Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good snow

I picked up Ross Baldwin at his parents house on Tuesday morning and we met up with Ted at the Tincan parking lot. Ross is finishing up Med school this summer (as is Ted) down in Seattle and rarely stays in one place long so it was good to meet up with him for a good day on the snow. After Ross finishes up in June, he will head off for a five year surgical residency; he has yet to pick a location although he seems to be favoring California. The snow was terrible down low, but perfect above 2000 feet, we did a few laps, then headed into Girdwood to visit with Ross' sister at her house.
Hope all is well,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here is a photo of my Christmas eve dinner Alaska style. Red salmon, steak, and smoked salmon twice baked potatoes. The other is from flying today, Thats the feeling most of my passengers express during our flights, haha.
Merry Christmas,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tincan Attack

We use skiing as an excuse to train for Mt Hunter this spring. It's a real bummer when your training schedule includes back country skiing on crisp bluebird days. We made it up to the pass and skiid Tincan on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. The night runs were great, but we needed headlamps toward the bottom. All in all conditions were great. We would ski during the day, then hit the rock gym that night. Really makes a guy want to live in anchorage part time, at least for the winter....

Hope all is well, Hunter is close!


John Svenson

Working the magic

Rolling the Hot glass into a marble shape

Filler Sticks

Jenty sitting in on a session

After we said thank you and goodbye to Tom, we were off to visit John Svenson. John and his wife, both artists with colorful pasts, create a myriad of stunning work ranging from wood block prints, to Glass work. John's latest kick has been on the glass side of things and Jenty and I caught him in the middle of a session. John was encasing a gold nugget in an amazing marble of color and swirls. You really have to see, it, my words won't do it justice. Jenty and I had the chance to hop on the torch and work with a bit of the glass. 5 minutes were enough to show me that this glass bending business is a little tricky. Jenty has a steady hand and kicked out some nice beads. If you get a chance, swing by Johns and check out his stuff, The gallery alone is amazing! take a look here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tom Morphet

The Lende Cabin
Tom and Jenty on the way to Rutzebeck Lake
The entrance to Camp Weasel
Tom's Cabin and cozy interior below!

I had the chance to meet Tom Morphet at the Lighting of the Library event in Haines. As Jenty describes him, "he's the guy you would always want to sit next to in school". It's true, Tom is easy to get along with, and is sure to fill blank space with colorful stories and a seemingly endless knowledge stream. At the lighting Tom had invited us up to his cabin by Rutzebeck Lake (AKA Camp Weasel) the next day for a visit and a tour. I had first read about Tom's place in Heather Lende's book, (more about her later) and it was great to get a tour. Tom's personality has manifested itself in his residence. The main lodging is small but full of character, and the outbuildings hold what extra is needed for convincing a wife to live in a remote cabin that is not accessible year round by car. During our visit Tom took us on a tour of Rutzebeck lake and the local neighborhood. One of his closest neighbors is Heather and Chip Lende and their beautiful "weekend" cabin directly on the lake. Tom took us on a tour of the cabin (he knows where the hide-a-key is)and gave us the lowdown on the rest of the lake neighbors. Tom is an editor and contributor to the Chilkat Valley News and has spent time at other jobs throughout southeast Alaska, if you run into him in Haines ask him how Camp Weasel got it's name. More Haines posts to come!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lighting of the Library

Haines has a beautiful library that won an award in 2005 for "The Best Small Library in America" an award co-sponsored by the Library Journal and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Each year, tradition is to have a lighting ceremony which involves a silent auction, refreshments, presentations and of course a huge Christmas tree. Jenty helped decorate this year so we had a little insight into the work that it takes to get this whole thing prepared. Local do-it-all volunteer Frankie Jones coordinated the decorating and as you can see, she did a great job with the help of all her volunteers. More pictures to follow, sorry for the delay but I'll be in Anchorage for a bit skiing, climbing etc...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Haines Teaser

