, and if you were lucky, with it even splattered on your face (I was that lucky). With the exception of the final portage we did, I fell knee-deep in muck every single time. I was lucky (no exaggeration here) I didn't break my leg...because I almost did. We had to portage through trails that were knotty with tree roots, limbs, and full-on trees that blocked the path. The portages were long and arduous...but somehow we made through it, bruises on our spines and all.

This is a picture of me, Scott (our guide - Ranger on the refuge) and Eve. Me and Eve were partners (and tent sharers) the entire weekend. I think me and Eve shared something special that weekend that will forever change our relationship. Or not. This is me portaging a canoe. Doesn't it look like oodles of fun?? NOT! It was a horrible experience. Although I can say I can portage a canoe by myself, now. Nearing the end of the third day, Eve discovered a little something that would help us through 'til the end. She realized that listening to a little "Thriller" by Michael Jackson on her ipod while portaging would move mountains (or at least canoes). I, on the other hand, listened to some Jack Johnson. I have a new and unadulterated appreciation for Jack Johnson now...as he saved my life. (I'm considering writing him a personal note of thanks.) This is a picture of Sam [bless her heart - she seriously damaged her back this weekend - Randy - she'll be needing some serious therapy when she gets back :) ], Me, Eve, Scott (being a badass), Julia, Christa (YCC co-leader) and Ryan (YCC leader and motorcylist extraordinaire). These past two pictures are really funny. Eve set a timer on her camera and set it off a ways so that she could get a picture of all of us. Unfortunately, it looks like we're focusing on a leaf. But I kid you not, what is more important is what's in the picture beyond. This is Scott, me, Julia, Christa, and Eve. We're stalking the camera. Seriously. You see? Although we all practically died this weekend, we did have some fun.

Alright, the next string of pictures are from our trip to Homer. I know I talked about it...but I didn't allow you to experience the amazingness that is Homer. It was absolutely beautiful...and it was such a clear day - so I got some pretty sweet pictures of the mountains. (We now get into the pictures that were taken with my camera. You'll see the difference. And no...I am not bigheaded or biased about my camera or picture-taking abilities in the least.)

Julia, Eve, Sam and Me overlooking the Kachemak Bay. Although you can't see them in this picture, there's snow-covered mountains surrounding this bay. Here's Dan the man...the guy I have been constantly referencing. He's so much fun. This was at the Pratt museum in Homer...where we saw one of only two remaining skeletons of the entinct saw-toothed whale. Dan is wearing some emergency safety suit that you would wear if you had to do some life-saving in hypothermic water. On the side of the bin where this suit was stored was a little challenge to visitors: to see if you could put this suit on in 30 seconds or less. I'm pretty sure Dan failed. But at least he can successfully do the robot in it!!Sam, Me, Eve and Julia overlooking the Kachemak bay and Kenai mountain range. This was probably the highest point of Homer. It was an absolutely amazing view. This is the closest I could get with my camera (if you ask me, it's pretty close) of one of the mountains. If you look close enough near the bottom of the picture, you'll see a glacier. The snow looks a little different at the bottom than the rest of the mountain. The way you can spot a glacier is by the color of it. Glaciers tend to look blue, because the ice reflects all colors of the spectrum except for blue - which it absorbs from the blue of the sky. I promised a picture of this, didn't I? Buttwhackers: we pack 'em, rack 'em, whack 'em and sack 'em. I'm pretty sure they're talking about fish. I could be wrong. Right next to this lovely place was the Salty Dog Saloon. Apparently it's a hot spot of The Spit. I'm pretty sure I explained this in a previous post, but -- The Spit is an peninsula that juts off of the mainland of Homer. It's not too wide across...so you can easily walk from either side to have a nice jaunt on the beach.

Got this picture off of a bumper sticker on a truck. This is Homer's slogan...and boy, does it hit the mark. This is a picture from the Spit of the Kachemak bay and the Kenai mountains. The water is so unbelievably blue. It reminds me of the crystalline water of the Bahamas...could be the very same - if it weren't for the temperature difference.

Sam, me and Julia on our day hike on Burney's trail in the Refuge. I talked about it briefly in a previous post. It was about a 2-hour hike (that was grueling - man, I need to get into shape) up some hilly areas. We got to see some wonderful views of Skilak Lake and the Kenai mountain range.

This is a picture of Cook's Inlet overlooking three of Kenai's ACTIVE volcanoes. I can't remember their names right now...but they're off in the distance. This was at 10 pm. See how far the sun is up in the sky? It was absolutely beautiful though. This was when Dan, Scott (fisheries fellow), Sam and I went walking on the beach at night. It was really amazing and quiet. We saw some seals and porpoises in the water...but they were too quick for me to get a good picture. And last but not least, here's a picture for Randy. I stole a picture of Sam when she wasn't looking. She's so sneaky, that one. She'll never let you take her picture...so you have to stoop down to her level and sneak in a picture whenever you can. In the background is Dan. Most likely, Dan just told a joke that he and Sam are presumably laughing at.

Anyway, that's it!!! Today we get a day's rest from our canoe trip this weekend...so I'll most likely be wasting a lot of time (like now, for example - but at least you've been visually stimulated, right?). Tomorrow we do CPR/First Aid training...and then I can't remember what. I'll be checking in soon!!


The King said...


Just read your latest entry and in the very first photo with the shotgun, you look like the Terminator ... a diminutive version, but scary nevertheless.

"Dan the Man" in that orange or red jumpsuit is a dead ringer for Weird Al Yankovic.

It appears that this latest series of snapshots are a conscious attempt at famous personality impersonations and I can't wait to see David Attenborough unveiled!

The views of the mountain tops blanketed in snow are breathtaking, as is the general panorama in every shot. You have been blessed with an opportunity that only a few experience and you will have both a mental and a physical recollection in your memory bank that will last a lifetime.

That's why memories are fun to share and why your blog is so appealing.

I also have read Eve's Journal from one of her posts and it seems that being the first intern she has assumed the role of Mother Hen and is very conscious of protecting her brood. She writes lovingly of her fledglings but it's also refreshing to get another perspective and some of the accounts and depictions (from the pair of you), are like stereophonic literature. Great stuff.

It seems to me that this whole adventure is just that and there's little or no work being done and everyone's having a whale of a time?! It's joke telling, rafting, canoeing, karaokeing ... What about all the moose dung? Who the hell is cleaning out all the s*** around the bunk house? There must be some poor soul grafting whilst all the sisters are singing soul and waltzing down the yellow brick road?!

Anyway, tell them all "Hi" from me and that I'm enjoying the Alaskan Adventure.

Love you Em. X

heart-shape said...

Wow, Dan the Man's suit... H-O-T-T! I love the photo where you guys are "stalking" the camera, what a great shot. And one of the last ones, the one of the beach (I can't recall the name of it) is so beautiful, and actually reminds me of Nova Scotia a little bit.

Don't forget to take photos of the regular stuff too, like where you work and your bunkhouse and stuff! I want to see that, too (even if you don't want to post it here and bore everyone else).

Only three more days of finals left here... tonight I won't get any sleep, and then I work tomorrow, so I won't be sleeping again until Thursday morning! AAHHH!

Enjoy your short break and I will talk to you soon, dearheart.

Eve said...

Hey Spiderpig,

I like portaging not. Yeah.