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: July 5, 2007 - 11:35 am
With relatives in town and a camping trip on the calendar, I haven't been on the bike much lately, which made this morning's trip all the more interesting.
Rounding a corner near the University of Alaska Anchorage, I had to slam on the brakes to avoid running into a cow moose. Sadly, her calf was about 20 yards behind me in the brush. So after avoiding a crash caused by hard braking on a wet bike path, I had to quickly ditch the bike and head for the brush as the angry moose took aim at me.
Posted: July 2, 2007 - 9:44 am
One of the neat outdoor things to do in town is the Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk. It's free, which helps put things on my "to-do" list when I'm vacationing.
The planet walk starts at G Street and Fifth Avenue. That is where a scale-size model of the sun sits. There also are information boards explaining the walk, how it was created and also Native creation stories.
Posted: June 28, 2007 - 2:11 pm
Yesterday was one of those fabulous Alaska summer days -- 70 degrees, a perfect beautiful blue sky. And I didn't have to be in the office all day.
So what do you do with more than 19 hours of sunshine and freedom? You start with breakfast on the deck and spend as much time outside as possible. Lexy, Don (the in-laws), Gina and I spent some time cleaning up a portion of the bike path near our home.
Posted: June 26, 2007 - 4:59 pm
I had to stop by the airport last night to pick up the in-laws. As usual, the flight in was late at night (10:26 p.m.), although not as late as some stops out there. Of course, the flight was delayed until 10:56, then until 11:06 and we finally saw the family at 11:15.
While we were waiting at the bottom of the escalator I couldn't help notice many visitors to Alaska must think they are on an expedition or something. That would be the only logical reason two older travelers would need seven -- yes, I said seven -- suitcases for a trip. (Three of them were of the carry-on variety.) Another family of four -- two kids, two parents -- had eight massive suitcases. It went on like that all night.
Posted: June 25, 2007 - 4:46 pm
This weekend didn't work out at all like we planned. Originally, we were headed to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park for a camping trip.
That didn't work out.
So we were headed to Hatcher Pass for a camping trip. Then we woke up Friday morning to a sky filled with smoke from the wildfires burning on Kenai Peninsula. A quick call to a Ranger at Independence Mine State Historical Park revealed there was smoke out there too. I don't mind sniffing a little smoke from a campfire, but I didn’t want my whole weekend to be enveloped by wildfire smells.
Posted: June 24, 2007 - 10:30 pm
I wouldn't usually cheer a rainy Sunday, but when I woke up this morning to the sound of raindrops I smiled. We needed rain ... badly.
Up until yesterday, Anchorage had received .01 inch of rain in all of June. The fact that huge wildfires were consuming thousands of acres on the Kenai Peninsula and in the Mat-Su was not surprising. Perhaps the rain has helped the firefighters. At the very least, I'm not so worried about a wildfire here in Anchorage. Gina and I spent a good portion of Friday doing some "wildfire work" around the house -- cleaning up brush, cutting limbs off of trees, raking, taking old wood to the wood lot.
Posted: June 21, 2007 - 3:47 pm
This week, I met two women from Indiana outside the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau's Log Cabin Visitors Center in downtown Anchorage. In one of those "six degrees of separation" moments, I mentioned that my grandmother lives in Odon, Ind., and they knew about Odon – which is not a big place. Joyce Blackwell is from Fishers, Ind., and Linda Higgins is from Carmel, Ind.
Posted: June 21, 2007 - 9:15 am
Today is summer solstice … the longest day of the year … everything that's great about living in Alaska.
The sun rose this morning at 4:19 a.m.; it sets tonight at 11:42. And it's hot! Well, hot for Alaska. I just had a co-worker walk in the door and complain that it's 71 degrees outside. That's pretty warm for 9 o’clock in the morning. Yesterday it hit 77 degrees in Anchorage, with parts of town certainly topping 80.
Sadly, all this sunshine and warm temperatures are causing some problems. There is a wildfire on the Kenai Peninsula. And there is a huge line at the new Dairy Queen in Anchorage. One is a real problem, the other is simply a problem if you must have Blizzard right now.
Posted: June 19, 2007 - 4:20 pm
Gina and I spent a portion of Sunday evening on the Iditarod Trail. But it had nothing to do with dog sleds, and we were a long way from Nome, Rohn and Kaltag. And the only snow we saw was high up on the mountains.
