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July 31, 2002

damn it i just wrote

damn it i just wrote a nice thing about my last evening in seward, all the good fun we had last night, and the computer erased it. highlights of last night included midori kamakazi shots, talking with steve the best bartender at the showcase lounge, the best bar in alaska and possibly in the world, and riding back towards camp all 5 of us sitting on top of this el camino drivin by a weirdo we'd met before. we aren't sure where our stuff is gonna be ditched in anchorage, i hope not but most likely at the airport, which is spendy. we're thinking of checking out the bluegrass festival in talkeetna, but i'm not sure how much i wanna hang out with drunken bikers. for sure though we're gonna hitch up to denali and go for some hikes, maybe try and pretend our way into a free raft trip. it's sunny and warm here, which i have mixed feelings about, cause it's kinda nice to leave somewhere when it's cold and rainy. it's ok though. goodbye good old seward.

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July 29, 2002

back in seward, had a

back in seward, had a really nice evening night before last camped on kenai like which is 30 miles north of seward. mike hitched up and met us with a bunch of beers and old granddad whiskey, a libation i had sworn off since the 4th of july weekend and i stayed true to my promise. dave had got a book on foraging for edible mushrooms and he found some really good ones, we sauted them in olive oil, garlic and onions and they were so excellent, it made me want to rumage through the forest until i fould some more but then i got lazy. coming back to seward wasn't so bad, today i'm going to the hospital to see about a payment plan for my stitches, also gonna request a breakdown on what services they gave me, my pops says i should just pay up and count myself lucky that i didn't get hurt more, which is what i'll prolly do.
i get home in 12 days, the plans for what happens after that are looking good, going to s.f. then portland then boise then ketchum idaho then back to reno for burningman then maybe back to portland and various other places on the west coast and albuquerque to visit my grandma and maybe if i can finagle it out to ohio to visit good old aaron. sounds like a lot to do before i head south for mexico in october, plus i might choose to work a bit before i leave reno and recoup some of the money that i'm gonna pay to the damn expensive hospital here so that i don't end up short somewhere in south america.
anyone interested in camping in the blackrock desert on the 13th of next month should email me, it's gonna rule, natural hotsprings and the crazy desert out there and tons of fun and maybe beer and with luck no rain. also does anyone else think we should have a party for drew since he's leaving?

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July 27, 2002

after this post i head

after this post i head out of seward, i'm hitching with meridith which makes it easy cause she's a girl and it's not me and some other guy with our thumbs out looking scruffy and perhaps dangerous. homer is perhaps the nicest town in the world, yesterday this elderly gentleman named john picked us up hitching and decided to take us for lunch at the senior's center, then he whooped our asses at pool and told us about his 30 years in this town. paul the guy who originally picked us up when we were hitching here was the greatest, last night he cooked us dinner, veggies and rice for me and also salmon for the rest of my friends, then we sat around and talked then watched the mothman prophesies, which held together pretty good till the end when some damn weak dialogue snuck in and caused us all to start laughing and making fun of the show.
we're headed to kenai lake to camp for the evening before we do the primrose to lost lake trail, the lost lake trail is where i crashed on the bike. my would is looking good, i was careful not to get it too dirty on the hike from hope to cooper landing. we get back to seward the 29th then spend the 30th there and go to anchorage the 31st, with luck we'll be able to stash our stuff at the house of a friend in anchorage.
about the boat story, it hit a tree and sank and we ended up swimming a bit then climbing out and being soaked and walking downstream a while, i'll write it up more fancy later.

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July 26, 2002

we did the first 40

we did the first 40 miles of the trail, it felt really good to carry a heavy backpack through tons of beautiful scenery and camp out and cook on my stove and a campfire and be with good friends. then we decided that the second 40 miles of the trail weren't worth it, cause everyone said that there is an 8 mile stretch that's infested with bears and that's not maintained which means we'd have to spend a day at least going around downed trees which is not very fun, so instead we got to coopers landing and hitched to homer, this amazingly nice guy named paul picked us up and is letting us stay at his house, homer is fun and quite similar to seward, we like it a lot, today we walked around the spit and this elderly man took us out to free lunch at the senior's center, it was weird but very nice. now we're going to go get food at the natural foods store and cook dinner for paul, then maybe go back out to the bars but really i'm tired and just want to sleep and look out his window at the amazing view of the harbor. nobody think i'm a wimp for not completing all 80 miles of our intended trip, it was the best choice. ok i get back to reno in 13 days and a wakeup, pretty excited about that.

