"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5

Saturday, July 31, 2010


The salmon have started spawning which means more bear activity in the area.  Two years ago I saw a bear out near the Mendenhall Glacier so I have been hanging out there quite a bit the last few days in hopes of seeing one before I leave next week.  There was also a picture in the local paper this week of a mother bear and her three cubs walking across the road out by the glacier.  So neat!!!

Bear Poop!!!
Thursday evening  I was not successful and I didn't see anything but a porcupine up in a tree.  There was a little excitement for a bit with people wondering if it was a bear cub but no such luck.  I did meet several people out there - Kathleen and Tim live in Douglas not too far from me and also a pharmacy student here from Indiana trying to see a bear before she left early this morning.  Friday night I went out a little later (after I went to the free music in the park) and there was the same group.  I saw one bear as it was leaving.  Kathleen said I had missed most of the action as they had seen several bears.  We did walk on a trail in hopes of seeing the mama and cubs but just saw evidence that they had been there!!!
Fising for a lens cap:)

Tim lost his lens cap in the stream so there was a "fishing expedition" as well.  Successful!

Sarah said early morning was also a good time to see bears so I headed out to the glacier early this morning (Saturday) to see if I had better luck.  There were already a couple of people out - and Tim showed up a few minutes later. After a short while, we saw a bear!  This one is about four years old and has a blue tag in its ear.   It was tagged as a cub - its mother was a "garbage dump" bear.  This one and its sibling were tagged and relocated.

Bear Sighting!!  Notice the blue tag in its ear.

Scratching its head!!
We watched it for a while until it disappeared.  A little later it came back and was right under the walkway we were standing on.  It stood up and started rubbing its head on the walkway.  A couple minutes later, it started looking up at us - I have never been so close to a bear!!!  Within a few seconds it had climbed a tree and was on the decking with us:):)  Whoops!  It was in the middle of the group - the man on my side and I backed around the corner where it couldn't see us and we got out of there!!!  One of the men on the other side was a park ranger and started yelling at it and scared it off the bridge.  The ranger said this was really unusual behavior and that they would have to keep their eye on this one.  He thought it looked like the bear was looking for food and that maybe someone had fed it.

After this excitement, I decided it was time for me to head back home.  Guess who I saw on the way?

Same bear!!!  I saw the blue tag.

Same bear walking across an open field and I stopped the car to take a picture - I saw the blue tag so knew it was the same bear.  They really move fast as I saw this morning.
I'll put up a couple more pictures:):)   This all happened before 8:00 a.m. this morning!!!  Wonder what is in store for the rest of the day???

Walking away from the stream.
Fishing - the salmon come through this screen so they can count them.
This is new this year.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


My time in Alaska is coming to an end so it is time for another blog giveaway!  No chocolate in this one since it would melt but there is smoked salmon, salmon jerky, and a few other tasty things plus some other little goodies from my travels.

To enter the drawing post your name in the comments section (email me if you can't get it to post) by noon on Sunday.  If you have a story to share, Sarah and I are listening:)   (Peggy K?????)  Everyone is eligible that lives in the U.S.  but Sarah.  Good luck!!!  Winner takes all.  Sarah will draw the winner Sunday afternoon and I will mail the box on Monday.

Update on my plans:  I am leaving on the ferry for Bellingham on Tuesday, August 3rd.  I have to be at the ferry terminal at 2:00 a.m.   So do I try to sleep a few hours or try to stay awake????  I'll arrive in Bellingham on Friday and am meeting a friend in Seattle on Sunday.  After three days in Seattle, I'll start heading back towards Houston but will make several stops along the way.  When I get back to Houston, my brother Walter and I will head for Nashville in his RV.  We have an appointment with a Realtor to find me a rental home.  Exciting times!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sitka, Alaska - part 2 Totem Pole Park


Saturday afternoon we went to the Sitka National Historical Park better known as  "Totem Pole Park".  After spending time in the visitor center and seeing the film, we wandered the trails of the park looking at the different totem poles.    Several of the original totem poles are on display in the visitor center to protect them from the weather and preserve them.   The totem poles we saw throughout the park are a mixture of original totems and reproductions.  As you came to each pole, you could dial a number on your cell phone to get its history.  Technology:)  We walked by most of the 15 or so totem poles in the park.   A bear was spotted in the park the day before we were here but we didn't see it.


