Saturday, August 29, 2015

Elfin Cove and Juneau Alaska Easy Hiking Trails

Isa came up to visit and we played (and worked) a lot! We did three hikes: Brotherhood Trail, the Flume Trail, and Mt Roberts (to the tram). Isa also took a side trip to Elfin Cove to visit her dad who was fishing there with some clients at the time. Here's a recap of her visit:

Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei (Brotherhood Trail)

I've wanted to see this view for a long time and never knew where it was until this season.

Fireweed and Mendenhall Glacier

It's super easy to get to if you have a car, which we don't, but not hard on the bus either. From downtown (Federal Building), the Route 4 Mendenhall bus took about 35 minutes. Just go out past Safeway and stop as soon as you cross the river. There's a little parking lot there and this view of the fireweed and Mendenhall Glacier is literally from the parking lot.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hiking Up in a Cloud, Down in the Dark

We started at 4:54. That's over an hour before I started last time, so I thought we were way good to make it back before sunset. But I learned that apparently I hike faster on my own than with a group (although hiking with a group is WAY more fun - and MUCH less dangerous/scary when hiking through bear country after dark).

L to R, Morgan, Ali, Ryan, Kaitlyn, Kelsie, Reece, Tanner, Brian
We all worked a solid day at the store and then we converged on our apartment by the Deer Mountain trailhead. I made pasta and potatoes to give us some energy before hiking up (Yum!) and then we ventured up as a team. Harvey wanted to run the trail, so he took off immediately. The rest of us hiked at a normal human pace (Harvey is part super-human, part mountain goat). Eventually we caught him (because he came back down and then waited for us to get to the second viewpoint).

Brian and Harvey
It was mostly cloudy for the entire hike, which was kinda fun while we were hiking through the clouds. It was like walking through the set of a horror movie.

We stopped at the usual spots: both viewpoints, the pond...

Monday, August 17, 2015

San Francisco Weekend Getaway Part 2

(Part 1 of our SF Trip is here)

The AirBnb we stayed at in Walnut Creek was just a few blocks from the LDS church, so we walked over for the 9 o'clock ward in this super cool old-school building.

After church, we headed to downtown Walnut Creek to find breakfast. Lucky for us, there was a farmers market going on. Most of the booths had free samples and it was ALL AMAZING. Such fresh fruits, they put the farmers markets in New York to shame. Like, this farmer's market was professional baseball and New York's farmers markets are trying to figure out t-ball.

Needless to say, we bought some fruit. Even though we almost filled up on all the samples. It was like Costco on a Saturday afternoon, but with delicious free fruit.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Exploring San Francisco on Foot

After a crazy fast trip to Utah so I could train the new interns, Isa and I decided to do an even faster trip to San Francisco. We arrived late Friday night after a very frustrating delay from Delta (who claimed it was too hot to take off from SLC because it was over 90 degrees). We finally arrived at our AirBnb in Walnut Creek a little after midnight and went straight to bed.

We slept in a little because Utah was exhausting and then we jumped on Bart (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to head into the City. We didn't really have a plan, so there was a lot of wandering and just finding things as we went. By the end of the day, we had covered 10.84 miles!

We took Bart to the Civic Center stop, which looked cool on the map - almost like Lincoln Center with its theatres, opera and ballet centers, and the library. Even City Hall was there and looked majestic:

But it's tarnished by the hundreds (seriously, hundreds) of homeless people sleeping everywhere and the unmistakable stench of pee. It was awful.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Deer Mountain Hike - Lucky to Be Alive

Sometimes I'm smart. Tonight was not one of those times. Sorry Isa.

The internet said the hike is 4-5 hours roundtrip. Which usually means I can do it in 3. Either way, you probably should start earlier than 6:20pm unless you're hiking on the Solstice. Not today, when the sun set at 8:45 and it's pitch black by 10pm.

Also, you should bring a flashlight. And maybe a hiking buddy, seeing as this trail begins and ends in the dump, which is where all the cool bears go to hang out and wreak havoc. And maybe a ride home, so you don't have to walk 3 miles to your apartment after you finish your hike.

At least I brought snacks and water. And I was wearing sneakers! Woohoo!

Anyway, the trail is relatively easy on a day like today - no rain so not slippery. Most of it was pretty gradual inclines with a few flat stretches. It was a lot more leisurely than the mountains in Juneau. About 30 minutes up I hit the first viewpoint.

Looking south toward Metlakatla and Gravina Island

Another 30 minutes puts you up to the second viewpoint, which is the first time you get to see Ketchikan.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I Moved to Ketchikan

Today, Isa and I left Juneau and she went home to New York and I went to Ketchikan, Alaska. I know, not fair, right? It's no secret that I don't love Ketchikan. There may be some validity to it, but mostly it's just because I've spent so much time in Juneau. And Juneau and Ketchikan are rivals, just like New York and Boston are rivals. You claim one and automatically trash talk the other.

So me moving to Ketchikan is similar to me moving to Boston. Ew, right? But for no good reason.

Two things I legitimately dislike about Ketchikan are 1. The airport is on its own separate island so you HAVE to take a ferry across to the mainland to go into town. The ferry crosses the channel in all of about 5 minutes - it's narrow. They should just build a bridge and let the bus come straight out to the airport. 2. It rains a lot. Like, way too much. Average rainfall in the US is 39 inches per year. Average rainfall in Ketchikan is 141 inches!! Compare that to Juneau's 62 inches per year.

Anyways, it didn't rain today. And Ketchikan had its annual Blueberry Arts Festival and that was a LOT of fun. So my opinion of Ketchikan improved a little bit today. Here's a video of the festival.


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