Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Apologies

It is December, nearly Christmas, and I only just published my very first blog from September.  We are well into snowy weather here in Alaska, and I feel silly saying anything about golden autumn leaves or first snowfalls.  But, on a happier note, my computer glitches seem to have worked themselves out, and hopefully I can stay more up to date from now on.  And hopefully you care.

The First Snowfall

As a relatively new transplant I'm in church-shopping mode.  This is not an activity I look forward to.  Well, I look forward to finding the perfect place for my family.  I do not look forward to feeling awkward and exposed in a new place, and I do not look forward to the overwhelming stench of people's clashing colognes and deodorants.  So, when my husband came home from work at around ten on Sunday morning and wanted the boy and me to go hiking with him, I happily kicked off my flats and went to change into my boots and some more appropriate jeans.  We threw some snacks in our various backpacks, filled up our water bottles, and left our apartment for an adventure. 

We were prepared for chilly autumn weather.  We had our hats and gloves, just in case.  We were bundled in our fleece jackets.  What we were not prepared for was the sight of snowflakes drifting down from the sky.  It was snowing!  It was September 26th, and it was snowing.  We clambered into the Big Green Jeep and hit the road. 

The boy all bundled up on the trailhead.
 We drove down the Seward Highway, which takes you out of Anchorage and along the Turnagain Arm - a long, narrow extension of the Cook Inlet.  I usually spend the drive scanning the water for signs of whales.  Apparently everyone, including my six year-old, has seen whales in this body of water except yours truly.  As usual, there were none about.  But I was pleasantly distracted by the explosion of golden fall leaves.  It was breathtaking.  On our left was a rocky mountainside.  Driving this road in the summer I never noticed that it is dotted with brave little trees, clinging for their lives to whatever soil they've managed to find there.  Autumn left the gray rocks sprinkled with yellow, shivering leaves.

The guide book said to expect a 'strenuous' hike.  It probably wouldn't sell guide books very well if it said a hike was annoyingly wet and muddy, but that's about as strenuous as it got.  It was too warm for it to stick, but after hiking about a mile the snow began falling in earnest.  It was pretty exhilarating.  Catching snowflakes on our tongues, even we grown-ups were wide-eyed.  We wound up hiking a little more than four miles round trip.  The boy was sustained with pop-tarts, granola bars and rectangles of Hershey's bar, which were periodically produced from the husband's pockets.  One rectangle got us about 10 minutes of whine-free hiking.

Here is stuff I saw on the hike:

We blasted the heater the whole way home.  Forgot to stop at The Turnagain Armpit (apparently they have good barbecue - husband and son stopped for ribs on their last trip), but I had enough time to get home and bake a banana cake for our dessert.  Just a little taste of home.