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July 22, 2002

just got back from a

just got back from a really good weekend hanging out in girdwood and anchorage with jen and shannen, much thanks to them for coming to get me and for dropping me off and for hanging out and everything, they rule quite a bit and it was good to see some reno faces up here. we got to hang out and have dinner with shannen's grandma from panama, maria, she said i talked too much like a mexican and that i should concentrate on not losing the castellano accent from spain. oh yeah, everyone should call shannen "shanny" now, she really prefers that. with luck i'll be around for both of their birthdays, but my plans for after i get back are gonna be very hectic. i'll find some occasion for getting them drunk. speaking of parties, i propose that drew should have one on the 14th as a going away party, we can get him quite drunk and i'll have to drive part of the way up to portland in his u-haul, cause he's letting me come along, and it would be a good bash.
my stitches are gonna cost 875 bucks, which sounds amazingly high to me, i'm gonna go talk to the finance office at the hospital and see if they can lower it. i guess it's better then having a big ass scar over my left eyebrow.
we're going hiking for 7 days tomorrow, through downed trees on the trail and bear infested woods, i'm excited. i anticipate un chingo (a lot in spanish) of junkmail in my email box.
i'll write when i get back from hiking, less then three weeks till i return to the reno and various points on the west coast, i'm trying to figure a way to get a free ride out to ohio to hang out with aaron before i begin my trip into mexico, but i'm not sure how. anyone have any ideas? ok that's all, remember, call her "shanny."

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July 19, 2002

i'm at shannen's mom's house

i'm at shannen's mom's house in girdwood. we just cooked dinner, actually i cooked dinner, pasta with olive oil garlic onions green peppers mushrooms and spices, it's so nice to cook in an actual kitchen with sharp knives and burners that heat up fast. shannen's mom and her step dad are super fun, i was worried that they would recognize me from my drunken shenanigans at the forest festival which took place here, but apparently they were in a similar state. thank goodness. went to anchorage today and i found a killer reno tshirt at the salvation army thriftstore, also got some vegan junkfood which i'd forgotten that i missed so much, and i got an henry and june by anais nin, which is starting off really cool and making me wish i'd finished tropic of cancer instead of lending it to michael. drew, dave and meridith went out hiking today, i'm a tiny bit worried i won't be in adequate shape to do the resurrection pass/river trails, but i'll push myself through if nothing else. ok gonna go make a fire and drinke a few cool beers. my eye is swollen just a little but it's gonna be better tomorrow, i'm certain.

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July 17, 2002

cool scars today i went

cool scars
today i went to go ride the lost lakes trail on dave's mountain bike. i went and had it oiled up and got out of town a bit late, at about 1 pm. i road to the trail head and started up. i was about 3 miles up the trail when i came to an elbow in the trail. i followed it left, surrounded by thick forest and a very steep hill on my left. the trail dipped out left towards the steep and treacherous hill, and i attempted to follow it and then cut back right on to the wider part so that i could prepare for a right turn. well, i didn't quite make it to the whole cut back right part, and found myself falling off the edge towards the precipt. it was a surreal moment, i've ridden off of trails before but usually in the desert, not surrounded by green. after the first flip the bike and i seperated, and it stayed put only about 6 feet down from the trail. i however continued to tumble, scraping myself up pretty good in the process. i remember thinking that if i hit a tree it would be really bad. near the end of my rapid 25+ feet decent i managed to whack into a branch or a tree limb or something, opening up a 3 centimeter laceracion above my left eyebrow. this, as do all face injuries, began to bleed furiously. i came to a halt, checked myself to make sure that everything was still in working order, then stood up. blood was dripping down my face and onto my shirt, but i felt the wound with my hand and it wasn't too big. shakily i climbed up to the trail, pulling the bike back onto the packed dirt. i cruised slowly down the trail, stopping to ask some startled hikers how bad the wound was. they offered to take me to the hospital, but i opted to ride down towards a house where i'd seen some folks doing maintenence. they kindly offered to drive me to the hospital, after furnishing a towelso that i could wipe some of the drying blood off of my face. at the hospital i waited more then 2 hours, then the doctor shot me with a local and gave me 3 stitches. they estimated that i'd have to pay maybe as much as 500 bucks, which is shitty but not too bad. right now i'm at the library with some blood still in my hair and a big bandaid over my brow.
pretty exciting.
anyways, i'm gonna go back to camp now and rest, i snagged a cold compress out of the firstaid kit at the sealife center and i'm itching to slap it to my face. aaron ran into me and said that i'd prolly have a cool scar. i'm stoked.
hope no one else fell off a hill on a bike today. i'm ok, just glad i didn't run into a tree. desert mountain biking is much better, if i'd have been in nevada i would have had my fall cushioned by some nice friendly sagebrush. hehe.

