Thursday, July 31, 2014

Arctic Ocean or Bust - Preparing the Camper

Taz, along with Billy and Denny, friends who are visiting from California, prepare the camper for our long roadtrip ahead...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Arctic Ocean Awaits...

Here in Homer, the fireweed has nearly bloomed to the top and we are holding tight to the remaining vestiges of summer. Well, I am holding tight and Taz is waxing his skis.

On Sunday, August 3, Taz, Zip and I head off in the camper, driving north to Fairbanks and then onward to the Dalton Highway, also known as the haul road, across the north slope of Alaska to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean. We will spend the month driving, hiking, exploring, doing photography, meeting locals and other travelers and trying our best to outrun and outmaneuver the heft and hardy mosquitoes that we have heard feast on those who step from the confines of their vehicles.

Cell and Internet service will be mostly non-existent the entire time, so please consider us "unplugged" for the month and we will look forward to catching up with you when we return to a service area. If you need to reach us for an urgent matter, please send a text to our respective cells, knowing we are basically unreachable during this time.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's down the road we go...

Here's a bit of information on the Dalton Highway, which turns 40 this year...

* The 414 mile highway begins north of Fairbanks and ends at the community of Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean and the Prudhoe Bay oilfields, and parallels the Trans-Alaska pipeline

* The road was built in 1974 as a supply road to connect the Yukon River and Prudhoe Bay during the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline

* It is the only highway in Alaska that crosses the Yukon River, Arctic Circle and the Brooks Range

* There are only three towns along the entire highway: Coldfoot at Mile 175 with a population of 10; Wiseman at Mile 188 with a population of 22; Deadhorse at Mile 414 with a year round population of 25 and a seasonal population of 3,500 to 5,000 residents and workers

* About 160 work trucks drive the road daily in the summer months and 250 in the winter

* The road ends just a few miles from the Arctic Ocean, but the land beyond Deadhorse is private property owned by oil companies and required private tours to the ocean

* Truckers have names for various sections of the road, including Oil Spill Hill, Oh Shit Corner and The Roller Coaster

* The highest elevation along the road is as it crosses the Brooks Range at Atigun Pass – 4,739 feet or 1,444 meters


Nearly all areas of the highway can be viewed on Google maps and there are a few web cams that can be found on Google as well
Barring we are not eaten alive by mosquitoes, stay tuned for images, videos, stories and more once we return home!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


The last few days, I've been talking with several different friends who have all expressed frustrations in various areas of their lives, including personal relationships, work situations, and more...

On occasion, I too find myself feeling anxious and stuck. During these times, I go for a long walk on the beach or in the woods, write in my journal and create a list of "Where I Am" and "Where I Want to Be". These practices usually help to realign me and clarify what my inner voice is whispering, or shouting as the case may be. I don't always act immediately upon what I discover and uncover, but every day, I can feel myself getting stronger and more confident about moving confidently towards my authentic self. I have to work hard to balance creating time for inward reflection and enjoying my life as it is, as this is where I find joy and peace, in acknowledging the work I have done, while pondering work still ahead of me.

I also draw a lot of relief in remembering that every day provides an opportunity to make different choices, choices that will keep me where I currently am or move me in a different direction. This is self-empowerment... and is scary and exciting, overwhelming and freeing.

Today, tomorrow and the day after - we can begin again. It may not be easy, but I do believe what the poet Rumi said, "Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you love."

If we love ourselves, are gentle with ourselves and can create space to listen to the stirrings of our heart, then I think that is where our truth waits for us...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Finding Courage

Courage is so individual and takes so many forms - from starting a business to opening one's heart to a new relationship, to forgiving others to traveling to a foreign country...

What does courage mean to you?
What are you holding onto that is holding you back?

Friday, July 25, 2014

An Alaskan Summer

Summer in Alaska is brief, but beautiful.  With the passing of Solstice, the days are already becoming noticeably shorter and the wildflowers are in full bloom, reaching ever upward into the light, inspiring Alaskans to do the same.

I am intoxicated by the breathtaking beauty of the field of fireweed behind our house, just beyond my studio window. These sentinels with their hot pink flowers stretch to the skies and beckon me away from my desk and outside to play.

In late April, the Sandhill Cranes return to nest in the fields nearby, their haunting calls can be heard long before they are seen. Flocks fly directly over our house and we bask in their elegance and beauty. When they circle and begin their ascent to leave us in early September, we celebrate their survival, while grieving their departure. Witnessing this marvel of the annual migration leaves us nearly breathless...

During the summer months, we are also blessed with extreme low tides that have us running for the beach in our mud boots in search of seastars, octopus, sea anenomes and more...

These are just a few of the highlights of summer in Alaska... Wish you were here?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Family Matters

What is family?
Is it genetics?

Is it relationship?
I am extremely grateful for the family who raised and nurtured me and who continue to support and love me without fail.
We don't always see eye to eye, but how could we, with such height differences?
What matters is the expanse of our hearts for one another... 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zip's New Ride - Walk & Roll

Zip enjoying his new chariot.
When he wants to ride, he barks and when he wants to walk, he barks.
Basically, as always, we're at his beck and call, just as it should be!!!
He's one lucky dog and we're two lucky parents!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Excerpts from Aldo Leopold's "A Sand County Almanac"

Thanks to the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies for creating these gentle reminders that can be found at the Wynn Nature Center...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunset & Stormy Seas

Last night, we were treated to an absolutely breathtaking sunset, as well as stormy seas that howled across the landscape and lapped frigid waters against the high tide shoreline. What a treat to have the cool, "moody" weather amidst our unusually sweltering summer temperatures of late...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Playing Tour Guide

Indulging in the Homer heat wave of 72 degrees, Susan and I explore Homer's many beaches, wildflower walks and hiking trails, as well as restaurants and coffee shops. We also hang out on the deck and breathe in the view that these long days of daylight provide. Life is good and I am grateful for my friend who took the time to come and spend eight days in my little corner of the world...