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?

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.

 

 

Love for the water

Maybe it’s because I have grown up always around water, from swimming practice everyday, having a boat, being in the rain, but I have always loved it.

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This picture was taken out at my friends house in Juneau this January when I was lucky enough to spend my winter break back up in Alaska. We walked along the beach, snapped some pics then went home and baked a cake for her mom’s birthday. It was super foggy that day, so I like how it was captured in this photo. The channel seemed like it had nothing in, even though there is a boat harbor right downtown.

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This picture was taken a week or so ago when my friend and I were getting distracted after a swim practice. Even though it was a rainy day outside we still had practice. I actually really like practicing in the rain because it’s better than the typical sunny day here in Santa Barbara.

IMG_4723Lastly, this picture was taken at a swim meet a few weeks ago in Ventura. California was having a huge storm and I was stuck at a swim meet during it. I was up on the blocks about to race, while it was pouring down rain, and lightning struck! The meet was postponed for half an hour, then we had to finish prelims. During the afternoon, finals were actually canceled because of how much rain there was so we didn’t have to swim. I was so exciting having my first swim meet outside in the rain, because in Alaska all meet are indoors because the pool water would definitely freeze during the winter.

I know this post isn’t exactly about Alaska, but are you one of those people that love the rain or hate it?

The Crazy Dog Sled Race

In honor of the Iditarod 2014 coming to an end, I though I should share how cool it is. The Iditarod is a famous dog sled race that is approximately 1200 miles, and the longest race in the world. It starts in Anchorage, Alaska and ends in Nome, Alaska. The fastest person to ever complete the race took 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 2 seconds.

Photo by Bob Hallinen, Anchorage Daily News

Photo by Bob Hallinen, Anchorage Daily News

Yesterday, Dallas Seavey won the race for the second time, and Aliy Zirkle finishing in second by 2 minutes and 22 seconds. This is the third year in a row she has gotten second place. The closest a race has been was by the tip of the lead dogs nose in 1978 when the winner won by only one second.

In total, there are 26 checkpoints on the northern route and 27 on the southern one. Most Iditarod’s have about 65 teams of about 16 dogs each. Each dog is implanted with a track-able microchip in addition to its collar tag. Veterinarians are available to treat the dogs at each checkpoint, where mushers also stock up on dog food, and dogs wear booties to protect their feet. If any dog gets injured it’s flown to Eagle River to be cared for until it’s musher finishes the race.

This year there is very little snow, making the race even harder. Temperatures can drop down to -100 F, with high winds. The last musher to finish the race get the Red Lantern award which honors his or her perseverance.

Would you ever be brave enough to race in the Iditarod?

Deadliest Catch

When you ask a typical fifteen year old girl what their summer consists of, they probably wouldn’t say what I would. Last summer I commercial fished on my aunts boat, and this summer I’m working on my dad’s. We catch several different types of salmon: chum, sockeye, pink, and coho. The fishing is not nearly as intense and scary as the TV show Deadliest Catch, but it still can be nerve wracking at times.

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A pretty sunset during an opener

You can only fish during openers which are usually from Sunday at noon-Wednesday at noon. During that time you are basically trying to fish as much as possible, sometimes fishing throughout the night. In between openers you usually go back to town and prepare for the next opener and fix any problems. I gill net, which is basically setting out a vertical net of in a straight line. One side of the net has lead in it so it sinks, and the other side of the net has corks so it floats. Fish get caught in the net by usually their gills or fins, and when you reel back in the net, you pick out the fish.

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Chum salmon piled on top of eachother

Last summer I got really good at telling apart the different species of salmon, because each one is sold for a different price; some being much more than others. There’s other types of of commercial fishing like seining, trolling and long lining. It’s a lot of work, but pretty fun when you are catching lots of fish!

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Another gorgeous sunset

Do you think you would like fishing as a summer job?

Sports traveling adventures

Unlike in California where you can easily just get in your car and drive a few hours to get where you need to go, and drive home right after, in Juneau it’s not quite like that. First off, it’s land-locked meaning there is no way to drive out of the small town. People think it would be super annoying that your basically stuck there, but it doesn’t seem like that while you’re there. So, there are several options to get out of town.

1) Take an Alaskan Airlines flight. They can be anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours or so to get across the state.

2) Take a float plane if you’re going to a small island or place without a airport.

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3) Take a long ferry ride-usually about 4-24 hours, or some other boat.

The air flowing in my face on a ferry a few years ago

The air flowing in my face on a ferry a few years ago

So once you make it out of town, the next part of the journey begins. If your destination is somewhere in Southeast Alaska, which basically makes up a big spread out community, and you are there for a sports trip, then you get to house which is a alternative to staying at a hotel.

