Thursday, July 18, 2013

longest day, ever.

I am, of course, referring to May 9 to present, as it hasn't gotten dark, AT ALL, the whole time. That's a bit of an exaggeration, actually. I arrived in Anchorage and I'm pretty sure it was dark for a bit when I slept. After travelling north a few more hours up to Denali, much less so! Just a sort of dimness around 2am after the sun sinks below the horizon and before it comes back up only about 10 degrees away over the same ridgeline. It's been rather fun, though unfortunately I keep losing at my favorite game of Nighttime, Daytime now. Actually, the real longest day, ever, literally, that I've experienced, was of course, summer solstice. June 21, immediately followed by a super moon, which was pretty awesome, though without extended exposure, my pictures are mediocre at best. For solstice some friends and I went out to a big rock outcropping, took snacks and drinks and sat up on rocks talking and playing music (this was largely provided by me, on the mandolin and harmonica--not at the same time--so it only involved three songs; more next year). At a bit after midnight we walked down to the river and did a nice 2-mile river-side trail before getting demolished by mosquitos and squishing 13 people into my friend's Honda Element (turned low-rider).

(This makes it look like it was dark, but it's mostly due to my editing.)

I probably can't even remember the majority of the activities since last blogging, but shall list a few: 9.3 mile beautiful trail run up a ridge and along some lakes, including a brief stop to jump in one of the cold, tannin-tainted lakes for an invigorating dip; team ultimate Frisbee tourney in Anchorage, playing with a mostly-Anchorage based team: really fun time, met cool people (or course) and dislocated my thumb, sadface (it's been kind of a pain, and sounds like a very slow healing injury); some friends from NM came to visit--one lives in Hawaii now and the airlines lost all his baggage! He arrived in flip-flops and board shorts from Maui. He was late and it took some extra steps to get him here and then outfitted for our brief backpacking trip we'd planned. We still ended up being able to go, and we had a great time--it was my first overnight backcountry trip into the park, so that was fun.

Bear tracks we found while hiking along the East Fork of the Toklat

I ran a half marathon--not something I've ever had much of a desire to do, perhaps because of running track through high school and part of college--but I decided, why not? If I'm going to do one, it might as well be in Denali, and the money from the race fee went to an Interior [Alaska] HIV/AIDS prevention/treatment program. I did better than I expected, not having trained at all, and came in 4th place (though not that many women runners total) with an unofficial time of 1:49. woo! As a birthday celebration for a friend we went to a lake nearby, not in the park, and rented a kayak and canoe to paddle around in for the afternoon, then got food from the Thai cart (yum!) and ice cream; I also worked some and did some classwork for my online Nutrition class. yeah.

Overall, things continue to go well. The weather takes turns being cloudy/rainy and sunny/gorgeous. I haven't been able to climb because of my thumb, and may not for a while, which is too bad, but I suppose all in all, if I'm going to get injured, now isn't as bad of a time as possible. There are tons of fun things to do and beautiful places to go without relying solely on climbing and ultimate for my social and exercise needs.

Ptarmigan (state bird) among Fireweed

My time here is almost half over now. It's starting to get dim at some point in the late night/early morning, and I am already apprehensive about the last month up here when the weather will already be turning toward winter (I truly am a baby about it). I should be able to see the Northern Lights, though, and that will make up for it entirely.

Otto Lake, Healy, AK