Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Russian Jack Park....our back yard!

The mountains in our neighborhood.... Crystalized trees! I will get a better close up tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

These were our shadows at high noon!

de plane! de plane!!!

Lisa being cold in da snow...

The trails behind our house after the big snow, had the branches all hanging down to create a tunnel from the weight of all the snow...I will post a picture of the crystalized trees tomorrow after I take one...

sunset from our neighborhood...

Everything crystalized!

So the fog rolled in the other day and blanketed the entire city for about 24 hours. It was wild! You couldn't see more than 20 feet ahead. The temperatures dropped again and froze all the water to everthing in town. It made all the trees look like bright white crystal structures....

It started to snow only not really, Lisa said that the airport was seeding the fog to try and get it to go away so they could land planes, but it didn't really work. It did make it snow though, which was wierd cuz the sky above the fog was clear, which meant that all the snow was coming from the cloud that was all around us, just condensing right next to us and turning to snow which fell in very isloated spots. Strange weather...

So, as you have read, we got a house! We will be moving in sometime in early January, we are pretty excited.... We are going to go to the home inspection on Thursday the 1st. We will take a bunch of pictures then so that everybody can see. It's going to be fun... We have 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, with 2.5 floors and a 2 car garage.... will tell more when we have some pics to show.

So we went out the other day and took a picture of our shadows at noon! The days are almost the shortest that they will be this year. Soon they will start to get longer... can't wait for more light so that we have more time to do stuff that requires some light. Although we really haven't been limited, it will be nice to see the sun more. Dusk and dawn last forever here and even in the middle of the night it's bright enough to hike without a light. The sky glows a pinkish peach color. Very cool when combined with the full moon!

Oh and I fixed the blog to make it easier for you to comment on the posts, so hopefully we will hear more from everybody who reads this now!

Hope all are well and that we see you soon!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Turkey Village Inn day

Sorry for the delay in our blog, boy have we been busy. Like Ben said, I've been working a ton, just finished six 10-hour night shifts in a row. Can't seem to get back to a normal sleeping pattern, however I do another six nights starting Saturday. Whew!
Ben got to finally see moose up here! As we were driving out of our neighborhood, a shadow moved behind our neighbor's tree. As we turned back around to get a second look, another appeared from behind their driveway. They were even bigger than the ones I saw at work the other day. Their shoulders were about 6 feet tall, and their racks were probably 10 feet. Hopefully you can see them in the picture.

A moose!
As the winter is really setting in, more and more snow is falling and teasing us---we want to make a snowman but it's too cold and dry. But we sure can make snow angels!
Trees outside our place under the new snow

Snow angel havin fun!

Lots of snow!
On our brief moments of free time, we've been ferviously searching for a place to call home. Having a very tight market up here has made it a bit of a challenge, however just yesterday we found a great house and quickly put an offer down. It was accepted that night! So if everything goes right, hopefully we will be in our new house sometime January.

Our new house!
As for Turkey Day, we had been so busy with everything, and since it was only us two that we didn't cook anything and decided to go visit the local Village Inn :). Not bad, got soup, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and a HUGE slice of pie all for $11. Don't think we'll make a tradition out of it though, we sure missed all our friends and family. With it being quite cold out for the day, we decided to come home with some eggnog and rum to sit by our fire and plan out everything we want to do with our new house. Also to give thanks to all those who we miss....cheers!


Monday, November 14, 2005

Kincaid Park

Hey everybody,

So while Lisa is hard at work I have started to explore the city of anchorage, I heard that we have some 120 + miles of trails here. Tons of them are located at Kincaid park. So that's where I started!

(Just to let you know as a quick side note, I have made it so that you can click on the pics to enlarge them if you want to look closer at any of the shots.)

So to tell you the truth, I went there because Lisa has been seeing a ton of Moose by her office and that park is where they are all coming from! I wanted to see a moose, other than the dead one on the highway. I didn't get the privaledge, maybe because of the loud kids that were runing the trails that day, or maybe cuz they were all right outside Lisa's office! When she got home she told me about a group of them that were maybe 20 feet from her desk! I did get to see some other cool stuff and get some exercise. Here are some shots of the stuff I did get to see.

View of one of the lighted trails at Kinciad park, a great place to learn cross country skiing and when the snow starts to pile up a great place for some snowshoeing!

The peaks in the distance are labeled, McKinley is about 150 miles away and Mt Foraker is about 136 miles. Who knew you could see that far! We had a hard time seeing Molokai when we were on Oahu and that was only 50 or so miles away... I bet Lisa can explain to us why, I will ask her tonight and see if we can post the answer. Until then consider it a contest, whoever can tell me the correct answer first will win a prize!

View west from the park...Mt. Susitna on right ~30 miles from me and in the distance you can see the Tordillo Mountains, they have a ton of glaciers over there! that mountain range is about 80 miles from where I stood! What a view!

The pics of the moutains are taken from the point of the peninsula that the city of anchorage is on. I am looking across the inlet, farther than I thought at the time!

I also had a little fun in the snow as it was a little deeper at the park than the dusting that is covering the rest of the city.

My first snow angel, I remember doing these as a kid in the WI.

Can't wait for more snow though to build a snow cave and an igloo and snowmen, although it might be tough as the temperatures around here keep the snow so cold that it doesn't melt at all and stays very fluffy and wont stick together, it takes like 5 minutes to pack it into a measly snowball!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Our first expedition beyond the city...