Here are a few pictures from the Haines trip. It was a trip that really made me feel good about Alaska and the great people that make up this state. We are such a diverse group, living in a state that has so many contrasting climates and landscapes. The first photo is of the shoreline of Rutzebeck lake during a snow storm, second is at the Lighting the Library get together at the beautiful Haines public library, and the the third is of the highway along the Canadian border.
More stories and pictures to come.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm headed to Haines for awhile, a week or so. The weather is terrible this time of year or I would fly, so it's just me, the subaru, and the Ipod. You can follow my journey on my SPOT page via the link on the right sidebar.
Hope all is well,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holding on to my garden veggies

Amanda posted on roasting root vegetable HERE , and her's came out looking so tasty I thought i should give it a go. Last week I used olive oil, oregano and a bit of salt and pepper. This time I used more of the same and a bit of thyme. I chunk up a yam and 2 bell peppers , 1 red,1 green from the store. Next I chop red and yukon golds from the garden, along with 4 large onions from the garden. My favorite part are the carrots. These carrots have been a long running narrative this fall as they seem to just keep going and going. I pulled the last ones right before our first snow and they were doing great! SO, I ended up with a load of carrots that all taste amazing roasted!!! Like the yams, they take on a really sweet earthy flavor. So, i throw the veggies in a ziploc and in goes the oil and herbs, mix around, and roast in their little foil pouch. With 10 minutes left I will usually remove the top foil and allow the veggies to see a little direct heat for a bit, this sort of sears them and helps to slightly carmalize the onions. Tasty tasty tasty



Friday, November 20, 2009

MRI podcast and info

This podcast is part of an NPR blog/podcast that I follow called Planet Money. This podcast is super interesting as it follows MRI prices around the world. This seemed relevant as the health care debate rages on. MRI's are expensive in Alaska, but what is early detection worth? My local Internal Medicine Doctor, Dr. Mcdonagh seems to favor less imaging/xrays as studies in the UK have shown that up to .6% of cancers are caused by medical x-rays. I tend to favor his line of thought, letting blood work and the age old method of poking and prodding reveal a diagnosis. Check out the podcast HERE

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No Snow

Looking south, homeward bound across the inlet
Gregg making his way east across the inlet

Big strip on the McArthur. Had to land for a trip to the out house, couldn't stay long due to a brisk, cold wind.

Rolling tires on the upper Kustatan bench


Our lack of snow has made for an interesting late tire flying season. Gregg and I headed west today in the bitter cold and found some great views and nice solid landing conditions. We landed on a little strip near the McArthur and Gregg rolled his tires on a spot higher up on the Kustatan bench that may be a likely spot next summer. Clear and cold lately, still waiting for some big snow!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Winter Grouse

This grouse and the rest of her family have been hanging around in the front yard for a couple months now. It's rare that they will stay in one place like this for so long. It has been fun to watch them feed lately; they will sit in the trees and eat spruce needles, and in the evening they will hop down to the driveway, pick gravel for a bit, then head back up to roost. This one was puffed up in a tree next to the driveway this morning.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Waiting for snow

Spent time cutting wood today for the wood stove. It has been clear and cold lately, perfect for evening fires! We are lucky enough to have an endless supply of downed beetle kill spruce behind the house. We are enjoying a late fall up here with cold temps, but no snow. I was talking to Justin Moore today at the gym and he is still riding his bike every day and it's almost November! The garden is put away and I'm all ready for deep snow and ski turns!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brad's Wedding

Here's a few pics from the time we spent in Colorado for Brad's wedding this 4th of July. The weather was great, and it was a great opportunity for all of us to get together again. It was also an opportunity to show everyone how bad my golf game is. Brad is teaching at Cherry Creek High School, and his bride McKenna is a nurse. Hope all is well, we are enduring the dreary days of the in between time of fall and winter. Clear cold and windy today!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Katie (Burck) Stafford and her Husband

