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Posts Tagged ‘bears’

Next stop, Juneau, the capital city of Alaska.

Welcome to Juneau. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Welcome to Juneau. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

We wandered leisurely along the water’s edge into town, again marveling at the magnificent warm weather and brilliant sunshine. We’d been warned that the weather in Alaska in September can be really wet. As we’d lucked out with amazing weather in Ketchikan, we’d lucked out again in Juneau.

 Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Historic Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Historic Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

After a couple hours of exploring, we ventured back into the rain forest for a morning zipping through the trees and walking across swinging suspension bridges high over narrow, deep canyons. It was thrilling if not a wee bit scary.

C. Rickrode ready to zipline. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

C. Rickrode ready to zipline. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

C. Rickrode. Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

C. Rickrode. Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Here is a very short, and I mean very short, video of my husband taking his practice run.

Later we boarded the tram and ascended 1,800 feet up the steep slope of Mount Roberts for an afternoon hiking in the fresh air.

Mount Roberts Tram - Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Mount Roberts Tram – Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

The Star Princess from atop Mount Roberts - Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

The Star Princess from atop Mount Roberts – Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Gastineau Channel - Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Gastineau Channel – Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

View of Inside Passage from atop Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

View of Inside Passage from atop Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode on the nature trail on Mount Roberts. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode on the nature trail on Mount Roberts. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Late blooming flowers on Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Late blooming flowers on Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

With so much yet to do and see, we were dismayed that the time had come for us to return to ship. On our return walk along the wharf, we spotted several eagles, but I was not able to get a good picture. Still no bears. Maybe tomorrow in Skagway.

The Star Princess docked at Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014

The Star Princess docked at Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014

Have you seen our majestic national bird in the wild? Have you come across some late-blooming wild flowers? What surprises have delighted you this early part of autumn?

Word of the day: Isallobar

Fun fact about me: I love tomato soup, ketchup, tomato sauce, and tomatoes but I hate tomato juice.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, September 2014. Original photos and video by P. Rickrode and C. Rickrode.

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Our first day in Alaska did not disappoint. Ketchikan, the southernmost city in Alaska and the salmon capital of the world, is, in a word, be-you-ti-ful. (You have to say it like that, 4 syllables.) Don’t believe me? Here’s the what we saw from the Lido deck of the Star Princess:

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Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

 

Lutheran Church - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Lutheran Church – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and the Star Princess at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and the Star Princess at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Our land portion of our Ketchikan experience took us into the Tongass National Forest where we hiked deep into the rain forest and the very heart of bear country. I hoped for an up close encounter.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode

Maybe if I ventured into a bear cave . . . I might just get lucky . . . .

Bear cave. Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Bear cave. Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

No luck, although there was a lot of bear poop. I was surprised to see Spanish moss and even more surprised to see the wicked undersides of these massive leaves. Yes, those are thorns and when they prick skin they immediately form a barbed hook and become impossible to extract. Yikes!!

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

We journeyed past a fishery with a waterway well-stocked with fish, mostly salmon. But still – no bears despite the never-ending fish buffet. The birds were enjoying the spoils that the bears had left behind. Seems bears only eat the heads and skin of the fish, leaving the birds to scavange the red fleshy parts many humans so love.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Spawning salmon. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Spawning salmon. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Next we met a Native totem pole carver, who enlightened us about the dying art of carving totem poles. Then we saw the end results of many fine woodsmiths. I felt compelled to pose amidst the standing art. You can get a sense of the size of some of these works of art which all tell a story.

Totem pole carver at work. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Totem pole carver at work. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and totems. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and totem poles. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Still no bears. But I did feed a reindeer, which is weird because there are no reindeer in Alaska, except these few in captivity. (My husband was not as quick at snapping the picture as the reindeer was of eating the lettuce.)

P. Rickrode feeding a eindeer at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode feeding a reindeer at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Then we headed to lunch, where I finally got my Alaskan bear experience with, not one, but four bears, at a little slice of celestial awesomeness known as the George Inlet Lodge,

P. Rickrode at the George Inlet Lodge. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode at the George Inlet Lodge. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Here, we dined on Alaskan Amber beer and Dungeness crab – all you can eat – from a room with this amazing view:

George Inlet Lodge - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

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Talk about an amazing day. We were well-fed and well-educated by the time we climbed the 85 steps back up to the bus.

George Inlet Lodge - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

So there you have it. Our first official day in Alaska, albeit just barely inside the boundary. Ketchikan, Alaska earns a two thumbs up and a high-ranking number on my list of “places I have to go back to.”

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. RIckrode 2014.

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. RIckrode 2014.

Have you ever been to Ketchikan? Do you enjoy salmon? Do you have any nasty, wound-inducing plants in your neck of the woods? Inquiring minds want to know.

Oh – and there’s a special prize for the first person who finds the hidden Mickey.

Word of the Day:  Hedgehop

Fun fact about me: I’m allergic to salmon, which sucks when you’re in the salmon capital of the world.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode and C. Rickrode.

