Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Summer Highlights 2014

I guess I should start with the first highlight, which wasn't a pleasant one.  Anachlik Island, where the Helmericks Homestead is located, was badly flooded during the Colville River Break-up on May 31st.  The height of water was the second worse flood since we have lived here, at 6.79 feet above mean sea level. All our buildings, except the main house, were flooded with up to 2.5 feet of water. The main house (or lodge) is sitting up on 3-4 feet of blocking, thus was flooded under but not inside.

Besides water damage to items inside buildings we couldn't get moved above the water levels, we have had to do a lot of clean-up of  drums, lumber, and other things that were displaced by the waters surging across our land. In some cases, the water carried huge chunks of ice that also crashed into objects with great force. Clean-up has continued off and on all summer.

      River water rising in yard. Boats secured. Broken ice chunks washing in.

    Deep Snow drifts around buildings help to protect some things, but doesn't stop water from flooding inside lower structures.

Firewood-cutting area flooded.  Eighteen inches deep water flooded into garage, seen in back of picture. Again, deep snowdrifts keep some items from floating away, plus give a safe place to park the snow machine.

In winter during high winds the snow is driven into deep, hard drifts wherever obstacles like buildings cause the wind to swirl and drop snow.  These hard-packed snowdrifts take a long time to melt and are still around our buildings during the river break-up event. Normally the snowdrifts are a great hindrance to mobility and outdoor activities, but are appreciated during spring break-up.

A second highlight for me involved a trip away from home to visit my mom, sisters, and other family and friends in Washington State, mostly north of Spokane in Colbert. Both my sisters and husbands and my mother live on adjoining properties they call Littlewood. My best friend since 4th grade also joined us, and we all had a wonderful time.

My sisters have beautiful homes and yards full of trees and flowers.

My sister Merrily took my friend Brenda and me to the top of Mt. Spokane on one gorgeous day.  Here we are at a pull off near the top. My sister Marti took me strawberry picking - below.

I now have lots of frozen berries for the coming months.

On my way home from the Washington trip, I spent a world-wind week with family in Fairbanks and Anchorage area. Leaving Spokane early one morning, I flew to Seattle, Anchorage, and Fairbanks, where I attended a birthday party for granddaughter Melody, then Jay flew his 3 kids and me back south to Palmer (near Anchorage) in our Cessna 206. We stayed 2 nights with Isaac and his 2 kids and spent an evening with Aaron & Autumn at their home nearby. It was a joy to have our 5 grand kids together, and watch them play and interact.
Jay and kids on walk (missing Danian, who was taking a nap.)

Getting fueled-up in Palmer as Jay readies the plane to fly us back to Fairbanks, July 2, 2014.

My mom accompanied me back to Alaska, so we could attend the family gathering at Harding Lake for the 4th of July. It was a beautiful day and we all had such fun.
Teena and brother Eldon riding jet-ski.

Wonderful water sports and family fun!  Mom and I on the dock below.

Jay flew me home on July 6th. Another beautiful flight home to the Colville.  Below is a shot looking down on the Haul Road winding up to Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range. Looking down on it from high above, it is impossible to get a true feel for how steep a climb that is. (I remember creeping up and down that route in my little pick-up truck pulling a heavily loaded double-axle trailer.)

I suppose it's time to  give you a little taste of summer flowers - always a highlight in my world. Besides our many Arctic wild flowers, my indoor house flowers were going strong.

This is getting long, but one more special trip with family was certainly a big highlight. In late August, I flew to Anchorage to meet my sister Marti and her husband Dick and friends Joe & Brenda Stoudt. We had spectacular days in Denali Park, drove through the tunnel to Whittier and spent a day there, and climbed around Anchorage's famous Table Mt.  These were all things I've wanted to do for a long time, but since most of my Alaskan Life has been primarily on the North Slope, they had escaped me for years. During a period of a lot of rainy days, God especially blessed us with gorgeous sunny days for all three of our special adventures. Add that to wonderful company, and we enjoyed ourselves very much. (Even a flight over a glacier was thrown in for extra for Brenda and Joe.)

The a Great One (Mt. Denali) behind Teena, Marti, & Dick.

Beautiful Autumn colors in Denali Park.

Waterfalls everywhere on the beautiful hills of Whittier.

I stopped in Fairbanks again on my way back home, and had a very enjoyable couple of days with Jay's family. 

Jim picked me up for our flight across the river to home.

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