Vincent is lovin it

What an incredibly busy summer — and definitely awesome indeed. we are lucky to have such wonderful family members and friends in our lives. adventures and memories are spewing out of our eyeballs — there are that many and they’re all so good!

one of our first amazing adventures down memory lane — Momma K and Poppa S visit Alaska! Not only did these fun folks visit, but they drove their trusty steed, Vincent, a sweet 1978 Volkswagon Bus, all the way to Valdez and everywhere else inbetwee! What an adventure in itself! After driving through BC and the Yukon Territory, MK and PS arrived at the McCarthy turnoff on June 19th. We met Kat and Steve there, slapped hands, and all jumped back in to Vincent to finish the remaining 100 miles or so to McCarthy. Along the way, we spotted pretty nature, wildlife, salmon, and large beautiful rivers. McCarthy is definitely a hot spot and I recommend that everyone who can, should visit. We also ran in to Sarah and Pete. They were on their way back from McCarthy after a weekend Music Festival. After a long chat on the side of the dirt road, maybe 45 miles outside of McCarthy, we said our goodbyes and loaded back in to Vincent. Ethan and I jumped in the back and Kat went to close Vincent’s sliding door, and before we knew it, Vincent’s door was off its hinge! That’s right — Kat and her strong muscles pulled it right off! No worries though. With only a minor ding and 45 minutes of trying to get the door back on, we finally did and we’re soon back on our way to McCarthy.

We arrived just outside of McCarthy (you can’t drive there. everyone must walk over the foot bridge to McCarthy and up the 4.5 mile hill to Kennecott. people can also take a shuttle bus to visit Kennecott), and setup camp for the night. we were all a bit tired and car sore. we stretched out, assembled ourselves into nice camp chairs and made a nice bonfire. we celebrated Father’s Day with a nice fire, delicious food, great company, and a handful of delicious, homemade brews that Ethan and I put together. the night was perfect.

The next morning, a rainy drizzle and pesky mosquitoes couldn’t knock our high spirits down. we had a delicious breakfast and tasty coffee, followed by a beautiful afternoon hike to Kennecott. During our hike, the weather gods cleared the sky, the rain stopped, and for a few brief moments, the sun smiled down on us. we arrived at Kennecott, dry, hungry, and happy. Lunch and a tour of the area made for a pleasant afternoon. A 4.5 mile hike back to McCarthy was also nice and thoughts of having a frosty beverage at the Golden Saloon kept us even more chipper.

two beers later and we were back on the road, hiking to camp. we started another memorable bonfire, made dinner, and chatted the night away. the next morning, our McCarthy/Kennecott trip would come to an end and we would be driving to our home: wonderful Valdez.

After a LONG float trip

Next stop: Valdez! After touring our way back to Valdez, we finally arrived! MK and PS checked in at a cozy lodge for the night, The Robe Lake Lodge, freshened up and met us at our home/Carter’s home for dinner and a bonfire on the Lowe River. More beverages and chatting all night was the perfect combination after a long day of driving. the weather was beautiful, the fire was big, and the company was perfect. it was a wonderful night.

To Do: sleep in. After a good night’s sleep, Ethan and I met up with MK and PS, and drove to Valdez for a pleasant walking tour. We walked around town, visited Magpie’s Bakery and the boat harbors, stopped in at the College for a look at my office, picked and studied wildflowers, walked some more, and had dinner at the new Wheelhouse — I can never remember the new name. The day was very relaxing and mellow, and just what we needed!

All this relaxation and mellowness the day before, prepped us for an amazing trip out on a sea-kayaking tour, with Ethan as our guide. We got to paddle around some amazing landscapes — waterfalls, icebergs or bergy bits, glass-like waters, grasslands, and marshy terrain. We even got to get out and hike around, smell the flowers, and hope we didn’t run in to a giant grizzly bear. we didn’t and the trip was a beautiful success! see some of our awesome photos below.

Mom and Pop kayaking!

The famous Heather Bay waterfall

Ethan’s First King

At some point in our trip, Ethan and his pops got to go fishing for Greyling, while MK and I had a wonderful time chatting, visiting with friends, catching up, and making dinner plans. that night, dinner was a feast! MK worked her magic on a curry shrimp dish and we prepped a giant salad! beer was also on the menu! everything was just so good — company, food, beer, and great memories!

The next day, Ethan and I set out early for a floating/King Salmon fishing trip down the Gulkana River with our good friend, Dave. after floating a few hours and no luck catching anything, recommended by others, we stopped at this hot spot and fished for several hours. Dave caught a nice fish, however, we lost it at the end, and minutes before deciding to pack up, Ethan caught a giant King Salmon and I swallowed it up with our net — making sure not to lose this one. four or five hours later, we huddled back in our small raft and headed for the takeout. little did we know, 4 hours had gone by and we finally arrived. tired, hungry, and ready to be back on the road, we jumped in the car and made way, back to Valdez.

the night came and went, and Saturday was here. It was the last day with Ethan’s parents before they caught the ferry to Whittier. we met up, grabbed some coffee, and perched Vincent and Trixie on the City Dock while we said our goodbyes. It was bittersweet. it always is. we always have such a wonderful time together that when we do have to say our goodbyes, no one enjoys it. not even knowing that in only three or four months, we will see each other again.

having MK and PS visit was truly amazing. we made wonderful memories together and got to show our home to two people we love so dearly. i hope their visit was as wonderful for them as it was for us. MK and PS, you are always welcome at our home and we look forward to seeing you again so soon. thank you for the wonderful memories.

Ice bergs at Columbia Bay