A Day Trip to Kenai

Over the weekend the Hubs and I made a quick trip down to Kenai to visit family who come up from Arizona each year to fish for salmon.  This year we were blessed with fantastic weather and a few extra familiar faces as additional family friends were in the area too.

The fishing was quite slow the day we were there, but it made time for conversation between those fishing and those of us watching from the walkway above.  The Hubs caught up with his uncle and cousins as they cast.

I enjoyed the sunshine and the view of the river which was full of others fishing on the opposite bank and boats making their way up and down the river.

It was quite calming to watch them all cast and reel repeatedly with patience as they joked about prior visits to the river, shared old stories from their childhood days together and caught up on each other’s lives.

Eventually the fish did start to bite and it was a team effort to make sure they were reeled in successfully.  It’s a great example of why we love Alaska – its a place where others willingly stop what they are doing to help you out, knowing that you’ll do the same for them when the tables turn.

The Hub’s cousin seemed to have the best luck with the fish, although several played hard to get.  One even jumped back out of the net after being scooped up – prompting some interesting net wielding!

Several fish teased the anglers by brushing by their legs in the water.  Another decided to give the cousin a good splash when he was running the net for someone else, but that he didn’t complain too much and quickly got back to helping out.

There were a few surprise catches too, including this rainbow trout that we all thought was a dolly at first.

During one of the lulls I spotted this dog napping on a boat drifting down the river.  A little while later they were heading upstream and the same dog was standing at the bow, tail wagging like it was the best day ever. 🙂

I took a break to relax in the sun on a nearby bench which was apparently the good luck charm for the group, because that’s when the fish finally started biting.  Although they still played jokes on the guys, swimming into their stringer of other fish or along the shoreline that was covered in tree branches and sticks, making it likely to tear the nets.  But with every fish that was caught the smiles got bigger and bigger.

And every time I sat back to relax I’d hear “Fish On!” and jump up to see who had a taunt line.

As the day wore on the other fishermen in the area left to go home for dinner so we soon had the area to ourselves and it was just our group in the water.

Another friend of the cousins’ stopped by to chat and ended up running the net for them several times.

It seemed their luck had turned and they were all happy to show off their handiwork as a team.

The Hubs and I had to head out to make the 4+ hour drive back home for the work-week, but we left the guys to fish under Alaska’s midnight sun and share more stories – or create new ones.  Several of them will head back to the lower 48 this week, but we’ll see them again next year when they return.

The Hubs will head back down this weekend to join those still here in the river and catch fish of our own, so hopefully soon our freezer will be well stocked for the colder months to come. 🙂

Time Well Wasted

Olan Mills - 1968Although it’s been quiet here on the blog this week, it’s been an extremely busy and emotional week in the DB&DT household.  Monday morning we lost my grandmother Mema, just a little more than a year after my grandfather, Pappa Vince passed away.  It was also the day after the anniversary of my Aunt Diane’s passing.

The loss of so many loved ones in such a short time has been extremely difficult for our family, but life doesn’t pause for us to grieve.  I had photography client sessions and meetings and the hubs had an overnight work trip out of town that still had to happen.  As we made peace with the loss it made me realize just how fortunate we had been to enjoy some ordinary moments of life the weekend prior.

A walk with my photography group allowed me to see a fearless meadow vole who even let me pet him and meet a beautiful boreal owl who was missing a wing.

vole

owl

Photographing a wedding that afternoon brought a sighting of a young black bear.

bear

That evening the hubs and I enjoyed a walk in this amazing field of wildflowers, a true treat during Alaska’s short summer season.

field

wildflowers

And I was blessed to capture this sweet shot of the dogs as they romped through the blooms.

trio

I picked a little bouquet to take home as we wandered along the trail laughing at the dogs’ hijinks.

Bouquet

Despite a mile-long list of things to do around the house we drove to the Kenai peninsula the next day to visit some of the hub’s extended family who came up from Arizona to fish.  Along the way we stopped at another filed of wildflowers surrounded by stunning mountains.

PassAnd spotted glaciers right from the road.

PaintingSceneDown at the river we enjoyed watching the hub’s uncles and cousin fish along the riverbank.  It’s a beloved tradition for them to come here each summer and spend quality time together creating memories.

FishTrio

It warmed my heart to watch them chat and share smiles as they cast their lines.

