Our Alaska Blog Category
SO it is a little chilly and winds are gusting a little. I decided to play a little and make our own Springtime in Alaska, With Food Coloring!
This is our front yard, a daisy stomped out in the snow and ‘painted’ with food coloring in a spray bottle. Unfortunately I did not have the wherewithal to stand out there to make the colors really pop, but you get the idea.
We hear of it, we live through it and it was even on Mythbusters and the movie The Shining, but cabin fever caught me today!
For those of you that do not know about this winter time ailment aptly named cabin fever, it is a simple albeit seasonal disorder. It sneaks up on you when you are least expecting it and attacks when you least expect it. I survived this affliction today by doing something a little off normal.
Jacque & Larry
While you are visiting Alaska, you may choose to go camping! Why not take in the fantastic fall colors and take an adventure drive over the Denali Highway? In all our years here and all our travels, this is one road that neither Larry nor I have had the pleasure of traveling until this year (2011). So we packed up some friends, warm camping gear, Tana the poodle and headed north.
Our adventure started as we drove through the still green Birch and Spruce trees of the Matanuska Valley and meandered north through the state toward Cantwell. We left Wasilla (mile 40 of the Parks Highway) passed Talkeetna, neared Mount Mckinley (ok, the park anyway) and made a right at Cantwell (about 160 miles later). As we drove north we could feel the temperature change and see the light yellowing of the trees as fall kissed the leaves.
We were, of course, in full debate as to which we would see first-would it be an eagle? A moose or caribou? Perhaps a bear? Our friends were ready to see a bear but the caribou ‘won.’
Along the Denali Highway, we were very surprised to see how many other campers (hunters too) were out there with us. Much to our surprise, with as many weekend tent cities and hunting stations as there were 100 miles from much of anything, we had a friend (and past client three times over) pull up beside us. Alaska is the largest state in the union but it is still a small world! Allan was doing exactly what we were, exploring our beautiful state and taking pictures along the way.
Our campsite was not perfect and it rained on us all night but, by morning, it was beautiful out and the campfire was perfect for our oatmeal and fresh picked blueberries.
Our 550 mile drive/camping trip and wildlife viewing tour cannot be described any better than in the photos we took. Take a look!
From Wasilla, drive north on the Parks Highway toward Fairbanks, take the Denali Highway exit at Cantwell. Follow the 135 mile (much of it dirt but very well maintained) road across to Paxson. Follow to Glennallen (get gas here too before continuing on) and then south to Palmer. From Palmer you can go back over to Wasilla or continue south to Anchorage.
Services are very limited! Medical may be available in Delta Junction, Cantwell and Glennallen but there is not much available while on the Denali Highway.
Fill up your gas tank before heading on the highway. Bring your snacks and drinks, protection from wildlife, extra gear and warm clothes with you. Don’t forget your camera!
There are a couple of places to stay but they are limited and on a first come first served basis, otherwise a warm tent and camping gear makes for a great adventure in itself.
The Denali Highway is typically open from mid May to October unless you are on a snow machine adventure. Snow and drifts often makes the road impassible.
Have fun on your adventure and stay safe!
Jacque & Larry
Growing up in Alaska with two brothers and two sisters it was interesting to say the least. We all got along (our parents would not have it any other way) and we went on adventures as a family. We went snow machining like ducks in a row, camping, fishing, going to the flight line on Elmendorf AFB (now Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson or JBER for short) to watch the planes, whatever it was, we were together.
One memory that sneaks up on me this time of year is the smell of fall. It is a decay smell to me, wet leaves, dying grasses etc. Some people like the smell and others do not. Larry and I are on both sides of the fence on this one, I do not like the smell, he does because it means fall to him.
The reason I do not like it is because of the title of this story. Siblings, Rotten, Rotten-ROTTEN! You see, my siblings told me when I was an impressionable young kid (maybe 6 years old) that the smell was a WET BEAR in the woods. They followed up with anytime you smell that smell, the bear is close and can smell you too. Then something like it is close enough to attack and eat you…you know, the fun stuff siblings say and do to each other.
To this day, I still have that millisecond response to the smell and then I think ‘siblings, Rotten, Rotten-ROTTEN!’
For those of you new to Alaska or just visiting our area in the fall, the smell is probably just the smell of fall and not a wet bear lying in wait to attack. Thank you John, Don, JoAnne and KC for the blog idea, you are all ROTTEN!
The pics above were from our family reunion in 2011. We were recreating the family pic from 36 years prior as a silly surprise for my folks. My family is nuts (in a good, silly, mischievous, fun, goofy-and a bunch more adjectives-way)! Can you see from the pics why I say Siblings, Rotten, Rotten-ROTTEN?
If you are new to Alaska or just visiting, we are available to help with the purchase of your new home. If you are selling because you too do not like the smell of fall, we are also here for you!
If you are not moving here but vacationing we also have some really cute Alaskan themed, modern and fully furnished vacation rentals if you simply just want to check out our beautiful state (and tease family members with the ‘wet bear’ story).
Jacque & Larry
One of our favorite things to do in the fall is go on a day trip to a U-Pick Farm for fresh Alaskan Veggies. The carrots are sweet adn crunchy, the peas are the BEST adn it is fun getting your hands dirty. The views are spectacular too!
One of our favorites is Pyrahs Pioneer Peak Farm in the Butte. Here are some pics of us being silly with my cousins on the farm.
From Palmer, take the Old Glenn Highway west out of Palmer. Follow Old Glenn for approximately 8 Miles. Turn right onto Bodenburg Loop Road. Follow Bodenburg for approximately 3 miles. The farm will be on the right hand side.
There are rules when you pick as to the minimum size of certain veggies, picking allowed in designated areas, be careful not to waste and they are closed on Sundays. You can visit the website for more information.
Have fun and enjoy the harvest!
While in the Palmer area, if you head into the Butte, there are many trails to take four wheeling.
Not only will you be nose to nose with gorgeous mountains but you can play in the valleys and kick up some mud in the meantime.
There are amazing views, cold water, bumps and jumps, dunes and dirt all along the way. Many people camp along the river in one of several parking areas. You will see brand spanking new four wheelers mixed with old beater four by fours. Everyone is welcome in the mud!
Beware though, do not get out too far like these folks. It may not look dangerous but it can get there very fast.
It looks like fun until somebody goes into the drink! We were not sure if they thought there was a sandbar or what but they had several onlookers.
Apparently, they had several supporters as it took two trucks, a couple tow lines and a chain and a nice friend with some hip waders to hook it all up-just to get them out.
To get to the Knik River parking lot From Anchorage, take the Glenn Highway to the Old Glenn Highway Exit toward the Butte. Follow the road to the left (over the bridge) and there are parking lots on both sides of the road. There are other places to park but this is the closest to Anchorage.
Prepare for the unexpected and bring gear for all temperatures.
Watch for tides, keep a safe zone!
Stay off the mudflats and beware of the quicksand like properties of the mudflats.
Unsuspecting or people unaware of the dangers of the mudflats can get caught in it and drown or die of hypothermia. We know of several instances where it took a fire hose and pressurized water to break the hold of the quicksand like mud.
Play it safe and keep it fun!