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Don Young Consponsors – Text – H.R.702 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress

via Text – H.R.702 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress.

I checked out this bill because the title seemed like it was trying to hide something. This bill lifts all restrictions on the export of crude oil. They could have just said that in the title.

Unplotable Trail Leads to Hidden Vistas

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An amazing forest trail, right of the paved Brotherhood Bridge Trail.

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Love in the forest.

Today’s hiking plans misfired far more than yesterday’s but still had a good outcome.

The plan was to go out to the Juneau Airport Dike Trail for a couple of hours around 9:30 am and come home in time to had off the car so my spouse could hang out with a friend.

Despite the fact I’ve been to the Airport Dike Trail a number of times before, I just could not find the trailhead today. Partly it was a matter of construction around intersections I normally use to get there. I tried several different routes but kept getting forced back onto to the main roads. It was like some wizard had come along and made the trailhead unplottable. My temper flared and I was very frustrated. I could have have turned around, gone home and grumbled for the rest of the day. Instead I took a deep breath and decided to go on the Brotherhood Bridge trail instead.

Juneau’s Bridge Trail is a paved path along the Mendenhall river just past Riverbend as you are driving out from town. It’s pretty enough, but I go there fairly often. It wasn’t quite what I was in the mood for, but I decide any walking was better than no walking. So I drove to the Dimond Park Field House and parked my car next to one of the entrances to the Brotherhood Bridge trail. I started walking, I quickly reached a pedestrian bridge over the Mendenhall River. I stopped for a moment mid stream to take in the mountains, the clouds and the river. Then I crossed to the other side and hung a left. I intended to go to the start of the trail, currently blocked by bridge construction. However, I noticed a dirt trail leading off to my right. I’ve noticed these turn offs for years, but never actually took one. Why not now? So I started down a well maintained dirt and gravel trail.

It blew me away almost immediately. Tall trees with the trail sloping up hill, a tributary stream to the Mendenhall clearly audible. Before I got too entranced, I called my spouse and let her know about my change in plans. When hiking in Alaska, you ALWAYS tell people where you are going and when you expect to be back. It’s just what we do and it has saved lives. Not telling people has ended lives. I would probably be ok, but why take chances?

After my spouse confirmed my change of plans, I continued walking. I set a timer for a half hour, because I still needed to be home in time to hand off the car. After the top of the hill, the view widened some and I saw that I was close to a swiftly flowing creek. The lack of still water may have contributed to the lack of flying insects. The path kept branching. There were a few places were it looked like the path might go back to pavement and I turned away from those. I had a great half hour and had walked more than a mile when my alarm chimed. I hadn’t found the end of this branch. So I headed back in the direction that I came. I resolved to take an exit out onto the paved path if the opportunity presented itself. After several branches, a way to the main path appeared and I took it. It turned out to be about five minutes down from when I entered the forest. I easily made it back to my car. I had a grand time and I’ll definitely be back on the next sunny weekend.

Moral of the story – I discovered whole new vistas because I was willing to set my anger at myself and frustration aside and try something different. It worked for me and I hope it works for you.

References:

Juneau Airport Dike Trail

Unplotability, Harry Potter Wiki

Brotherhood Bridge Trail

Hiking Windfall Lake Trail: Way Beyond the Red Line

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Windfall Lake Trail, Juneau Alaska

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Windfall Lake from Windfall Lake Cabin, May 30, 2015

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Windfall Lake Cabin. End of the Windfall Lake Trail.

Today I hiked the Windfall Lake Trail at Mile 27 of Glacier Highway. My original plan was to:

  • Get up around 6 am.
  • Leave about 7 am.
  • Get to the trail about 7:30 and allow for two hours to the cabin and back. I was going to use my MapMyWalk app to track my distance.
  • Spend about a half hour at the cabin reading thru its log book – always entertaining reading.
  • Get home sometime around 2 pm to give my spouse the car

Aside from it actually taking two hours from the trailhead to the cabin and another two hours back, nothing about the day went to plan. But that was ok.

Let’s start at the beginning. My eyes snapped open at 3:30 am. I had gotten to bed around 10:30 pm, so I wasn’t actually refreshed. I tried going back to sleep but gave up around 4 am. I made coffee, got breakfast and put my hiking bag together. I was in the car before 5 am, headed to the trailhead.