 

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For the past couple of weeks (I’ve been shamelessly keeping him to myself for far too long), Thor has been a distinguished guest in my home up here in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I had such high expectations, but things quickly went awry.

To my dismay, he arrived completely worn out from his escapades in South Carolina, but he wasn’t too weary to notice Superman keeping watch over the abode.

Superman keeping watch. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Superman keeping watch.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Yes, that is my McDonald’s happy meal toy, don’t judge me.

At first, Thor was a little upset that another superhero would be dwelling under the same roof. Until . . . he saw the bull riders. His fascination was immediate.

Thor meets the bulls. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Thor meets the bulls.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

“I wish to conquer these great bronze beasts,” exclaimed Thor.

Naturally, Thor being Thor, decided that he would ride the biggest, baddest bull in the pen – Bodacious, the PRCA bucking bull of the year two years running (1994 & 1995).

“Thor,” I said, “you cannot ride a bull without there being a bull fighter present. They may look like rodeo clowns, but they serve a very valuable purpose.”

Intent on his mission, but aware of the danger, Thor decided to rouse the resident bull fighter, Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafeal Jones from his afternoon siesta.

Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

When Mr. Jones was ready, Thor mounted the snorting beast and called for the chute to be opened.

Thor rides Bodacious Original photo by P. Rickrode

Thor rides Bodacious
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Thor completed the 8 second ride, however, because he failed to have the bull rope in his hand, he was disqualified. The judges declined to pay the prize money, but did allow him to keep the buckle.

The winning buckle Original photo by P. Rickrode

The winning buckle
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Disheartened by his bull riding experience, Thor decided that perhaps instead of riding the bucking bulls, he’d fight them like Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones.

“How hard can that be?” Thor questioned. “They look a lot bigger when you’re on their back.”

"This bull fighting - how hard can it be?" Original photo by P. Rickrode

“This bull fighting – how hard can it be?”
Original photo by P. Rickrode

I explained to Thor that bulls come in many shapes and sizes, but he remained firm in his resolve to be a bull fighter. Until he saw the entire bull pen bearing down on him.

The bull pen Original photo by P. Rickrode

The bull pen
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Exhausted from his hasty retreat over the arena fence, Thor proclaimed that it he now understood why Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones needed a siesta. I suggested that he climb to the top of the Great Tide Basin waterfall and do a bit of yoga or meditation to relax a bit.

“Yes,” said Thor, “I shall climb and meditate.”

The great Tide Basin Falls. Original photo by P. Rickrode

The great Tide Basin Falls.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

After his siesta, meditation, I thought Thor might enjoy a bit of our natural surroundings. We ventured deep into bear country.

“I’ve wrestled many a bear in my life,” said Thor with great gusto as we roamed through the woods.

But, when he saw the bears, he seemed eager to turn tail and run.

Welcome to bear country. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Welcome to bear country.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

“You could have warned me that the bears were so huge!”

Thor was not having a good day at all, so I suggested that for the rest of his stay, he stick close to Sherlock for protection.

Sherlock - the mighty proetctor. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Sherlock – the mighty protector.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

When I was finally able to coax him away from his mighty protector, I told him that often when I’m feeling a bit fluxumed I sit and play the piano for a while. It usually calms me.

“Yes,” agreed Thor, “I will play this piano you are so fond of.”

Thor the one-note wonder. Original post by P. Rickrode

Thor the one-note wonder.
Original post by P. Rickrode

Unfortunately, Thor’s attempt at the Moonlight Sonata sounded more like the one-note sonata so I begged him to stop. He only agreed to cease the madness when I offered alcohol as an incentive. I gave him a glass of local wine, but when Thor spotted the Bushmils on the top shelf of the liquor cabinet, he demanded whiskey or threatened to entertain me again by tickling the ivories.

Needless to say, I let him have his fill, which he did, but he slept for a week afterward. Seems Thor can’t handle his whiskey. Or perhaps it was the alcohol coupled with the altitude that wiped him out. Either way, he’s really quite a wimp when it comes to drinking games. Not that I minded. Seems Thor was quite taken with the piano and I feared if he awakened he might bang on it play it again.

I had many other exciting things planned for Thor, but his liquor-induced coma kept him away from the gold panning in Coloma, the very spot where James Marshall discovered gold in 1848, picking out pumpkins from the local pumpkin patch, and a round of wine tasting here in the foothills. I thought I might even take him to Tahoe in my husband’s new car, but I was afraid he might puke on the way so didn’t even suggest it.

My advice to anyone who hosts Thor in their home – hide the booze.

If you want to read more about Thor’s journeys and adventures, check it out here: http://www.debrakristi.com/thors-world-tour/

Thanks Debra Kristi for sending Thor my way and sorry I kept him so long (really it was his own fault for drinking all that whiskey).

Word of the day: Meliorism

Fun fact about me: I am hopelessly lost when it comes to technology.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt 2013. Original photos by P. Rickrode.

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