Sunday, July 13, 2008

I gazed and gazed, but little thought what wealth the show to me had brought

So, the tables have been turned. I'm the one posting copiously, while all of you are scrambling to keep up. Come on now, you asked for me to have fairly regular entries, I expect enthralling comments to follow!!

So on Thursday, Wesley, Luke, Andy (two other guys that work at the ferry) and Dusty (one of our law enforcement officers - the one that I went out with on the "cadaver search") went halibut fishing. What's key here is the fact that they went without me. Unfortunately, I had to work that day, so I missed out. But, what reaped out of that misfortune was reward. Wesley came by and dropped off a hunk of halibut meat that was probably 15 pounds. This slab was only 1/4 of the entire fish. Wes told me that all four guys had reached their bag limits (2 halibut per day) and each fish was within the 50-80 Ib range. Just imagine - reeling in a 70 Ib fish!

So. I had 15 lbs of halibut and had no idea what I was going to do with it. Eat it, ofcourse - but I hadn't ever cooked it before. Fortunately, Sue (a grad student that stays with us at the bunkhouse) is a halibut cookin' fool and gave me some ideas. So the next night, we went out shopping together and spent nearly $60 on ingredients to make curry (with snow peas, mushrooms, onions and garlic), macadamia nut-encrusted baked halibut, and ceviche (a salsa of chopped up kalamata olives, onions, cilantro, tomato, green pepper, mushroom and halibut). And it was absolutely delicious. (Tessa, I can't wait to make curry for you when we get back to Gainesville!)

Tomorrow, Wesley is supposed to come over and all of us are gonna eat beer-battered halibut and french fries (aka fish n' chips). Mmmmm. I know all of you are jealous. Especially you, Mom. Wish you were here. Whenever I do go halibut fishing (and catch my Alaskan salmon, don't fergit about dat) I'm sure I'll catch a record breaker (over 400 lbs.) so I'll have plenty to send home some for you.

Yesterday Sam and I had our campfire program. What a downer. Only had 10 people show up...and it was a pretty horrible crowd. On the upside, afterwards, Sam and I saw our first brown bear! It was just on the shore of the Russian River/Kenai River confluence. If you look at the picture, you'll see how close it is to the fisherman up on the top of the stairs. This is probably a yearling on the cusp of turning two.

Today, Eve and I did the Skyline Trail. So I have officially done all of the hikes now! Skyline is
virtually a 45-degree angle ascent up a mountain. Round trip, it covers about 4 miles. At the top, you get a wonderful view of the Kenai Mountains, a lake right there in the middle whose name escapes me (I know, unforgivable) and Skilak Lake in the distance. It was an absolutely beautiful view. Unfortunately, it's been rainy all day, so the clouds shaved off the top of nearly all of the surrounding mountains. When Eve and I got to the top, we decided to take a little restie-poo and eat some snacks. In the span of probably 10 minutes, everything around us was covered in cloud. We couldn't see 10 feet past us in any direction. Before we got to the top, I had told Eve - "Eve, I want to touch the clouds." And by golly, I sure did! As soon as we were covered in mist - I told Eve - go and grab the clouds, baby - 'cuz they're all around us. And so we did.
That's the view when the clouds were rolling in. Below is a picture Eve took without me realizing. Nice panorama of the spruce trees, don't you think? This is just a taste of what we hiked. We had to climb up rocks and other slippery, craggy surfaces. On the way down, we slipped and slided our way down. It was skiing with our feet, without the skis - and the snow, ofcourse. Here's the aftermath:

Eve has a sexy butt.

This is a columbine flower. They were all over the place. It's so amazing to see such an abundance of colorful wildflowers in a place that hosts such harsh conditions during 80% of the year.

Eve and I are hardcore. Does Legends of the Fall ring a bell to anyone? Like Brad Pitt, we put three lines on our face - because we had undergone a tragedy. But see, we're tough - and we're handling it just fine.

View of some Kenai mountains. The snow stays on their peaks for the entire year. Oh, by the way - I just figured I'd tell all of you Florida folks and those of you suffering in the summer heat that it has been in the upper 40s this entire week. Absolutely gorgeous, and I love it. Who could imagine that even in those temperatures, you get all sweaty after hiking - and that's wearing only a t-shirt and lightweight pants!

Eve fell.

Eve died.

Here's a video me and Eve made while at the top of the mountain. It had just started raining. And we were hungry. Cravin' some cereal and milk.

Picture of me at the Skyline Trailhead after we braved the wild. I know it says 1 mi. First of all, the trailhead doesn't include the roundtrip. Second of all, we hiked past the saddle of the mountain and went up through the ridge, which cost us another mile. Hence the four-mile trek.

Anyway, that's all for now. On Tuesday, I'm supposed to meet with some researchers and do loon captures and tagging! I'm excited. We get to canoe some lakes and hang out with the loons. It'll be a long day though - from 8 am - 8 pm!


likerenoir said...

Sounds like you have had a very busy few days Emily. That 45 degree hike up the mountain must have been very tough. Snow might have actually made the slide down a little easier and probably would not have gotten your butts so dirty : )

Guess you and Eve were hungry. Your cereal and milk video was amusing. I played it with Chloe in the room, but she did not even move a muscle. She is moping around today.

Your halibut dinner sounds yummy. How was the curry? Did you find it very spicy? I think your Dad would have liked that too.

I'm drooling while I think about that halibut you are going to catch. Don't disappoint us!

Talk to you soon.

Tessa Rose said...

I am looking forward to the famous Emily style curry... yum yum. Can you bring a cuddly wuddly brown bear back for me? The one you saw looked sooo cute. <3

I have some exciting news for you, but you'll have to wait until after your loony day. =D!! Have fun paddling.. hahaha!