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July 16, 2002

it's been a nice couple

it's been a nice couple of days, even though the bakery didn't give me any hours after i told them that i was leaving. it's funny, i felt like i was being a good guy, not just walking out or not showing up like i thought i'd do but instead giving them notice, and they've rewarded me by not giving me any hours in this last week. kinda crappy of them, but it's not a big deal cause i've made more then i intented to make this summer already and the weather is perfect today and i'm gonna go on a bikeride after this or maybe i'll even throw myself into the freezing ocean. someday, prolly when i get back i'll get a chance ot write the end of the boat adventure, i spent most of my half hour on the computer today helping this guy next to me send a message to his family. the sea kayaking was so great, it was overcaste and my new friend meridith and i stopped past tunsina point and built a small fire out of dried driftwood and watched the boats and other kayakering cruise around the bay. i feel like i haven't had enough chance to write about some of the cool folks i've met, like steve the bartender from yugoslavia who really is the best bartender i've ever met ever, and maryland the neat old lady who makes all the salads at my work and lives in a warhouse and loves spam sandwiches. again, prolly when i get back. everyone wish my brother steve a happy birthday if you feel like it, he's 20 today.

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July 15, 2002

2 good outdoor things i've

2 good outdoor things i've done to counteract the bartime

saturday we hiked up to harding icefield. the icefield is pretty damn unique, it's kind of like a bowl of ice spilling out through the holes in the mountains that make up the bowl that it's in. good sentence dan. if you took out all the ice you could fill the yosemite valley 1000 times, at places it's a mile deep, one of the last remnants of the iceage. which means it really makes you feel small.
we set out at 1 oclock, opting to hike the river bed instead of paying the 3 dollar parks' charge, which added an extra mile. the trip up was a good hike, not as steep as alice mountain, which is good cause my buddies, all smokers, didn't cough up any lungs or internal organs. it's funny how when you're hiking and you see people ahead of them you get this weird need to have to pass them. or i do anyways, it's kinda dumb but i can't help it. so we tore up the mountain, stopping at halfway to look out over the exit glacier, which looked to me like a giant tongue licking down into the end of the resurrection river valley. it was tundra after we got above the tree line, and i hummed modest mouse songs to myself. near the top the snow was all around, we chose not to have any snowball fights but instead powered on to the top, where we looked out at what should have been the glorious harding icefield, but was instead a giant bank of fog. i was less then impressed. well, we sat around for half an hour and talked about our upcoming backpacking trip (7 days from the town of hope back to seward, 80 miles over resurrection pass and along the resurrection river, that's gonna rule), the fog and clouds suddenly blew through and we looked out at the expanse of the icefield, aaron likened it to a huge snow desert.
we sat up there, staring at the peaks dotting the icefield, then started down. since dave had been up here before, he'd advised us to bring waterproof pants or garbage bags or something slippery, and we used them to slide on our butts down the patches of snow along the side of the trail. it was great fun, i felt like a toboggan. that took us to the halfway point quite faster then our legs had brought us up. a few hundred meters down the trail from there, we met a couple who warned us of a mother black bear with two cubs a quarter mile below the trail. naturally we raced down hoping for a chance to see her, and at a bend in the trail she emerged with her cubs. we were below the bend and watched up as she worked her way down, i would say she weighed about 200-250, not terribly big. the cubs had big ears that peeked over the bushes she left them at, and then tumbled down after her. the closest she came was about 30 meters, when another hiker whistled at her and she lumbered off in the other direction down. it was really cool. from there we made our way to the bottom, mike falling only once and scraping himself up, but luckily not hurting his ankle again. all in all a damn good hike.
no time left on this machine, later on i'll blather a bit about the sea kayaking i did yesterday, which was really damn fun as well. tomorrow, last day of work, unless i volunteer to dish for wednesday and thursday, since they don't have anyone and my friends don't get here to take me up to girdwood till thursday night anyways. less then a month till i breeze back (briefly) through reno, where i here it reached 108 degrees, which makes me smile at the cold wind up here. adios.

