August 17, 2014

New England Time

I chose to make a training block this summer in the East to spend time with my extended family and to see my boyfriend. August seemed like the best time since I find August to be the rainiest of months in Alaska, but still summery in the East, allowing me to extend my summer a bit! I first made a pit stop on SLC to pick up Mom before heading to NH. While I was still trying to get some training in, we had a bigger task at hand. We were to clean out all the barns, yes plural, at my grandparents house to get one step closer to being able to sell the house. It was quite the project and my Uncle Sam, who is nearly a spitting image of Bumps, worked dawn til dusk, just as Bumps did everyday, for a week while my mom, me, and 2 other Aunts pitched in where we could. Bumps was not one to throw things out so we really found some treasures. We had no shortage of WD-40, bailing twine, baskets, buckets, watering cans, and thermometers. At the end of the week, we had a barn sale, which was hugely successful and gave us a great glimpse at the local color...We had people buying stuff of us Friday as we were setting up and by Saturday at 9AM, the advertised opening time, we had sold everything of good value. Let's just say, the locals around there love a good deal. Unsure of when the house will sell, I took some time to swim in the pond a few more times and collected a few more pigs as a keepsake.

Yes, you are right, this is too brown to be the east. Pit stop in SLC, picking up mom
I found some great running trails in the area, where I ran into 2 black bears on one run! The first one  ran away from me, but left me thinking how maybe I was silly to leave my bear bell in Alaska and to be most worried about deer flys and ticks in the east. After summiting some "peaks" I found tons of wild blueberries, which clearly explains the large number of bears before I ran into another bear. This one was content with the blueberries and didn't care in the least about me.

Map of all the great trails I found! I was running alone, without water, and therefore no phone to take pics with...
Side note...We all opened our bags of new training gear to find skirts...thinking maybe our coach had actually lost his mind, we were thankful to learn it was a mistake, but they were ours so we have embraced the skirts by instating mini-skirt Mondays into our training. 
Patrick helped us out with the barn sale and then we headed west for Stratton, where Patrick is now coaching. Many of my teammates from Dartmouth are on the team so it's great to catch up with friends as well. I am very thankful for them to be so welcoming and treating me as part of the team while I am out here. The Canadian Men's team is here doing a camp and junior camps have been going on so it's been a busy and hard week of training!
Talking to a captive audience of juniors

Practicing some sprint tactics

Trying to find my sprint (in the white)

Warming up with coach Pat on the bike

Boys showing off their 6 packs

Jessie and I talking to a group of juniors

Sophie, with her 6 pack too, showing us how sprinting is really done

Our cheering squad.

SMS T2 team plus me!

Working with juniors on some skills

It's blueberry season!

T-shirt signing

Crushing some distance on the plethora of awesome roads in New England!
I have one more week of training in VT before heading back to AK. It's really great to mix up the training. I am thoroughly enjoying the undulating terrain and numerous roads as well as time with friends! Thanks SMS T2!

August 5, 2014

Parents Week

Mom and Dad finally came to visit me in Alaska! It was a short trip, but I secretly love being a travel agent so we had a full schedule!

Day 1 we explored around Anchorage. Mom and I rode bikes along the coast before taking Dad to the fish hatchery to see many King Salmon making their upstream run in Ship Creek. We finished the day with freshly caught Sockeye Salmon and salad from my garden!

The following day we headed south to Seward, one of my favorite little Alaskan towns. Mom and I hiked to the Harding Ice Field, a 600 square mile ice field that makes up the majority of Kenai Fjords National Park.

On day 3, we were thrilled to wake up to sunshine, a rarity in Seward! We toured the Sealife Center, another favorite place of mine, before jumping on a water taxi to Bear Glacier. We hiked and then kayaked into a camp near the glacier where we spent the night. Mom and I kayaked all around the glacier and the icebergs that have broken off of it, taking care not to get to close as they break and move often. We were fortunate enough to be able to camp in big weatherports keeping us very dry during a night of rain. After a nice morning kayak, we headed back to the mainland where we then drove to Soldotna for a fishing adventure.

 I made Dad get up at 3AM to get to the Kenai River before all the people and then proceded to out fish him, winning our bet and getting myself a plane ticket home in the fall! I guess it was a better day for me than him, but fortunately Dad fishes for the fun of it, while I only fish because I love Sockeye Salmon. The Kenai is a big river and is very famous for the big run of salmon. Thousands and thousands of people head there during the month of July and early August attempting to fill their freezer or just get a great Alaskan experience. It is outrageously busy! Sockeye, much to our dismay, don't always come upstream at the same time, making fishing for them a bit of a guessing game, trying to figure out when the big run will happen. The 2nd run this year, for whatever reason, was quite small and not intense, hence our bad luck. After returning to Anchorage, I went on one last hike with Mom before bringing them back to the airport.

Kings stuck below the dam

Trying to jump

The dam was just too big and none were able to make it up. (see fish on right hand side of dam jumping)

Alpine Fireweed, an Alaskan classic

A small herd of mountain goats on our way to the Harding Icefield

Lots of views

Looking out at the icefield

Harding icefield and Exit Glacier

Selfie with Mom

Mom enjoying the views

Add caption

Dad makes it to camp 
Some really blue ice

Ice and Sun

Approaching Bear Glacier

The edge of the glacier. Mom and I witnessed the glaicer calve once!

Teetering Icebergs

Our Tent

Day 2 of kayaking brought some wetter weather and some really cool clouds

I found some jellyfish!

Catching Salmon

 It was so fun to have visitors! Thanks Mom and Dad for the fun times!