The Reluctant Outdoorsman

My father loved the outdoors.  He hunted, fished, hiked part of the Appalachian Trail.  He raised a small herd of cattle – for fun.  He gave my mother really practical gifts – like a horse.  He loved anything outside and I loved doing any of those things with him.  Unfortunately, my father died unexpectedly when I was almost eight years old.  My mother was then busy trying to keep our little family going.  Except for the occasional Girl Scout camping trip, outdoor hobbies fell by the wayside.

My husband loves the outdoors as well.  He hunts, fishes, hikes, backpacks.  I love tagging along with him.  When we lived in Texas, our hiking opportunities were limited to our vacations.  All of those trips were day hikes.  I’ve never backpacked.  That’s not to say I haven’t gone on long hikes.  I once blew out a knee going 12 miles on our first day of hiking in Banff.  Apparently my knee (which had suffered previous injuries when I danced on the high school drill team) thought 10 miles was plenty.  So all that to say, although I really like the idea of being outdoorsy, I’m very much a novice that really likes to sleep in her own comfy bed at night.

Then we move to Alaska.  We buy a pop-up camper.  My husband buys a raft.  A really, really big, blue, inflatable raft.  We don’t have a trailer for the raft, so we have to disassemble it to transport it.  The raft is deflated and rolled up and put in the back of Todd’s SUV.  The frame is put on top of his SUV.  The camper is pulled behind the SUV.  We look like the Beverly Hillbillies going down the road.

I find myself slightly irritated.  I have to get three kids plus myself packed for camping and rafting.  In Alaska, you don’t just throw on your swimsuit and life jacket to raft.  You have to have many layers of warm clothes and rain gear and boots.  Then I have to shop for the camping trip, figuring out what we’re going to feed our family on the trip.  In other words, it’s a lot of work for me.

But here’s the thing, our kids ADORE camping and rafting.  They squeal with delight when we tell them we’re going.  We’re building family memories that they can look back on long after Todd and I are gone.  And if I’m honest, once we’re out there, I love it too.

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Moose!!!

Ok, so I’m not normally a “post more than once a day” kinda girl.  In fact, I have trouble posting every 10 days or so.  Today is an exception.  We have a cow moose and her calf hanging out in our backyard!!  Some of my friends have said I need to post more pictures, so here comes my first post that’s pretty much a photo blog.  Enjoy!

P.S.  All photos were taken from inside my house with the zoom on.  We’re not messing with that momma moose!

That’s the Biggest Black Dog I’ve Ever Seen

I love how the mind works.  When I was doing my teacher training, I thoroughly enjoyed my courses on brain research.  I’m amazed by how the mind sees something it is unfamiliar with and then tries to place it in the familiar.  Today I was driving Audrey, my oldest, to her day camp when I noticed about 150 yards ahead of me on the road the biggest black dog I had ever seen was about to cross the road.  Then I noticed how the dog was moving and the rest went something like this… that’s not a dog, it’s a bear!!

“Bear, bear, bear!! Kids look!  It’s a bear!! Bear up ahead!”

“Where Mom?!”

“Up ahead!  It just crossed the street.  Did you see it?!”

“Yes, yes!!  Where’d it go?”

“It crossed the street.”

Now keep in mind this whole event took about 3.4 seconds to happen.  By this time, we had caught up with where the bear had crossed the road.  I was positive I’d see it on the other side of the road.  No luck.  That black bear was gone.

My mind did the same thing the first time I saw a moose in the neighborhood.  It was night and I had either taken the trash out or walked the dog.  I can’t remember which.  I looked across the street in my neighbor’s yard and thought, why is there a cow in their yard?  Oh, that’s not a cow, that’s a moose!!  I then proceeded to run inside and yell, “Todd, Todd!  Look!  There’s a moose in their yard!!”

Now that I’ve safely seen my first bear, I’m hoping next time I’ll recognize it for what it is.

No, We’re Not In Texas Anymore

Here are three ways to know you no longer live in Texas, but Alaska:

It’s May 10th at 6:20 am. You take your dogs outside to do their business and get the newspaper and

1. It is fully light outside.
2. There are snow flurries falling from the sky.
3. Your labrador retriever frightens off a moose.

