It's been a week and still no new photos or posts... Shocking. Reckon it's been a little busy, but that can happen with the sun exposing more and more of itself to our world each day. The extreme change has surpassed the amount of daylight that is so gracioiusly experienced around the solstice in Wisconsin... Needless to say, I spend as much time outside, studying for class as possible.
This weekend ended on a gorgeous note of some blue skies, sun, and 50 degree weather. Nothing to complain about there. Little different than a mere 13 hrs ago when we were taking the tent down in the early morning drizzle 10 or so miles from the Portage Glacier... (Photos will follow shortly, for serious this time).
Saturday started out swell with a crisp blue sky, sun, and a cool spring feel. Short walk on down to UAA to check out their gear swap, but walked away empty handed as there was no whitewater boats to be found. Alas though, I did not walk away from a sweet opportunity to try out Speed Skating. All laced up with some 14 inch blades and I was set to go. Although the energetic lady who made me sign the waiver told me there was a lot of crossover from Hockey, the skates are totally different and the only simlarity I found was that we were still on the ice. No amount of my fancy footwork would bring me to a graceful stop on these bad boys. 15 minutes of "instruction" occured, where I was feeling quite good about my skills, until I got passed up by some pint sized youngins that made me want to hang up those skates as quickly as I had put them on. Only problem was, you glide so quick around the rink by the time I realized I wanted off, I was already on the other side. Maybe next go around... However that's when the excitement began... I was 'educated' on the art of relay races, where your partner skates up behind you and jettison's you off into the oblvion at alarming speeds. My parter assured me, that it was no big deal and the biggest thing to remember was not to stand up upon warping into light speed. Naturally I did the only thing I could think of and as my speed increased I stood up, where to I flew into the wall. Luckily speed skaters pad out those pesky hockey boards with thick blue mats, so I was able to walk away unscathed. It was all good after that, I could get up to warp speed, (sans grace) and motor around the track. I felt decent with that until we came to our final task of the clinic, a race, not some little chump one either. We were lined by height, which by default placed me with all the REALLY GOOD skaters. Had I realized what I was up against I would have tried to sneak in with the kids that were half my size, that way I could have flailed and faltered sans a care in the world, but up in the world of Elites, it was a different story. I fought as hard as I could to not get lapped, but in the end it was inevitable, my skills just hadn't materialized quick enough to make a go of it. Definitely a rousing experience, that I would consider doing again and again, but I had to politely turn down all the sponsorships because my heart lies in paddling...
Later in the day, I was accompanied to Girdwood to drop off some photos and partake in some plant watering. Then it was on to the Crow Creek Mine in search of some sweet camping by a glacier well above the altitude of sweet Alyeska. The road was quite snow covered, and gave for a wild ride... On several occassions, (namingly when the suspension bottomed out) I was reminded why the sign may have said, "ROAD CLOSED, LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY" Ah, but what do we non - alaskans natives know? Apparently about the same as those who live here, because the AK native in the car had no qualms about taking on this ridiculous road. After passing the mine, and figuring the temps would get mighty cold at night we descended back to sea level to chill on the beach and wait for the BOAR tide to roar by. To much suprise it didn't look that HUGE from the distance I was at, but locals tell me it was a monster. And by monster they mean two feet or more... Still impressive to see that rapid of a tidal change none the less.
So no camping in the upper alpine region... But that didn't mean we couldn't venture into the valley of the Portage glacier region for some delightful omni good times. The view from the lake created by this beast was immaculate. Calm teal water that begged to have some stones skipped on it. I am not all about shore erosion, but there is something irresistable about skipping stones into a picturesque scene such as that... Would have made you all proud, for those of you who know my "skills" as they were, they are much improved now; even went for the skip on to the ice move... Yeah, word to that true AK experience. On the way back to the campsite, (which was undecided for quite some time) I had to stop at another irresistable photo opp of a sunset into the glacial river (photo to soon follow). It made the day one to remember. Even though all the indecisive commentary to follow in regards to finding a pefect campsite.
All in all no complaints as the day was slick, the atmosphere imperial, and times grand.
Until next time, do what you can, with what you have, where you are...