Thursday, July 26, 2007

It has been hard to come up with more Alaska stories since the big ones have already been written. Perhaps this will drift into more tidbits than wide, expansive storytelling, but that will have to do.

The 10 days in Alaska coupled with some random rain on weeknights when I returned has blunted my riding schedule a bit but it has been dry and hot these past 2 weeks so my mileage should be back up where it belongs. Not so good for sweet corn, but the lack of rain is great for cycling. This weekend looks rain free and my schedule is wide open for riding. With any luck my legs will be torn up by Sunday night.

My canoe trip was a mixed bag. I saw very few people and plenty of wildlife, easily caught several very large rainbow trout, had almost glass like lakes to paddle across in the strangely windless mid days -- yet I never felt the country was substantially different from the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. I would rather have looked all around me and seen mountains landscaping the background. Not having officially marked campsites was also a mixed bag. You were allowed to camp anywhere and the maps had noted known campsites, but it would have been a bit nicer to simply declare some of them as official, improve them, and then make all others off limits as the forest reclaimed them. It works in Boundary Waters. Small complaints I guess. I did find out that America has 2 designated wilderness canoe areas, Boundary Waters in Minnesota and the Kenai Wildlife Refuge in the great Alaska. I’m now 2 for 2.

Paddling steadily around the numerous 90 degree turns on the Moose River, I encountered 2 moose (on separate occasions). It is something to come around a corner and find a huge moose standing in the middle of the narrow river just 30 yards away from you. Not enough time to grab my camera, but just enough time to make a little bit of noise and get the thing to move out of the way for me. I am endlessly amazed at just how big those animals are. Like a cow on stilts.

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