Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Flattop Mountain Hike 2

Yesterday, Tom went for his 2nd hike on Flattop Mountain.  It's just so gorgeous up there!

There was a light dusting of snow in some areas... not much at all.

Can you see the 2 moose in one of the pictures?  They look far away, but Tom took the picutres with his iPhone, so they were really only about 50 yards away.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Full Day

Another great Saturday experience.

Here is a view of downtown Anchorage from the front of the Anchorage Museum.

It was a beautiful day!

We visited the museum and learned a lot about Anchorage and Alaska.

We saw a life size piece of the pipe line and read about how it was built, when, and it's purpose.

We saw interesting displays chronicling the history of Alaska.

Bonnie enjoyed it too.  They had a kid science area that was hands on.  That was fun.

Here is one of the quilts they had on display.  The detail was amazing.  I took this picture especially for my sister and my MIL.  They both are into quilting.  I personally would never have the patience for a craft like that.

This is a sun doll one of the local crafters made.  I thought it was really cool looking.

After the museum, we went to check out the downtown mall which is 4 stories with a food court at the top.

We walked around on every floor to check out all the stores they had to offer.

Bonnie liked the GameStop.  She got a new Wii game - Cars 2.

We had lunch in the food court and then drove around downtown some more.

We went to REI (Tom's favorite store) and he got some new hiking pants and a guide to all the trails in Anchorage.

He plans on hiking today (Sunday) up to Flattop Mountain again and going up 2 adjoining peaks.

We drove up to Flattop Mountain yesterday too just so we could walk the 1/2 mile lookout trail.  The wind was calm this time so we didn't feel the need to rush so much like we did last time.

We went to get groceries for the week before getting home to watch the Gamecocks game.  We won!

One of the things I was most looking forward to here is the snow.  It still hasn't fluttered down here yet.  Although there was a dusting of snow on Flattop Mountain yesterday.

We keep checking the 10-day forecast and it keeps changing.  It has predicted snow several times, but always changes it when those days get closer.  I told Tom I'm beginning to think we brought the South Carolina weather here and maybe it isn't going to snow at all this year.

Think Snow,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Talkeetna Road Trip

Today we went to Talkeetna... about 2 hours away from us. 

We had lunch at the Twister Creek Restaurant.  It was sooooo good!  I had skewers of shrimp, chicken, and steak all in different sauces; Bonnie had her usual hamburger; and Tom and beer battered Halibut.

We walked around the small town visiting a little shop with furs, birds, and candy.  I picked up 3 postcards.

Then we walked down to a trail that leads to Talkeetna River.  There were tons of rocks of all sizes and all of them smooth and round like pancakes.  The edge of the river was iced over - so cool. 

I have a friend from high school that collects rocks from all over.  People send her rocks when they visit different places.  I posted one of the rock pictures on her Facebook and told her it was a very good hint of what I got for her today that I would be sending her this week.  She is very excited.  :)

We got some great pics of the Alaska Range covered with snow.

We stopped at K2Aviation and got some info about flying tours.  Our son, James, did this several years ago when he visited Talkeetna and said it was a must do item!  The people were really nice and informative.  And they said they would give us a 10% Military discount - which is very nice.

Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you...

We saw a dog sled team practicing by pulling a 4-wheeler.  That was impressive.

And we saw a moose too.  Isn't Alaska great?!

Sweet dreams.  Until next time...


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fun Weekend So Far

Last night we went to our very first hockey game!  It was a blast!!  We (Alaska Aces) played Victoria Salmon Kings.  WE WON!!

Being it was our first time at a hockey game, we were introduced to many new experiences.  First of all, when the DJ would say, "The Salmon Kings are in their full strength."  The crowd would respond, "And they still suck!"  This was done several times during the game, and it cracked me up each time.

Those guys could skate!  We saw a few lose their hockey sticks during play, one broke in two, several players slammed up against the glass (which was hilarious I must say), a few fights break out, a puck going flying into the crowed over the safety net, Salmon fish parts get thrown onto the ice at one point..... it was quite the adventure and so much fun!  Bonnie had a blast yelling and clapping.  It was fun watching her have so much fun!  All day today she swings her hands like she's holding a hockey stick and says, "I want to go."  We told her, yes, we will definitely go again.

This morning, we had a delicious breakfast.  I made cinnamon biscuits and grits while Tom fried some onions, ham, and seasoned scrambled eggs.  Yummy.

Then to our surprise, Bonnie starts saying, "Deer!  Deer!" while pointing out the apartment window.  Well, no, they weren't deer, it was a family of moose!  Mama, Daddy, and Baby.  Walking down the sidewalk and crossing into the intersection.  One lady who was out walking her dog quickly turned around and jogged in the other direction.

Then we were heading downtown to visit the Oxygen & Octane Expo - which basically is a winter sports show with vendors, snow machines, etc.  We talked to a few people at booths who were providing maps for local parks and ski trails; had fun talking to the Nordic ski booth guys getting us educated about different types of skiing; spoke with an Anchorage Police Officer who asked Tom if he was looking for a career change (which was tempting for him) and discussed the new series on NatGeo featuring Alaskan Cops; checked out the clothing booth for 6th Avenue Outdoor Outfitters (ski bibs $15 - no we didn't buy any), and picked up lots of local event info.

After leaving there, we did some downtown site seeing before going to Earthquake Park.  Very interesting info and some nice views there.  Then it was off to Fred Meyers to get groceries for the week.  At the checkout, we met a worker who is also from Columbia, SC and told her we were going home to watch the Gamecocks play on TV.  She was so excited to meet other people from South Carolina and who knew who the USC Gamecocks were.  :)

The Gamecock game against Alabama was stressful.  We lost.  :(((

Tomorrow Tom is planning on a longer hike at Flattop Mountain.  I have no idea what else we will do.  I hope everyone else has a great weekend.

