Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fireweed Fluff

Fireweed is fuzzing out
Much as I love fireweed, I have been dreading the great fuzz-out that I know is going to happen.  All those brilliant flowers turn into thin pods, which explode into fuzz.  I'll admit that I still have fuzz on my screens from last fall, and there wasn't very much fireweed last year compared to this year.  So yesterday I was out there pulling up the fireweed directly around my house (below my bedroom window, that would likely attract large quantities of fuzz), much to my kids' amusement.  They don't care about such things as fuzz on the screens.

Last weekend while at a cross-country running race in Soldotna, it looked like it was snowing there was so much fireweed fluff in the air.  People were walking around batting at the fluff balls that were hitting their faces, coming from the field pictured above.  Like one person said, with this many fireweed seeds flying around we'll have even more fireweed next year.  That I cannot even imagine.  It was stunningly prolific this year.  I'll be curious to see how it all turns out.  Meanwhile, it is raining now with more rain on the forecast, so that keeps the fuzz under control!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Yesterday's Pickin's

Onion, cucumbers, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, kohlrabi, yellow zucchini--bounty from the garden!

This is my favorite time of year:  the garden starts offering its bounty and when it is time to prepare dinner I run out and pick stuff and start throwing it together in some yummy way.  Here's some favorite ways we eat our fresh stuff:

Cucumbers end up on our salad, and any leftovers get sliced up and salted lightly.  Keep it simple!

Cooking up the onions in water and eating them with just a bit of butter is a tasty treat we fight over!

Kohlrabi is our before and after dinner snack since we don't have many.  We love the crunch!

Green beans rarely make it out of the greenhouse as we snack on them when we're hungy.

Tomatoes go on salads and eat them plain--more "keep it simple!"

Zucchini we stir fry up, add summer sausage, spaghetti noodles and Velveeta cheese  all mixed together.  Yum!

And berry season is kicking into full swing.  With this bucket of raspberries I picked yesterday, I've picked 4 gallons, and while I picked crowberries and blueberries, the kids ate those right up so they never made it into the freezer.  The watermelon berries I snuck by the kids so those made it into the freezer too.

This has been an awesome year for berries with the warmth and now a week of rain.  No more blogging for me today.  I've got more berries to go pick!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sandhill Cranes

The local sandhill crane couple
This is a blog post I have been meaning to write ever since the sandhill cranes started migrating through Homer back in May, but I never had my camera (aka my iPhone) on me when I saw them.  What I really wanted was to get a video of the flocks of 50-100 cranes that stalk up our road or descend on open fields or lawns next to it.  But the masses of cranes left in the spring and just a few are left hanging around.

We have 2 cranes that frequent our neighborhood these days.  And every evening I'll hear their distinctive honk as they fly over, though usually when I look up it is a group of 4 or 5 cranes honking by.  It reminds me of when I was a child in Wisconsin and a great blue heron flew over our house each evening.  The day wasn't complete unless we saw it. 

While out walking the other day we ran into a momma moose with a baby that wouldn't budge from the roadside, so we turned and walked a different way and ran into another momma moose with a baby the other direction, also chomping merrily and unwilling to move.  So we walked down our road and saw these cranes, which was a relief because we were feeling pretty hemmed in on our walk that day.  We were worried we'd run into yet another stubborn moose and not be able get enough walk in!  I'm not sure why, but I never think of taking pictures of moose when I see them--probably because I see them so often.  I'll try to fix that and give my blog readers some moose pictures!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Homer Rope Tow: Summer View

For those of you who follow my blog, you may have seen pictures of the Homer Rope Tow over the years.  I needed to run down to the warming hut yesterday and get a jacket out of the lost and found and figured I would give you a summer view of the rope tow.

View of the local rope tow slope from the warming hut:  summer view

The walk down there was a matter of wading through grass and fireweed that towered over our heads.  Normally we have our downhill ski boots on and skis over our shoulder as we make the trek so the weeds were nothing compared to that!  It seemed so quiet and lonely, though, as normally it is just a bustle of people around the warming hut and slopes.  The slope looks so much smaller in the summer....just a little hill! How could I ever be nervous about skiing down that?!  And there is just no getting away from the fireweed, though its fiery glow is now fading as the flowers reach the top of the stems, signalling the imminent onset of winter.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Homestead Summer Trail

An old, abandoned cabin along the Homestead Trail, framed by pushki and fireweed
This is a great, short hike with a bench for resting, a picnic and great conversation at the summit.  The view is delightful and always a treat, though the clouds were hanging low early in the day and we weren't sure we were going to get a view today.

