Fun Adventures in the Wilds of Alaska ~ With Friends in May

So here and there I’m going to try to “write” about some of the hiking, sightseeing or other interesting outdoor things I get into while I’m here working my ass off in Alaska training dogs and learning how to amongst humanity. Course my first thought is EVERYONE seems to have an adventure blog these days so it’s not really something I’m going to promote (including the last particular ass of an ex boy-friend!) except maybe my photos..I’m kinda proud (maybe little ego here) about them. My camera is an OLD ass digital and I say old because it’s only 5.0 mega pixels. You can buy something at Wal-Mart for twice the mega pixels and under 60 bucks! ~for all none camera/techie people mega pixels is the quality of the photo so the higher mega pixel the better quality photo, the more you can do with it in term of blowing up and. Most Professional cameras these days (depending on age) have anywhere between 13  to 22 mega pixel shots. Mine is just 5. So the timing, focus and lighting has to be GOOD in order for the photo to turn out. It’s not quite a point and shoot because of this aspect even though it’s an automatic OR manual digital camera. Lets just getting friends to take quality pictures has been something of a challenge here lately…but as you’ve noticed I found a few 🙂 As for the actual writing of the hikes, or whatever adventure I find, I’m not sure how in-depth or linear it’s going to be. So there may just be tons of photos! As usual just click on the pics to see them full size!

The one below is the mountain view from Jewel Lake dog park that we went to.

You may or may not have heard the my best of the best buddy Lorien was here recently to visit (end of May). Yup that’s my Bug (old odd nickname her family gave her) paying out the nose for plan tickets to come see my pain in the ass self. I was actually sick almost the entire time she was here.. even went to the ER. And then River got sick after getting into the neighbors trash… and had to be taken to the emergency vet… SOMEHOW in spite of all of this we still managed to have a good time and get outside for a little hike and overall interesting things around town.

Lorien! My BBF

So This is Lorien for those of you who are trying to place the name..if you haven’t met her yet I’m sorry. You’ve basically missed out on my better half.. Seriously. Anyway! The winds were blowing a bit this day in May and as usual I took a great photo wind and all! (okay I’m gloating here)

Below~ Us at at the dog park, we got a dog parent to take one of us! She is so tan from the TN summer sun ALREADY in May (okay she is always tan compared to me..) I look like a ghost next to her!

Friend that I’ve made up here Reuben took us to Thunderbird Falls (a short but very pretty hike off the highway). We needed a short easy place for us to go (not always easy to find here in the great AK) since I was just back with the living after battling at least 2 different infections.. Thunderbird Falls it is. Barely two miles and VERY easy walking. I felt great. Though I still managed to turn it into a 5 hour hike by stopping and insisting on pictures or getting to know the new plant I’d just found. Now Lorien is very used to my randomness and actually tends to get into it with me and we just kinda comb the area for interesting things to learn and notice. Reuben was interested for the first 3 hours. By the fourth and fifth I think he was gone..Pretty sure the banging sticks against trees like a four-year old is a sure sign. But nevertheless he said he enjoyed himself. The Thunderbird Falls trail is a VERY groomed, wide and almost handicapped accessible feeling.. (I’m awful I know). But we went pretty late and since it was the middle of the week there weren’t many people on it and all but one group were walking back so for the most part we were alone and River able to run free (this is before she decided to eat trash) off leash.

Reuben! (I also took this one)

Great fun was had all around and we didn’t get back into Anchorage till after 12am (gotta remember guys its super light until at LEAST 1:15 this close to the solstice. We were than forced to eat at Village Inn since besides icky Denny’s they are the 24 diner.

Lorien, River & I overlooking the ledge (this off of the trail) at the river. Photo curtsey of Reuben.

Thunderbird Falls from a distance (below)

Lorien & I in Tree. We can often be found in odd places chilling!

Lorien & I on a rock the is overlooking a drop off (it’s hard to tell from the angle). I have a knack for finding the edge of things on getting on them. Lorien on the other hand likes her feet firmly on the ground. So above a certain height I cannot get her to join me. River and Reuben on the other hand were always down for some cliff walking!

Lorien in MY Tracker  hat as in the Tracker School via Tom Brown Jr (We really like this it’s mine by the way) and it’s always getting passed back and forth!   Lorien actually attended the Standard class with me at Tracker so it’s pretty meaningful this is to us.

This AMAZING tree we found along the way (there are many great trees in the area-but this one stood out for obvious reasons!) Everybody got a turn in it and I had to adjust the camera since we were now down “in the woods” the light was way different so while you’ll not see them here, I’ve quite a few blurry pictures before finding the best one to work without a flash. Below~Reuben checking things out that Lorien and I made a big deal over 🙂 and thought was utterly amazing.

Lorien checking out the tree. It was absolutely amazing on the inside.

And of course they grabbed a shot of me in tree only looking out from on of the many spaces (what does one call said peep holes in the trunk of tree?) that line the trunk (only one was big enough for smallish people to squeeze through). Lorien took this picture ~ She is pretty proud of it.

Even in May there was still some leftover ice along the riverbank that is always in the shadow of the mountains. It was a tad slippery but kinda cool since it was pretty warm out (around 60-62). I snapped this of Bug (Lorien) as she was checking out her own camera (it was having a dying fit).

So Thunderbird Falls isn’t the biggest waterfall I’ve seen in a while (Bald River Falls in the backyard of TN farm make this guy look a little puny) it was still beautiful and a joy to see! Below is a closer view of the falls. I do have to wonder where the name came from since it wasn’t that loud. It’s a story I’ll have to look up!

The River Rat & I checking things out. Reuben took this (and all the blurry ones not one here LOL) while I’m not smiling but I won’t say it’s a bad picture 🙂

Reuben experiencing the mist coming off the falls. I snapped this of him when he wasn’t expecting it.

River in the river!

The River dog checking out puddles along the river at the bottom of the falls. She had an absolute blast the entire time 🙂 darting about, sniffing things out and exploring. She is pretty good about staying in sight so I rarely needed to call her back (I’m not letting her out of my sight with about every predator being bigger than she here!). Jackie (brother #1 (second oldest child)) loves to call River eagle bait. Which she is not..

So the falls and river are in the canyon in between the hills. If you go off trail you can find the edge along the canyon pretty quick (in some places it’s a sheer drop). The sun was just starting to cast its setting light on the mountains and trees. End of May, would have been almost 11 pm and it’s just setting (it’s much later now).

Remember what I said about have a knack for finding edges and then leaning over them? Yeah.. couldn’t get Lorien out on this one 🙂 It was a decent height. Easily hundreds of feet (maybe more?). Reuben took this picture since Bug was staying “away”  from the edge. The moss and loose shale would kinda crumble under you and it was on a downward slope – hence why I’m on my belly and not standing. We were slowing working our way back to the car since the sun was going down and we’d been out for hours already (Reuben had starting banging sticks and tossing rocks off the ledge by now..)

Last but not least! one of my favorite shots of the sun through the trees! The light was beyond amazing and we ended up taking around 220 pictures (including bad ones) for this rather short prolonged hike. I felt so great out in the woods even knowing the bears are waking up and hungry. At one point I commented to Lorien that I rather would like to roll in the dirt like a horse (or dog for all non equine people) to coat myself with wonderful scent of the woods and to “wash” the city off of me. I didn’t actually.. I was a little afraid of what Reuben might have said not to mention the waiters at Village Inn diner…

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