We made a run down to Girdwood to drop off some of Gina's art at the Girdwood Center for Visual Arts. Afterward, we headed out Crow Creek Road a couple miles until we came upon the Iditarod National Historic Trail. This is a portion of the trail that originally ran from Seward to the Gold Rush communities in the Interior.
Posted: June 18, 2007 - 3:59 pm
Last Friday was so wonderful weather-wise I took the long route into work. Sometimes, the long route is the best route.
Because I rode my bike a different way I met Ben Jones, who knows a thing or two about bikes. Jones opened Coastal Trail Rentals this summer behind the Millennium Alaskan Hotel on Spenard Road near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Jones is an Anchorage resident who rides his bike from near Westchester Lagoon to work in the hotel parking lot, carrying his laptop computer and other equipment behind him in a pull-along trailer.
Posted: June 15, 2007 - 12:42 pm
You can't stop progress. For me, it's a question of what really is progress?
I ask that question because on yesterday's bike commute to work I encountered some of this progress at the University of Alaska Anchorage. It affected me directly because the construction equipment was tearing up a section of road and bike path. Really, it's just an inconvenience right now. One of the workers said it'll all be better in a few weeks. Of course, that doesn't help the poor visitor who can't find his way around the fencing and back on the trail.
Posted: June 15, 2007 - 7:42 am
I blogged the other day about a mother moose and her calf in our yard. I decided I had to mention it again because we had a late-night visit from those two about 11 p.m. Thursday night.
I could write about all the moose in Anchorage, Alaska, almost every day. It seems like daily sightings are not that uncommon. I won't bore you with a day-to-day moose update, but I did have to share this photo. The calf was walking around right outside the windows in Gina's studio. It's not very often you are able to see a young moose from only a couple feet away (although separated by glass).
Posted: June 14, 2007 - 3:58 pm
I had to step outside for a couple minutes of sunshine. From my desk, the lure of the clear sky and warm rays of the sun was too much to avoid.
After weeks of cruddy weather, it is simply beautiful today. I'm happy for any visitors. This is what you want on a vacation. The official temperature is listed at 59 degrees, but don't believe it. They take the temperature at one of the coolest places in the city. It's much closer to 70 here at the Daily News.
It was so nice I had to call Gina and share the joy of pleasant weather. She informed me that tonight's dinner is M.Y.O.F. (That's our code for "Make Your Own Food," which means grab something quick and head for the deck to soak up the sun.) We've got somewhere to be at 7:30 tonight, so we need to maximize the outdoor time we have.
Posted: June 14, 2007 - 11:42 am
Whenever I see the AWAIC Summer Solstice Festival on the calendar of events I know summer can’t be far away. And that time is upon us. (Although the solstice doesn’t arrive until next Thursday, June 21.)
The annual festival is this weekend, starting at 10 a.m. Friday in Town Square Park. The event takes advantage of the nearly endless daylight, with events planned until 10 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. The festival includes great food booths, live entertainment and plenty of Alaska artists selling their wares.
Posted: June 12, 2007 - 11:41 am
In our continuing effort to talk with visitors to Alaska, this week we chat with Paul and Patsy Bordelon of Dupont, La. The Bordelons started their Alaska vacation aboard a cruise ship in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Q: How long have you been in Alaska?
Paul: We started with a cruise in Vancouver. We spent three days in Vancouver. We were on the cruise for seven days and we've been here to two days. We leave tonight at 10:30.
Posted: June 11, 2007 - 3:18 pm
OK, yesterday really wasn't the first day of summer. It doesn't officially arrive until June 21, just like it does in the rest of the northern hemisphere. But Anchorage finally shook off its spring blues on Sunday.
Yesterday's high temperature was 70 degrees. (It was warmer than that at my house and various other places around town.) It was sunny. There wasn't a blasted wind blowing from one direction or another.
Posted: June 11, 2007 - 11:03 am
This week is the best week in June to head to Turnagain Arm to look for bore tides.
A bore tide is a breaking wave of water up to 6 feet high that comes with an incoming tide. Turnagain Arm and Knik Arm are the only places in the United States where tidal bores occur regularly. Turnagain's bore tide is most obvious on extreme low tides, which occur this week.
This week, there are five consecutive days of minus low tides. Wednesday’s low tide (-2.4) is at 1:26 p.m. in Anchorage. Thursday’s low tide (-3.2) is at 2:20 p.m.; Friday’s tide (-3.5) is at 3:07 p.m.; Saturday’s tide (-3.1) is at 3:51 p.m.; and Sunday’s tide (-2.3) is at 4:31 p.m.