Summer Salmon

Here is a recipe to get you ready for summer! This is a really easy recipe that my family has used for many years with salmon we have caught or bought.  It’s pretty simple and easy and doesn’t take too much time. Last weekend, I went down to the fish market on the pier with my dad and we got some really delicious seafood. I didn’t even know that there was a market here, but it’s full of locally caught, fresh, seafood! Where ever you are, you should check out your local seafood market.

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1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets

salt, garlic powder, lemon and pepper to taste

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1. Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

2. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3. Preheat grill for medium heat.

4. Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

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Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Whats your favorite way to prepare salmon?

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Hunting Stories

My two older brothers and my dad have always loved hunting. I’ve never actually hunted anything before, but I have been dragged into helping them on their adventures several times. Alaskan game tastes much better and is more sustainable than store processed meat, but not all people are willing to go out and hunt for it.

My brother Eric trying to blend in with nature

My brother Eric trying to blend in with nature

My family used to moose hunt annually. We would freeze the meat and it would usually be enough to last us throughout most of the year. A couple years ago in Gustavas, Alaska, we took our boat there and my mom, dad, and two brothers woke up at dawn to go and try to get a moose. My sister and I got to just sleep in and wait for them to do the hard part. At around 9:00 AM, we were awoken from our nice sleep to a radio call from our parents saying that they needed our help and that they got one. We had to quickly get some materials they asked for, then we walked to their location in the forest. They told us how many paces they were in a certain direction and we managed to find them. For the following hours we had to carry the meat in bags to a van to take it back to the boat. However, once our freezer was full of delicious meat for the year, the hard work was all worth it.

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Evan’s moose!

My brothers have also been into deer and duck hunting, but throughout all  my life, I have refused to eat wild duck. I personally feel that hunting is appropriate if you are going to eat what you shoot or catch, but if someone is hunting just for the fur or sport than that’s completely different. Overall, wild meat in Alaska is pretty common and hunting is not considered strange or wrong.

My brother as little kid playing with deer near our cabin in Petersburg. This deer is way too small to actually hunt but I guess he liked to play with them.

My brother when he was younger, playing with a young deer near our cabin in Petersburg. 

Would you ever hunt for an animal in the wild?

Dawn of the North

The Northern Lights are the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere, which results beautiful colors that paint the sky. Variations in color are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. They are seen in both the the northern and southern poles of the planet.

Wikipedia Commons, 2010

From the times I have seen the northern lights, they were not too bright, but still beautiful. Apparently this year they have been extremely strong and colorful. The lights of the northern hemisphere are often called Aurora borealis, which means means ‘dawn of the north’. ‘Aurora australis’ means ‘dawn of the south’. In Roman myths, Aurora was the goddess of the dawn.

Here is a cool video of the Northern Lights in Alaska in fast forward. Researchers have found out the auroral activity is actually cyclic, peaking around every eleven years. The best time to watch them is in winter, when it is clear out, and usually around midnight.

Photo by  Brocken Inaglory, Wikipedia Commons, 2007

Photo by Brocken Inaglory, Wikipedia Commons, 2007

The colors can quickly disappear across the sky of all different hues. The most common colors are red and green, but yellow, pink and blue are still seen.  The Geophysical Institute can forecast the lights and how strong the visibility will be for any evening.

Photo by Joshua Strang, Wikipedia Commons, 2005

Photo by Joshua Strang, Wikipedia Commons, 2005

Have you ever seen the beautiful Northern Lights in your life?

Beautiful Glacier Caves

Mendenhall Glacier is located about twelve miles from Juneau, and is the fifth largest icefield in North America. It was originally known as Sitaantaagu (“the Glacier Behind the Town”) by the Tlingits, but it was renamed in honor of Thomas Corwin Mendenhall. It extends from the Juneau Icefield, its source, to Mendenhall Lake and ultimately the Mendenhall River. These beautiful pictures were taken by one if my best friends dad, whose work you can find here

DSCF9959If you are not familiar with glaciers, they are made by fallen snow that, over many years, compresses into large, thickened ice masses. They form when snow remains in one location long enough to transform into ice. 