The Windfall Lake Trail isn’t exactly well-marked and I had only hiked it once before. I wound up passing it by the first time. This actually worked out well because I wound up stopping near Eagle Beach and got to see mountains over the sea and some geese in the water. I took pictures with my phone and wished I had my regular camera because it would have gotten a better picture of the geese. I got back into the car and made it back to the trailhead. The trailhead is almost exactly at mile 27 and is located on the Juneau side of the bridge over the Herbert River. It starts out as a wide dirt road, then becomes an actual trail.

When I got out of my car, I tried to set MapMyWalk. It couldn’t get a lock on GPS or on the data network. It’s indicators just spun sadly. So I turned off my location service and set a stop watch. While it would have been nice to know the exact mileage, not having MapMyWalk worked out well because I could stop and take pictures without worrying about how it would affect my pace.

Not having GPS or phone service did bring to mind Commander Adama’s line from the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries:

We’ve jumped way beyond the Red Line into uncharted space.

21st Century problems.

The trail was beautiful and easy, especially compared with last week’s trip on the DuPont trail. The three miles to the cabin were relatively easy. I stopped frequently to take photos. I saw a few more geese and at least one eagle. I was very impressed with how tall the evergreen trees were and kept looking up at the forest canopy.

There was a lot of board walk on the trail. This is great on dry days, but I think would be a lot harder on wet days. There were fallen trees on the trail, but fortunately our local trails group had sawed out the chunks that would have been on the trail itself. There wasn’t much in the way of wildflowers aside from white Dogwoods. Can’t wait to see how colorful the forests and meadows will be in late June/July.

I reached the lake and cabin (2nd and 3rd photos above) about 7:45 am. I looked around a bit, took some photos. I wasn’t sure whether the cabin had been rented the previous night. I looked in one of the windows and saw large glasses on the table. Rented. They had the place till 9 or 9:30. So I started backing away. Not fast enough to keep their dog from barking. I continued leaving quietly and no one came out. I hope they were able to get back to sleep.

The way back was just as pretty as the way in, just with more sun and more mosquitoes. It was morning twilight when I started and now the sun was well above the horizon. I seldom wish for sunglasses in Juneau, but I did today.

I was back at the trailhead just before 10 am. This worked out well because it meant I was able to do some grocery shopping and meet my spouse and a friend for lunch.

So – a day where little went according to plan, but it was all good. Now I think I need a nap. But I’ll definitely be back this summer, unlike DuPont.

References

Battlestar Galactica (2003) Quotes, IMDB

Windfall Lake Trail, US Forest Service

DuPont (Pt. Bishop) Trail, US Forest Service

Juneau Sun Madness Continues

imageThere are some residents of Juneau that can resist the pull of sunshine. I’m not one of these people unless utterly exhausted or on my deathbed. Today was sunny and mid 70s (F). I worked late last night, so I was able to leave early today. I live about three miles from work. So on nice days when I’m not driving home with my spouse, I like to walk home. It seemed like a good idea and for the most part it was.

I was dressed in tan slacks and a light Hawaiian shirt when I walked out of MPOW about 3pm. I liked being able to watch seabirds, ravens and eagles on my way home. We were at low tide so I was also treated to long stretches of brown, yellow and green seaweed along the sea side of the road.

I did get hot though and yearned for my hat. My walk home was long sunny stretches interspersed with small patches of shade brought to the road by tall evergreens. I slowed down in those patches. I couldn’t bring myself to stop because I wanted to keep a steady pace. After about an hour, I made it home. So grateful.

I wouldn’t say I was too overheated. After all, everyone who walks home immediately changes into shorts, downs three tall glasses of water and eats six stalks of celery. Right?

Day 15: More Random Musings

In a previous post, I said I intended to drop the “Day ___” from my Write. Every. Day. type posts unless it was a meaningful milestone to me or I was restarting a streak. I’m throwing that out the window for this post because the only reason this blog exists is for me to make another mark on the calendar. So putting the day number in the post title seems appropriate.

As I write this, it is 4:45am Alaska Time. I’m writing the post now because I’m working till 6pm tonight instead of my usual 4:30pm. I figure that by the time I get home and make dinner, I won’t feel like writing. This will be doubly true if I walk the three miles from work to my home. I might because we’re supposed to be back into sunny weather. I might not because one of the perks of working till 6pm on some Thursdays is being able to leave work at 3pm and I’ll almost certainly walk home tomorrow. But either way, it seems likely I’ll be too tired to write tonight.

