Thursday, September 10, 2009

King Mountain Adventures

At first glance the mud and tundra looks mild enough that the thought of having to cross the alpine swamp seems a light task compared to some of the rocks we've climbed and outstanding boulders we have tackled. A few of the trails across the mud do seem like they would be less challenging than others, I don't know what exactly Richard was thinking when he plowed his gnarly machine into one of the deepest bogs around, and stopped even quicker than he had driven in. He was stuck so fast that his bodies momentum almost carried him over the handle bars. Luckily one of the four-wheelers we were riding had a wench and we towed his muddy machine out with little problem.

Possibly that saddest part about the ordeal of Richard nearly burrying a machine is that once he was out and we all got across the alpine swamps, we made it to the top of the peaks, hung out a bit and on the way back I had the unfortunate pleasure of swamping my wheeler to the point of not being able to see the wheels. I had even driven back on the same trail that we all made it over on, but with all of us tearing it up and the little machine I was driving, that bog almost sent me over the handlebars when it quickly grabbed me. Then I too was left stranded and open for the scoffs and laughing of my brother-in-laws, even Chuck had to throw in some harassment.

The entire trip was incredible and one of the best four-wheeling trips I have ever been on. This type of boulder climbing and mud slinging on a wheeler is something that I have never really done. The 4x4 capabilities of those machines was pretty amazing and made for some good riding. My only other big riding trip that have been on would have been to the sand dunes in either St. Anthony, Idaho or Southern Utah. The best one being my buddies bachelor party (of sorts anyway) that four of us went to the Dunes in St. Anthony for a weekend and had a great ride, that is until my good buddy Jason launched his wheeler off a ridge cornace and endo-crashed it at the bottom of the hill. It added some real craziness to that trip, but was a great adventure for sure.

I am stoked about getting out more and more here in Alaska and really getting to know so much of the rad terrain that surrounds me. Everything is so big and gnarly here, it leaves a lot of challenges and I am so excited to keep rolling out the adventures.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Arch Angel Valley

Arch Angel Valley seems as though I should be in Utah hiking around the canyon lands or something. Instead I am high above the tree line in Hatcher's Pass Canyon. One great thing is that this type of terrain and beauty is only five minutes from home.
Blog entrees here have been overlapping the photos and stories that my wife is posting on our family blog, but being away from home five days a week means that any adventures that I find myself on are activities that both my family and I can do. Things change a lot when so much time is spent elsewhere, when I would rather be home with my family every night. Every minute of my time on the weekends is spent trying to catch up with and enjoy my two crazy boys and wonderful wife. This weekend in fact we are headed out fishing in Prince William Sound with good ol Chuck, it should be another great trip hopefully catching some silvers.
This is my buddy Ryan and Dane hanging out a bit near the top.

The water along the hike is the same glacial silt water that is in most streams here in Alaska, it does give the river a definite Alaska look. The scenery along this hike was spectacular!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Had to post the pic of the nice lake trout that I caught over the 4th of July weekend. It seems that I may have figured out the fishing a bit more on the lake, but did not get a whole lot of time to really see the full potential of the lake. One of the nights the boat we had up there quit working and took us until the next morning to figure out what was wrong with it, and really it was all my brother in law, Kevin that got it going again. Then again on another night of fishing we actually ran out of gas, so we ended up paddling most of our way back to the cabin until we were towed in by another boat, driven by Kevin no less.

The family cabin on the lake is really nice and great for all of us, but I definitely look forward to getting back out and fishing for some of the monster lake trout that I know are in there. There is a lot to enjoy around the cabin, on a nice beach, or around the lake, but it seemed that despite the nice weather and great weekend not everyone enjoyed themselves, but their loss I guess!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Ride in Fairbanks

The summers in Fairbanks are enough to convince almost anyone to live here. The weather, trees, and almost everything about it seem to be lulling me into thinking that I could actually find myself permanently living in a place like this. Those thoughts, however, are quickly shattered to frozen pieces of imagination when I remember that the winter here is exactly what someone could expect when living in Antarctica. The winter sounds horrific, and there is no way I would want to be here during the -40 and -50 degree temperatures.

Making the most of my time here in Fairbanks is mostly made up of work, but I have found time to do a little fishing, which I will post about later, as well I actually found a pump track here in the frozen north. I cannot believe how incredibly fun riding this simple track is, it blows my mind. It has been nice to have a track to ride with my bike while I am here for several months this summer. Not being home hasn't given me much chance work on my own pump track, but I do have almost one full loop done, which should be rideable in the next few weeks.

