Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Great One

So the largest mountain in North America is here in Alaska standing about 20,320 ft. It is known as Denali or "The Great One" by it's native name or Mt. Mckinley after a reporter from New York boasting the campaign of President McKinley over support for the gold standard for this country. The name battle is still continuing to this day as they ask for the mountain to be returned to it's original name, but no matter what you call it - it is without a doubt "The Great One!"
Well today I used one of my excursions to go up to Talkeetna and take a flightseeing tour of the Alaskan Mountain Range and in particular Denali. What's even better is that me, and my two other co-workers with me got right on the next flight that even had a glacier landing, it was perfect. We've had some forrest fires in the area so it's been a bit hazy down in the valleys but after we passed the clouds at about 6-7,000ft the moutain peaks were out and were absolutely breathtaking.

We got to circle the mountains and see about 3 different glaciers and we even got to land at base camp for climbing the west side of the mountain (about 95% of the attempts are made from the west) and they just closed the climbing season - about a week early with these high temperatures lately - so our landing will be one of the last because the chances of crevases with dramatically increase. Needless to say the view was gorgeous and such a great experience, I'm so glad I went and I'll probably head back again this summer for just a flight seeing tour again because it was really that good! If you make it here to Alaska - K2 Aviation out of Talkeetna has to be on you list!

My first snowball here in Alaska at base camp on Khalitna Glacier!

A shot of base camp as we were taking off!

Also while we were in Talkeetna I purchased a moose nugget - that's right a painted piece of moose poop. The Moose Dropping Festival is this Saturday and they sell 3,000 tickets max and a white painted moose nugget is put in a bucket with a number on it - you buy the ticket for $5.00 and are given another painted nugget with a pin to wear on your jacket/shirt/etc. and then on Saturday the bucket is hung over a large bullseye and they release the bottom letting the nuggets fall. The closest nugget to the center gets $1,500, second place $600, third through eleventh $150, and the farthest away gets $300. So send out your good vibes for #1066 Saturday at 6pm Alaskan time as the nuggets drop, and if I win I'll never look at moose poop the same again!

Hiking and Fishing and Eagles - Oh My!

These last few weeks I've tried a little bit harder to not only learn about Alaska but experience it as well. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous and just the last few days Anchorage was breaking temperature records with 80 degrees. So a few of the highlights of the last little while have been my time spent hiking and fishing.

A few friends and I headed down to Alyeska - the largest ski resort here in Alaska and went for a 5 mile hike which had this awesome hand tram at the middle and you had to pull yourself across the cable line over the creek (or you can just bring some strong and energetic boys who get so excited they pull you across too)! It was so beautiful and definitely an evening well spent.

Then this last weekend we went down to Homer, Alaska and went fishing for Halibut in the Cook Inlet - it was awesome we could actually see Mt. Redoubt the whole time (the volcano that "hiccuped" earlier this year. The fish were biting like crazy and they were down on this mound about 120 ft. below us so it was a nice workout to reel them in. The biggest one we caught was 33 lbs. mine was probably just 20 lbs. but that's ok because those are better meat to eat anyway. We caught our limit of 2 fish each quickly and were back to the cabin to clean and filet them then package them. 70 bags of Halibut! It was quite the day and we just had our first cookout tonight - so good, we cooked the Halibut cheeks in sprite and they call it "poor man's lobster" so that was fun too!

But the crazy story was the night before we went fishing in Homer we were down on the beach skipping rocks (the boy's favorite past time here in Alaska - I really like it too though!) and this duck was out in the water beyond us. Naturally the boys tried to hit it with their rocks but couldn't but then from behind us this bald eagle swoops down over the water and the duck has no chance it clutch's it out of the water and swoops back over us then proceeds to fly to the light post just behind us and pluck it's feathers and eat it! It was like animal planet right in front of us - super gross but we all couldn't look away, we watched him for like 30 min before we finally drove home. We saw tons of moose and eagles this weekend and it was such an amazing drive - seriously if you haven't been to Alaska yet, and the interior of Alaska, it needs to be added to the bucket list!