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July 10, 2002

listening to the news at

listening to the news at work, i knew that when i got to this computer i'd need to check satirewire.com they came through for me like i knew they would.
on a southern note, last night an incident occured in which the gastank of our car was ruptured in an extreme fashion. we have done damage assessment and have determined that there is a slight chance we can repair it and not have to all hitchhike everywhere, which would suck. keep your fingers crossed.

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July 09, 2002

yesterday a local told me

yesterday a local told me i'm in god's country. hehe.
these fotos of drew are good, specially the ones with him and those sunglasses... but what's with the iron giant stuff?
7 days till i'm unemployed. yeeha for that. someone write me if they're bored.

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July 08, 2002

well, the bluegrass festival was

well, the bluegrass festival was pretty good, the parts of it i remember. i'm gonna leave it at that. hehe. gave my notice at work today, very excited that the fun part of the summer is coming up so soon. they seemed miffed but i gave them more notice then any of the other dishwashers, which is to save that i gave them notice at all, so i'm not bothered. going climbing right now, should be fun, it's good weather, cloudy so it's not too hot but not raining. i have a ton of spider bites on my leg, gonna have to make sure not to leave the tent open ever. oh yeah, the new wilco record is really really good, and we watched this film called badlands lat night, by terrence malick, the directer of the thin red line. it's a film from '56 i believe, so good, made me want to watch all his films. i'll finish the boating story when i get the chance, i didn't mean to post it, wanted to wait till i was finished. therefore the spelling errors weren't my final draft. no worries.

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July 06, 2002

going to a bluegrass festival,

going to a bluegrass festival, there will be tons of hippies. i'm wearing my stompin boots. just kidding. my friend shannen's mom will be there, gonna try and run into her and say hi. the fireworks in seward were less then spectacular, but that night was great anyways, we went to some outdoor music event and danced on stage till they kicked us off. then aaron stole a broken watergun. yeeha. rock and roll.

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July 04, 2002

the best worst idea ever

the best worst idea ever (part two coming when i get the chance)

