Friday, August 19, 2011
Last Thursday we drove onto the ferry to Juneau. Our car needed some work done on it that we couldn’t do in town (like replacing a cracked windshield) and so we were just going to leave it Juneau until we got back.
We got to Bend at about 11:00 at night where my grandpa picked us up. My grandma has cancer, specifically multiple myeloma, or cancer of plasma cells, and has been undergoing intermittent Chemo treatments for the past year. She is off of Chemo now, but is still recovering and couldn’t visit with us all day long, so we stayed with some friends of our grandparents who had some extra bedrooms.
A butterfly on my grandparents porch, along with their cat, Jacob, drinking out of a bird bath.
The next day, we borrowed one of our grandparents cars and did some shopping, then went to visit my grandma. We had salmon (I had tofu, since I am now a vegetarian) for dinner, then went shopping some more that night.
The next day we did more shopping. I got a suit from my grandpa, and took it to a tailors to make it fit. We also went on a hike to Tumalo Falls, a very spectacular waterfall. Unfortunately, while we were there I got a bloody nose and we had to leave. Usually my bloody noses only last for a few minutes, but this one wouldn’t go away. I started to feel like I was going to lose consciousness, so my parents took me to a clinic. By the time I got there my nose had stopped bleeding, but I was still feeling faint. After laying down for a bit I felt better, and the doctor told me how to stop bloody noses in the future.
The next day we went canoeing on Sparks Lake in my grandpa’s canoe. It was a little hard to fit myself, my sister and parents, and my grandpa in one canoe, but we managed. It was very beautiful, and I got to practice steering a canoe (we don’t have a canoe, so I don’t get to practice much).
That night we went with my grandma and grandpa to see The Help at the theaters. It had been a while since I had gone to a movie theater, since the nearest one to Haines is a four-hour drive. The Help was a pretty good movie, although my mom said it wasn’t quite as good as the book.
The next day we did more shopping. We also went to a quilt show, where we saw some quilts my grandma had made. Later that day my dad and I helped her photograph a few of the quilts, as she was making a book of them. We also went to visit my aunt and uncle for a hour later that night.
On the second to last day of our trip, we got Chinese takeout and went down by the river (specifically the Deschutes river) below my grandparent’s house for a picnic. The next day we went into town and went canoeing on the same river. My sister got out and swam for a while, I got more practice steering a canoe.
We also went to a tile store and bought twenty rock tiles to put around our woodstove at home. We packed them all in boxes, then paid $100 to check them all. We caught a taxi to the airport at four in the morning the next day. I got some nice pictures of mountains on the way to Seattle. From Seattle we flew on a 737-400 Combi, which is half cargo and half passenger seats. It was the first time I had flown on one before.
We Juneau we did a lot of shopping for food and supplies that we couldn’t get in Haines, or were simply cheaper in Juneau than in Haines.
Monday, August 8, 2011
The night before the trip we had all of our gear checked. They provided the climbing, kayaking, and camping equipment (including food) and we brought our own clothes and sleeping bags, etc.
We left at 7 Friday Morning. We loaded our gear into a truck, then got into a bus to go to Chilkat State Park. From there we loaded up fiberglass triple kayaks with gear. Since we had so much stuff, we only loaded two people in each kayak and loaded the middle cockpit with gear.
From the State Park, we kayaked to Moose Meadows. It was very windy, so it took us an hour or two to get there. It was also low tide, so we had to go through a bunch of rocks without hitting them. We finally made it to Moose Meadows around 11. From there, we planned to go to Glacier Point, where we would camp. The next day we would climb Davidson Glacier.
On the left, Davidson glacier from moose meadows, wide-angle and close-up.
On the right, a random shot at moose meadows and a view of the Davidson Glacier from the air, taken while I was flying to ASRA.
Unfortunately, it was too windy for us to cross to Glacier Point, so we had to stay at Moose Meadows. We had lunch and then set up camp. I setup a few tents, including a big 4 person tent that was five feet tall. After I finished setting it up, everyone else had picked a tent, so I got this huge one all to myself, even though most of the other, smaller tents had three-four people in them.
My huge tent on the left and on the right is the cooking tent, with just two poles and a whole bunch of guy lines.
Later we went out for a short kayak. We tried to go to Kochu Island, but the wind was too strong and we had to turn around. It took us ten minutes to go down near the island, and about a hour to get back. Pretty amazing what the wind can do.
The next day it was calm, but the weather report from a weather radio said the wind was going to pick up that night. Since climbing would take a while, we might get stuck over there without being able to get back by Sunday afternoon, when we were due back. The guides decided not to take the chance. In the end, that was probably best.