One of these days these details will no longer shock me, but right now, five months in to our adventure, they still do.

Just a Tad Scary

So, I had a moose chase me up my driveway this morning.

Ok, I’m exaggerating slightly.  I went out to get the paper this morning and as I reached the end of my drive, I noticed the moose about 25 yards down the street.  I picked up my paper and quickly headed back up my drive.  About halfway up the drive, I turned around to watch the moose continue down the street.  She didn’t continue down the street.  She was turning into my drive.  Ackk!!  I quickly turned back around and kept heading for our garage door.  I’m walking, trying not to run.  Are you not supposed to run from moose, or is that just bears and mountain lions?  I couldn’t remember.  I just knew I did not want to start my day with a moose confrontation.  I managed to get in our small (people size, not car size) garage door and got it shut.  As soon as I had shut the door, there she was continuing by the door and window and headed up the hill in our back yard.  It was just a tad scary.  I’m sure my across the street neighbor, who was out snow blowing his driveway, got a good chuckle at the sight of me trying to walk, not run, away from the moose.

Weekend update – I did not harm myself or anyone else during my ski lesson.  I’ll post pictures of all our weekend Fur Rondy activities (and explain what in the world Fur Rondy is) later this week.

The Doctor Will See You Now

This was the picture on the front page of yesterday’s Anchorage Daily News.  That’s a moose.  She’s trying to enter the doors of Providence Hospital.  Yep, front page story.  You can see some wacky things around here.  She was eventually corralled into the parking garage and then back outdoors.  And hey, I’ve learned how to capture a screenshot and post it on my blog!  Yeah!  I’m telling you, I’m sooo not a technical, computer person.

Another bizarre occurrence, yesterday… Snow while the sun was shining.  I took a picture, however the snow doesn’t show up.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.  It’s an odd thing to observe.

Finally – A Picture!

It’s a good thing I have windows in my garage looking out over the backyard.  I was about to let Sam outside only to look through the window and see a moose hanging out on our little hill chomping away on some branches.  So, Sam wasn’t let out and I just stood there watching her for a minute.  Then I went in and told the kids and grabbed the camera.  The moose was approximately 20 yards from my garage door.  The picture is a bit fuzzy because I was zooming in on her.  It’s also dark because the sun hasn’t come up from behind the mountains yet and a flash just doesn’t work at that distance.  She turned around and looked at me when I opened the door.  I was smart enough to take the picture from the door and not get any closer.  I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately.  Moving across the country and leaving family and friends will do that to you I suppose.  Anyway, a moose sighting always makes me happy and I’m hoping this is a good sign for a great weekend.

Moose in our backyard

Addendum or a Moosey Kind of Day

When we picked Audrey up from school she told us when the kids were leaving chapel this morning there was a moose and a her calf in the school parking lot.  Three moose sightings in one day and Jack seems to be better.  I’m convinced a moose sighting is good luck …

A Good Sign?

We had another moose spotting this morning before we took Audrey to school.  I was carrying Jack downstairs when he yells, “Moose!”  Isn’t that awesome!  I mean only here in Alaska can your kid randomly yell out “Moose!”  In Texas your kid might yell “Deer!”, “Duck!”, “Turkey vulture!” or if you’re lucky and on the Texas Gulf Coast, “Dolphin!”  But here in Alaska, you have moose.  Again, I wasn’t able to get a picture.  It was still pretty dark and the cow was moving quickly up our driveway to the hill in the backyard and on her way.  They can move surprisingly fast – I think it’s because they’re so tall and their strides so long.  Anyway, it made the kids morning to have a moose sighting and I decided to take it as a good sign.  Jack picked up a stomach bug somewhere, so yesterday afternoon, evening and night were no fun at all.  He’s been feeling better this morning.  The girls are at school and Jack’s laying on a pallet in the living room watching Sesame Street while I try to drink a 3rd cup of coffee (didn’t finish my 2nd before it got cold) and updating you on the wonders of Alaska.  I better run now, lots of laundry awaits and all the household things I didn’t get to yesterday.