Saturday, May 30, 2009

Touring by Ferry

We have been trying to find unique ways to travel around Alaska. This year we decided to go south via the Alaska Marine Highway System on the ferry boat, the Columbia. We were on board for four days going south starting in Haines and continuing on to Juneau, Sitka, Ketchican, Wrangell and Bellingham, Washington.

I was surprised by the great accommodations on board the ferry. There were two choice of place to eat as well as a cocktail lounge. There were movies shown on a regular basis, talks by the Tongass National Forest Interpreter and some very cool people we met on board. By the last night we were walking around the boat and a good number of folks knew Harold's name.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Drifting in the "Look Far"

We spent the day drifting down the Chilkat River in Jeff's boat, the "Look Far". She's a beautiful boat and definitely an eye catcher.

The weather was amazing!

Jeff and C.O. navigated the river,
while Harold drug a stick in the water. . .

and I sat on the bow playing river boat queen.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hiking Near Haines

Jeff actually lives 40 miles outside of Haines and just a few miles from the Canadian border. He and his family have done a lot of exploring and hiking over the years just over the border in British Columbia. So, Jeff shared this tradition with us as we went through customs to hike and picnic in the pass.

It's strange when you're at an international border. You realize the border is just a line on a map, the animals, trees and land don't care about who owns it. The mountains, the valleys and the rivers all continue with no regard for man-made borders.

Harold was a trooper that day. He hiked up most of the mountain on his own. He even carried his own backpack. What a kid. He was in his glory, those little legs pumping away as he conquered his very first mountain.

Near the top, we stopped for a picnic and a rest. It's good to see that Jeff and Harold are becoming quick friends. Jeff even gave Harold a lift on the way down. Harold sang a song as he rode the shoulders of Jeff to the base of the mountain. The chorus sounded like, "luberdeen, luberdeen", we couldn't quite make out the words to the verses but they were crystal clear in Harold's mind. I think it was obvious that he had a happy day.


Friday, May 22, 2009

More Haines

We arrived in Haines on Thursday morning via a small bush plane. The flight route was through the Lynn Canal, the deepest fiord in the western hemisphere. We’ve had perfect sunny weather to enjoy the amazing scenery around us.

Our friend Jeff, who I taught with a few years ago, and his daughter Hannah picked us up at the airstrip, treated us to breakfast and a tour of Haines. We then drove 40 miles out of town to the Bochart residence.

The place where Jeff lives is cool in a lot of ways. Each building and the details in and around the property were designed and made by Jeff. His and his family's artistic touches are evident in each nook and crany. It's also cool that there are are few farm animals hanging out here and there. Harold was pretty excited to check out the chickens, sheep, goats and to try and make friends with their dog, Mason.

Harold is also working to master the outhouse. The outhouse isn't a secondary option here, it's the only option.

After catching up a bit, we went for a little hike along the river to toss rocks
and enjoy the scenery and good company. We made a river crossing with bare
feet that was about the coldest thing I've ever experienced. The pain in
your feet lasted quite a while after you got out of the river.

We ended the day with a fire and a picnic.
What a day! We all slept pretty soundly that night.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Juneau's Boats


Today we spent some time down at the marina dreaming of the day
when we are living aboard our own boat.


We also saw boats like this. We had never been up close to these behemoth beasts of boats before. (Are you impressed with my alliteration?) Juneau has cruise ships coming in on a regular basis delivering thousands of tourist ready to sight see and shop. We've noticed there's two parts of downtown. The tourist area and the real life areas. We explored both.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beautiful Juneau

We’re in beautiful Juneau. It felt so good to walk off the plane into 70 degree weather.
The city is surrounded by stunning mountains making every view picture perfect.

We decided to start our Juneau tour with a ride on the tram to the top of Mount Roberts.
At the top we were able to catch some beautiful views and some dinner.


Temporary Nanny

One of my coworkers, Andrea, had plans to go to Juneau the same time as us. She joined us in our crazy 4-wheeler trip and had the same Alaska Air flights to Juneau. Harold happens to be in love with Andrea and Andrea is really good with him which made traveling with Harold sooooo much easier. (Not that Harold is terribly difficult to travel with, he just requires constant attention.) Made me wish we could afford a travel nanny. =)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Step One

The first leg of the journey on our summer vacation was the toughest. We decided, once again, to drive into Nome. This time we drove in along the Nome - Teller Highway with our 4-wheeler. To get to Teller we first drove across the ocean ice from Brevig to Teller. We started by driving over the crack in the ice where the ice is pulling away from the shore. It looked a lot scarier than it actually was. The 4-wheeler went right on over like nothing.

Kenny was kind enough to escort us across the ice with his snow machine in case we had troubles. Harold drove across with Kenny and Andrea and got to do a little water skipping.

The drive from Teller to Nome was miserable to be honest. It was cold, rainy, snowy, wet, muddy and windy. Yuck, yuck, yuck! But, in the name of saving money on airline tickets, we pushed through. Due to spring flooding the road was washed out at one of the rivers. It was a little scary crossing at one point but we made it without getting wet.

At last, we made it Nome, ran errands, enjoyed some pizza and visited with the Adcox family. They're fun to spend time with because they have the coolest toys.

Sleeping in the northern latitudes can be difficult in the summer. The sunshine just goes on and on, makes you crazy and not feel like sleeping. For the night, we camped out in James & Amy's living room with the sun just shining away with no regard for our need to sleep. To block out the light, I slept with an eye mask, C.O. closed his eyes and here's what we did for Harold. He's under that red blanket tent and had a good night's sleep.

Next stop . . . Juneau, Alaska.