Friday, June 26, 2009

Rainy Season

Yes, Alaska DOES have a "rainy" season, and we are in it. We've had rain all week, and the forecast for the weekend and next week is... you guessed it, rain.

It's okay by me though. I actually really like the rainy season here. Maybe I still have the old Alabama weather programed into me? Rainy season in Alabama meant hotter, more humid days. And wind with our rainy season generally meant hurricanes (and tornadoes). Thanks, but no thanks!
Alaska rainy season generally means overcast days, a gentle pitter-patter of raindrops (perfect for curling up with a knitting project and a cup of coffee while Disney does the babysitting), and a cool breeze.

This week's adventures have been fun for everyone. And I'm not even being sarcastic about that.

J took off earlier in the week to Fielding Lake for some fishing. He and a buddy brought home a 26 inch lake trout and three grayling, all of which are sitting in my freezer, until next week.
J reported that Fielding Lake is beautiful, and a good place for wildlife viewing. And by "wildlife" I mean that he reported lots of moose, caribou, and bear tracks. And, he reports, there is still SNOW up there! So strange, but in all the pictures of him fishing, he is actually wearing his winter coat AND thermals.

Meanwhile, Beans, The Little Nugget, and I spent the week doing our usual assortment of play dates, bread baking (including a mean sourdough), laundry, knitting, and container garden tending. The tomato plants have flowers, the kohl rabi is starting to sprout, and the lettuce is starting to look serious. Meanwhile, I should have listened to the advice of more experienced Alaskan gardeners concerning my pepper plant. Seems that we dipped below freezing (or close to it) a couple nights ago, and the poor pepper is struggling to hang on. It also looks like the high Delta winds might have gotten the best of my basil plant, and appears that something might have taken a taste of a couple plants on the back deck, but overall, things are growing and (sort of) surviving.

We took a break from the "same old, same old" to take a drive to Birch Lake this week. In addition to being a beautiful lake with great fishing, the Air Force has a nice campground tucked away back there. We drove through the forest to the campground to check it out.
J and I immediately got Camping Fever, which is a sudden desire to purchase a ton of camping gear, pack up your kids and fishing poles, and head out into the woods. Our drive ultimately ended in Fairbanks, with a trip through the camping gear aisle, and we officially have reservations for next week at the Birch Lake campground.
That said, we aren't exactly going to be "roughing it". The campground at Birch Lake makes the pretty comfy summer camp my parents sent me to when I was a kid look "rough". The cabins are equipped with a stove (like, a real one) and a fridge. The roughest it's going to get is that we won't have running water in the cabin we rented.
But ya gotta start somewhere. I suppose if we survive cabin camping, we'll move up a step to renting a camper.
The drive home was full of excited talk about campfires, fishing, and s'mores. I have my shopping list ready to go, and by my next update, there should be stories of lake trout roasting on an open fire.

But the highlight of the drive home was a black fox, trotting down the highway with his dinner in his mouth. As usual, I was left wondering why I never bring my camera...

Another drive this week took us further into bear country, as we headed south on Richardson Highway. We drove down to see the Greely Campground and scope it out for a future camping trip. Definitely more on the lines of "roughing it", but beautiful, and overlooks the river.
Along the way, I spotted several hares, and as I was commenting to J about how we would have had dinner if we had brought the .22 along, a flash of gray leaping through the trees revealed that a LYNX had beaten us to hunting.
WOW!!! That was pretty awesome to see.
In addition to the lynx, there was the usual assortment of moose sightings, and LOTS of hares. The moose are starting to make appearances with new little babies, and I've sighted several new mommas with twins this year. The baby moose are adorable. They are still the size of small horses, but a beautiful fawn color, and behave like little nervous wrecks, refusing to get far from their mommies.
We ended that drive with a stop off at a rock quarry that we initially thought was a small lake. No fishing, but beautiful scenery, and would make a nice kayaking stop one afternoon. Beans and I skipped rocks for a bit, picked a few wild flowers to take home and identify, and as soon as J pointed out HUGE moose tracks and some kind of large mammal scat, we headed on our way. Good thing, we learned later. As we retold our tale of the "awesome lake" we found to a friend of ours, he informed us that the field we were about to go trekking on was where someone has a trap line set, and the trapper has been pretty successful with everything from fox, coyote, wolf, and bear.

We spent the rest of our week catching some outdoor time between rain showers, and then finally donning rain boots and jackets for some fun at the park today. Enjoying the great outdoors has a rule: If you can't beat the weather, at least dress for it.
We are quickly acquiring wardrobes for every type of weather.
*As a side note: I can't believe how hard it is to find a rain coat in a 2T! It's ridiculous! Apparently, if you are smaller than 3T, you just have to suck it up and get wet. Period. Luckily, Beans doesn't mind, and actually really enjoys the opportunity to get soaking wet. *

That pretty much sums up our week. My weekend is sure to be full of baking, cooking, and shopping for our upcoming camping trip.
Meanwhile, I'm off to enjoy a slice of homemade blueberry cheesecake and a cup of coffee, and watch the next band of showers come through.
Next week promises stories of camping and camp fires.

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails!


Susan Stevenson said...

Actually, August is rainy season here - so I think we should get that ark built between now and then! I always say to myself, "but it's good for the flowers, and it keeps the fires down". Believe me, you wouldn't want to go through a smokey summer. 2004 and 2005 were so terrible, you couldn't go outside because of the smoke and ash, and you couldn't open your windows either. And it got into the high 80s and low 90s too! I'll take rain anytime.

I love Birch Lake and we scoped out the military campground there too. We prefer to be more in the middle of nowhere, but we also don't have little ones to tend to. I think you'll do just fine without water. It sounds like a great getaway.

Did you put in your road lottery chance for Denali in September? You only have till the end of June to get it in. That's a fabulous adventure!

Maybe we can get together for lunch before Nugget is in school? *grin*

Kathy said...

I love your Urban Alaska Pioneer Spirit! I left my heart up there as always, last Sept. after spending the whole summer there! Wonderful experience, cold rain and all! It was a part of the Alaskan Experience! Good deal with the cabin camping! You have critters that can endanger y'all up there! LOL
Can't wait to hear about Birch Lake.
Kathy (a friend of Kit's)

Jon Slade said...

Hey both

Just wanted to say it was lovely to meet you and the kids (who are great, of course!) and also thanks so much for the food, dinner, being my taxi and for helping source some tyres!

Enjoy the rain - I think I've passed through it but we'll see - and the rest of the summer.

I'm in Tok now - you can track me every 10 minutes via GPS at if you really want to!

Thanks again