Friday, July 26, 2013

Dipnetting, Pipetting*, and Baseball

Last weekend, I finally finished something I've been trying to knock off my list for the past few years. After a two day practical, I am now officially done with Organic Chemistry lab! Six labs, lab reports, and post labs knocked out in 16 hours. Much gnashing of teeth, lots of ridiculously terrible smelling chemicals, some freshly synthesized aspirin, and one Bunsen burner catastrophe avoided later, I am on the cusp of finishing the prerequisites for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program here in Alaska. And that is very exciting.

While I was doing that, Ivan took the opportunity to go dipnetting. Dipnetting is an Alaskan institution, open only to residents. Thousands of Alaskans flock to the Kenai Peninsula and other hotspots to stand chest-deep in icy rivers wielding gigantic nets, snagging salmon as they attempt to run upstream to spawn, dodging fishermen and bears along the way. If you hit it at the right time and the run is good, you can fill your freezer with dozens of delicious salmon and eat like a king for the winter.

Kenai River Fish Camp. Hard to see, but the little dots on the river are dipnetters.
Sadly, Ivan didn't have much time on the river and the prime run hadn't quite started yet, so no salmon. After I finished up at the lab, we tried one more time. I had to sit ashore and keep my hands to myself because I am (shockingly?) not quite an Alaska resident yet.**Anyway, here's Ivan looking very Alaska Man.***

Wednesday, we took care of a tradition and went to an Alaska Baseball League game. Every summer, NCAA players come up to Alaska and spend the summer in fierce competition for the ABL League Title. There are two Anchorage teams -- Glacier Pilots and Bucs-- and years ago we arbitrarily chose to be Glacier Pilots fans.

Miners at bat.

Wednesday's game pitted the Glacier Pilots vs. the Matsu Valley Miners. We arrived at the bottom of the 5th to find the Miners up 2-0, and so the score stayed until the very dramatic bottom of the 9th when the Glacier Pilots somehow pulled out a 3-2 victory.

The victors.

It's a nice small stadium with a down-home feel, and makes for a lovely (and cheap!) evening. Our two tickets ran us $7.

* Surprisingly, no actual pipetting was involved this time around, but I couldn't resist...

**Yes, I am sort of a state-less woman at the moment, having given up my DC rights and not quite able to assume Alaskan equivalents (though I originally moved up in 2010, I moved back to DC for work which wiped out my residency bid).  That all changes this August, though. PDF 2014, you'd better be worth the wait!

*** I'm not sure if this is unique to Alaska, but there's a widely distributed portfolio of eligible Alaska bachelors called Susie's AlaskaMen. It wraps every Alaska stereotype up with a big bow on top and is good for a giggle, especially if you are in the market for men whose "rugged individuality, spirit and vitality make them unique among men of the world."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Denali - The Great One

Also known as Mount McKinley. The highest peak in North America, Denali has a summit elevation of 20,320 feet above sea level. On a clear day, it is possible to see Denali from Anchorage-- more than 400 miles away.

We were extremely lucky to have some clear views of the mountain. Even when it clouded over a bit, it was stunning to see the peaks poking out of the clouds.

Denali Park Views

We were lucky to have some unbelievably gorgeous weather in the park.

Riley Creek, steps from our campsite. Nature's sound machine.

Riley Creek again.

Front country.

View from Highway Pass.

Polychrome Pass.

Eielson Visitor's Center.

Pictures of Denali itself to follow!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Denali Megafauna

All pictures taken from the Denali Park Shuttle, Eielson Route, July 2013.

Moose, browsing around. 
Caribou, times two.

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