the resurrection river starts about 45 or so miles north of seward. it is fed by glacial and mountain runoff, a large portion of it from the harding icefield, the huge icefield that covers tons of the interior of the kenai peninsula. the river and feeds into resurrection bay, where seward is located. there is a trail that goes from seward up the resurrection river trail all the way to kooper landing, and then another trail that goes over resurrection pass all the way to the town of hope.
exit glacier, which feeds into the resurrection river, is about 8 miles up a turnoff you take right before the seward highway reaches seward. the river at that point is broken into many streams, some deep, some narrow. it looks like your average typical glacier fed river up here in alaska, as far as i've seen them. since the water comes from glaciers and runoff, it is not many degrees above freezing.
we put our rowboat in at a turnoff about 7 miles up the road to exit glacier. there were four of us, me, dave and mike from idaho, and aaron, my partner in adventure from ohio who i met in spain. we'd all made haste in finishing with work so that we could get out there, it was about 5:30 or so. after throwing on raincoats and grabbing our rented oars, we quickly scurried across the road carrying our boat, wobbled it down a steep little hill, and threw it in the water. i sat in front left, aaron in front right, mike in back left and dave in back right. we had the cooler of beer, a few bottles of water, some disposable cameras, and a slight inkling that this wasn't the best of ideas. that, however, did not stop us.
after scraping against some rocks barely concealed below the water, we were underway. i was very glad that i'd worn my sandals, for dave quickly found out that his shoes in back managed to soak up the water and to freeze his feet. aaron too was remiss at his choice of footware, and in his usual nonchalent manner he took of his not-so-waterproof berkenstocks and tied them to the rope on the bow of our dingy.
it didn't take us long to find some sort of a rhythm, with any of us calling out "hard left" or "right reverse." i looked around at the river valley we were floating not to slowly down and wondered at the glacial forces that had carved it out, at the trees and chutes of snow still visible in what was now july. there were the green colors of summer mixed with the greys of the rocks and white of the surrounding snow, all of us were smiling, and i told aaron that this was a bang up idea.
as the streams merged and diverged, we had to make decisions on which ones to follow. i would stare hard at the water ahead, trying to guess which white tipped water was capping because of the fastmoving currents connecting and which was doing so because the rocks were about 8 inches underneath. every once in a while we'd scrape on something, and we'd laugh and look at each other, only the slightest bit nervous but not really at all. the tiny crack in the bottom of the boat was covered up by some styrafoam that we kept our feet on, but i could see the water in the bottom of out dingy building up ever so slowly.
we came around a turn and some exposed rocks jumped up right in front of us. our boat ground to a halt against them, and mike was the first to hop out and try and get us moving again. it became apparent that we'd have to lift her up and move her a bit downstream, just 10 meters to the a faster moving current that should be deeper. we stood around on the exposed rocks looking at our boat and at each other, and decided to drink a beer. it was a great moment, there's nothing like a cool hamms in alaska with good buddies, a river, and a mostly seaworthy boat. we took some pictures of each other and then pushed her back in.
for a while it was smooth sailing, although every once in a while we'd scrape a bit on the bottom. usually the current would pull the back of the boat around and swing us into a 360, an event we found quite humorous. dave laughing from behind me made me laugh as well, then i'd see the next turn we'd have to make and i'd yell "everyone forward!"
up ahead there was a fork in the flow we were in, and it was clear that we'd either have to paddle like hell to go left to avoid a drop off and what may be unknown rocks underneath, or else just push into it and hope for the best. the option of beaching and portaging around crossed my mind, and i mentioned it, but we really were moving too fast and aaron yelled "go for it!" so i left to the paddle and we forged ahead at the drop off.
going off of it was fun, and not hearing out boat scrape against the bottom was a relief, but then a second later water rushed in and filled the boat halfway up. suddenly we were very sluggish in the water. the tops of the sides less then a foot from the surface, we managed to get her safely to a bank on the right side. mike and aaron jumped out to pull her ashore, and as i went to do the same i dropped my paddle. it floated away down water, and aaron ran along the bank right behind it. as the bank ended he was faced with the choice of jumping in or not, and he chose not to, which made perfect sense at the time. i was mad at myself for losing the paddle, but figured maybe it would washup somewhere and i'd retrieve it. otherwise, it couldn't cost more then 30 bucks for the oar, right?
we dumped out our boat and put back in, me grabbing a paddle from in back and stroking furiously, trying to catch up to the lost oar, which proved to be a lost cause. it had the advantage of not weighing much and greater boyancy, so the closest current carried it out of our lives. plus we had to try and avoid shallow channels, a task at which we were having an increasingly harder time with. there was only one oarsman in back, so the other person took to shouting instructions and sightseeing.
after what had to have been at least 4 miles and several more 360's, we picked a wrong stream and wound up beached again. this gave us the opportunity for another beer break, and mike prodded me into trying out a skill he has hands down perfected, that of shotgunning a can of cold brew. i did pretty good, finishing almost all of the can in a mere few seconds. mike was pleased.
so our options sitting on that rock bar were this: we could put in on the right, into fast moving water that came to a right elbow in a mere 30 meters, or carry the boat over to the left, into a channel that looked almost too shallow. we opted for the right. in the bend of the elbow, there was some trees sticking out over the water, and then a pileup of branches that had been collected for some time and reminded me of a beaver nest.

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July 01, 2002

things are good. now they

things are good. now they have me working at the sealife center, it's 180 turn from my other job, i sit around and occasionally make sandwiches or sell bagels and pastries to tourist, but mostly i read books and listen to music. it reminds me of my job at the movie theatre, w/o the popcorn. one thing i find strange is that i kinda miss the frantic pace of dishing and the relief when the job was done. plus, we can't get npr inside of the building, so i'm falling out of touch with the news, which is both bad and good with all the awefulness going on in the middle east.
went to anchorage last weekend, had a really good time. much much thanks to renee for showing me around and letting me stay at her place and everything, i had never liked anchorage so much but now i have an appreciation for the city, the thrift store i went to was killer and there are tons of bars with the word "lounge" in their names that deserve exploring. my new theory is that the best bars are lounges. some examples are: the corkroom lounge (rip), the showcase lounge, and the champagne lounge. one thing i did not miss about cities were all the damn traffic lights, which seward is too small to have any of. all in all, a supergood trip. the drive was so beautiful i won't even go into it.
yesterday we fled from work and went up the alice mountain trail, so beautiful, amazing views across resurrection bay and at godwin glacier. no bear sightings, they're all at our camp. i wish i had better ways to describe how excellent that hike was but they aren't coming out now. i especially enjoyed throwing snowballs at aaron when he was down the hill from me, man i'm glad i don't smoke.
allright all for now, this town is filling up with people who will run the mt. marathon race, i'm gonna go people watch.

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