10 March 2010

White Mountains traverse

Over "spring break" (not really spring...) Inari and I joined some friends on a 4-day ski trip through the White Mountains. The Whites are about 50-100 miles north of Fairbanks; I've visited them several times before, but mostly in summer (here and here) and never made it so far from the road. This time we got to see some terrain that I'd been wanting to see for several years.

It was a tough trip: we averaged about 8 hours of skiing each day and had just enough energy to eat dinner before crashing each night. We were thankful to have good company and cabins to sleep in - otherwise this trip may have been a death march like my solo trip in 2007.

It was a really nice, diverse trail. Skied over a couple of "high" passes and through some open swamp land, crossed Beaver Creek a couple of times, and had to navigate a 2 mile long section of frozen overflow (imagine a giant hockey rink tilted at a slight angle).

The trip had its moments. There were times when I questioned my sanity, but at other times - especially when the sun was shining - I didn't want to be anywhere else. I guess that's why we do these trips! (Plus the pain makes you feel alive...)

Some moments along the way.

First view of the mountains on Day 1:

Barely enough snow for skiing:
Cache Mountain Pass:
Anja and Penny eat lunch on Day 2:
Windy Gap Cabin:
Inari happy to be on top of Windy Gap:
View from Windy Gap:
Strong winds near Colorado Creek Cabin:

31 January 2010

Skiing weekend

The last weekend in January has been a good one.

Friday: Late evening moonlight skiing, followed by a cup of chai.

Saturday: Breakfast at LuLu's bagels. Skijoring on the Tanana River in the bright sunlight with Cooper and Saphira.

Sunday: Downhill skiing at Moose Mountain with a bunch of friends. To be followed by a hot sauna.

Winter in Fairbanks is so much nicer when it is reasonably warm and sunny!

24 January 2010

What will the groundhog do?

Another month has gone by without a blog post. Where does the time go?

The last few weeks have been pretty cold - not unbearably cold, but cold enough to keep us indoors most of the time. We're starting to get a bit stir crazy and anxious for longer days and slightly warmer temperatures. Almost there. Just another week and the furry groundhog will tell us how much more winter we have!

We pass our time by going to shows and reading. I've already read 2.5 books this month and am about to start on another. Its nice to be this close to my defense (March 18) and not be too stressed about writing, yet... Speaking of which, last week I turned in my "Application for graduation" and reserved a room for my defense. Its really starting to feel like my days as a student are numbered. Kind of strange and exciting. We're not sure yet what happens next, but it probably involves moving to a large city in a distant land.

14 December 2009


Lately, life has been in a rut. A pleasant rut, but a rut nevertheless. Jason has been busy with a manuscript, a funding proposal (or was it two?), and other scientific stuff. Me, I have been teaching two classes, taking one, and learning to crochet (so far I have made two hats and a potholder). All this busybodiness means that our blog has been left to fend for itself, and apparently, it doesn't write very well (or at all). It doesn't help that it is dark most of the time and this year seems to be another one with not that much snow (combined with the normal cold weather). Long story short short, we haven't done anything exciting (Fred Meyer's at Sunday afternoon doesn't count).

I won't promise that we'll be any better next year. I'll be teaching three classes, and Jason is graduating (in theory, he should have plenty of time after March. Right?).

17 August 2009

4 countries, 4 currencies, 3.5 languages, and heck of a lot of strawberries

Inari and I just returned from a whirlwind trip across the Atlantic. We first went to Finland to visit friends and family and eat way too many strawberries. I do like strawberries, but at some point it's nice to eat something other than strawberries... We managed to find some adventure, rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, and feeding squirrels near Helsinki. The climbing and hiking weren't anything too special, but I really like being on the ocean and Inari really liked squirreling. If we ever move to Finland I'll definitely have to buy a kayak.
After a couple of weeks in Finland I left for rainy Newcastle, England, for a conference. The conference was good and I got to meet a lot of people, but at the end of the day it was still a conference. I was exhausted from thinking about nothing but science for a week, so I was pretty happy to continue on to Switzerland, where I'd meet up with Inari and friends that we knew from Alaska. There were nine of us in total - eight that could walk and one that was so close to being able to walk. And, eight out of nine had blue eyes. I felt a bit out-numbered.

The rain that I found in England followed me to Switzerland (and later to Minnesota and now Fairbanks...). We still managed to have a good time eating cheese and chocolate. And we did make it out for a hike to a mountain hut in Sustenpass.
Christoff, skeptical Marlo, and Tanja.

My favorite photographic subject, Lena. Although Lena and I don't speak the same language, she was quite sad to see me leave. She wasn't sad to see the other guests leave though, just me... Maybe it had something to do with this:
Finally, I made a short stop in Minnesota (photos not yet processed) on the way back to Fairbanks. It was nice to spend time with my family, but I was also happy to return to Fairbanks after a month on the road.

17 June 2009

Back(s) to Prindle

It's been a great summer so far - warm and sunny, but not too hot. Admittedly though, heat is rarely a problem in Fairbanks. An occasional rain shower to keep away the forest fires would also be okay. I've experienced thick forest fire smoke before, and don't feel the need to do it again. We've had a couple of days of smoky air this summer, but the smoke was blown in from faraway places and wasn't too nasty.

A few weeks back Inari and I went hiking near Mt. Prindle with a couple of friends. I had previously visited Mt. Prindle in 2007. It was nice to go back, and I was happy that Inari came - I'd been wanting her to see the place since my first visit. Its a beautiful place that feels very arctic, as though it were hundreds of miles north of Fairbanks, but really, its just about an hour by car.

A couple of photos from the trip:

We were surprised to find that the newish outhouse at the trailhead was frozen solid.

The author and vaimo with their backs to Mt. Prindle (and hair blowing in the wind like in the shampoo commercials).

Since our Mt. Prindle trip, we've been busy gardening and trying to catch fish. We failed at fishing, guess we'll have to wait until the end of summer to see whether or not our gardening efforts have been successful. Next week we'll probably try to squeeze in a 3-5 day hike down in the mountains.

27 May 2009


If you haven't already seen the videos of Bizkit, the sleepwalking dog, then you should. Pretty darn hilarious.