Wood chips and plastic trail retainers
on the Homestead Trail
The Roger's Loop trailhead starts when you're near the overlook coming into Homer.  The trail starts with grass, dips into some boggy areas with plastic trail retainers (whatever they're called--see the picture), then on to boardwalks through the wettest areas and as the trail begins to climb, it whittles down to a single dirt track.  Yesterday the dirt was actually a slippery wet muddy trail instead since it has been a rainy week.

The trail winds through different types of areas:  boggy hummocks, thick forest and then out onto an alpine meadow.
It is only about a mile up to the bench.  When we first moved to Alaska, we never even got to the meadow and bench; the kids were younger and we were more timid.  Now the jaunt up to the bench seems like a quick little hike.

This trail is also the snowshoe trail in the winter, and I hike it more often on snowshoes than I do in the summer.  There is a loop so it wouldn't have to be an out-and-back hike, both for the summer and winter (though they follow different paths in each season). 

The trail up the meadow--final climb to the bench

View of the Kenai Mountains looking towards Homer and Kachemak Bay

View towards Seldovia and Cook Inlet

Our family is not much for sitting around admiring views.  Usually when we're out and about we've got a goal and we're very focused.  This trail has been an exception for us at times.  We've had snowball fights, explored off the trail, picked berries and of course, sat at the bench.  We end up having quality conversations sitting on the bench overlooking the area, swinging our legs, and eating a picnic.  Last year I hiked up there with the kids the day before school started, so it was on my mind to do it again this year since school starts Tuesday and we get into our highly intense school-year life of work, sports, school and berry-picking/harvesting.  The clouds lifted and the rain stopped and it was actually a humid 60 degrees.  It was just what I'd wanted--a very nice hike with family!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ray Clapp Trail

Beginning of the Ray Clapp Trail
One morning last week I was in town early with an hour to occupy so I decided to walk up the East End Road bike path and hop onto one of my favorite trails in the area by the Stream Hill Creek subdivision.  I don't get up there very often as it is short and usually I want a little meatier hike, and I always feel a little bit like I'm trespassing.  However, a new sign announcing the Ray Clapp Trail greeted me, so I felt a bit more welcomed that day.

The Ray Clapp Trail is a nice little path in town

A cute little flower garden marks the entrance to the subdivision, which is just over a mile out East End Road on the left.  Just a short ways up the road there is a parking area on the left (to me, a clue that the public is welcome) and beyond that a little bridge marks the start of the trail.  It winds its way through the woods, then begins to climb up and up the ridge through a beautiful birch forest.  Eventually a trail hooks off to the right and connects to the road through the subdivision (which only has about 3 houses built so far). 

Watermelon berries--ripe and ready
I continued up the ridge to where the trail heads out of the trees and becomes massively overgrown.  This particular morning the dew was heavy so my shoes and pants were soon soaked.  Watermelon berries were a great feature of this hike, and I promised myself to come back and pick them.  They taste like watery watermelon, but are a great filler in my smoothies and I figure they've got nutrition in them if they are wild and colorful.

I expected to have the place to myself, but there were a couple of other people out walking with their dogs or kids.  It really ends up being a nice loop walk, up the trail and down the road.  The view is delightful too, particularly on this gorgeous, sunny morning.

View from the Stream Hill Creek subdivision

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The New Homer Transfer Station

Well, the new $10 million transfer station is open and I got to check it out yesterday.  It's pretty much the same setup as before except there are more areas to back in and dump your trash and for now it is all spiffy and new.

The new though not fancy transfer station
All the bags of trash just get thrown on the concrete floor in this building and then somehow it will probably be compacted and trucked up to the Soldotna dump.  I had an old mattress I was tossing and I threw it on the floor with the trash and a worker said that only the bagged trash goes up the road; the large things are still being buried in Homer and he pointed out the salvage/big stuff dump area past the new building.

The old trash building is now the recycling area for paperboard, cardboard and newspapers, just big piles on the floor.  And the recycling building has been rearranged so now we're just throwing the plastic on the floor in there.