The beautiful caves of the Mendenhall Glacier.

The beautiful caves of the Mendenhall Glacier.

The glacier has also receded 1.75 miles since 1958, when Mendenhall Lake was created, and over 2.5 miles since 1500. The end of the glacier currently has a negative glacier mass balance and will continue to retreat in the foreseeable future due to rising temperatures. 

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A pretty frozen waterfall in Juneau.

In many places, glaciers are the main source of drinking water. That is a huge issue for people whose main water source is glacial water. However, with the recession of the Mendenhall Glacier comes the Mendenhall Lake which is a unique ecosystem and is poplar for sports fishing. 

DSCF9967People in Juneau go out to the glacier to check out the beautiful caves produced and cherish the beauty, because it sadly will be gone one day with the temperatures rising at this rate. Have you ever seen a glacier?

The Klondike Road Relay

Based off the name of the Klondike Gold Rush, this is a 110 mile road relay race that begins in Alaska and goes into Canada.The race starts on Friday evening, September 6th in Skagway, Alaska. It follows the trail of the Gold Rush Stampeders over the famous White Pass, through British Columbia, and into the Yukon, finishing Saturday, September 7th along the Yukon River in Whitehorse.

The 110 miles are divided into 10 legs that vary in distance from 5 miles to 16 miles long. Theres different categories from gender to age, for teams to compete against each other. Also, for teams less competitive, there can be teams of all ages and genders.

My mom has done 6 out of the 10 legs and she hopes to eventually do every leg. Some years the northern lights are out, others it is cloudy, rainy or sometimes even snowy.

Right when one runner finishes a leg, the next person takes off on theirs. Depending on what leg you do, you may get to run in the midst of the night. I really want to do it sometime, because it think it would be a really fun, beautiful experience.

Would you ever run in the Klondike if you had the opportunity?

City-Life in Alaska

Anchorage is the largest city in all of Alaska with a population of about 300,000. Out of the 730,000 people that live in Alaska, lots are from the Anchorage area. I really like it there because there is a good mix of urban and rural. Unlike some places where buildings take away all the beauty of towns, Anchorage has the perfect amount with Denali National Park nearby. The flight there is really pretty and really is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. 20140408-182517.jpgI haven’t spent much time there sightseeing, because usually I have a swim meet or something, but what I have seen, I’ve liked a lot. There’s also some really good restaurants there like Mooses Tooth, Glacier Brewhouse, and Snow City Cafe. 20140408-182438.jpgThere are some good trails for skate skiing and track skiing, but there is also Alyeska which is a downhill resort. It’s pretty funny because in Alaska there are basically only two cities with actual shopping malls in them: Anchorage and Fairbanks. Some of my friends have actually flown to Anchorage just to shop at normal stores while here in California there is shopping basically everywhere.

A moose munching away on some shrubs.

A moose munching away on some shrubs.

There some great wildlife in Anchorage like moose, bears and eagles. Have you ever been to Anchorage?

Crab Cake Deliciousness

Something you need to try at some point in your life is crab cakes! Everytime my family catches or buys fresh crab, we always make a point to make crab cakes. Although they are a bit unhealthy, it’s good to treat yourself every once in a while. Here is a great recipe from a local seafood store in Petersburg, AK called Coastal Seafoods.

1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Old Bay seafood seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or more, to taste
2 cups flaked crab meat
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine beaten egg, 3/4 cup bread crumbs, mayonnaise, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seafood seasoning, mustard and red pepper. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Gently fold in crabmeat. Shape mixture into 6 balls; flatten into 3-inch cakes. Coat crab cakes with remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour. In a large skillet, heat butter and oil.  Pan-fry crab cakes on medium high for approximately 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Add more butter or margarine and oil to skillet as necessary.

Photo by Patrick T., http://www.huffingtonpost.com, 2013

Photo by Patrick T., http://www.huffingtonpost.com, 2013

I like mine with a little Sriracha hot sauce. Others like dill sauce or mayo mixed with hot sauce, so it’s really just by preference.

What’s your favorite way to prepare crab?