Writing this early in the morning though, I didn’t have any great ideas for a post theme. A lot of my intellectual energy these days has been spent watching the Legislature’s reaction to our cash flow problem. I’ve been obsessing over the #akleg tag on Twitter. I’ve been forming strong opinions. But I’m not going to share them here. I’ve had a long standing policy against criticizing the level of government that I am employed by. I was able to hold my tongue during the Sarah Palin years and I’m holding it now. I MAY have something to say if I actually have a layoff notice in my hands.

So, being unwilling to write about my obsession of the moment, what could I write on? I thought about a post on last fall’s trip to Monterrey California and how I fell in instant love or at least infatuation with it, but I could only think of a few sentences to go with the photo I had in mind. So you get to read, skim or skip another post on writing about writing. Hopefully tomorrow I will have something more interesting for you.

Cooking Thoughts

imageA few days ago, I wrote about how I used the Douglas Public Library as a work space to finally organize my loose collected recipes into a binder.

I just wanted to write that I have started to put my binder to use. Our Full Circle Farm box arrived yesterday and had one bunch of spinach. I usually use most of the spinach before it spoils by putting into sandwiches and salads. But I wanted to see if I could do something more creative with it. I opened up my binder, looked under side dishes and found the recipe above.

While this recipe is technically for kale, it says it can be used for just about any other green. I wound up making another substitution. I don’t have fresh garlic on hand, so I used some of my near infinite store of garlic powder. I think I used a heaping teaspoon. I was afraid I would have to substitute something for the balsamic vinegar, but happily there was a third of a bottle in the back of a cabinet I hadn’t touched for months. It’s got enough vinegar to make this recipe ten times over. Which I expect to. Even with garlic powder and god knows how old vinegar, I really liked how this spinach and onion dish turned out and so did my wife. I’m looking forward to trying this dish with the other greens — after I get more fresh garlic.

Aside from fulfilling my “Write. Every. Day” requirement, I’m sharing this story because I’m happy that I progressed from:

“What I am going to do with all these stupid loose recipes?” to “I could put them into a binder, but where’s a #$%#$ three hole punch and space to organize?” to “Great! Now I have a binder of recipes, 80% of which I’ve never tried.” to “I’m using my organized recipes to cook something while it is still fresh. This is awesome!”

I got some pleasure in my life by taking some small steps. I hope you will have a similar experience soon.

References:

Douglas Public Library Helped Me Solve a Problem, 5/24/2015

Perspective Shift Yields Better Path

I have worked at the Juneau State Office Building (SOB) since 1998. For the past ten years and probably longer, I have walked on my morning and afternoon breaks. On gray and rainy days, I walk from the SOB Snack Bar on the 8th floor down past the public faces of the Alaska State Library, through the sky bridge to the Alaska Office Building, walk that from end to end on the third floor and loop back into the SOB until a few minutes before my break ends. Then I go back to my desk. It’s a pretty firm routine.

When it’s sunny, I almost always walk on Calhoun past the Governor’s mansion and the seemingly endless under construction Choate Residence, then past two more buildings. Then I turn around and go back to the SOB. That takes about 14 minutes. Perfect for my break. I haven’t meaningfully varied that route in ten years. Occasionally I walk in another direction, but if I’m walking down Calhoun, I’ve stayed on Calhoun until it’s time to turn around.

Today I was walking at morning break and finally noticed that from the intersection of Calhoun and Dixon, a sidewalk goes up Dixon. I’m not sure why I hadn’t noticed it all these years – perhaps I was focused on getting as far as possible on Calhoun. So I crossed the street and started walking. Dixon rises at about a 30-40 degree angle above Calhoun. It gave a nice view of the tops of the Governor’s Mansion and nearby buildings. It also gave an unobstructed view of the Kashevaroff Building, the future home of the State Library, Archives and Museum.

Dixon St. had another surprise for me. Once I reached the top of the hill, I noticed a staircase leading down and to the right. At first I thought it was to a residence, but a more careful examination showed that it went down to the street. So I walked down the stairs and found myself back on Calhoun across the street from the Governor’s Mansion. Walking back from the Mansion, I got to my desk about fourteen minutes after I left. A perfect loop with better exercise and a superior view. It was waiting for me until I could shift my perspective from the street in front of me.

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