15 September 2008

Birthday Backpackin'

August 30th was my 27th birthday!  Having spent much of my summer in Homer, on call and waiting to scan fish, it was solidly decided that I had to get out of dodge for my birthday.  (In case you aren't aware, birthdays are my favorite holidays of the year....I love the entire idea of celebrating individuals on their very own day!)  August 31st was the 24th birthday of my friend and old roommate, Jen!  So the two of us, our friend Rachel Todd, and my two dogs headed across Kachemak Bay to Kachemak Bay State Park for a 3 day backpacking trip in celebration of us and the wilderness. Yeah!

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The water taxi dropped us off at Humpy Creek, where indeed the Humpy's were running.  If you look at this picture of the Creek, all of the things poking out of the water are the backs of spawning salmon.  It was a veritable playground for the dogs, who paid for their rotten salmon buffet later that night with much puking.  They didn't seem too phased, but I thought it was disgusting.

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Jen and Rachel, on Saturday.  The 30th was an absolutely gorgeous day - nearly no clouds to be seen  and we were HOT (not just figuratively, either).  One of the few times this summer that I've felt really really too warm. 


The dogs resting in the shade when we reached the alpine, on our way to Emerald Lake.


P1010147 So fun, we found snow! 


This is Emerald Lake, where we camped for two nights.  On the second day we hiked down to the edge of the glacier, and then back up to the lake.  At this lovely overlook, day one, we had stopped for picture taking and snacking before heading straight down through the alders and massive shrubs to the lake.  And being the cool kid that I am, I left my camera sitting in the tundra.  It proceeded to rain rain rain for the next two days, and by the time I realized where my camera was and climbed back up to retrieve it....well, let's just say I ordered a new camera and it's on its way.


The result of the camera-debacle is that my pictures from this trip stop abruptly at the beautiful weather and this scenic overlook.  Alas.  Jen has more, and at some point I'll have to direct you either to her pictures online or post a few up here.  But for now, I think you get the gist.  Three days, great company, beautiful beautiful mountains and ice and snow, good hiking, a most fabulous birthday.

ever-changing, the shoulder season is a tough time to work outdoors....

It's true, I believe, that we have solidly hit what I consider to be the shoulder season.  Let's not be crazy and call it "fall", down here in SouthCentral AK it's far from the autumn that I dig into in Fairbanks or New England.  This is a much wetter, grayer season with some slow changes to yellow and red in the trees and the fireweed.  The Anchorage Daily reported last Sunday that indeed this was one of the coldest summers Alaska has seen in many many years.  Fantastic.  No serious complaints from me, though - the times of sun we've had have been lovely, and the rains have been sporadic enough to not make me feel entirely cooped up and crazy.  Boat building has been fairly slow-going, given my outdoors workspace and the daily rains that hit us seemingly whenever I have a spare moment to drive over to the boat....

However, some pictures for an update:

 18augpics.jpg (56)  this is the jig I used to start the bending in the ribs.  I was rather concerned about the use of spruce, as I hadn't heard great things about it as bending stock.  However, spruce is what I had, and so not truly knowing any better spruce is what I set out to bend.

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Here are the ribs, cut to size, pre-bending, making a beautiful circle.


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HaHa!!! Success!  A few of the ribs, mainly the for-most one, had to be re-bent 3, 4, 5 times as it kept breaking.  And then another rib (you can see it in the close-up rib view above) had to be re-bent the next day when I fully realized how wonky the shape was.  All in all, however, it was a much smoother process than I had anticipated!