snow, snow go away..come again another day

So, when I arrived here in Anchorage five weeks ago there wasn’t much snow. I was disappointed for the Jazzer, ’cause the dog loves her snow piles, but I was happy for me because the less snow the better. But I should have known that this is Alaska, and well winter wasn’t over just yet…Not by a long shot!

anchorage winter

It’s snowed over 30″ since I’ve gotten here and snow is in the forecast for parts of this week! Even the residents here are sick of it, and this is probably because just a week ago, the streets were clear, the sun was shining and it had cracked 40 degrees.

Spring fever was definitely in the air and just like in the lower 48 when the temperatures rise, people are out washing vehicles, riding bikes and jogging, the difference being that it’s still pretty cold and there are three foot piles of snow, but Alaskans are much hardier than I will ever be!

alaskan winter

So we continue to bundle up with all the winter gear, parkas, hats, mittens, scarfs and ice grippers, except for one of us who is happy as a pig in s#&*!

Anchorage, a glutton’s delight!

As I’ve posted previously on this blog, Anchorage is full of unique places to drink and dine.  After staying here a few times in the dark and the cold I can certainly understand why, ~a person has to enjoy themselves somehow, right?

Of course maybe not all these restaurants would appeal to every palate, but I’m lucky in the fact that I can salivate over a pizza and beer equally as well as I can over a prime choice of steak and a nice glass of wine. I’m an equal opportunity glutton, I don’t discriminate against many types of foods (well maybe lutefisk and haggis), or beers or wines, and thanks to an easygoing spouse I am able to try at least a few new places every time I travel to the great white north.

Portabella mushroom, stuffed with crab meat and shrimp

Last week we found an article in one of the local rags that had a list of the reporter’s favorite Sunday brunch spots, out of 10 of these spots we had only managed to visit one! Realizing we must rectify this oversight immediately, we visited one of her favorites for lunch the very next day. (Don’t say we let grass (or ice) grow under our feet!)

Our luncheon locale? The Beer Tooth Grill. Not only had we never heard of it, we had never even been near it. Obviously by the slew of cars parked every whichaway, we were one of the few residents of Anchorage who were clueless about it’s gratifying grub. The picture above shows you what I chowed down on, a meaty portabella mushroom, stuffed with creamy combination of crab and shrimp meat. It was just as delicious as it sounds. Nanook had a ham and cheese sandwich and we both washed our meals down with beers from their very own Broken Tooth Brewery.

The owners of the restaurant, Rod Hancock and Matt Jones, own not only this restaurant and the brewery, but also their original restaurant, Moose Tooth, and a dine in theatre right next to the Grill called Bear Tooth Theatre Pub. I really want to go to the theatre on my next visit, ’cause it sounds like a great time. And I just heard last night that they are going to open yet another restaurant fairly close to our house…I guess I’m going to have to try that one too!

Alas, so many restaurants (and books) so little time!

Running Wild

If anyone would have told me when I was in my 20’s that I would be running in 5K races when I’m in my 50’s I would have told them they were cuckoo bananas!  I loathed running. I liked Jazzercise (the Zumba of the 80’s), golfing and bowling~~the latter two especially because you can drink beer while participating!

But here I was today participating in my 5th 5K! It was a good one too as I got to run through the streets of Anchorage, along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, and in the midst of the 2012 Iditarod Champ, Dallas Seavey. There was also a lot of music…a real live cowboy sang the National Anthem, and a troupe of native Alaskans did a tribal dance about running and there were even some Scottish bagpipers about half way along the course. Alaskans are a very eclectic group to say the least!

I didn’t see Mildred, but I did meet Stanley

As an added bonus Nanook and I finished the race side by side, hands clasped in the air, as excited that we ran together as we were that we made it up that last incline without keeling over 🙂

Then the icing on the cake….they gave me this nice shiny medal!…

…well they gave everyone a nice shiny medal, but it’s the thought that counts!

Alaska (re)Bound

My faithful companion and I are heading back to the land of moose, mountains and musk ox this week. Up until today, when Jasmine had to go to the vet and get another health certificate (airline requirement), I’ve done little to prepare.  I think that’s because I know all the pitfalls that are heading our way and there is no sense in fretting about them until the morning of our journey.

The biggest bump in the road is that dog carriers fit the best under the middle seat or window seat. This is not good for me since I have booked an aisle seat. You may ask why I would do such a silly thing.

Very smushy aisle seat…poor pooch 😦

Well, here’s my answer….it’s a very long flight (7 hours) and I really, really, really want to sit on the aisle! Our first trip to Alaska I discovered the fact that the aisle seat is horrible for jamming (carefully placing) Jasmine under the seat. But, I was extremely fortunate that no one sat in the middle seat so I was able to put her under there and remain in my aisle seat!

Jasmine comfy cozy under the middle seat

I’m hoping this will happen again! (major denial)
But I am not holding out much hope since on our return flight last May, the plane was packed, I had to switch to a middle seat, and the two people on either side of me NEVER moved the entire journey! Can you believe that??  Granted the plane leaves at 11 PM at night so a lot of people sleep, but these two yahoos hardly twitched a muscle for 6 and a half hours! But they did manage to steal both of my arm rests early on. Horrible, horrible flight!

There are other non-fun things to think about as well….early flight, long drive to the airport, parking the car, shuttle to the airport, $100 pet fee, TSA….all this with a suitcase, pet carrier, large purse and only a small, black dog as a traveling companion.

Is it any wonder I’m in DENIAL!? ….because if you really think about it who wants to think about traveling 7 hours in a tin can, squished between two strangers with a dog between their feet!

Okay now I’m depressed… it too early for a glass of wine??

The continuing saga of the Alaskan Adventure!

Since Jasmine and I are coming close to the end of our stay in the Great State of Alaska I think it’s time to post a few more pictures of our exciting experiences. We didn’t get to do all of my favorite things this trip because of the vast amount of snow (you can gather from that last statement that I am not much of a snow bunny and don’t ski, snowboard or sled!), but we did make it to three of my favorite spots, The Alaska Zoo, Potter Marsh and the Glen Alps Trailhead.

Potter Marsh is this very cool wildlife viewing area about 5 miles south of us along the Seward Highway. There is a huge boardwalk that lets you walk quite a distance over the marsh and view the various birds and wildlife that call the area home. My favorite part though is the beautiful view of Turnagain Arm. Just stunning!

Potter Marsh boardwalk

Potter Marsh

Potter Marsh

Glen Alps in the Chugach State Park is really my favorite place in Anchorage. The trailhead parking lot is only about a 15 minute drive from our house but when you get up in the hillside area of Anchorage you feel like your about a million miles away from civilization. What’s great is that there are several trails leaving from this same parking lot and there is a trail for every skill level.

There is a 1.5 mile trail (one way) that heads up to the top of Flattop Mountain. This is the easiest and most popular mountain hike in the area and admittedly one that I have yet to conquer.  I’ve made it about halfway up and chickened out, but other visitors we’ve hosted have managed to make it to the top during a hail and rain storm and lived to tell the tale!

It was still very snowy when we went over last week,  so I didn’t get a chance to conquer my fear of the mountain, but we did manage to go on a couple of different trails and Jasmine was able to play in vast amounts of the white stuff while we soaked in yet more gorgeous scenery!

High above downtown Anchorage!

Glen Alps Trailhead