Listening to the facts via cell phone!
Just the very top of a totem pole.

While we were at the park we could see and hear ravens and eagles. They are so common here but not something I see in Houston.

Sitka trivia:  Sitka was the location where the treaty between Russia and the United States was signed for the purchase of Alaska.  The United States paid about .02 an acre for the Alaskan Territory.  The Russians were very proud of the deal but in the US it became known as "Seward's Folly" for the outrageous amount the US paid.  Wonder what they think of that deal now?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sitka, Alaska - part 1

Mimosas in disguise!
Sarah and I spent the weekend in Sitka, AK.  We took the "fast ferry" bright and early Saturday morning and returned Sunday afternoon.  It was plenty of time to see this small town.  Sarah and her friends know how to travel:)  Rosie got up really early and made mimosas for everyone - that just looks like orange juice in those bottles!  They also brought a huge sack of all kinds of snacks - fresh fruit, cheese, crackers, sandwiches, etc.  On the ride over the four of us (Sarah, Rosie, Nate and I)  played Phase 10.  I started out really well but fell by the wayside on the last phase.

As usual, it was nice just looking out the window on the ferry at the water, etc.  We saw several whales on the way over.  After I took a picture or two of the water, Sarah grabbed my camera and took a shot.  She actually got the whale in the picture.  This was a young whale that kept flipping his tail up and down.  Sarah said they do this to build up muscle.  Fun to watch!  We also saw a porpoise, seals, eagles,  ravens, and a brown bear on the beach during the round trip ferry ride (about 5 hours each way).

Once we got to Sitka and checked in to our B&B we played tourist and hit the town and shops.  First stop was the Russian Orthodox Church.  It was founded in 1837.  There were lots of historical information and gold colored icons inside.  Very elaborate.


After some shopping and wandering through some of the gift shops we saw some more of the town.  We even made Sarah get her picture taken with me and the bear:)  Doesn't she look thrilled?  We spent some time at "Totem Pole Park" but I'll do a separate blog on it.

Happy birthday Rosie!
Saturday night we celebrated Rosie's birthday by having an early dinner at the Channel Club Restaurant.  Definitely the best restaurant meal I have had since being in Alaska.  Prime rib and crab legs -the Alaskan version of "surf and turf".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glaciers

Tuesday morning I picked Sarah up bright and early for our tour to the Tracy Arm Fjiord and Sawyer Glaciers.  Each time I come see Sarah I try to take this tour - it is magnificent!!!   Tracy Arm is about 45 miles from Juneau so it takes a couple of hours in the boat to get there.

 We stopped along the way for some picture taking at Icy Falls.   Captain Rusty got the boat really close to the falls - so close you could almost reach out and touch them.  We also stopped and watched the humpback whales a few times on the way out.  I wasn't successful getting pictures of them this trip but they are always fun to watch.  The closer you get to the Sawyer Glaciers the more icebergs you see in the water.  There were even some harbor seals napping on several.  We didn't get too close because they don't like to disturb them - after all it is their territory.

First we went to the North Sawyer Glacier and spent about an hour there.  We saw it calve several times and just enjoyed the beauty of it all.  We were also able to go to the South Sawyer Glacier and see it.  It is smaller than the North Glacier.

                                                                                                                  South Sawyer Glacier

                                          If you live in Alaska, you wear these:):)

                                           Notice all the birds on this iceberg.

We really got lucky on this tour, there were only seven of us - four natives and 3 tourists.  Sarah's friend, Kami, her mom Jeannette, and Bill were on the tour as well as two ladies from Juneau.

After we got back to the dock, we picked up Zyda and went to the Alaskan Brewing Company for a "tasting".   We finished the day off with a quick trip to the Mendenhall Glacier and then met some more of Sarah and Cami's friends for dinner at the Twisted Fish.

