View toward Shoup Bay

Last weekend, Train and I celebrated ULLR Fest at Magpies Bakery with cheery people, wintry air, and bonfires! It was super swell! It started with a gear swap of skis, snowboards, bindings, winter clothing, and a bunch of other cold-weather nick-knacks. Of course, Magpies’ baked goods and fancy coffee were generously flowing into folks’ mouths and bellies!  At the swap, I snagged a cozy burnt orange REI jacket for $15 and it’s practically new! At retail price, this jacket/zip-up could easily go for at least $45! It was a bargain! Ethan didn’t pick anything up, but he managed to sell a pair of Pete’s (owner and roommate of the house we live in) Black Diamond Skis for $400! Sweet deal indeed! After the swap, we layered up in gloves, hats, and puffy coats, and hiked up the beautiful Solomon Gulch trail. Views of Solomon Gulch Creek, the Chugach Mountains, and the City of Valdez were breathtaking!

Along the way, we enjoyed the active wildlife around us. The Bald Eagles were swarming the sound for nibbles of leftover salmon, and the sea-lions, seals, and otters were hustling for any fishy food they could find! It was extraordinary and we were able to snag some pretty cool photos/videos of it!

Sea Otter and 3 Sealions

Later on our hike, E spotted a sweet-crimpy-tallish boulder problem. I think a couple of nice routes could come from it too, and with a little cleaning and brushing, it will soon be an Alaskan classic! We hiked a few more miles before heading back to the car for lunch and a coffee break.

To end the evening, we warmed ourselves by the bonfires at Magpies Bakery, sipped on delicious microbrews, and gawked at winter ski footage taken in the beautiful Chugach Mountains that surround Valdez! It was a great way to end the evening and start the wintry season off with a BANNGGG! Winter is definitely on its way and I can’t wait to frolic in the big, beautiful snowflakes!

Ullr Fest with tunes