Showing posts from March, 2017

Pecha Kucha 2017

This trip feels like it was a long time ago, but I like to put these things on record. "Pecha Kucha" is an annual tradition that in actuality has only happened twice — in 2012 and 2013 — wherein Canadian friends Sierra and Jenn, along with Americans "the real Alaska Jill" and I gather for a winter bike tour. As these things go, the reason it's called Pecha Kucha is an inside joke that no one really remembers, and we all have nicknames that we never use at any other time (The other Jill only this year figured out that I'm "Jilly-Ho" because my name is Jill Homer.)

After my Nome plans unraveled, we decided to make it happen again, despite the lot of us being somewhat to far more decrepit than we were four years ago.

We planned for a two-night bike tour from Whitehorse, Yukon, to Carcross and back. Although the total distance was about 80 miles spread across three days on well-used trail, I was admittedly nervous about the physical demands of the to…

Modern Romance, part 5

I intend to write about my week-long trip to the Yukon, but something happened on my "commute" back to Anchorage via Skagway and Juneau, and it's cathartic to write about it. I've written a series of posts about conversations with Thunder Mountain in Juneau, now spread across seven and a half years. You can read the first four parts here: Part onepart twopart threepart four.
 The Piper Navajo bucks violently amid swirling flurries, just a few thousand feet over the Lynn Canal. It's just me and one other passenger, and the pilot of course, in this eight-seat airplane. After spending the past week in Whitehorse, work schedules prevented me from driving back to Alaska with my friends. This is my convoluted commute — Canadian friends shuttled me over White Pass to Skagway, where we enjoyed smoothies and a walked around the mostly shuttered tourism town. This small plane will take me to Juneau. I'll catch a jet to Anchorage tomorrow. I had been looking forwa…

Road trip

My Canada plans necessitated a quick turnover — drive from Fairbanks to Anchorage, return the rental car, meet up with my friends, and continue to Whitehorse, Yukon the following day. It involved more than a thousand miles on winding, icy, frost-heaved roads over two days. I didn't mind. I love road trips. Especially when I'm solo — I can guzzle gas-station coffee, stop at road pullouts, and take photographs to my heart's content. 
The mountains south of Nenana in the morning.

Sunrise to the east (not south, as is the case at this latitude near the winter solstice.) I loved watching the sun come up at a not-early hour. I am a big fan of Daylight Savings Time — later sunrises, later sunsets, more daylight where it's useful. There's nothing not to like for outdoorsy night owls. People who complain about DST either have small children, are morning people, or must never travel to different time zones, because how can a measly one-hour shift ruin your whole week?


Taking flight at Angel Rocks

After our White Mountains trip, Beat decided to fly home from Fairbanks for two weeks before returning for the White Mountains 100. I'd made prior plans with friends in Canada, so I opted to stay in Alaska. On my own again Monday morning, I decided to check out a place I'd never visited — Chena Hot Springs. 
Although Chena Hot Springs is famous for Northern Lights viewing and of course a warm pool, I had no intention of going for a soak. Instead, I planned to hike through the granite formations of Angel Rocks, and if conditions were conducive, traverse 8.5 miles to Chena Hot Springs. It was a gorgeous morning — still 10 below zero at 11 a.m., but sunny and clear.

 I felt great on this day — the best I've felt all month. It's one of those random things — I haven't felt quite so wonderful since. However, this day was perfect for ridge walking. I marched along the Chena River, where the air was so still that I could hear the squeak of small animals walking along the …