Sunday, September 20, 2009

Anchorage Temple

Spring Water Straight Out of The Cliff

As we were driving to the temple all the inlet, Steve pulls over where there is no room and we get out to fill our bottles with spring water.  

Glacier Hike

This is a glacier two hours east of Anchorage.  It is 24 miles long and gets up to 4 miles wide.

Down below, we are in the surrounding on all sides by the glacier. You can see in the dead center of the picture on the cliff a block dot.  That is three ice climbers.  Now you can see how large this place and how amazing it was to be in the midst of it all.

Drinking Glacier Water

Steve and I hiked a half mile into the glacier.  We hiked up and down and dodged crevasses.  Here was a waterfall feeding our opportunity to drink the purest form of water on earth.  You'll notice our backsides are soaked from having to slide into this location because the angle was too steep.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rafting on my Birthday

The temperature of the Neanna River is 36-38 degrees.  Thus we have sealed tight dry suits.   Of all my trips rafting, this was my warmest, despite the river being the coldest in my experience.  The trip had good hits on rapids.  We saw a Dal Sheep in the Canyon.  I did a back flip off the raft, and it was just fun to add another experience to everything that is going on here in Denali.

Beaver Pond

That's a beaver doing his dam work!
Look how big this is!
This is Mary, me, random kid, Crystal, Melanie, Taylor, Danny

Home made landing strip

On a Saturday evening walk, us friends parked at a church member's house and proceeded to head to the Beaver pond.  Along the way the dirt road divides the plane and the airstrip composed of grass.  It's a little kept secret it seems as it is contained within the forrest. 

World Renowned Opera Singer

On a charity visit to Fairbanks and Denali, David Cangelosi performs at the main lodge with his "favorite singing backdrop" of all his career (the impressive mountains).  As you can see, I got a seat in the very front.  The best way and my first experience of listening to live opera.  It was great and I look forward to a future opportunities to go to live shows.

Life @ Tour and Front Desk

This where Danny and I work....ok joke around, laugh, and share stories on the crazy things these tourists say.  The Tour Desk and Front Desk are side by side and thus there is a lot of interaction.

Entrance - 1 mile from where I work

Northern Lights

This is the night sky of viewing the Northern Lights.   The moon and clouds were in the southern sky and Melanie and I look northward.  We were talking as I was facing away from that portion of the sky when Mel interrupted me to then have us view the wavering tint of green dancing in the sky.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

8-hour Tundra Wilderness Tour

This is the professional photo I got offline in February went I got the job and below is Danny and I here.  The day is perfect.  1/3 of groups see any portion of the mountain let alone all of it.  Absolutely breath taking.  This is 36 miles away from the base.

We saw bull moose, caribou, foxes, bears, marmots, and the state bird I can't spell.

Rock Climbing

This is Savage Rock along the Savage River.  A couple of brothers from church invited me to go rock climbing there.  We set up the gear at the top and repelled down to then do our ascents.  This is ranked a 5.8, which is between 5 and 5.15 in difficulty.  Endless mountains surrounded us as we climbed.  Breath taking . . . for the view, not me struggling to climb the rock.

My Daily Job on the Train

During my 6-2:30 shift, three hours go to the my excursion on the train.  Half-hour to get to the train yard, hour wait till train picks me up, hour on the train itself, and a half hour getting back to the resort.  I pass out welcome packets and then explain them briefly on  all the cars I have(3-5 cars total). I may have up to 300 passengers packets to pass out.  If you know me, I love trains.  Since I was a kid watching "Shinning Time Station" with Ringo Starr, I have wanted to be a train conductor when I retire.   The train ride goes through Healy Canyon, winding along the Neanna River.

Fishin' wit yer bear hands

We started our evening fly fishing.  I was learning for the first time.  Before casting the reel, I saw my first owl.  It was perched on top of a 40 foot tree.  It was big and did the turning of the neck without breaking it like it should have thing.  :) Anyhow, none of us were catching anything so we climbed back out of the deep lake basin and headed up the road 10 miles to a good size stream.  The idea was to fish out salmon swimming upstream.  This time however, we didn't bring our rods . . . just our bare hands.  Here's the video, enjoy the experience.  It was so much fun!

