Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Alaska Favorites Part 3 you're gonna love this one

So my parents convinced me to leave my kids behind and head on an adventure.....a bear adventure. I remembered a song from girls camp "Goin' on a bear hunt...I'm not afraid".....that song lied! We headed to a place called AnAn. I asked our guide if the island was inhabited. He said "Well, it's the Mainland so yeah, Dallas is inhabited"....jerk..... The only thing we passed by were some canoes and we were told that it was a place where troubled kids go. They have to fend for themselves and kill/cook anything they want to eat. Boy did I feel comforted.
Looks pretty isolated...even for the Mainland.

Here is our group. Unaware of what lies ahead.

Hi Mr. Black Bear. Now I know why Aunt Patty and Aunt Cindy made me go right after the guide with bear spray and a shotgun. The bear kept walking toward us and then on up the hill. I think we bored him....either that or he was stalking us.

Oh, there is another one walking on our path..doesn't he know that this is a people path. Thank goodness he already has his lunch.

No my zoom isn't that good. We were really close to bears, all day long. Sometimes we had to walk out of our 3 foot fence (not joking) to go to the bathroom. That hole in the door isn't for's to watch to make sure a bear wasn't near. My cousin's son was in there and had to stay in for a while because a bear decided to mosey on by. Hopefully Josh went #1 and not #2.

I wish I could put up more pics and videos but I think I am the only one who would be entertained. We did see one catch a fish and we quietly cheered after witnessing how long it can take them. I cannot overemphasize the beauty of our surroundings. Here we were in the middle of nowhere (but apparently on the Mainland) with a river chuck full of salmon, watching bears climb trees and catch fish, as bald eagles are swooping around screeching in the cool air. I was blessed that day to see God's beauty and be a small part of a big world.

Alaska Favorites Part 2

I may have to come back to Skagway but for now I will move on. We caught our next ferry where we had state rooms. It was definately a plus because I was with all 5 kids and no husband. I had family there to help but it was difficult physically and emotionally. It was nice to have a place to crash and where Evan could be free. We headed to Sitka along some of the most gorgeous sights ever imaginable. Cruise ships can not go through the Narrows because it is, well....too narrow. Most people who see Alaska do not get to see the amazing scenes that we saw. Completely breathtaking! They call the ferries a Poor Man's Cruise...we were the fortunate ones.
Sitka is such a beautiful island, I wish we had more than a few hours, but we were at the mercy of the ferry schedule. There is a neat park called Totem park where several Totem's are along a beautiful nature trail. It was nice to get to stretch our legs on a beautiful hike.
Yes, we had several whale sightings, however I always had to drag Evan around with me watching over a toddler who loves his freedom...and I am speaking of the run away from Mom kind of freedom. It was hard to get my camera out and watch for the breaching while holding on to his hand ...or leg or hood or ear. Here is a mama swimming with her baby...see it's not just me. She probably wants to hang with the gals but has to stay and swim with her little guy.
Apparantly he loves his freedom too!!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Alaska Favorites Part 1

My first day was filled with a lot of traveling and a beautiful ferry ride to Skagway. I'll begin in Skagway for this portion. I was really looking forward to this port because of the history loves a good history tour. Briefly, Skagway was kinda a nothing area with mostly natives when GOLD was discovered in the later part of 1890's. Gold was discovered in the Klondike some 500 miles away and ships began pouring into Skagway. It quickly jumped to a population of 30,000. The crossing of White Pass was treacherous to say the least. These men had to cross it at least 60 times bringing up all of the supplies needed because Canada would not allow them in unless they had 1 ton of supplies so they wouldn't starve through the winter. They quickly built a train to help bring supplies up to the Yukon called the White Pass and Yukon Route. I was excited to ride this train and see what these prospectors went through. The countryside was gorgeous. I was blown away at the lengths they went in search of fortune. It was sad to realize that by the time most of these men arrived, the gold was gone.
I had to sepia this photo to give it the period feel.
Halley playing a little peek-a-boo.
There is so much history in Skagway. I loved every minute of it and wished I had more time there.
Posted by Picasa