While my family was in town for a while we were able to go out and ride around the track a bit and let Dane go nutz. He rode around on that thing like he was a little champ and loved it. There was one major wreck that knocked the wind out of him pretty good when he lost control and ate dirt from the top of a roller. He was tough about it though and got back on his bike and ripped it up some more, even hitting the jump that I was getting some air on. I can't wait to get our track at home done and see what this kid will be able to do as he rides and improves his skill over the next few years.

Not much else more fun than the pump track!

The photos include Dane cruising around the track, then me on the track, some jumps, a little wheely action and even a little mountain bike teeter totter. Click on any of them to have a better look.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Willow Creek, Alaska

Amy and I used to travel to Alaska during the summer months and work different jobs in the area between school years. That time frame was typically from the first of May to the end of August. We have now lived in Alaska for approximately seven months, which is by far the longest stretch for us, but it still feels like any day now we are going to have to pack our things and head back to Utah. It just feels like we are on another temporary summer trip and it will be coming to an end soon.

There are some things that assist me in realizing that we are permanently living here is that I am starting to get out and do things that are new to me and see parts of Alaska that I never had time to when we were just here in the summer. One of those is some fishing and camping trips that we've never done before.One such trip was a recent float down Willow Creek here in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. A buddy here has a raft that he recently purchased and has started floating the local rivers as often as possible. We fished for rainbows and used fly rods with some technique's that I have never used before, but it was quite fun and we caught a few fish. I lost probably twenty dollars in fly's but it was pretty fun and that loss should decrease as we go more and get used to the rods.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Prince William Sound

Fishing in Prince William Sound is one of the greatest things I have ever done. Really,... being out on the water in a a spectacular boat and such an incredibly beautiful place has got to be one of the most epic things that I have done as far as my adventures go. It is simply amazing a
ll of the different sites and adventures that there are out in the Sound. We saw almost everything on our recent trip. We saw whales, dolphins, and did a lot of great fishing. It is such a fantastic day when you can fish for halibut and other species until you get your limit and then take off to a different location and catch your limit in Salmon or Shrimp. A lifetime could be spent discovering new places in Prince William Sound and you would never see it all. It is an experience that is so different from anything that I was able to do in Utah growing up. I have come to really love the ocean and greatly look forward to getting out again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lee Loves Bikes

Anyone who views this blog, though I know it may not be many, has got to check out this video. It has got to be one of the most incredible videos I have ever seen. I've watched it probably six or seven times now and I can't get enough. The beginning is a bit slow, however once he gets going you will not believe your eyes.

I now want another bike!

This weekend Dane and I are going to be working on the pump track so there should be some pics and info of Dane and his daredevil styles.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Got's to Love Pike

Sucker Lake is about a forty-five minute flight in the float plane, from Palmer were we live. The float plane is an awesome toy and is something I am going to have to get someday. The lake is out in the Bush, over the Susitna River and really in the middle of nowhere. I have been there before and there are a couple of canoe's that folks have stuffed in the tree's, so we just borrow one of those and can fish for pike almost 24 hours a day. There is a little point that is decent enough to camp on, so that is exactly what my by, Dane and I did. We set up the tent and hung out eating some good food and fishing for pike that are so full in the lake that it really is a piece of cake to catch them. Though not difficult to catch they are extremely fun, because we fish with top water frogs or something that causes those pike to be fairly explosive when they strike and that is just a blast to watch.
The first night was a bit windy and Dane got cold so we did not fish too long, rather we got camp set up and started a fire so he could warm up. Eventually he was falling asleep in the camp chair so I put him in his mummy bag and he crawled down inside and was out within a couple minutes. He slept until 9:30 the next morning, so he played pretty hard.

Dane was able to catch a fish or two all by himself and was very excited about it. I was surprised how well he did and that he was able to hold onto the pole when those fish hit his lure only five feet off the bank. It was pretty fun to watch him hang on and reel those suckers in. We were picked up by Chuck that next day about noon and headed for home. Dane loves flying in Grandpa's airplane. It was very cool to take my boy out and camp in the Alaska wilderness with him. He loved it and I enjoyed having him with me, even though I could not fish near as much as I would have liked due to taking care of him, but I would not trade it at all, it was awesome.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dirt Update

It has been a slow process, but there is some shape starting to take place on the track now. A good portion of memorial day was spent in moving dirt and working the shovel to mold and shape it into burm's and roller's. The area that I've got the track located is still a little wet, which is making the work a little difficult. It is exciting for me to see a couple things coming together.

Kirk is also in the process of building a pump track in his back yard and its cool to chat with him about ideas and where each of us are at in our construction. He has had a track before, but tore it up to put in his lawn. Now that bike season has come around and both of us are so stoked to ride he cant stand it and is putting another track over top of the lawn... Awesome!

