About the blog: Alaska is a wonderful and fascinating place. Whether its backcountry hiking, coastline kayaking or dining on a downtown deck, there truly is something for everyone. This blog picks up where the annual Daily News Visitors' Guide leaves off. The guide is published in late April, but that's just when summer fun starts heating up. Throughout the year, we hope to give readers a look at Alaska through local eyes. The blog also serves as a calendar of what's going on, a place to look for some outstanding vacation deals and other cool stuff. We invite your comments and your questions. E-mail me at email@example.com.
About me: I live in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, and I served as the special sections editor at the Anchorage Daily News for nine years. My wife and I have been Alaska residents since 2000 and never plan to leave.
100-mph wind-driven love? - 12/5/2011 10:30 am
It's 'that' season - 11/8/2011 5:19 pm
Winter is on its way - 10/28/2011 4:07 pm
Changing seasons and reasons to smile - 10/3/2011 2:24 pm
People, animals love summer - 6/22/2011 1:13 pm
Bike to Work Week - 5/17/2011 5:05 pm
Cyclist dies ... is Alaska safe? - 4/5/2011 2:58 pm
Glorious winter fun - 12/22/2010 8:49 am
Posted: October 23, 2007 - 7:19 am
``He´s afraid of fish.´´ That´s what the young British boy said of his father as they stood in line in a small market in Salema, Portugal, yesterday evening.
``I don´t like to touch them,´´ the father confessed. He was trying to convince the shopkeeper to gut a fish for him if he bought one from the local fisherman on the beach.
He then looked at Gina and I. I told him that I did know how to gut fish -- being from Alaska and all.
The shopkeeper then started asking questions, not of the fish-fearing Brit but of us. He wanted to know about Alaska. We told him the summer´s are beautiful, the winter´s are cold and dark. He wasn´t quite sure what to make of it all. ``It´s different from here,´´ I said.
Posted: October 7, 2007 - 8:59 pm
I had no idea what was in store when I went to bed Saturday night. When Gina and I awoke this morning, we were greeted by a yard full of snow. It was only a half-inch or so, but it was a bit of shock.
I think the change of seasons is fun. Others, I'm sure, are not so excited. And I might be a bit more grouchy if I wasn't just a week away from heading off on an adventure to Spain and Portugal. (I hope the house sitter doesn't mind shoveling.)
Posted: October 5, 2007 - 10:52 am
I got a quick glimpse of Flattop this morning as the clouds lifted for a couple seconds. The mountain was covered with snow.
If the clouds lift this afternoon, I'll snap a picture. When the clouds do lift, and the snow reveals itself, there are going to be two distinct groups of people: grouchy and happy. Those who bemoan winter will be grumbling. Those who embrace winter will be ready to move to the ski and skate season.
My take on it is this: You live in Alaska (and you just got a check for $1,654 a couple days ago in the PFD payout), enjoy all the seasons. If you don’t like winter, move somewhere else. It's pretty simple.
Posted: October 4, 2007 - 12:29 pm
Since autumn is my favorite season, it's easy to grab the camera and snap picture after picture. So, here are a couple more views from around Anchorage.
Gina and I are getting ready for a big vacation, so our adventures have been cut a little short ... unless you consider a trip to REI for some travel clothing, or Title Wave for a map of Spain and Portugal.
Posted: September 27, 2007 - 4:36 pm
All summer long Gina and I have looked forward to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. That's when our fresh-from-the-Valley organic vegetables show up in Anchorage.
Arctic Organics produces some of the best vegetables you'll ever taste. They sell subscriptions to the organic produce, and deliver it weekly at a location in downtown Anchorage.
Posted: September 25, 2007 - 2:00 pm
The last couple mornings I've felt like Noah. You know, Noah and the ark. It's been raining ... a lot.
By mid-afternoon, the rain has stopped and the clouds have lifted a little bit, revealing the snow creeping down the mountains. Flattop has a crown of white this afternoon. Winter is inching closer, which makes every little bit of autumn we can squeeze out of the shortening days all the sweeter.
Posted: September 18, 2007 - 1:14 pm
You never know when the summer hiking season will come to a screeching halt. So, despite several home projects waiting, Gina and I took a couple hours Sunday to do some exploring.
We were out on trails at the Prospect Heights trail head just a couple miles from our house. Usually when we start hiking here, our goal is to reach the top of Wolverine Peak or Near Point. This time, we just wandered around the trails that didn't lead to the top of any mountain.
Posted: September 17, 2007 - 10:40 am
It was 35 degrees at my house this morning. That's a pretty cold start to a 12-mile bike commute ... downhill ... at about 30 mph.
By the time I got to work, my toes were tingling. And I had on two pair of socks and a shoe covers. I wore the warm gloves and still had cold fingers.
One day, it's snow it the mountains. Another day, it's a yard full of leaves. Another day, it's 35 degrees in the morning.
Winter is definitely on its way. But the sun is shining brightly outside right now, and it’s up to 46 degrees. Probably won't need the warm gloves and shoe covers on the way home.
