Friday, July 22, 2011
Our Alaskan Adventure
Adventure is rooted so deeply in our bones.
It's how we met and it's what we love to do together. So how perfect was it to make the trek to Alaska where we could combine that passion with a visit to an amazing family.
Christoph and Marianne are two incredible, artistic, and talented people. Two years ago they packed up their camper and drove across the country to make the life they had dreamed of during their years in Germany. They've made much of this dream come true in the last two years. They are determined, dedicated, and motivated learners who have tackled life in Alaska with ease. We are honored to call them our family.
And they've made one amazingly relaxed and happy baby, Annaliese!
Our time in Alaska was full. We only had 10 days but we made the days count. We hiked Skilak Lake Trail with some of Marianne's friends from work- gorgeous views on a beautiful day. See the picture of Jim, CK, and me below. Jim and I took an anniversary hike up Skyline Trail, which was a steep and strenuous climb where we went all of the way past the saddle (where you were supposed to stop) and got to sign the book on Mt. Aspiring! That seems appropriate for our second anniversary as we are aspiring to be better and this year was strenuous with med school and a second first year of teaching. It was great!
We also spent time with almost all of their awesome Alaskan family and friends, visited Homer and Hope, crafted, went beach combing for agates and did Andy Goldsworthy art on the beach, went to Midnight Sun Brewery, searched for and saw wildlife (but no bears), played with their wonderful baby, learned how to (me) and shot a 22 and a hand gun (Jim and me), built a greenhouse (Jim was in heaven!), and saw incredible views.
We are ecstatic about Alaska and all of the possibilities. There are so many things to do there and seasons for fishing and clamming and hunting and... and... and... The list just never stops.
The most amazing thing to me was the light. The sun would rise around 4 AM and set after 12 midnight. That means that it almost never gets completely dark before the sun rises again! This definitely messes with your head and makes you ready to stay up until the wee hours and then get up early. Quite interesting. It's easy to be sleep deprived, but the winter would be a whole different story.
Our hosts were gracious enough to help us set up an overnight trip. We rented a double sea kayak and paddled across Kachemak Bay to Gull Island, and then eventually to Halibut Cove. We scouted our campsite before heading to hike Alpine Ridge Trail. We started our hike at 5:30 PM but didn't have to worry about the light because it didn't get "dark" until almost 1, and even then it was dusk. We hiked up to a beautiful view of a glacier with a lake with icebergs below, while we could also see the Homer Spit, which is where we began our paddle, and the rest of the water we had covered during that day.
That evening we set up camp and Jim used the coals from the fire to make a heated bed for us to sleep upon. He dug a trench and then filled it with the coals and hot stones from the fire and then covered it with sand. Then we put our sleeping bags on top. The ground was still warm in the morning! Jim also made shell spoons for out utensils (even though we had brought some)- just for fun and they worked well!
We saw many bald eagles, puffins, gulls, cormorants, and a few sea otters and seals. The sea otters were our favorite because they would roll and watch us, rub their bellies, and then repeat the whole process. We got to watch a few off in the distance as we sat around our campfire that night. The next day we paddled back and again got to see the sea otters, which you can see in a picture above.
It was the perfect overnight for us.
We loved our time and we love this family. Thank you Kasch family for a great 10 days! We miss you.
Here's a picture of all of us on our last day, while we did the Russian River hike. A friendly hiker offered to take our picture. Good thing he did because it was the only one we got of all of us on the entire trip. I love this picture.