There is one 8' radius burm and two rollers heading into it right here.

This Video is incredible, check it out!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Camping on Weiner Lake

This Memorial Day weekend we did get a little camping in. What started as a horrible decision to camp in a State camp site that would have cost $20 and been surrounded with other bonehead campers not fifteen feet away on all sides actually turned out to be an awesome camp trip. Rather than pitch our tents amidst the neighbors, we called a friend that has some property north of Palmer about 40 miles. It is actually the site of his home way out in the woods that burned down this last year or so. I believe that it caught fire due to his cooking a turkey in one of those deep fryers. That would suck!

Anyway, we ended up having about 70 acres all to ourselves with some sweet fire pits, and a beautiful lake with fish, beavers, and swans. We pitched out tents down by this lake and had great tinfoil dinners that Amy had made for us, hung out by the fire and chilled with our friends, Bryce and Tara.

The night was kind of crazy! Sometime in the middle of the night Tara had to get up with their little girl and go home. I think it may have been too cold for the little one. Dane and Ty handled it okay, we had been sure to put both of them in the 5 Degree bags and Amy and I took some less than stellar bags for ourselves. I have never had to endure such a cold night in such a crappy sleeping bag. At one point I was cold enough to get out of the bag and put as much clothing on as I could find and shoot back into my bag as fast as I could. Amy got cold enough that she woke Ty up and put him in her bag to help warm her up. So we need to get some sleeping bags that are made for Alaska. They may have worked fine for Utah, but they are not going to cut it here.

One cool thing about being awake, freezing to death is that I could hear a pack of wolves howling all night. They sounded to be fairly close to where we were camping and kind of scared me at first, I have never been camping in a tent when I can listen to the wolves at night. The closest thing to that would be sleeping in a hammock in Island Park Idaho and hearing the coyote's around camp, but that is not as cool as the wolves.

We headed home that morning fairly early, because our friends had pretty much left in the cover of darkness and we were just chillin now. The boys had fun though and we came home and got to go flying in Grandpa Chucks airplane, which the boys loved. They crammed in the back seat together and had a lot of fun. There are a few perks about living in Alaska and having a Father in Law with a lot of great toys.

This ugly thing was hanging in the tree where we had our dinner, sadly we did not notice it until after we had started eating. Pretty Gnarly!

I'm Scared

I am scared, because this is my kid. It amazes me how goofy and weird both Dane and Ty can get. This picture just cracks me up so much that I had to post it on here for others to see. Dane is obsessed with making funny faces and goofing off for the camera, but I don't think he could do this face again if he tried.

They are weird, but I sure like hanging out with them as much as I can.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pump Fever

I have got the bike bug so bad, it is ridiculous! I really do wish that the riding was as good up here in Alaska as it is down in Utah. In Cache Valley there is so many good single track rides and with a little travel there is some of the most incredible mountain biking in the world around Moab and Southern Utah. There is a lot of potential here in the Mat-Su Valley though, and I will just have to get out and find more trails to ride even if that includes building some of my own, which I have partially begun already.

I posted earlier about the Giant STP 1 Dirt Jumper that I have been planning on purchasing, and I am pleased to say that I now have that bike in my possession. It is a dream come true! I have been eyeing that bike for a year now and with a little coaxing, my wife came around to the idea that I needed such a bike.

Aside from a little single track through the woods I have also started construction on my pump track. I plan on working on it as often as I can, but it looks like it is going to be quite an undertaking, especially with the area that I have to work with. It is located near the creek and is still too wet to do much with. I had the skidder out on it yesterday and we found that the ground is still frozen solid about a foot or less under the surface. Thu
s far I have cleared the land of the grasses and small trees and now will just have to see how fast that can help the whole thing thaw. The trail through the woods that I have been working on is built in a location to give me a little excitement anyway. I have started clearing the path for an area that starts near the house and winds down through the trees and off of a little hill that has a pretty good drop off the top. The photos that Amy took of this section do not look very impressive, but the drop and pitch of the hill is such that I cannot just ride straight down it or my front tire would drop and I would endo over the handle bars, so it does make it interesting. I have to hit it with enough speed to actually jump off the edge and land on the slope. No one else around here wants to try it. Lastly I wanted to post a sweet video that Kirk sent to me from down in Utah. There is a trail that we used to ride a lot, and they have made some very good additions to it over the years. This year Kirk tells me that there are a couple jumps that someone has built and so he took some video of one of these monstrous jumps. Not only did he get some video of this gnarly kicker but added some radical affects to the video as well. It is probably the coolest jump that I have ever seen.

YESSSSSSS!!! Nice one Kip!

I was working on my manuals with the new bike.