CollageTrio

Then the memories started biting- one after another and they worked as a team to reel them in.

FishRyanFishOn

FishBillFishOn

FishRyanFishNet

With each catch the smiles grew and I knew these were the moments they will look back on and smile in the years to come, especially when they return home and share the results with other family members as they recount tales from the river.

Collage2 FishResults

It wasn’t a hugely productive weekend, but it was filled with memories in the making and plenty of time well wasted as one of my favorite country songs describes.  My little bouquet in the window is a lovely reminder of my love for those now gone and the importance of making the most of the time we are given because you never know when it might be your last opportunity to do so.  Time well wasted is a precious gift – one I continue to give freely and I hope you all do the same.

Bouquet2

I’mmm Baaccckkk!

Sorry I’ve been MIA recently.  The hubs and I were on a cross-country road trip to pick up my my 1955 F-100 from Virginia!  It’s now in my mother-in-law’s garage in Washington until the spring when we’ll head back down south to pick it up and put it on the ferry to Alaska.  We had originally planned to complete the whole transport in one trip, but the ferry schedule was not feasible, so we had to come up with a plan B.

55 TruckWe definitely got a lot of attention hauling my ’55.  It was pretty common for people to tailgate us, then pass slowly as they checked out the truck and throw us a thumbs up before speeding on down the road.  And just about every time we stopped someone asked what year the truck was or what we were doing with it.  We even had an offer for $10,000 in a mid-west rest stop!  Of course I didn’t accept, since the truck holds more sentimental value of time spent with my dad restoring it from the junk yard mess it was when we first bought it.  My husband really enjoyed throwing people for a loop by pointing out that the truck was mine and not his!

Beyond moving the truck closer to Alaska the trip was a means to visit family and friends across the country.  We spent a few days with my family in Virginia where we watched my nephew play in a few baseball games before heading to Denver to visit our good friends.  We got to town just as the biblical rains paused for a day, before resuming the following day increasing the already swollen rivers.  Luckily, our friends live in Morrison, in the mountains south of Denver so they didn’t have any major damage like Boulder did.

Tracy

Our last night in Denver we had dinner with my husband’s cousin and her family – who I did a quick portrait session for (watch for a post about that on my Jenna D’ Photography site!)

Riders

After Denver, we headed to Durango, CO where we visited my husband’s aunt’s ranch.  I was supposed to do a family session for her daughter’s family but we were unable to coordinate all six kids schedules to allow everyone to participate.  So instead, I did a few pictures of the younger kids as they introduced me to the horses and of the two kitties who call the ranch home.

Pi

I also took photos of the needlepoint projects his aunt has done to create a portfolio of her work.  We were only there for about 18 hours, but it was good to visit and meet more of my hubby’s extended family.  From there, we headed to Portland.  We learned that the storms had hit Durango just after we left, washing out the road to the ranch we had been at and causing boulders to crash down the mountainside, knocking my husband’s cousin’s truck off the road!  Everyone was alright, but it sure was a scary few hours!  We spent the last two days of our trip with my mother-in-law just across the river from Portland.  Once the truck was settled in her garage, I got in a little antiquing and shopping before meeting up with an old high school friend I hadn’t seen in over a decade for dinner.  It was fun to catch up and chat about how we had both changed.

Of course I took LOTS of pictures along the way, which I’ll be editing to share in a post later this week.  There’s just too many to sort through tonight.  Now that we’re home and unpacked it’s back to work and a normal routine.  We checked in on the house right after picking up our fur babies from doggie day camp.  Unfortunately, there hasn’t been as much progress as hoped.  The exterior was being painted when we arrived, including the front door – only in the wrong color!  The foreman arrived while we were there so I pointed that out and reminded him that I’d tried to give him the color I wanted before leaving, but he’d said to hold off.  Now that he has the right paint number & name it should be repainted tomorrow.  The roofing material is on-site, but has not been installed yet.  The electrical has been done, although we’re going to need a diagram to figure out what switch goes to what light before moving in!  The local power company still has to run the line to the house to finish the electrical inspection, but the crew should begin insulation on Monday, followed by drywall.  They can’t mud and tape until the electrical inspection is complete, so we’ll see if there is a delay there.  Here’s the latest picture of the progress.

House

Stay tuned this week for new posts!  I promise I’ll be back to my normal weekly routine now. 🙂