I don't really like the new setup.  Before everything was in the same area so I didn't have to drive much and could just walk the trash and recycling to their places, but now the trash is a ways away from the recycling and even the recycling is spread out so we have to drive from one spot to the next.

But my greatest worry was that they were going to start charging to drop off trash but that is not the case--it is still "free", at least at the spot though I'm sure our taxes cover it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Denali High Adventure Boy Scout Camp

The Great Alaska Council bought some property a couple hours north of Anchorage ten years ago to develop a new Boy Scout camp.  All these years later, the camp finally opened.  Denver got in as a work crew helping develop the trail, and in return he got a very reduced rate for the second week of fun at the camp.  Last week I ran up the road to pick him up from his 2-week adventure.  Of course "run up the road" cannot be less than a 2-day expedition since the camp is about 8 hours north of Homer!  Here's the story of my adventure!

Thursday night saw me heading up to Ninilchik to pick up my aunt, who was going to be the official "keep-Michelle-awake" person, as well as my berry-picking companion.  Friday morning the plan was to drive one of the Lindeman's summer visitor's neighbors to the airport.  When I introduced myself to the man before we loaded his stuff he said, "Are you Michelle from Homer, the blogger?"  He'd told his wife that a Michelle was going to be driving him to the airport and she said, "Michelle from Homer?"  Apparently she is a faithful blog reader of everything Ninilchik, and that occasionally includes mine!  So that was a fun time and I got promised a blackberry pie when Cam comes up to visit next summer in thanks for the ride.

Heading up the road we scoped out berry patches and have discovered that the watermelon berries and raspberries are ripe on the Kenai Peninsula, and north of there we discovered ripe blueberries (Yes, I am being vague on purpose.  I wouldn't share my coveted berry patches with the whole world!), the bushes which were about three-fourths ripe.  In Palmer we scored in my cousin's raspberry patch:  one gallon in less than an hour from a patch that produces that much every couple days.  I want a patch like that!

Lost in a berry patch!  Look at those luscious raspberries!!
Saturday morning we headed north in pouring rain, standing water on the road but thankfully light traffic.  Two hours got us to the McKinley Princess Lodge, which the Denali Boy Scout camp is near.  A two mile gravel road greeted us.  It was one of those roads that you're wondering if you're really going in the right direction, is it going to go anywhere at all, and when is it finally going to get there?  It went up steep hills, down steep hills, over a single-lane bridge, past trees hanging with moss.  The work to develop that road was quite extensive as there were numerous areas where the hills were cut down to make the grade less steep. At some random spot, there were a bunch of cars parked so we figured we'd arrived.  Of course there were no signs or anything!

The warehouse
The warehouse is one of two buildings.  It has picnic tables inside that the kids ate at, 4 showers and an office.  Behind it was what was called "tent city" by the boys where the staff (which they were the first week) had tents with cots for sleeping quarters.  There is no kitchen (except a 4-burner stove for staff) so food is cooked outside as if they were camping, which they were.  The boys only used the warehouse at mealtime and besides that were out and about.

Only 6 kids did the work week, most from the Kenai Peninsula, while about 60 did the camp week.  We arrived at the beginning of pick-up time so there were masses of kids at the picnic tables, a typical buzz of movement and voices of young, energetic boys.  After chatting with the counselors, camp director and scoutmaster, we headed to the camp tent area to pick up the gear.  

The camp area was a quarter mile further up the gravel road.  There was room for plenty of tents, and there were probably 30 or more tents set up that second week.  We got to see the other building at this camp:  the very nice 4-stall outhouse.

The only problem with the outhouse is there were no skylights nor electricity so they were pitch black inside!
Near the outhouses we saw the trail that leads to Blair Lake, where the kids paddleboarded, kayaked, swam and did trail work.  Apparently it is a warm lake, which Denver thought was so neat because he hasn't been able to swim in lakes in Alaska because they're so cold.  He said he only had to come out once in 2 weeks because his feet were frozen, but otherwise he was in the water for up to an hour at a time.  There were beaver in the lake, which was the main wildlife they saw in their 2 weeks there.

As we headed back up the road to the Parks Highway the boys pointed out flagpoles they'd put up (birch trees planted in the ground), the archery range (some brush was cut), a trail (I couldn't see it), and the shooting range (rock-free with a more sophisticated flagpole that had a rope to raise a flag).  It all seemed one step away from Leave No Trace, which totally cracked my aunt and I up.  "Rough" and "primitive" are two words that came to mind.  

