Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Take a bear to lunch today

I went bear viewing Monday as part of training for a temporary, part-time gig I got with Emerald Air. I'll be helping them out for a couple weeks in September and thought it would be a good idea to go on a trip and see what they do first hand. The owners, Chris and Ken Day were great. They've been guiding bear-viewing trips in Katmai National Park and in the Preserve for two decades and have a wealth of knowledge about the area and bears. They're meticulous about every aspect of the trip to assure the safety of their clients and the bears. I had a good time and we saw many bears. Here are some photos from the trip.

The flight in was on a 1960 de Havilland Otter. Flying time was about an hour and a half. We even had to fly over the rainbow to get to the bears.

Augustine Island, where Augustine is still steaming from its last eruption in 2006.

Follow the tracks.

Mama and babes.

Babes following their mum.

Hey! Who are you? Spring cubs are curious but one snorty grunt from mama sent them running back to her.

Chasing fish in the river.
Here fishy fishy!

Got one!!


Friday, August 14, 2009

I use that sloppy English all the time

Even though fall is definitely in the air, and I'm obviously excited to run dogs again, I'm also a little anxious. Anxious about the team, learning new trails, earning money to finance all the races I want to do...I guess it's par for the course, so to speak. A woman came into the winery yesterday and we got chatting about dog mushing. She paused for a while and then looked at me with a serious expression. 'Can I ask you something?'
'Sure,' I said.
'What do you like about dog mushing?' she asked, adding 'I mean, why do you do it?'
I thought about it for a sec because there are a lot of reasons why. I love the dogs. I love being out on the trail. I love the hard work.
Then I answered her.
'I do it because it's hard. There's always something, some obstacle to overcome, some problem to figure out all the while making sure the dogs are performing at their best and staying happy and healthy. And at the end of day, after a long training run or a tough race with cold and wind and open water and tough trail, we're all OK.'
I don't know if that was the answer she was looking for but she accepted it.
Rich's parents are coming up in September and I'm looking forward to exploring more of this area with them. Work is good, but slowing down a little. The dogs are restless and so are we. Here are some photos from the past week or so.

Christina and I at work.

Bill, the owner, sampling some strawberry-rhubarb wine.

My dad's maple syrup on the shelf. We sell it at the winery now!

Rich at work building a new garden shed.

Bully on our trip to Kenai the other day.