Wednesday, June 12, 2013

James Lake Reflection

Often, I get ideas for blogs and they sit and brew.  I wanted to write this as close to the event as possible because I have a feeling that I will loose some of the uniqueness of this weekend.

During my Christmas longings for sun and adventure (ie Hawaii), my sweet thoughtful husband went online and booked the James Lake Cabin.  He carefully picked out the most remote cabin at in the well known Nancy Lake State Recreation.  Since it was big, we invited our dear friends to join us.

We had never been on a canoe with camping trip before, but we understood that it wasn't a back packing trip.  So, we didn't limit the weight of items at all.  We had 6 games, meat galore, two coolers, fishing polls, two queen sized air mattresses, plenty of food, books, firewood, etc.  We basically packed as if we were car camping because of the canoe.

Gathering advice from the Tippercanoe people, we took the longer way around because they had shorter portages.  The literature said it would be a 3 hour canoe paddle.  (not true)

We were concerned about two things:

  1. that the kids might not keep up with the paddling
  2. the mosquitoes would drive us crazy
We were so wrong.

We kinda felt, ugh, the van/truck looks a bit fully packed. But, once we loaded the three canoes, and a kayak.  James says,"Okay, this looks okay."

cinnamon rolls on a stick
The first paddle was a breeze.  Actually all the paddles were too short and we longed for more time in the canoes.  We saw the little orange size with a single "P".

Then the fun began.  The rigorousness of the portages can be summed up by a phrase;  "We packed as if we were car camping, and then proceded to carry the car fully loaded."  At the end there were 13 lakes/13 portages.  We all including the kids had to reach down to the bottom of our soles to find the strength and endurance to lift and hike.  We had a portage device that we finally learned how to best use it on the rough and ragged terrain after ten portages.  James carried on his shoulders two of the lighter canoes.  However, the heavy one was often carried by Christina and I.   The kayak was extremely heavy and often only the men could move it.  The meat cooler was almost 90 lb  and was a beast to move.  Even the older girls conquered it a few times.

Along the journey, we had many opportunities to praise God.  We saw beaver, swan, loons, ducks, and fish.   Our heavenly Father gave us strength that could only come from him.

We were paddling after the 5th portage, one of the girls (Hannah or Olivia) spotted black bear at the next portage!  I looked and sure enough there were a momma and two cubs.  I took out my weapon (Air Horn) and quickly sounded the alarm with short burst of energy.  In my mind I knew that is where our canoe was headed and I wanted them far gone by the time I got there.  However, to my dismay, the other canoes and kayak didn't get to see the furry black dots as I scared them away.  They were disappointed, but we weren't mauled by a momma bear either.  Give me a horn, and I will use it.

The last lake was Owl Lake before James lake.  We thought we could paddle through.  However, Christina and James went on ahead.  To our disappointment, they told us to wait and not enter the marshy channel.  We did clinging to the hope that we could paddle and bypass this "Portage".  I was unsure if I possessed the energy to lift anything. So, we waited. And waited.  It was nearing eleven at night and we still were not at the cabin.  Dinner was suppose to be when we got there.  (if we got there).  One of the most sweetest sounds I heard was James yelled, "Come!" I almost cried.

The cabin was perfect.  Eureka!

We still have a few fun stories.  Like figuring out we had all the gear for fly fishing, but no rod.  Then the next day, we found out we had 3 fishing poles but no tackle!  The kids brought the cleaning supplies to life and made up stories with them.  Olivia created a little house.  The Wells learned Euchre and 7 up / 7 down.
 Quality of the trip:

  • not buggy at all during the day (thanks for praying Ruth)
  • amazing steaks to sing about
  • great company 
  • joy of seeing the teenagers set a good example of hard work
  • endurance of the journey
  • perseverance and strength of James (he has the bruises to prove it)
  • stepping out of Steve's comfort zone  
  • listening to James read to the kids
  • good attitudes of the children even when it was hard
  • relaxing paddle (can't wait to do it again)
  • safety
  • getting to spend some quiet time worshipping my King in His breathtaking world

The way home was hard but 2 hours shorter with 1/2 as many portages.  We learned how to use the portage device on the last three. The boys (Max/Lyn) were in my canoe and we had a rhythm going to paddle hard to the end.  They were great.

The one thing that gets to me every time I experience God or his wilderness, or a world-wide adventure, is that we step right back into the world.  And no one knows what just happened.  It is like your entire body wants everyone to hear and relive it, but it is almost unexplainable.  But here is the video

Monday, June 3, 2013

Wolverine Peak

Have you ever had an experience that you just can't but share?  Well, that is what happened yesterday.  I awoke from a restless night with an upset stomach.  I was dreaded being a female and even more dreary because of the onset of rain.  However, since this summer my adventurous husband has coordinated 13 hikes for Sunday Adventures we had a long hiked planned for this day.  Often Alaska has rain.  We decided that we would just be prepared and hike no matter what *knowing that you can always get warm and sleep in your own dry bed in the evening since they are day hikes.

Nevertheless, it was hard to get my heart around to go.  I kinda knew people would back out, but thankfully a few came.  We carpooled together.  We had an interesting conversation on how to evaluate spiritual growth in ones life.  What questions would you or could you ask?  

On the ride to Anchorage, the rain pelted down and just got harder and harder.  My stomach calmed down, but my heart started to lighten as well when the rain switched to drizzle in Anchorage.  About ten minutes before we reached the trail head, the wipers were stopped.  NO RAIN.

We eagerly packed our rain gear, scarfed our lunch, prayed and headed on a new trail for 5 out of 6 of us.  Great conversations made us oblivious to the terrain.  It was a bit muddy but had alternate trails around.  We met the Park Ranger coming down and he encouraged us that after 500 meters, we had a clear, dry trail.  

After the rock cairn, we were noticing how wet we were.  It wasn't just sweat.  We were walking in a cloud.  

hiking in a cloud
As we were nearing the top, it started to get brighter but still cloud locked.  I cried out to the Lord, "I know you are the creator of Heaven and Earth.  Nothing is too difficult for you.  Could you please lift theses clouds so that we can see your majesty?"  

I am not joking, but in a few minutes it seemed brighter and brighter.  Then we saw a ridge to the left, then a little bit of a ridge to the right.  We looked back down the mt and saw a square whole in the clouds to expose the downtown of Anchorage.  Climbing, climbing, we got to the top and Shazam!  Sun! Mountains~ clear as can be!  It was BREATH TAKING!

a little flower on the edge of the rock

the boys still coming up as we are at the top

sun and blue in the skies
Me and my man

At the top enjoying the sun and Annie's Tea and Sara's Steak

soaking in the sun at the top!

James texting people we made it!

The hat I knitted for James
On the way down, we saw some Ptarmigan.  

Jumped a few mud holes.  

Downtown Anchorage in the backgroud

see the glasses!

intense Hiker

Rested our feet.  
The pointy one is Wolverine Peak!
We went and refuled at the Bear's Tooth since it was 5:30 pm

  (fastest food ever). 
Then we rested. Someone fell asleep while texting.  ....

A little video