Monday, August 17, 2009

King Crab Dinner

This is my buddy Danny, who ate with me for my free dinner.  For his free dinner he had this mound called seafood nachos!

As I work at the front desk of the hotel, I received a gift certificate for the entire experience of a dinner at King Salmon, our fine dinning restaurant.  I thought of my mother and went for this 42 dollar plate of king crab.   My total bill was 74 dollars, all expenses paid.

Into the Wild bus

This is the final photo of our return for the Into the Wild bus.  
well.....35 miles mountain biking in 24 hours, what would you do within seconds off your bike without your pack?
This image is taken inside the bus without flash with Tim with his headlamp videotaping Dayne at fire stove.  You can see the flame in the bottom left corner where Dayne is.  

Into the Wild forging the river video

This is the "Tec" River, one of three we had to cross with our bikes.  I felt this video would better illustrate something I never comprehended as doable till the situation was before me.  I already had crossed and Dayne was there for Tim if the help was needed.  We never fell in, though times were close.  One thing I didn't think of was with only the river in front of my eyes when crossing, I got dizzy and off balance with the fast movement of the current.

Into the Wild bus

17-mile mountain bike ride in, 22 out.  Pouring rain, dried off in the bus, and slept in it.  Crashed about 4 times and for nearly a minute flew down a super steep mountainside not by choice, I had no brakes, but in the peace of the chaotic moment I elected not to crash like it was accepted before as a option.  We waded through waist deep rushing rivers of the Tec and the Savage.  Crossed terrain of beaver dammed waters, think grass lands, big hills up and down, rides through streams and giant mud puddles.  At last, all my gear was dry.  I liked how prepared I was, the beauty of a 40 pound plus pack. 

 What I really love is nearly six years ago, David Mehr gave me the book.  At that time, I was lonely, insecure, and uncertain if adventures were safe.  Now I have journeyed so much and not once did I feel alone out there in the wilderness of Alaska in my pursuit of that bus.  I thought it was a neat the amount of growth that has occurred and a capping point by being at the bus, the location of the story that I read which influenced me nearly six years earlier.

            I appreciated the miracles that the happened.  One, no serious injuries and two, after 22 miles and quite a few more to go with down hills and no brakes, we got picked up my Sam.  This man took us to another truck to give us a legal ride back to the homestead.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Glacier Landing Flight with Sergin

 Today Sergin and I went on the Glacier Landing Tour!  It was a perfect day.  We could see Mt. Mckinley the entire way on our trip.  I was trapped in the back seat having to slide my backside down the seat and cram my legs between the seats in front of me.  A nice German lady sitting next to me despite her limited knowledge of English spoke so clearly through her smile.  As we approached our landing we were passing so many carvases that I was very curious as to how we were to land.  We just continued towards the mountain side and “cookied” as we landed.  Outside of the plane the giant bowl of the mountain with the beginning of the glacier was impressive.  Another beautiful piece to my Alaskan experience was added today.

Glacier Landing Flight In the Plane

Just a bit of the experience inside the 10 passenger plane.  Everyone had a window seat!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Derek and Steve from Oregon!

My buddies from Oregon.  I went to college with Derek on the right.  On the right is his brother Steve who lives in Anchorage.  We had so much fun in the 24 hours they were here.  

Julia's Birthday Dinner

Birthday dinner at King Salmon.  This is our best restaurant and it is amazing.  I had their prime rib this time and wish it would never ended even though I was full.  This picture is outside the restaurant with the Nenana River behind down below.

Canoeing at Otto Lake

Canoeing at Otto Lake with Leslie, Kelly, Danny.  We went swiming at the base of the giant hillsides.  The water was actually quite warm.  It was good to say I swam in Alaska!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

$7,000 of furs

$$$$$$$$$7,000 DOLLARS OF FUR . . .do I look good... or is in the 7,000 dollars of fur?