Since I had a day off of work, Ben and I went for a quick drive (actually about 300 miles round trip!) down south to the town of Seward. The road skimmed right along Turnagain Arm (named by Capt. Cook when he had to turn around after thinking it was an outlet) and through beautiful powdered mountains. We hoped for better weather, but it didn't snow too much and the clouds lifted enough for some great pictures. Along Turnagain Arm, we pulled out and saw the water and ice (yes, those are ice chunks, a bit colder than our old Hawaiian waters) flowing rapidly into the Arm. Turns out it has the second largest tidal difference in the world, having a change of about 33 ft in height.
On our way down to Seward, we stopped by the Exit Glacier, only a tiny part of a huge ice field in Kenai Fjords Park. The wind was whipping through the valley. Luckily winter hadn't set in too far yet so the following sign didn't apply to us.

We attached a topo image in addition to the picture of the glacier to show you how small the glacier is compared to the ice field.

As we came into Seward, Resurrection Bay was on our left with the wind howlin through. This is where the Alaska Pipeline ends and the Iditarod official trail starts (not the race---that starts in Anchorage). The wind was so strong on the Bay, we wished we had our surfboards still with us!
We also saw a series of frozen waterfalls coming out of the mountains like this one...

Since our days are short, we had to drive back to Anchorage in the dark. We found out after about 90% of the cars on the opposite side kept flashing us, that my lights are positioned a little too far up, so I'll have to get that fixed. We came home to our cozy house, thought we'd share what it looks like. Thanks for stopping in and taking a look into our Alaskan journey!!

Our place from outside.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Getting settled...

We made it! We're here freezing our butts off since the first night we arrived!

So things have been hectic around here lately, so much to do everyday, not much time to be at home on the computer.... we are finally getting caught up though. Lisa bought a new car, it's really a feat of modern engineering. She got the '06 Jeep Commander. If you want to you can read about it here...

It's got a ton of fun stuff.

We also got registered at the DMV and got our new licenses, they're pretty cool! Official residents of the last frontier!

The heater in our temporary housing is on the fritz... kinda stinks, seeing as it's usually in the single digits outside, but our landlords are working on the problem. Everything is covered in snow or what the natives call a dusting...

Everybody here has been so nice to us, and we are loving the whole atmosphere up here. So many fun things to do just waiting for us. We haven't gotten out exploring yet because of all the moving logistics, but we plan on doing it soon and we will be sure to take pics. We have toured the city a little bit and here are some shots from that...

Anchorage from Cooks inlet

Mountain view at dusk

The famous "Koot's"

More mountains east of town.

Cook inlet.

A frozen lake!

The city is nice, it has everything one could want, but it still has a very small town feel. Haven't decided where to look for houses yet but that is next on the list.

Time is flying by each day with the sun coming up at 9:30 or so and setting around 4 or so.... dusk lasts forever!

We are debating on whether to get studed tires for the cars as we hear that the roads will be covered in ice by january. Going to hold off for now.... we'll see how it goes.

We saw our first moose the other day, albiet it was a dead moose... somebody hit it on the highway and it smashed the whole front of the car in including the windshield and roof. We need to get our names on the roadkill list so that we can be in line for the next one!

I (Ben) haven't gotten a new cell phone yet, but it is on the way and should be here early next week, the number should stay the same so no worries there.

Life in the AK is evertything we imagined it to be and more and we haven't even begun to experience it yet, so much to see and do it's almost overwhelming, in a good sort of way. We are starting to amass some winter gear and can't wait to get out in the thick of it.... see you all up here soon right?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

In flight...

Tuesday Nov. 1st 2005

Sitting in row 35 on our way to the AK at some 30,000 feet above the pacific ocean I finally found some time to start this, our first post of the actual move. I have been thinking about this one for a while now… in the days and weeks leading up to take off, I have had a lot running through my head.

If on a normal day you were to look through the window of my mind at my perception of existence, it would be cloudy and full of so many superficial smudges and things that you wouldn’t be able to see very far into the “big picture” that it frames, but lately it’s like somebody came through with a bottle of industrial strength windex and wiped it so clean that I feel like I aged ten years and can see with the wisdom and clarity of an old man looking back on a lifetime with a twenty year olds eyesight.

I have been looking at our move with an objective sort of lens, one that helps me to see how amazingly lucky we have been to live in the islands and to have experienced what we have to this point, to have seen things that most people only read about in books and to have known so many wonderful people in our lives that have helped us and taught us so many wonderful things. It’s a beautiful thing when one can appreciate those things, and not take them for granted. It’s like going to work every day and seeing that amazing rainbow as you head into the office with your mind so full of other thoughts that you hardly notice it and then one day you finally see it, pull over and take a picture to send to all your friends and family.

So as I sit here on this plane, with baby’s screaming, I guess this post is one of thanks, to all those people who have helped get us here. I think that it is also a report of reflection on both our past and on our future.

With our last few weeks in the HI we managed to pack in time with friends and see some things that we had left on our list…. A never ending list it seems, say our goodbyes and start to stare into the great unknown of freezing our butts off. Oddly enough we can’t wait to get there, excited about every last little thing. At the same time we will miss everybody that we left behind and hope that it wont be the last time that we see any of you…If you know Lisa and I, you know that our door is always open in Alaska (not really! It’s freakin’ cold man!) and if you ever need a place to crash just let us know…

Before I get carried away I will post some of the pictures from our last few days leading up to the big leap.

The dolphins at the Kahala Mandarin. Posted by Picasa

Elvis sighting in hawaii! Posted by Picasa

My first wave, kinda fizzled on me Posted by Picasa

Spring got a good one!

The judges...

Is that Dom or Tom?

The costumes...

Richie, the angel...