Sunday, June 08, 2008

Everyday seems to have a theme song. Sometimes it's the same song day after day. Sometimes it is the same day song after song and some songs seem to fit everyday. This weekend's song was Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show or Bob Dylan or whoever you would like to give credit to. If you don't know should find it.

Heading to the south from the land
of the pines, thumbing my way out
of North Caroline, staring at the road
pray to god, I see headlights. Well,
I made it down the coast in 17 hours
picking me a bouquet of dogwood floweres
and I'm a hoping for Raleigh, I can
see my baby tonight.

It went like this. Katie, one of my dorm mates and co-conspirator in the quest to see and do everything there is to do in Alaska plus, thumbed our way out of Moose Pass with nothing more than our backpacking gear and a vague plan to hike a trail on the tundra and then attend a music and arts festival in celebration of the Kenai river. We caught a ride from a co-worker straight away. He dropped us off at the meeting of two highways where the Forest Service has an interpretive van set up. We visited with our co-worker rangers who were stationed there for awhile. They had a scope focused on some mountain goats on the hillside. They are looking fairly scraggly. Then we walked and walked and watched and watched as the single passenger cars rolled on by. We were picked up about a mile down the road by a lady, who in retrospect, was quite emotionally distraught and probably drunk. We ditched her as soon as we could using the excuse that we had to pee and wanted to explore a short nature trail. We were picked up shortly thereafter by a Georgian halibut fisherman and he was pleased as punch that there were some girls out there with the guts to go backpacking on their own. Humph!!!

We were planning to hike on the tundra from one highway to the next on a 5 mile long trail and past 4 lakes. As we started off on the faint trail, we were attacked by mosquitoes. So many mosquitoes we were choking on them and as we batted at them and dodged our feet began sinking further into brown red muck. After a couple hundred feet or so, soaked to our calves, itchy and a bit lost, we turned back to come up with a plan B. It was obvious that the muck and the mosquitoes and the ever disappearing trail was going to make for a very miserable experience. So we pulled out the map and found another promising trail. It was a trail that I had been working on for the past week and led past some scenic falls, great views of an ice field and a back country cabin on a lake. So we hitched a ride back towards from whence we had come and began our new hike. It was a very pleasant hike through spruce and birch with plenty of views of craggy mountains and glittering snow fields. We set up camp and dined and explored the area. At around 10pm or so we were visited by a very disturbing sound. It was something like a whining moo. We were a bit startled and thinking it might be a moose or a baby bear or a distraught mama bear looking for her cubs, we banged pots and pans and made as much noise as we could. The noise ran off and it sounded as though it was a big animal. It may have also been a big bird...hard to say. The noise returned two more times in the night and banged and clanged it away. We did see a small black bear on the hike out, so maybe that was what the noise was. It did seem like our camp site was right in the midst of an animal thoroughfare to the lake.

We hitched a ride into Soldotna with some Moose Passers and there we found our way to the Kenai River Festival which had live music by Southern Comfort and 6 dollar salmon dinners complete with potato salad, tabbouleh, muffins and bread. We browsed the local crafts and participated in some kid's activities. There were some folks with eagles and owls milling about and a lot of interesting people. We had a grand time and I felt a little bit infinite. Then we ran some errands, i.e. picked up groceries and stuffed them in our already full backpacks. A new brewery had just opened up next to the grocery store so we checked that out as well. As far as I can tell, they make excellent beer and it will continue to get better. They had a great unfiltered hefeweizen and a wonderful vanilla bean porter. The decor was really creative and we met a nice old couple to drove us half way home and invited us to stay in there guest cabin whenever we wanted. We got a ride the rest of the way home from a guy that I do stream watch volunteering with. When we got home, we were exhausted and happy. Hurray!

Katie and I planted a garden this week too. The garden plot was already there from dorm residents prior so we fixed it up, mended the fence, pulled our the weeds and transplanted the perennials and planted us some peas, broccoli, kale, scallions, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, beets, radishes, spinach and Swiss chard. We are also going to plant an herb garden in an old rusty wheel barrow taking up space on the compound. We have been watering it with buckets and a colander because we don't have a hose. It is a great little project and we are both glad to have something to take care of this summer.

Our next adventure will be making sourdough tonight. I got some starter from a gal on my crew and revived it. We are trying to come up with a way to grind our own flour. We are also scheming on brewing some beer, probably an amber or a hefeweizen. is work and the tempo will be changing soon. The Russian River opens for fishing the 11th and so we will be changing projects. I am excited for a change that is for sure.

Well, I gotta get a move on before the sun
I hear my baby calling my name and I
know that he's the only one
and if I die in Raleigh, at least I will die free.
So rock me mama like a wagon wheel,
rock me mama anyway you feel.
Hey mama rock me.
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain.
Rock me mama like a southbound train.
Hey moma rock me.

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