Valdez, Fairbanks, and back to Tok

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First let me apologize if anyone saw this post show up, in it's uncompleted form. Blogger was being delightful yesterday, not saving, publishing for no reason. It's been a real hassle lately, more so than usual. I had intended to finish this post last night but I was just too tired to keep my eyes open. Aside from all the running around I'm going to tell you about in this post, I have some other news, which I'll share in another post that's been keeping me busy, especially this week. 

And now, back to the regular programming! 

We have been on the go for the past week. We left Tuesday the 14th for Valdez for our last fishing trip of the summer and to hopefully find some Silver salmon. It was a beautiful day, and in Valdez the sky was blue and the mountains were clear. We were lucky, especially since in July we didn't get to see much of the mountains while we were there thanks to the clouds.

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We left the harbor and headed out to start fishing that evening. It was about 4-5 PM when we left Valdez harbor, after getting into Valdez, loading the boat up, and making a run to the grocery store for some more supplies. This trip I had two grown men, two teenage boys, and a 10 year old to keep fed. Buddy's (the boat owner) wife was in Fairbanks babysitting Grandkids this trip, so we missed her.

The dogs were more than ready to get back on the boat this time and they never had one single problem, they both acted like seasoned sailors. I think they are a little spoiled too because they just act like they are right at home.

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Douglas says "let's go fishing!"

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Norman says, nap time... 

Most of the time they were of course, lazing around. Enjoying the ride.

We didn't do so good with the Silvers... for some reason, the run is terrible, it seems like it's late. Usually mid August is the absolute best time for Silver Salmon fishing in Valdez. No one else was catching fish either. Someone said on the radio "where are the fish?" and another guy answered "not in this ocean!"

 I remember when I first fished in Valdez for silvers (the first time I fished in my life) with our friends Buddy and Pam, who now own the big boat, but back then had a smaller river boat. We were catching fish like crazy and not only that, everyone else was too. I remember the cleaning stations at the harbor being very busy with people bringing in and cleaning fish. Not this time.

The first afternoon out we continued to enjoy clear weather, which was a real treat. We had great views of the mountains into the evening.

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The kids caught a couple Rockfish the first night out, which we released.

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The sunset was gorgeous out in Galena....

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My boys were pretty freaked out by the Rockfish, especially Douglas.

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He was barking in this picture, when he noticed it was flopping around.

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See the hair up? He started to run away too! It was quite entertaining.

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Norman thought he'd take whiff... He was smart and backed away though.

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The sun was just beautiful....

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The first night out we spent the night in Galena Bay.

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The next morning the clouds moved back in, although it was still fairly warm and very calm out.

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In the afternoon I made Lebanese pies on the boat (you can find the recipe at Octoberfarm, here) which was interesting. I had brought all the ingredients, but I had neglected to bring my rolling pin and of course Pam doesn't keep one on the boat. So I used a bottle of beer, and the lid of the feta cheese container to cut out the circles of dough. It worked. And everyone loved the pies, it's an awesome recipe. The kids loved them, and they have spinach in them!

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It's beautiful in Prince William Sound, even with the clouds.

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There were lots of boats out fishing, despite the lack of Silvers, everyone was hoping they'd catch something.

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This is Captain Buddy, our dear friend who owns the boat. We spend a lot of time with him and his wife (as much as we can) while we are in Alaska.

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We didn't see any whales this trip - but we did see a pod of Porpoise, which came right up to the boat, and a few Sea Lions, also looking for Salmon to eat. We caught one Pink Salmon which had a big bite out of him - and I think this guy might have been the reason why.

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Meanwhile, Kevin and Douglas discussed important things over coffee.

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One of the many waterfalls...

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This is the best Eagle picture I could manage, you can't get really close to them, so I tried my best. We saw a lot of Eagles this trip, probably 10 total.

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the boys enjoyed taking breaks on mom's lap while we waited for a fish to bite.

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By this waterfall is where we fished for Salmon the very first time in 2007. I have a lot of pictures of it. It's a beautiful spot.

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The Silver's we did catch became more valuable! There is nothing like fresh Salmon... well, not to say fresh Halibut isn't amazing, but they are two completely different fish. I used to hate Salmon but I really enjoy it once and a while. It's nice at home in the winter to be able to pull out a package of Salmon or Halibut from the freezer and cook it up.

