Friday, September 30, 2011

cabin weekend

The Fargo with Bob trailer.

The day after my birthday was the beginning of the fifth annual cabin weekend with my mountain biking group, the Alaska Dirt Divas. The twelve-mile pedal on the fairly easy Eklutna Lakeside Trail was made a tad more challenging when hauling gear in Bob trailers or in panniers. But it's well worth it in order to haul out our personal gear plus fresh produce and other goodies for meals.
Riding out to the cabin.

This was the second year we've rented the Serenity cabin for three nights. I love having a couple days to lounge around, do dayhikes or just get to know each other better. I used some of my free time to sit on the deck or in my bunk working on my fiction. I especially enjoyed the deck time on Friday when I could sit in the sun with the sound of the river and the falls keeping me company. Wind on Saturday sent me inside to my corner bunk where I put in my ear plugs and was able to write by the light of the window while people chatted not 10 feet away.

I hoped people wouldn't think I was being anti-social. Thank goodness my friends seemed to understand that when the inspiration was there, I should be left alone to work with it. - Thanks, girls!

Besides having time for writing, I loved strolling on the river bed near the cabin. The smooth rocks that have been tumbled under the weight of the glacier sometimes seem to call out to be stacked into balanced sculptures. It's a good way to pass the time and leave something for other people to look at. It also lets me be creative without using words, just making forms.

My favorite rock stack.

Hiking trail on the way to the glacier. I like how this path
is bordered by trees and rocks. It gives me inspiration for
how I can use all the big rocks we excavated to make paths
through the yard and build borders for gardening.

After packing up on Sunday morning, the ride back to the trailhead was different from most years. It was the nicest day of the weekend with little wind and clear, sunny skies. (By contrast, last year we rode back in wind and sleet!)Barely a ripple showed on the water. Our group of 11 traveled mostly together, taking breaks near the water, delaying the trip home where we would to return to our lives and families and, invariably, backlogs of email.
We'll just hang out here a little while longer...
Dora, Michele, Jo-Ann, Stacey, Kass.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

where it goes

Mid-way through the exterior project.
Imagine: moss green with cedar trim.

Where has the time gone? The birch leaves are a brilliant golden-yellow on this gray day. The rain yesterday left enough dusting of snow on the front range peaks for me to want to wrap another layer around my shoulders even though I'm sitting in my living room. Fall is here ahead of the calendar, as is typical in Anchorage. Because fall is catching-up season in Alaska, I'll give updates on previous posts.

People have asked about the beach biking trip I had planned with Jon and a few friends. That fell through the day before we were to leave when our support driver had a work emergency. Jon and I both felt a huge weight slip from our shoulders because we'd been working until dark the previous days trying to finish insulating the foundation so we could have the perimeter of the house backfilled before we left. Though I was momentarily disappointed, never have I been so relieved to cancel a trip. The timing was all wrong. As it turned out, a storm blew in from the Gulf of Alaska and our friends in Homer (the destination town) said the weather was cold and wet that week. We could do the ride another time, and maybe under better conditions.

Mount Redoubt. Instead of biking here...

I was insulating and backfilling here.

Since Jon had the next five days off, we were able to finish the backfilling and move on to the above-ground walls. We've been researching siding and trim, trying to figure out which materials look best and will last longest with minimal maintenance. It took a few weeks, but I think we've decided on the siding. The challenge is getting it in from the distributor in time to get it onto the house before the snow flies, which was my goal. (Yes, I'm good at setting goals for Jon, but I will have jobs in the project - I love painting, so I'm in charge of trim.)

So, here we are, three weeks into September. Leaves falling. Chill in the air. I'm looking forward to seeing what this place will look like all decked out in siding and with snow in the yard. Jon said the color scheme we've picked (with him giving me the final word) reminds him of a cabin in the woods. That's what I'm going for. Sounds inviting. I'll show you when it's done.

Lest you think I've had no bike rides, I have biked on the new trails being built in Kincaid Park and even managed to enjoy an afternoon of mountain biking with some friends on the Matanuska Lakes/Crevasse-Moraine trails. Beautiful fall rides! I need more of that.