Despite that they had great experiences white-water kayaking, pistol shooting, paddleboarding and more.  They said the work week was as good as or more fun than the camp week despite the work being very physically demanding.  They were up at 6 am each day and bedtime was at 10 pm though apparently it ended up being later than that.  Only a few black bear were seen both weeks (they were smart enough to stay away!), though the 2+ people together at all times rule was enforced and the counselors were trained in the use of bear spray.  Both boys want to go back next year, for sure.

Denver's duct tape bowl
One entertaining sidelight:  Denver didn't realize he needed his mess kid (bowl, spoon, cup) so the first day of the camp (not the workweek) someone said to bring your mess kit to breakfast.  Denver didn't have one so he ran back to his tent and grabbed his trusty duct tape and made himself a bowl which he ate out of all week (luckily he won a spork from his award-winning dessert in the Dutch oven cookoff).  He also made himself a cup, but when he put hot liquid in it the cup started leaking so he had to make another one.  His bowl was ingenious though, and lots of other boys came up and checked it out.  It was collapseable and lightweight, and he just rinsed it out after each meal (scrubbed after the meal of spaghetti).

So that's the new Denali Boy Scout camp and some adventures at it this year!  And yes, there is an amazing view of Denali from parts of it, which they were able to see the first hot, sunny week but didn't see at all the rainy, foggy second week.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kachemak Bay Morning

The sun came out for the first day in a week and it was a quiet, calm morning so I wanted to capture some fireweed and the mountains.  With a lot more time and equipment I could get better photos, but I specialize in whip-out-my-iphone-and-get-the-picture-fast.  Many of the pictures in my blog are taken while walking or, in the case of the other day, from the back of a 4-wheeler.  Here s today's picture I wanted to share:

Grewingk Glacier and the Kenai Mountains with fireweed and cloud-covered Kachemak Bay in foreground

Gardening Update

I know I said I would give gardening updates this summer, but my gardening is a sideshow to my traveling and adventuring so I don't pay my garden much attention besides talk to it as I walk by, giving it words of encouragement to keep growing, growing, growing!  Yesterday's weeding had me twitching and going nuts slapping at what appeared to be nothing but were in fact no-see-ums.  I saw nary a mosquito but my forehead was a mass of red welts by time I was done.  I didn't realize no-see-ums could be so nasty!

I didn't realize the beans were climbers and they've gone nuts, as have the cucumber plants further down!

Tomatoes, peppers and zucchini in the greenhouse.  Yum!
The  greenhouse has produced way more than ever before in my 3 years on the bench in Homer.  The hot weather (70's, even 80! degrees) has been awesome for everything:  peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and green beans.  The zucchini could probably go outside (I've done both), but the rest of the things are strictly greenhouse plants in this area.  I picked my first cucumbers and zucchini in early July, tomatoes a week or so later and just started picking beans and peppers in the past week.  What didn't grow in the greenhouse that normally does well was my lettuce, which is very disappointing as I love my salads and hate buying lettuce.  I've replanted it like 5 times and it doesn't even come up so I think my seed is old and I need to start over with fresh seed next year!

Outside the potatoes actually blossomed this year, which is a first.  Normally they are just beginning to blossom when we harvest in late September.  My onions and carrots are happy, growing well.  The spinach bolted early and was small, I harvested, planted again, harvested that and just did my third planting.  The kale is coming along--not great but good enough.  I'll be harvesting that next week as it looks like it won't be growing more.  I pulled out some egg-sized potatoes yesterday for tonight's dinner, so we're back into potato season again and the onions can start coming out though I may hold off to see how big they'll grow.

My second (and final) weeding of the garden is completed for the season! 
I got bitten up by no-see-ums yesterday while completing the weeding.

I will miss not having cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, but that was the price I paid for cavorting around for 2 months.  I am a lazy gardener at heart, only weeding my garden twice all season, watering if it is dry deeper than an inch, and not fertilizing too much.  If I were around more I would do that.  Actually, that is my plan for the next couple weeks:  visit the fish dumpsters on the spit and get fish flesh and carcasses to sidedress (bury next to plants) in the garden and make fish gurry (soak carcass in water for a few days then use as fertilizer).  A friend just told me about sidedressing this week.  And then I need to visit my friend that has chickens and get some poop!  That stuff's the best! 