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For a while, Kevin got to drive the boat, which was very exciting for him to pretend to be captain.

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The fast Ferry coming out of Valdez... it's called for fast for a reason!

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Coming back into Valdez on Thursday, which was my Birthday, the very first one I've spent in Alaska and I got to spend it in Valdez which was a lot of fun.

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Norman says, "are we really there now?"

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filling the boat up with fuel at the harbor

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some of the beautiful boats there

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your welcome!

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getting ready to park the boat in it's slip, I'm glad Buddy was driving and not me!

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Bud's Boat

We spent the last night, Thursday night in the harbor. The dogs and I went for a nice walk, although it was kind of misting rain. I made creole meatloaves with gravy and mashed potatoes for dinner and, we just relaxed a bit.

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Or, maybe we relaxed, a lot.

We left Valdez at about 10:30 on Friday morning and headed back to Tok. There was a bit of sunshine that day, but still lots of clouds in town.

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We had some sunshine while heading home, and were able to get pictures of some of the many waterfalls we didn't manage to get pictures of last time due to the fog.

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The drive to Valdez is a beautiful one on a nice day. We got home about 3 PM, cleaned up and headed down to our Friday night drinks out with all our friends, and dinner. They all sang Happy Birthday to me which was great fun.

Saturday morning we were up early again though, and heading for Fairbanks another long drive.

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We had a great day for driving though, you could see the mountains. We saw one small bull moose, but otherwise the drive was quiet wildlife wise.

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Birch Lake

We brought all Bud's Grandkids back into town for him, and we had some shopping to do. We went out to a nice dinner on Saturday night and then saw a movie, something we do rarely, so it was fun.

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Dinner was great. We were sitting alone, with nice music near a water fountain. I had a couple glasses of nice wine and we stuffed ourselves with gnocchi in sun dried tomato sauce, fresh bread, homemade seafood chowder, and crab cakes. Unfortunately their Cannoli was not good - but everything else was delicious.

Sunday morning we got up and went out to breakfast and I devoured my Reindeer sausage. If you haven't had Reindeer sausage, you should. It's the best there is.

We then finished our shopping. We bought what we needed and then all kinds of stuff for the house we can't find anywhere but in Alaska, not easily anyway, and we've looked. Lamps, dishes, things like that. Which hopefully we'll get home in one piece! We left Fairbanks at 3:15 to head back to Tok.

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There was a fire just outside of Fairbanks on Fort Wainwright's artillery range. It was pretty smoky.

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Once we cleared the smoke and fire, the sun came back out and some blue sky.

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looking back towards Fairbanks at the fire

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The big mountains were just barely visible below the clouds, but you could see some of the big snow capped peaks.


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Things are changing pretty rapidly here now, trees are turning yellow, vegetation is turning red. It's dropping to near freezing at night. In the day it's still pretty nice, about 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is cooling off. It's the start of fall here.

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There was a dust storm at the Gerstle River. It's a glacial river and pretty straight, so the wind picks up all the glacier milk leavings.

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Gerstle River Bridge...

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Crossing the bridge, you could really see the dust storm, it was even hiding the mountains behind it.

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Once we were clear of the dust storm, we had beautiful blue sky.

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The views here are pretty stunning most everywhere you go. It never gets old to look at.

We stopped in Delta Junction and got ourselves some Buffalo sausage and Elk steaks. We were hoping for an Elk roast but they were out right now, so we settled for some steaks.

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The next few weeks are going to be very busy. We have a trip to Dawson City coming up and hopefully we'll be making a trip on the Yukon River too.

But in the meantime, we have another even coming up which will keep me busy this week.

More about that later. :) 

Comments

jaz@octoberfarm said…
first of all....HAPPY BIRTHDAY! i jut love this post so much! the photos are gorgeous. your blog is seriously one of my most favorites1 if not my most favorite. i would have loved to have lived my life this way. i am glad you liked my recipe! just wonderful!
Mary Ann said…
Many, many happy returns of the day, Donna.... I'm so glad you had such a good birthday. Pictures gorgeous as usual, and can't wait to hear what the event is.

Nana-Bob said…
Happy Birthday Donna!!! Your pictures are amazing and so beautiful! tell the boys hi for me. ;)

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