Friday, January 11, 2013

Special Times


Since the family moved back to the Mainland from Adak, I’ve enjoyed several special times with my two youngest grandchildren, Rhianna and Danian, The family now lives in Palmer.

Rhianna and Danian - best


















I helped Isaac and Crystal (with kids) house-sit for Craig and Cassie Bennett at their beautiful home in Eagle River in July. It was a cool place for me to spend time with the kids. Below is a collection of photos taken that week.  They even  have a  wonderful creek running through their property with waterfalls that give off a constant symphony of gurgling, babbling water.  Until my brain adjusted to the sound, I kept thinking it was pouring rain outside. Then the lovely sound settled in as a peaceful background to the beauty of the wooded, blue-sky setting.



Then again in November, I  spent time with Isaac’s family in their new house in Palmer.  Crystal and Isaac were busy getting settled in and making the new place into a comfortable home. I helped mostly with the kids – the hard part for me. HaHa.  We also had a combined birthday party for the children, Danian turned 1 year old and Rhianna turned 4 years old this month.  It’s so fun being a Grandma!



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sunrises and Sunsets on the Colville

My little pocket camera is nothing fancy, just a simple point and shoot, but this fall we had so many fantastic sunrises and sunsets even I was compelled to capture some of them on film.  I will start with a few of my favorite sunrise shots, then give you an assortment in an album.  Then a few sunset photos. The shots were taken in October 2012.  We had a very late freeze-up this past fall, so open water gave fantastic reflections.  IMG_6141

Looking East across the Colville River, East Channel.


Sunsets 2012 (looking west over our lake)  



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Teena’s Flying Adventures - part 2

On July 18, 2012, I was visiting my son Aaron in Wasilla and it was a beautiful, sunny day so he took me flying up the Knik River as far as the glacier.  I’ve been up there before in small planes and even a small, bubble-fronted helicopter and it is always a spectacular flight with incredible views.  Colville 7-18-2012_in Palmer_Aaron House&Flight 031Aaron was flying a Cessna 182 out of the Palmer airport.

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We headed straight up the valley toward the glacier.  There are usually moose to see and many ATV trails winding back and forth across the valley floor.  The side valleys with creeks tumbling down narrow gorges and mountainside vegetation was gorgeous!  I love seeing it this time of year.  What a beautiful world in which we live! Reaching the glacier is always breathtaking. The lake made from the melting ice is swimming with melting icebergs that have “calved” off the rugged glacier face. The massive river of  ice is so jagged, with huge fissures and pinnacles, that traversing it on foot would be impossible.  Looking up the glacier, I can see that it is actually two glaciers coming out of two different valleys and melding into one as it slowly pushes along.  Aaron followed one valley a ways higher up, and then we turned around and headed back down the Knik River toward Palmer.

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Coming out of the upper Knik valley back to Palmer:
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A Second Flight Up the Knik Valley.


On the same day as my flight with Aaron, I was fortunate to get to fly along with my friend Bruce, who works at the Palmer airport, as he took another person up to see the glacier…giving me two gorgeous flights in one day up the Knik Valley.  We even flew up the Metal River Valley several miles too – a river that  enters the Knik River near the glacier on the north side.  Bruce loves to fly low, so we got some really good close-ups of the terrain.  I like to call it “counting the butterflies.”
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Bruce’s little Piper Pacer.


The main reason I was along on this flight was because Bruce was to drop me off at the Birchwood runway before returning to the Palmer Airport.  There I was picked up and returned to the family I was staying with in Eagle River.  See pictures below of that.     
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Following the Knik River toward
Cook Inlet. Palmer and Wasilla off to our right. 



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Park’s Highway      

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Birchwood Runway   

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Teena and Bruce at Birchwood Airport

What a wonderful day!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Teena’s Flying Adventures 2012

I love flying and for many years, even though my husband is a pilot and operated an air taxi for many years, I still rarely got to fly.  Not being a pilot myself, I was always the one to stay home and take care of everything at home, including kids, animals, guests at the lodge, and everything in-between.TwoPlanes1194 Below is a picture of our two planes used on the Colville for many years: The Piper Super Cub and the Cessna 206. The cub remains on Tundra tires, but the C-206 uses both wheels and floats depending on seasons.

This past summer was the first time I’d gotten to fly in the Cessna 206 in many years. Jay flew the 206 floatplane to the Colville from Fairbanks to pick up his daughter Melody and me to take us back to Fairbanks after Melody’s special time with G-ma & G-pa. 
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It was a gorgeous, clear day in mid-July when we took off from the 206-TakeOff 07-12-12Colville 
Homestead Lake and headed south.

Colville 7-12-2012_to FAI, takeoff 


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TUNDRA and small Lakes
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Looking back across the Colville River.


Our route took us overland until we met the Itkillik River, followed that until hopping over to the Anaktuvuk River,  which we followed through Anaktuvuk Pass and

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Colville 7-12-2012_to FAI 049 over the village of Anaktuvuk Pass. 

At this point, the north-flowing waters of the Anaktuvuk River fade out and the south-flowing headwaters of the John River start.Colville 7-12-2012_to FAI 053 

We followed the John River through the beautiful mountain valleys until we broke out near
Colville 7-12-2012_to FAI 063 where the John River joins the Koyukuk River.  From here the Brooks Range slipped behind and the flats, and hills rolled by on the way to the Colville 7-12-2012_to FAI 077

Yukon River crossing. We flew over the mighty Yukon just east of the Haul Road bridge.

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Our route took us over much forest-fire damaged terrain that was bursting in amazing colors. There were purple shadows mixed with reds, oranges, and greens, and, Oh, how the fireweed covered the hills like pink blankets over sleeping bodies. 

Colville to FAI 7-12-12_Melody

We passed occasional rain squalls, but visibility remained great and as we neared Fairbanks, the skies were clear again.

Melody is a flying trouper. 

THANKS Colville 7-12-2012_to FAI 029Pilot Jay.

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On the floatpond in Fairbanks. 
Colville 7-12-2012_to FAI 105I am always so amazed by the lush green and tall growth.  Although the tundra has a beauty all its own, it is wonderful to experience the trees and abundant growth of interior Alaska in summer.

I have shared only a fraction of the many photos I took on the flight to Fairbanks. I’ve decided to split my flying experiences up from Summer 2012, so another installment on a different flight will follow soon. Stay tuned.