Thursday, April 26, 2012

Easy like an Alaskan weekend

So what's new here now?
Well spring is definitely here, since it's +15 (C degrees) during days and only 32 (F degrees) at night (meaning zero celcius :). All the snow is basically gone and now we are just waiting for ground to dry a bit so we could go around and hike.

In the mean time, there's lots to do... :) On Saturday we got to know better the hiking gear selection in Fairbanks and had veeeery delicious potatoes dipped in mayonnaise for lunch. Have to try those potato skins one day, that seem to be huge delicacy here.

On Sunday Piia managed to milk 2 and half glasses of goat milk and having just a slight cramp in her hand.

Moon... kisses!

 Not sure if this was Brownie or...

Happy sunny faces :)

The dogs were relaxing and enjoying in the good weather as well and waiting for the ground to dry...

Here Marlin :)

And does are enjoying as well :) Nice spring day!

Then we relaxed and played some chess. Julien always won, and is still winning.
Piia tried to see the positive things like the sunshine, and,
well, the mosquitos that are already here... :)

Then we decided to go biking.
Now, the roads are really wet here, and muddy, and still a bit snowy and icy at the same time.

So in the video you see how it all went... :D

And we got back home just before the rain...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Alaska Range road trip

On Friday we started a road trip and headed to Delta Junction, a town about 160 km from Fairbanks. We had our car fully loaded with books, cameras, food and sleeping gear, as we planned to sleep in the car. The weather was partly cloudy but we still hoped to have a good beautiful view of Alaska Range. It is a mountain range located in southcentral Alaska and is about 650 km long. The highest mountain in Northern America, and higher than any summit in Europe, Mt. McKinley is located in Alaska Range, though we didn’t see it this time. We stopped in some scenic view spots to photograph the mountains you could see in distance, but the weather was getting cloudy. Still it was promising view and some reason to wait for Saturday and hopefully sunny weather.

Ice fishing hut on the lake


 The view in the evening, can't wait to see that with sun

We followed the Richardson Highway and drove through some drunken forests and huge military open areas. Finally we reached Delta Junction and its funny looking houses and found a restaurant to have a dinner. Place was cosy and small with local people. We enjoyed our cheese-sandwich-and-french-fries and cheese-burger-with-fries meals and after decided to play some pool at the bar with free sodas. We weren’t very good at pool but we had fun.

Some nice house on the road       

This is an Alaskan liquor shop :D

After we looked for a camping area to sleep but since everything was still covered by snow we just slept on a road that would, when the snow was gone, to a camping and recreational area. The night was good and back of the car comfortable enough, though too short for Julien.

The view from our camping place

Morning dawned and we woke up with day light. We headed for a nice landscape view spot for breakfast, jumbo muffins. Then decided to have a lazy morning and read a bit in front of the mountains. When the sun was shining higher we looked for a small trail to hike and found Donnelly Dome Trail. We climbed the summit that is almost 600 m high and located next to the highway. The climb was pretty steep at some points but the higher we went the better it felt. In 45 minutes we reached the summit and saw the beautiful view to Alaska Range and Tanana River in south and never ending Fort Greely military space in north. We made the most of it with the camera and we are pretty happy with the outcome. Hope you enjoy the view too! :)

 The next pictures are from Donelly dome

After Donnelly Dome we kept driving along the highway and stopped now and then for taking pictures. And the landscape just kept getting better. Snowy mountains, the Tanana River in front of them and glaciers both sides of the road. We stopped for lunch near Castner Clacier and Canwell Glacier that were located just besides the road. Lunch included cheese and crackers and eggs, yummy! And after that, some relaxing time, reading and napping at the back of the car watching the clouds moving along the mountains and sun shining. What a life!

After lunch break we still kept driving, until Paxton. That was characterized by very snowy hills and lots of snow machine tracks. The Arctic Man Ski and Sno-Go race took place on those hills, so the place was crowded. Short after we decided to head back. After all it was getting late and we both wanted to have another sandwich and burger meal in Delta Junction. On the way back we still kept stopping and taking pictures and watching the mirror to give the mountains last looks.

At Delta Junction we ate and drunk soda and played again some pool, this time with local people, who were very friendly and nice to talk with. Joe beat us at pool which was fair with our skills. After some time at the bar we headed to Quartz Lake where we watched the sunset and camped. And where we spotted the first mosquitos of the spring! Yep, the weather is getting very warm out here now.

Pictures from Quartz lake, the ice is still pretty thick, we even drove on it (see video at the end)

Again on Sunday morning we went to have our muffin breakfast at a viewpoint and then headed home. We had a very productive day doing laundry, cleaning, planting seeds and celebrating Scott’s birthday. For starters we tasted an American delicacy: root beer (kind of herb tasting non-alcoholic beer) and vanilla ice cream. For Julien it tasted like dentist, and for Piia like toothpaste. So there’s something tooth-related there! :) Then for cake we had blueberry muffins with vanilla ice cream and some sauce. That was different but good. Again a nice way to end a perfect weekend.

Some moose on the road

And as usual a video to present our week end :D