Monterey to San Diego - Sailing - Spot
Katie and her husband are sailing around the world in their sailboat, At least that was the plan last I heard. You can follow their trip via their spot adventures page

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back to Chickaloon

Took advantage of the good weather today and flew back to the Chickaloon area. Dave was at the airport when we took off and was headed out the same way so we met at the Pincher Creek cabin, same one that Gregg and I were at. Another great fall day today, we are lucky ones this year. The pictures are of Dave's 180hp Cub. If anyone has one that they want to give away, call me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back to the "New" Cabin

It was an amazing day today, a little fog hung around for a bit, but I was able to sneak out from under it and fly over to the new cabin. I went armed with nippers, shovel and chainsaw and a select few power tools. The goal today was to figure out how to get the new floor underneath the cabin. While clearing room to do that, I found why the door won't close; the nearby tree has put down roots through the threshold. That is a problem.... The solution will be to move the cabin backwards a bit. The lowest rung of logs is rotten so we will jack up the cabin underneath the lowest row of good logs, add about 3 to 4 feet of structure, and slide the new floor underneath it. Today I covered the windows with plywood and blocked the doorway as well as I could in prep for winter. The cabin is going to be a lot of work, but it's better than starting from scratch! Photo's are of the tree in the front of the cabin that is rooting through the doorway; All the necessary tools for cabin renovation, Old baking powder, and making my way back to the plane on an amazing afternoon in ALASKA!!!

I love this state,


Friday, October 16, 2009

Liver Update and Pictures

This spring I flew up to Anchorage to visit my liver specialist in Anchorage, Dr. Geronimo Sahagun. Dr. Sahagun is great because he is willing to take the time to answer questions, and goes above and beyond, taking time out of his schedule to respond to emailed questions. He encourages me to research my condition (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis) independently, and then takes the time to answer the pages of questions I bring to my appointments. My last visit this spring spurred a visit to our local branch of the Alaska Open Imaging Center for an MRCP. Our Soldotna office uses the Hitachi AIRIS 2 open imager, you can take a look at it HERE. The MRCP took about an hour and they took about 140 images of my liver and it's bile ducts. Hitachi Medical Division is designing open imaging machines to create a more comfortable environment for the patient during what can be a nerve wracking and long process. The technicians fasten a strap around your chest to monitor your breathing, and at the trough of an exhale the images are taken. The images are then sent to a specialist who analyzes the images, drafts a report and sends it to Dr. Sahagun. Let me assure you, MRCP's are not cheap, but in exchange for your thousands of dollars, they give you a CD with all your images on it. A program called eFilm lite is preloaded on the CD and allows you to scroll through your cross sectioned Liver and Bile ducts. While Dr. Sahagun felt my case of PSC was fairly mild, he wanted to confirm with an MRCP. Thankfully the MRCP confirmed his belief. What was so interesting about this conclusion was everything I went through leading up to my trip to the Alaska Open Imaging. I went through countless rounds of blood work, doctor visits, a colonoscopy and even a liver biopsy; all revealing very little about an existing condition marked by my abnormal LFP numbers. SO, final conclusions: My liver condition is relatively mild. PSC is known to increase chances of Colon Cancer. Recent studies have shown that Urso Forte (Ursodiol) the medication I'm taking, is largely not effective in managing PSC, however it may help prevent colon cancer. That's it in a nutshell. I will post one photo from the MRCP. My liver is the bright white organ. The image is one in a series that rotates around the body showing all sides of the liver and the ducts.

Hope all is well, foggy and cool today,


P.s. Where The Wild Things Are comes out today!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


The weather broke today after a seemingly endless string of foggy days, so the natural thing to do is head for the plane. I pulled into the airport and Gregg was fueling up so he waited for me and we took off north bound to explore. Gregg had mentioned it had been awhile since his last flight so that spurred me to look back on my last flight on Oct. 3rd. That last break had probably been my longest between flights all year. Gaining flight after a nice long break like that really rejuvenates a person. Great times today with a good friend,
Enjoy the pics,