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From the back of a ferry

Housing is when your sports teams gets to stay at peoples houses that you are playing against. It can be strange because you are living with them during the time you are there, and you may have never met them before. I have had some interesting experiences housing in Alaska. One time my teammate and I stayed with a family who farmed all of their food, and had goats and chickens, and we had to help. Another time, we stayed at a house that each person in their large family had like 5 allergies and a few of them were deathly. However, I have stayed at some houses with great people, and made some new friends during sports trips in Southeast. Would you like to stay at your competitions home?

~Lexi

Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

There’s some amazing animals in Alaska, that I’ve luckily spotted in the wild.

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During the summer, I have had bears in my backyard and have had them stand right outside my door. As adorable as cubs are, their mothers are very protective. My family and I have a funny ritual that every year, when we take our first boat trip after bears end hibernation, and who ever see’s the first bear the of season would get a chocolate bar.

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A black bear seen on my porch last summer.

Most times you’re on the water, depending on where you are, you can see humpback whales or orca’s. The documentary Blackfish sadly shows the conditions that orca’s are put through when captured for places like Sea World. It’s hard to explain how intriguing it is to watch humpback whales bubble feed. Bubble feeding is when a pod of whales work together to catch their food. One whale makes a large ring of bubbles, which little fish and plankton won’t swim through, so they are trapped. All of the whales rise upward and get all of the food they need and leap out of the water.

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In Juneau, out near the glacier there is a lake called Mendenhall Lake where people go to skate, cross country ski and skate ski. My parents would go their almost every day and ski loops around the lake. There used to be a black wolf that would always be there for about five years. People in Juneau gave him the name Romeo, and he was harmless. I was lucky enough to see the him couple times before a guy shot him for no apparent reason and he got in a lot of trouble.

Moose!

Moose!

There are tons of other animals found in Alaska, and it is so pleasing to see them in their natural habitat. Whats your favorite animal you’ve seen in the wild?

Beach Love

This is Sandy Beach and it’s in Juneau, Alaska. During the winter the water is just above freezing so right around 32 degrees. It’s a great place to walk your dog. Even though the beaches in Alaska may not be as pleasant as the ones in California I still love them because of how peaceful they are. The crisp air, the crunchy snow, the few people. The coldness scares some people inside, but for me I always enjoy layering up and exposing myself to the winter air.

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The beaches in Alaska and California are very different, and I’m sure that many people would prefer the Californian Beaches rather than the Alaskan ones. In Santa Barbara there are lots of great beaches. I especially like Butterfly Beach, and Thousand Stairs. They are both relatively quiet and very beautiful. I absolutely love going to the beach, to swim and lay in the sand to get “tanner” even though I don’t tan very easy. You can read, play frisbee, listen to music and just relax.

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Here’s my sister, our dog, and I last September when the weather was super warm at Thousand Stair beach.

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The beach is a great way to get away from school and homework. Even during the middle of winter beaches in California can be full of people surfing or just hanging out. Also, if you don’t want to get all sandy, just biking along the beach is very refreshing and it’s interesting to see all the different people.

Where is your favorite beach you’ve ever been to?

AK Fashion vs. CA

After attending high school in both California and Alaska for some time now, it’s safe to say that both places have different fashion necessities. So here’s how we’re going to break it down. This is what a typical Alaskan and Californian outfit looks like on a normal school day, but there are lots of other things to pair each garment with.

ALASKA

Jacket: Black North Face raincoat, which is great as a windbreaker.

Sweatshirt: A popular sweatshirt is an Alaskan Amber sweatshirt, which is the local brewery in Juneau, so a lot of people like to support it.

Top: Usually even inside school it’s really cold, so the majority of kids just leave on their jacket or sweatshirt.

Bottoms: Nice dark wash jeans are a great buy to have, which can be paired with a lot of things.

Shoes: Either UGGs or Xtra Tufs depending on whether it is just cold, or rainy. It’s common to make your wool socks peak out of the top of your boots too.

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Photo by Ginny,  ginny-life-is.blogspot.com, 2012

Photo by Ginny, ginny-life-is.blogspot.com, 2012

CALIFORNIA

Jacket: Black puffy Patagonia’s are popular, which are great to have, especially during chilly mornings.

Top: A nice cozy flannel is a great top to pair with just about anything.

Bottoms: Lululemon leggings are an essential, and although they are expensive, they’ll definitely be worn a lot.

Shoes: Converse, for sure. Everyone likes a different style, depending on color, or style. From simple black, to patterned, converse are a great simple option for both boys and girls.

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What do you think about these two outfits?

~Lexi