Of the seasons

Unlike here in Santa Barbara where seasons are practically inexistent, in Alaska there are clear distinctions between spring, summer, autumn and winter.

In autumn, the orange leaves from the previous year begin to shed onto the sidewalks and the weather begins to cool down. Rain is a huge part of fall in Southeast Alaska. The temperature isn’t very cold, but from August through October there sure are a lot of rainy days. Most Alaskans dislike these months because of the rain, but like I’ve mentioned in past posts, I love the rain.

20140405-210932Snow begins to build up at the top of the mountains and slowly cascades further down each day. Once winter begins you can tell a significant difference in how little light each day brings. As winter passes, there are days of powdery snow followed by day of slush and rain. The occasional week of wind and below zero weather leaves lots of chapped faces and dry skin.

20140405-211004.jpgSlowly, it starts to get darker later and lighter earlier. By the official first day of spring, trees are beginning to bud, and green grass is beginning peek out of the snow coating. Days are heating up more and more till summer comes.

IMG_0436By summer the weather is nice and pleasant with berries out and animals back from migration or hibernation. Rain still comes and goes, and snow remains on the mountaintops. Year by year, season by season, the world’s constantly changing.

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What’s your favorite season? Fall and winter have always been my favorites.

 

 

Skiing Fun

Eaglecrest, Juneau Alaska is a great small ski area. From going at age 6 till 15, I started with the super tiny “green circle” runs and worked my way up.

It is a great place to learn how to ski. I had weekly lessons for a couple years. At first I really disliked being cold and my feet getting really tired, so the only enjoyable part of it was getting candy from the instructor after each run. But as I grew up I began to appreciate how lucky I was to live only 30 minutes away from Eaglecrest.

Photo by John Erben, www.juneau.org

Photo by John Erben, http://www.juneau.org

It was like a really small community because everyone basically knew everyone else. There isn’t very many runs but but is a good place to learn how to ski. There is also a Nordic ski area at the bottom of the mountain where my parents would go often and skate ski or track ski.

Photo by John Erben, www.juneau.org

Photo by John Erben, http://www.juneau.org

It is really pretty up there regardless of the season. During the summer I have gone up and berry picked, and hiked. Then in the winter, of course skiing and sledding too.

Photo by Sarah Cannard, www.juneau.org

Photo by Sarah Cannard, http://www.juneau.org

Every year there was a really cool competition called The Slush Cup. People of all ages with the courage to possibly submerge into a pool of ice water enter. It is usually during the end of the ski season in April. At the bottom of a run, a huge rectangular pool of slush water is made. Competitors dress up funny and try to make it across the water skiing.  My brother Evan did it a few years ago and actually made it across.

 

Photo by Nathan Coffee, www.juneau.org

Photo by Nathan Coffee, http://www.juneau.org

What’s your favorite ski area you’ve been to?

An Intrastate Pipeline

Alaskan Oil has always been a really big deal for both the state and the nation.

The Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System (TAPS) includes the crude oil pipeline is one of the longest pipelines in the world stretching 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, Alaska.

Photo by Ryan McFarland, Wikipedia commons, 2005

Photo by Ryan McFarland, Wikipedia Commons, 2005

It was a very long process to make this pipeline run cross state. It started to be built in 1969, and the first barrel of oil to travel the pipeline was in 1977. As of 2010, the pipeline has almost 16 million barrels of oil. Thats a lot! On a average day about 600,000 barrels are moved across the pipeline. It peaked in 1988 when 2.1 millions barrels of oil were moved daily. Each year the amount of oil is going down which is showing the extreme use of the state’s resources.

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wikipedia Commons, 1969

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wikipedia Commons, 1969

Because of the success of the pipeline, all Alaskan Citizens are giving an annual PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend) which is usually $500-2000 depending on the success of the pipeline that year. It is returning a percentage of the revenue back to the Alaskans.

When my family and I drove up to Fairbanks we saw the pipeline.

When my family and I drove up to Fairbanks we saw the pipeline.

Wikipedia Commons, 2002

Wikipedia Commons, 2002

Have you ever seen the pipeline in your life?