Wheeler Family Reunion

This picture is proof that we live in God's country. Shane's mother's family was in charge of their family reunion and since the majority of them live in Yreka they decided to hold it in Lake Siskiyou just outside of Mt. Shasta City.
Aunt Do was in charge of decorations..of coarse...and we had a western theme. are a gomer!
That's right! Hal caught a fish. We went for a boat ride and while trolling Halley asked if she could fish. Five minutes later we realized she had caught a fish.... a 16 inch rainbow. She was so excited and grossed out at the same time. She proudly walked up the boat ramp holding her fish informing all the the fisherman that she just caught a fish. They were all jealous.
Here is Dona and Glen and the family that they are so proud of: Sean (Shane's older brother a local fireman, Maddie his youngest heading to high school, Storie his wife, and Jessie his next oldest. Kaylie had to head home for work. Spencer a soon to be freshman (gasp) Breanna an almost 7th grader (bigger gasp) Lindsay Jeanne will be in 4th, Halley is headed to 1st grade, and Evan 3.) I'm glad we could be there for Dona.
Posted by Picasa

Shasta Lake for the day

We borrowed Uncle Sean's boat for the day and ran off to the lake. We invited Kellin Pedersen because, let's face it, he is over so much we couldn't leave him behind. L.J. had to show the boys how it is done. She stayed on so long they started chucking grapes at her to get her to fall such luck boys....she's got skills!
One of Shane's favorite things to do at the Lake was to ride behind the boat drinkin' a soda...thanks to braces L.J. had to settle for water.

Yes!!! The Wonder Woman lives on.

Cool looking dive Spence-man. Too bad it hurt like a mother when you landed.

Nice flip K.P.

author's note: so sorry you're sweet jumps didn't make the cut Halley. They had me in them and I was not about to post my white legs over the world wide web.

Posted by Picasa

Watson Falls

After having fun in Riverbank we headed home with my brother Justin shortly behind us. He works for the Pentagon and lives in Virginia and was in Southern Cali for some yearly meetings. I'd give you more details but I'd have to kill you....aka I really can't explain it because I am not that smart.
We knew that he'd be game for a good ol' Southern Oregon drive through real mountains. We decided to head to Watson Falls west of Diamond Lake. Splash!!! Brea meant to clean off her shoes and slipped back in the water.

Although a not-so-flattering pic of me it is reminiscent of one taken long ago when I was a kid. I had just thrown up after eating way too many blackberries and Dad pulled over to let Mom clean up and take a scenic shot...good ol' dad.

Here is the Falls!! after a short hike that made me realize I need to get in better shape....Princess half marathon in Walt Disney World here I come.........maybe.

Justin and Shane hiked down to feel the thunder. They said it felt somewhat suffocating because of the pounding. They washed their stank in Watson Falls. I stayed behind for documentation purposes only....and to guard my Dr. Pepper from my thieving children.
A girl after her mother's heart she was first to jump in the water. Yeah baby!!

Sat down by accident but it turned out to be more fun than we anticipated.

Posted by Picasa

Bowling Adventure

Dad and I decided to adventure off and take the kids bowling. Leaving Evanrude behind would have been the only thing that made it more fun for me....Actually, having Shane there to help would have plus-sized the fun. The "phase" he is going through is a trickier one for me...and everything we have done this summer has been without Shane....hard on both of us.
Didn't I tell!
These are the pics that will make me forget the tears of frustration. I could eat him up.
Aliya was the big winner! I think L.J was was close between her and Halley. I think even Evan beat me. I had some great strikes followed by the worst throws. I am my only undoing.
Posted by Picasa

Relaxing in Riverbank

Thanks to Aliya's baptism it gave us an excuse to get together in July. Jennie has a friend that let the kids come and cool off. Halley has a famous split dive...can't remember if she close her legs before hitting the water.

Naoki is famous for showing his cool tricks. I had to add a cool camera trick to equal his moves. You always know when you score big because he borrows the SD card to download to his computer. Yes!!!

Halley and Melanie were concerned that Papa might forget to plug his nose. These two love their grandpa.

I never got tired watching him jump...grinning from ear to ear.

Not quite a Halley split but more than Mommy can do.

She is a show-pony like her uncle....a future scuba diver for daddy.

It isn't a legitimate trip unless we have photographed these two together. Best cousins!!!

Posted by Picasa