Go Cocks!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Week In Review

The mountains here were breathtaking this week.

There have been so many foggy, cloudy, or rainy days since we've gotten here, it's been hard to see the mountains full force.  But oh what some beautiful views we got this week.

Tonight we are going to our first hockey game EVER.  I'm so excited!  It's the season opener for the Alaska Aces vs. Victoria Salmon Kings.  Fun, fun, fun.

And for those out there who wanted to see our parking garage, here is a picture of part of it.  Bonnie and I were amazed to go to the car yesterday and see the garage practically empty compared to what it has been usually.  I wonder where everybody went?

Hopefully we will get to Earthquake park this weekend.  I'll be sure and post pics of wherever we go.

Do something fun today!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Flattop Mountain of Chugach State Park

Tom went on a hike Sunday morning.  This is one of the things he was hoping to do an a regular basis here, and there are so many choices of where to hike!  Bonnie and I skipped this one until he could find out if it was something we could handle or not.  (Bonnie is not real steady on her feet in uneven terrain.)

He had a great time and took lots of pics during the hike to keep us updated.  He'll have to post here or comment below to give you all the details.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
Flattop Mountain is a 3,510-foot (1,070 m) mountain in the U.S. state of Alaska, located in Chugach State Park just east of urban Anchorage. It is the most climbed mountain in the state.
It is usually reached by driving to the Glen Alps trailhead and following a well-maintained 1.5-mile (2.4-km) trail, with an elevation gain of 1280 feet (390 m) from the parking lot to the summit. Since it is the most accessible mountain to Anchorage, Flattop is a very popular location for hiking, climbing, berry picking, paragliding, and backcountry skiing. Campouts are held on the summit at the summer and winter solstices.
Flattop is known for its panoramic views of Anchorage and the surrounding area, including Denali, Mount Foraker, and Mount Spurr.

There was one part of the hike where there was a thick patch of trees.  He said it smelled like Christmas in that area!

There is also a part of the hike called "Blueberry Loop" that Tom said Bonnie and I could handle easily and enjoy.  So we are going back there next weekend.

Another place I'd like to go is Earthquake Park.

When the "Good Friday" earthquake rocked Anchorage in March of 1964, the area that is now the park was an affluent residential area on the bluffs above Cook Inlet. The 9.2 earthquake dropped these homes into 30-foot crevasses and destroyed this entire area. Developed as a park years later, it carries monuments and reader boards with information on the great quake. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail winds through the park.

Enjoy the pics from Tom's hike.

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Park & Bay

Today we went to a part of the Chugach State Park - the Flat Top area.  

It was so beautiful!  The winds were outrageous though.  Wind gusts between 50 and 70 mph!  I don't think I've ever been in wind that strong before.  But the views were breathtaking.

After we left there, we went driving down the Bay for several miles.  I was watching for whales, but didn't see any.  This bay is miles and miles and miles... it's HUGE!  With the strong wind gusts, the water had some impressive swells and heavy white-capping.

Then we drove around downtown a little to check it out.  Now I was hoping to spot a moose - no such luck.  I guess wildlife knows better than to lolly-gag around with the wind going crazy.  However, Tom did stumble upon REI which he was hoping to find.  Yes, we stopped and went in and spent money.  He got a rainproof pair of pants to wear over his work clothes for the next time he rides his bike to work.  He also got a headlight (which is required here on all bicycles) and a fender to help keep the water from spraying up on his back.

It was a good day.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Changes, Changes Everywhere

So this is what metal studded tires look like.  Doesn't look like much.  But we are told this is what we need to drive in snow here.  Sure does sound funny in the parking garage though.

Wow.  That's a little painful.  Good thing everywhere I want to go is within a couple of blocks.  This full tank of gas should last me months!

Tom had to give me a lesson in what to do if coming into contact area of a bear or moose.  Probably information I should have heard BEFORE Bonnie and went walking yesterday.

So here's the lesson for all of you out there who need to know:

**When a bear is within your immediate area in nature, make as much noise as you can yelling and screaming and whatever else you can do that's noisy.  This will scare the bear away.

**When coming into eye contact with a moose (especially a moose and calf), do not cross between the moose and calf.  Do not approach the moose at all.  Turn slowly around and walk the other way.  Moose are FAST.  Noise does not scare them.  They will chase you if you interest them.

SO.... you guys may know that my husband, Tom, LOVES to do sporty things outside.  Today he rode his bike to work.  It was the rainiest day of the week so far.  (Is rainiest a word?)  But he loves doing things like this, so he went for it.  He has been coming home for lunch everyday this week, but today he asked if Bonnie and I wanted to come pick him up for lunch and go out somewhere.  You don't have to ask me twice!  One of my favorite things to do is LUNCH!

So Bonnie and I scooted on over to his work ( a mere 3 turns to get there - easy even for me).  We ate at "The Peanut Farm Sports Bar & Grill".
Waitress: What would you like to drink?
Me: Sweet Tea, please.
Waitress:  Why don't I bring you tea and you can sweeten it however you like?
Me:  How about Diet Pepsi?

No grits, no sweet tea.... how do these people live?
But on that note.... look what my Mommie-in-Law sent in the mail that we got today!!!

Hehehehehehehe.... I'm set for a WHILE now!

We are hoping to go on some exploring adventures this weekend.  I'll be sure and take our camera with us and snap as many interesting photos as I can.  I hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!  Depending on where you live.... stay warm, stay cool, stay dry....


Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Little Walking Exploration Today

Just a short walk.  Weather is beautiful.  Bonnie had fun!