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.
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.)
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!!