From here on out the potatoes, onions and carrots are going to go nuts and grow, and I just keep on encouraging them, looking forward to bountiful harvests!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rainbow Over Kachemak Bay

A rainbow over the mud flats at the base of the spit.

A rainbow hung over Kachemak Bay yesterday as we discovered while out walking on the spit.  Four hours later when I went out to weed my garden it was still there!  Lots of rain across the bay, and just enough sunshine to illuminate a rainbow.  That was the murmur around town (Did you see that rainbow?).  I don't recall those clouds being so dark and dramatic looking as they appear here!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sea Lion on Mariner Beach

As we were walking north of Mariner Park yesterday along the beach towards the breakwall, we saw what looked like an unusually shaped rock that we didn't recall being there before.  As someone's dog ran towards the rock, it began to move and we saw it was a sea lion.  It dragged itself towards the water, and as the dog ran off and we walked closer, it stopped every few feet and looked over its shoulder at us.  Within a few minutes it was in the water, swimming slowly away from shore.  Because it looked injured (and because it was on the beach in the first place) we called the Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline (1-888-774-7325) and reported it, then emailed them our video.  They said that it was a good sign that it was able to get itself into the water and they might just put a lookout notice out.  If a marine mammal can't get into the water they send someone to check on it, warning people to keep their distance from stranded animals.

(You may want to turn down your volume before clicking on the video as the wind noise is a bit loud.)

While we've seen a sea lion on land before (over at Right Beach a couple years ago one pulled itself out of the water and up the beach to check out our campfire), we've never happened upon one while walking, with the animal just sitting there.  That was a new experience for us.  We were very happy that the owner of the dog called it off, and that the dog did not harass the seal, and that it was able to get itself back in the water.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

4-wheeling: The Switchbacks, Beach and Head of the Bay

Some friends just bought a 4-wheeler and wanted an introduction to 4-wheeling in the area so yesterday we took them out to Voznesenka, down the switchbacks at the end of East End Road, along the beach and then the other direction to the head of Kachemak Bay to the Fox River.  I've blogged about this before but have not gotten as many pictures so this one will be more of a photo entry.

The sandstone cliffs are an interesting feature along the beach heading towards Homer from the base of the switchbacks.

The cliffs, with the coal and other layers clearly delineated

There is a cute little waterfall around behind the cliff just past where you cross a small stream

View of Kachemak Bay, looking towards Homer, from the waterfalls

Heading back towards the switchbacks the cliff rises like a monolith

The other direction, past the Old Believer village of Kachemak Selo towards the head of the bay, there was a 4-wheeler-sized cattle guard

Cattle wandered the mud flats towards the head of the bay.  The dirt section is the 4-wheeler highway to the head of the bay.

A grassy section along the Fox River

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Skyline-Bear Mountain-Hideout Trail Updates 2013

While my husband was at beginning-of-the-year administrator meetings this week in Soldotna, my daughter, a friend of hers and I decided to take a day to go hiking.  Skyline is on our list to hike every year, so even though my quads were still sore from climbing Bird Ridge days before, I agreed to give it a shot.  Our plans were foiled from a direction we didn't expect.

As we walked up to the Skyline trailhead information board, we noticed a "Brown bear in area" sign posted, dated June 6th.  "Uh, oh," I said, "time to get out the bear bell."  I dug in the backpack and velcroed the bear bell onto my pack while my daughter snorted her derision.  We'd never seen a bear on this trail, nor even bear scat in all the times we'd hiked it.  Twenty or thirty minutes later as I was climbing along, I heard the girls chattering excitedly and heading towards me.  My first thought:  bear!  What else could get them to turn around and practically run down the trail, far from the summit? 

Apparently Aurora, who was in the lead, thought the bear was a dog at first.  The black bear was heading down the trail and she was heading up and they were about 10 feet away before they noticed each other.  The bear immediately melted off into the brush and Aurora and her friend immediately got out of there as fast as possible.  When I asked if they got a picture they laughed and said, "Uh, we weren't really thinking about anything except, 'Bear.  Get out of here!'" so my apologies to my readers for no picture!