FUR $$$

This is my friend Kelly.  We laugh so much and always have a lot of fun.  She is from Kansas.

Train Yard

Time to work!  All aboard!  Occasionally I hop on the train 10 miles out from the resort.  I distribute the passengers' welcome packets and explain on the car mic what they need to know.  The views are great and I can never get enough.

Dog Sledding

On my day off, Jamie and I went to the Parks Service's Dog Sled demonstration.  It was super hot and the poor dogs were panting in the heat.  However, when it came time to drive the sled all the dogs barked a huge storm.  But, when it came to work, they went silent and performed their job.  It was fun.  A simple fact is the dog teams cover 2 million acres in the winter.

Music of Denali

So at the dinner and show Alaskan style that the resort does hit a cord with me.  This lass approached me as our waitress with a sweet innocent southern accent and I was sold.  Throughout the dinner she would stop by periodically. . . oh yeah, her show name is Molly.  She said I played hard to and I was eventually able to pull off a kiss on the check and this pic to prove it.  The tourists across the way let me take their email to get the picture from them.  Anyhow, I was infatuated for a week.  The purity of flirtation is great!   

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mt. Healy Hike

I had to take this picture, it just stuck out as the four hobbits heading out on their adventure in Lord of the Rings.

Taylor and Taylor,  she actually is from Salem too.  

This is our hike up Mt. Healy that towers behind the resort that I look at everyday.  At this point we reached the look out point half way up.  The valleys are so hugh and the ranges are amazing, I don't know if the picture does it justice.  It was so fun to climb!

Mckinley Flight

Summit Flight of Mt. Mckinley

I was at work on Sunday when we were informed that Denali Air needed to fill two seats.  So myself and my co-worker, Luke, jumped on the opportunity and hit the skies.  We traveled the the 80 miles to get there going through the clouds then it broke free into the blue air.  We circled the summit 6 plus times.  We saw the base camp located at 17,000 feet where the climbers make their final ascent.  We could even see climbers.  The mountain is so huge.  Around the mountain we flew at 134 miles per hour and it took minutes to get around it.  
The trip was capped with the older couple proposing on the summit point of the flight!  Also, for employees the trip is free, just tip only.  It was great to fly in the Alaskan territory!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Alaskan Train

TRAIN! DAY OFF! After being here 9 days, I got my first day off.  We went to the train depot.  And here is the incoming train from Anchorage to Denali.  We got to snap this photo, which I love.  For those who don't know, I love trains.  For a summer job in Virginia I took a train from Portland, OR to Richmond, VA.  77 hours 3 days, 3,000 miles.  
As the train passed we were up further in the woods prior to the station.  We waved to the passengers and they all wave enthusiastically while getting out of there seats.  I guess after their 8 hour ride we were the only wildlife!  It was fun.  


We road tripped up to Fairbanks one night.  We slammed 6 people into a Jeep Liberty.  It was over 2 hours to get there.  We saw Transformers 2 in the theaters.  As we came out its was still daylight.   The picture you see is of us at McDonalds going through the drive-thru at 1:15 in the morning.  We got back at 3:30am and I have yet to see any stars.  I gonna have to wait a few months.  :)  


This picture is of me walking along substituting a moose track for a memory picture, because I couldn't photograph the one that cross the highway days earlier.  

Monday, June 22, 2009

ATV Tour

After we went through a high creek on our ATVs we rode up the the larger portion of the river bed that was dry.  We came to these natural Alaskan sand dunes.  

I went on the ATV tour today and it was sweet.  The views and the riding was good and challenging.  Someone said when I was referring to the view of three valleys converging, “it’s a view that never gets old.” 

Mckinley Lodge

On my six hour shuttle up from Anchorage to Denali, we stopped at the Princess Wilderness Mckinley Lodge.  What you see here is the Alaskan Range.  Mount Mckinley continues skyward above the clouds about 9,000 feet more.  It was so breath taking.  The sun was hitting the snow through the clouds that made the reflection a golden color