Posted: September 16, 2007 - 10:07 pm
Early Saturday morning I saw the first sign of winter's approach -- snow in the mountains surrounding Anchorage. The termination dust everyone has expected for a few days finally showed up.
For me, it's an exciting sight. Generally, we still have a few weeks of autumn after the first sign of snow. So, it's more of a warning ... get that wood split; clean out the gutters; put the deck furniture away.
Posted: September 13, 2007 - 11:17 am
Another sign that autumn is really upon us ...
I came upon a cross-country ski team practicing on rollerskis this morning while I was riding to work on the bike trails. While I enjoy skiing once winter arrives, I'll keep the bike rolling until then. In fact, I'll keep the bike rolling after then, but I'll also jump on the skis a couple times a week too.
Posted: September 6, 2007 - 3:23 pm
Every day, the approach of autumn gets just a bit more obvious. Some hints:
* A few of the leaves on the birch trees in my yard are turning yellow.
* I'm plucking tons of ripe raspberries off the bushes every day.
* This weekend is the final one for the Saturday and Sunday Anchorage Market and Festival.
* Sunset is before 9 p.m.
* For the first time since spring, I pulled on full-fingered gloves on today's bike commute. And tomorrow, I'll probably pull out the headlamp so I can see and be seen.
Posted: September 4, 2007 - 4:10 pm
Last week, I wrote about the annual trek up Wolverine Peak that Gina and I had just completed. We have a few of those "regular" visits we make -- Wolverine, Flattop, Little O'Malley Peak. They’re all close to home and enjoyable.
There is a different kind of excitement surrounding a trip to the top of a new peak. And that's what we nabbed on Monday. After getting a couple house projects out of the way earlier on the three-day weekend, we took advantage of a nice Monday morning to grab a peak that’s been on my to-do list for years.
Posted: August 31, 2007 - 4:33 pm
There are lots of peaks in the Chugach State Park right outside my front door that I have yet to climb. So why am I constantly drawn to Wolverine Peak?
For Gina and I, it's become an annual trek to the top of the 4,455-foot mountain clearly visible from Anchorage. It's probably that "clearly visible" part that keeps drawing me back. I can see Flattop from my deck, but I can see Wolverine from my office desk. So any time I might be daydreaming about hikes -- whether the weather is 70 and sunny or minus 20 and frosty, I can see Wolverine.
Posted: August 28, 2007 - 4:27 pm
It's been five fabulous days in a row. For August, that must be a weather record. I always tell visitors to avoid August. If they listened to me this year, they might be missing out on some of our best weather.
Gina and I have been enjoying every bit of the blessed sunshine and still-warm temperatures. Autumn is definitely in the air here in Alaska (a co-worker said she thought her thermometer read 39 degrees this morning), but it's wonderful. Usually, autumn weather only sticks around for a couple weeks. Maybe we'll have it a bit longer this year.
Posted: August 27, 2007 - 4:46 pm
Gina and I were enjoying the hot tub about 8 p.m. Saturday and talking about whether we should hike Flattop or take the bikes out to Kincaid Park for sunset.
Some quick moving got us on the road and to Kincaid just before the sun dipped below the horizon. We made the right call. It was a perfect night.
Not only was the sunset fabulous, we also saw 10 moose in just about an hour in the park. Two of the moose were right on the bicycle path, causing us to jam on the brakes, watch and wait. One huge bull was at the bottom of a lengthy hill on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. He wasn't interested in us, but we were interested in him. I have never seen a larger moose. I could have watched him browse for an hour, but eventually he moved off and we continued down the trail.
Posted: August 24, 2007 - 3:55 pm
A weird thing happened here today -- the sun came out.
It's been a rainy week, which isn’t surprising. The Alaska State Fair opened its gates on Thursday. For me, the arrival of the fair signals the arrival of monsoon season in Alaska.
But today caught me by surprise. Maybe this year will be the year the fair folks have sunny skies more than drizzly ones. I wouldn’t bet on it, but one can always hope.
Posted: August 23, 2007 - 2:53 pm
In an earlier post, I mentioned a night spent at Hatcher Pass and an hour spent at Independence Mine State Historical Park. Hatcher Pass is one of our favorite places in Alaska, and we're not alone. Summer or winter, it is an outdoor recreation destination. And for those who are more interested in history than hiking, the old mine area is fascinating.
Posted: August 21, 2007 - 1:00 pm
Armando and Sandra Rivera traveled a long way to visit Alaska. They live in Bogota, Colombia. Their flights to get here took them from Colombia to Panama, to Miami, to New York, to Seattle, to Anchorage.
So was it worth it? Let's find out.
Q: How has your vacation been?
Armando: It has been incredible. We have done so much and seen so much.
Posted: August 20, 2007 - 9:30 am
We were out Saturday morning, and when we returned home, we were greeted by a cow and calf moose in the backyard. They were busy feasting on leaves. Thankfully, they weren't too interested in the flowers in the garden.
It's always nice to be able to enjoy Alaska's wildlife right at home.