Wonderful but exhausting day!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Relay for Life

The Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society was held this weekend in Juneau.  Nate (at right) , a friend of Sarah's, is on the committee.  I went out for a few hours Saturday afternoon to help in the Luminaries booth.  People bought luminaries in honor of friends fighting the cancer battle or in memory of others who had fought.  All the luminaries were to be lit at 11:30 p.m. last night.

There were teams walking the track for 24 hours in order to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  This is Juneau, so part of the time it was raining but they kept walking.

There was also a Silent Auction with lots of great donations as well as booths selling knitted hats, foods, massages(!!!!), and other items to raise money.  I was outbid the last 30 minutes on the Whale Watching trip I had my eye on.

Even Zyda May came out to see if she could help - NOT:)  Her cuteness made up for it.  Don't tell Sarah but she is at the unruly teenage stage.  Payback:):)

This post is in memory of Amanda Cortez and Heather Abke (friends of my daughters).  Also in honor of Trudi Lamond, Barbara Lionberger, Vicki Smith and Annette Bailey (breast cancer survivors and fighters) and Carlton Mayo who is a cancer fighter and amazing example to his family and friends.  Join together to find a cure and put an end to cancer.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mount Roberts Trail and Tramway

Sarah and I took her car in to be serviced Thursday morning and then had breakfast out in the Valley - waffles!!!  Didn't think to take a picture but they were good.
Today was a REAL hike - not just a walk.  Karen and I hiked the Mt. Roberts Trail up to the tram station and rode down on the tram.  Back in the day, there was a lot of mining done in this area.  They say there are more miles of mining tunnels in Mt. Roberts than there are roads in Juneau.  It took Karen and I a little over two hours to get to our destination - the tram stop.    The trail goes up even further. I am so glad I wore my hiking boots!!!

After all the rain in the last week, parts of it were really muddy and slippery.  We took our time and enjoyed the views and had a few "breathing breaks".   There were even some blueberry bushes along the way.   Definitely got the heart rate up and did our cardio for the day.  When we got to the top we bought a couple of things in the gift shop so we could ride the tram down for free - blog giveaway!!!  We also saw the film in the Chilkoot Theater about the Tlingket Natives and the arrival of the Russians (for furs) and the Americans (for gold).  There is also a raptor center where they rehabilitate injured birds.  The eagle they had on display is blind and has several broken bones so will not be able to be released.  We were both grateful that it was a five minute tram ride down and we didn't have to hike back down the mountain.  Loved the views!

Got back in time to pick up Sarah's car!!  Having your mom around comes in handy sometimes:)

The Sun is Shining!

After a solid week of rain and clouds, Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day!  This was also the first day I did not need a jacket since I arrived.  The high today was 71!!!  Heat wave!
I took advantage of the weather and stayed outside all day.  First up was a walk across the Douglas Bridge with Karen (trainer).  After walking the Golden Gate, I decided I would be a "bridge walker".  The Douglas Bridge connects Juneau with Douglas Island and goes across the Gastineau Channel.  Even though it is not very long, the views from the middle are wonderful.   Here is one with a cruise ship arriving in Juneau.

Next up was a walk on the Brotherhood Bridge trail in the Mendenhall Valley.  I had been on this trail before but not this section of it.  An Alaskan wildflower, Fireweed, has started blooming and you can see these flowers everywhere.  The trail here is really pretty and a nice place to walk.  Karen and I spent close to an hour walking on the trails here before she needed to be back in Juneau for an appointment.   I stopped by Heritage Coffee to see Sarah, and she suggested a place for me to visit - the beach!!!  Yeah!!   That girl knows me well.   I spent the afternoon laying on the beach in the sunshine:)  Last week during all the rain I started reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy that starts with "The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo".  Took me 50-60 pages to "get into" the book but Peg L kept telling me it was going to get better and to "stick with it".  I'm into it now and just started the last book in the series.   It did keep me busy during all the rainy days:)

Really a beautiful day and I enjoyed every minute!!