The bear was small enough the girls figured it probably had a momma nearby, so rather than just keep going (which is my natural inclination), we opted to head down and find another trail to hike.  Too bad because the Skyline was in better shape than I've ever seen it, with so little rain this summer.

View of Skilak Lake from Bear Mountain trail.
Ironically, the next hike we chose to do was Bear Mountain, off Skilak Lake Road.  This is an easy hike--.8 miles one way, 400 foot climb (well, certain easy compared to Skyline's 2000 foot climb in 1 mile!).  It was mostly in the shade, the trail doesn't get grown over, the bugs weren't bad, and the view is nice, topping out at 1300 feet or so.  Twenty-five minutes got us to the top, a 10 minute run got us back down, and we were a little unsatisfied so decided to find another hike.

Another view from the top of Bear Mountain, looking towards the Upper Skilak Lake Campground
The Hideout Trail, only about 1 1/2 miles off of the Cooper Landing end of the Skilak Lake Road, was our next choice.  It is a .75 mile hike, though the climb was about 865 feet (somewhere around 800; I'm recalling it from the sign).  I was impressed:  this trail has been weedwhacked a couple feet on each side, so what would have been overgrown with pushki and grass was a pleasant trail, hard-packed and in great shape.  Having it trimmed makes all the difference between a pleasant hike or a bit of an annoying hike.  On top of that, there was a breeze keeping all the bugs away, and the sun had gone behind the clouds so it was cooler. 

This trail is not in the shade so it would have been hot had the sun been out.  What this trail offers, though, that Bear Mountain does not, is the feel of being in a mountain meadow.  There were fields of fireweed (of course!) and views of Skilak Lake and the surrounding area much of the way up so those huffing and puffing breaks can be enjoyable scanning the Kenai River, Skilak Lake, nearby peaks and weather, not that I got many breaks at my daughter's focused pace.

Once we got to the top we were a bit sweaty and had to pull out jackets to stay comfortable.  There's a nice rock to lounge on and enjoy the sights.  After a little snack we jogged down this trail as well, which is easy enough to do with few loose gravel or rocky spots.

View from partway up Hideout Trail
So between the three hikes we hiked about 3 1/2 miles and climbed about 1800 feet--more distance and less elevation than Skyline so it wasn't as difficult.  I hatched an idea to have an annual event called "The Great Skilak Challenge" to hike all the trails in the Skilak Lake Area in a day (seemed like we were working towards that!).  I think that would be fun, and it would be a challenge!  It was a fun few hours and we got to check out 3 different trails!  It was a good day to be in the woods.

View from the top of the Hideout Trail.  The ribbon of river is the Kenai before it empties into Skilak Lake.

Fireweed Summer

Fireweed summer

This has been the most amazing summer for fireweed I have ever known.  Everywhere you look, huge fields of fireweed stun the eye, and looking off in the distance, hillsides are covered with the magenta hue.  Along the Sterling Highway up to Soldotna there are sections that are brilliant, the blooms stretching as far as you can see.  That has got to be the best part of having a warm summer--the fireweed. 

The folklore is that once the flowers are done blooming (they start from the bottom and work their way up the stalk), summer is over.  Right now they're about halfway up the stalk, but in some areas I noticed that the flowers that were done blooming were right next to the flowers that were still blooming so I'm not sure how much credence we can put on that.  However, as we watch the blooms make their way up the fireweed stalk, we all know the clock is ticking, counting down the amount of time we have left for our frenetic Alaskan summer of activity.

Once they're done blooming, the seeds pop open, releasing fuzz, kind of like dandelion fuzz, except on a much larger scale.  While I love the flowers in my yard, I am not a fan of having fireweed fuzz in all of my screens, and I suspect this fall it will look like it is snowing much earlier than usual because of the flying fuzz.

The intensity of the fireweed this year just matches the intensity of our lives.  A few days ago it was cloudy for the first time in weeks, and it seemed like person after person I ran into said, "It's so good to get a cloudy day to catch up on inside things," and I shared their sentiment. When the weather is nice in Alaska, it seems like we are obligated to play, or at the very least work outside, because all too often the weather is not nice.  It seems wrong to "waste" nice weather.  Today is cloudy and cool for a change, so I can guiltlessly blog for a change!

Portlock and Dixon Glaciers on the Kenai Mountain Range from Eveline Trails east of Homer. 
Great fields of fireweed grace the beautiful view of the glaciers.