Friday, September 28, 2012

Along the WAy Home

 Summer Camp sessions are over and the church roofing project is almost complete. We winterized the camp and prepare to leave. This gorgeous autumn trail is our final view of the camp. The morning we left the temp was 38 degrees, the sky clear and blue.
 We drove through the town of Tok, past the border guard station and into the Yukon. Along the road side this mama grizzly munched berries while her two cubs scampered out of range of the camera.
 Many miles later we made an obligatory stop at the sign post forest in Watson Lake to add a new sign that includes Nick's and Monique's names and this year's date. The sign count is now over 74,000! up from 6,000 in 1988. The mass of signs behind us is a tiny fraction of the fascinating collection.

 After Watson Lake we left the AlCan (Alaska Highway) and turned south onto the Cassiar Highway through British Columbia to Washington State.  At the southern tip of Alaska, we crossed through Stewart, BC back into Alaska at Hyer. Hyer is the southern most town in AK that can be reached by road. Famous for Fish Creek and Bear viewing, Hyder boasts a summer population of 100 (plus tourists) and a winter population of 45 (plus bears). This group of photographers are waiting on a fenced boardwalk by the river.
 We followed the rambling of a black bear and her cub as they waded the river and strolled and grazed along the bank of a small lake.
Leaving the RVs behind, we road with the Martins in their small Kia to explore the Salmon Glacier. The dark bands along the edges of the ice are the moraines or rock rubble remains as the glacier grows in winter and shrinks during the summer.
 The terrain around Hyder is rocky and drizzling with waterfalls.
 Leaving Hyder we crossed the Canadian border into Bellingham, Washington. We skirted Seattle and took a ferry to Olympic National Park where we were fascinated by the rain forest of Sitga spruce and giant ferns. The air was damp and cool.
 We made many stops along the Washington and Oregon coast. Although there was much fog and mist and the tide was out, the strange rocks and cliffs were a welcome contrast to the Gulf Coast.
Following highway 101 down the California coast we traveled through the redwood forest of huge trees. This Tree House is no longer occupied but has been featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not.

Our California destination was Fresno where my youngest son, Chris, his wife, Maggie, and baby Chris live. Our visit with their family was way too short, but soon we had to begin our travel east through Arizona, New Mexico and finally back to Texas.
Returning to Beaumont is always a shock with temps in the 90s and high humidity, but it is good to be home.
I will be blogging on details of this past six months, travels and volunteer work, as soon as we get resettled.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Palmer State Fair

 We were blessed by two nights of Northern Lights. The hours between midnight and 3 A.M. when it was cold (mid 30s) and clear are the best time to see the aurora. Unfortunately that meant setting alarm clocks, getting out of a nice warm bed into heavy coats and walking outside. The shifting glow was worth the effort. Dale took this picture with a time exposure.
 The church roofing project is complete. The old discarded trusses have been put to good use. The camp received a donation of a dozen of the trusses and lumber to constuct a new chapel next year. We're trying to make the best use of God's blessings.
On Tuesday we drove to Wasilla. The Marins drove their Kia with plans to sleep over with friends. Our gang of three and the zoo with 3 cats and Sassie, took the RV. The morning we drove out the temp was in the 30s, and the air chilly with a mist. Driving south into the Alaska Range we marveled at the new, fresh snow on the mountains. Called "termination dust", this first fall snow is the termination of summer. Notice how the snow is deposited to a elevation line on the mountain side.

Hunting season has opened for moose. Check out these armored hunting vehicles. made for moose.

 Moose are in rut and are not road savy. the Martins stopped as they saw this yearling cross from the forest to their right and into the road. The on coming truck couldn't stop in time and hit the moose. The front fender, bunper, grill and engine were damaged. The moose struggled to its feet, one leg broken, and staggered to the trees. Dale called the authorties who will determine if the animal can be saved, if not, the meat is donated to charitible organizations.
We were so blessed that the moose did not hit the Martin's small Kia.
 The Palmer State Fair is old fashined fun beginning with a lumberjack show. These  two woodsmen are in a log rolling contest. Both ended up in the shallow pond.
I don't care for the rides or for all the fattening, high priced food. I found my attention drawn to native dancers and drummers. The elderly lady is the MC for the drummers and dancers who entertained us with their unusual style of hand dancing. Their feet hardly move while their arms tell  stories. She is wearing a kuspuk and fur mukluks.

 What fun watching kids show their hogs while the attendants try to keep the hogs from fighting. Too much action for more pictures.
 The Alaska fai is known for its huge vegetables grown during the long daylight hours of summer. The champion pumpkin (the lighter one) weighed 931 pounds, a disappointment. Last year's entry topped 1,700 pounds but was disqualified when the judges found a small mouse hole on the underside. Story is that some where in the Lower 48 (not Alaska) a farmer made small holes in his pumpkin and filled it with rocks to make it weigh more. Now all with tiny holes are eliminated. Fair is fair.
 Here is an example of FAIR HAIR. Thie little firls pink "do" should last for the week-end. Not for me!
 I enjoyed the equestrian performances. Roman rider had been working with young girls at a local riding ranch. The peformers were all young people, not professionals. After a long tiring day of looking at quilts, crafts, art, photography, rabbits, and the rides (at a distance) I wallled the entire midway and sniffed at the food vender's booths before I retired to the RV to wait for Monique and Nick.

The following morning we drove back to Delta. The weather had warmed up, but fall is in the air.
We will be heading "outside" this following week after the camp is winterized.