So instead, we kayaked out to Twin Coves and had lunch, then turned around. The waves were getting pretty big, probably about two-three foot swells, which is pretty big for a kayak.
After we got back, one of the other kids informed the guides about a fire they had accidentally started. While we were camped at Moose Meadows, the guides had been telling us to go to the bathroom in the intertidal zone or to dig a hole in the forest. But we were supposed to use a lighter to burn the toilet paper. It you are going in the intertidal zone, that isn’t a big problem. But if you are in the forest, it is sort of hard to burn toilet paper safely. You can’t exactly hold a piece of paper until it is completely burnt.
Anyway, one of the kids had gone to the bathroom and caught some moss on fire. He thought he had put it out, but discovered that he hadn’t after we got back from twin coves. All around a tree the moss was smoldering, making a lot of smoke. Everybody ran with their full water bottles to put it out. While I was running through the forest, I was thinking that we’d never be able to put it out with water bottles. I quickly scanned through our gear in my head and came up with dry bags. So every body filled up dry bags full of water and dumped them on the fire. I must have carried 15-20 half full dry bags to the fire, so somewhere around 40 gallons. Multiply that times 17 (the number of people on the trip), and you get a whole lot of water (about 680 gallons).
Since we were still pretty close to town, we still had cellphone reception, so one of the guides called the fire department and, who showed up an hour later. We had it mostly put out, but they double checked it and tore up the ground around the tree, checking for hot spots. They also gave us a short fire safety talk.
Later that night the sun came out and I took a few pictures.
The next day we kayaked back. Since we had the wind behind us, we made it in just 20 minutes. So in the end we didn’t get to go ice climbing, but we got to put out a forest fire and do some kayaking, so I had fun.
Red line: to Moose Meadows from Chilkat State Park dropoff point.
Yellow line: From Moose Meadows, attempting to reach Kochu Island.
Green Line: From Moose Meadows to Twin Coves.
Dotted Orange Line: To Glacier Point to go Ice Climbing.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I got up at 3:30 and got dropped off at the airport with a few other kids. We were all on the same flight, although most of them got off in Anchorage, while I went to Juneau.The captain of our plane was Captain Kirk, which I thought was funny.
I also saw some more glaciers and other views on the way to Haines from Juneau.
Upper right, overlooking Juneau and the Mendenhall glacier. Upper left, overlooking the Valley of the Eagles golf course in Haines.
When I got back, some friends of ours from Bellingham were visiting. That night we went out to Chilkoot River and saw a bunch of bears. On our side of the river was a mother with two cubs, and on the other side of the river was a male bear. The bears were climbing on a fish weir, which is used to count fish coming down the river.
The Southeast Alaska State Fair was in progress when I got back. The day after I got back, I helped operate the dunk tank to raise money for our DDF (Drama, Debate, and Forensics) team.
I had my dad enter a few of my photos in the fair as well, and all but one got first place, the other getting a second place. Since I was in the Junior division, there weren’t a lot of entries, meaning it wasn’t that hard for me to do well. I also submitted my rain video, which won first place, but since it was the only video, it didn’t have much competition.
In case you’re wondering, the below picture, which is also my blog background, is of my cat Cyrus.
The one below got a second place, because there was a very nice flower photo entered by a friend of mine that won.
The presentations of all the modules were today, all 15 or so of them, so we sat in the auditorium from 9-3, just listening to presentation. I set my computer to render it again, and finally, during lunch, about a hour before it was our turn to go, it finished. I put it on a presentation computer and got it to work.
Images by Peter Johnson
The presentation went very well, and we had a funny Q&A session afterwards. If I can, I will try and post part of it.
I said goodbye to my classmates and teachers that night. All but one of them was leaving that night, while I didn't leave till the morning. We had burgers for dinner.
McIntosh, the remote dorm, wasn't rented for that night, so they gave me a new room all to myself in the Lathrop dorms. It had very nice new furniture.
That night I played games and ate popsicles. I played Apples to Apples until 11:00 and then I finally had to go to bed (but not before eating another popsicle!).
We worked on the presentation all day. At 1:30 we went to the museum of the north and got a tour of the paleontology department. We got to see a huge "vault" of shelves full of specimens. It was down in the basement, and it almost felt like a Indiana Jones mysterious vault. We couldn’t take pictures of the vault, but we did get to see some reproduction specimens.
We also practiced our presentation, although the video wasn't rendered yet, as I kept getting errors.
That night I started rendering the final version at 12:00, then set my alarm to wake me up at 1:00 so I could check it. But I was so tired that I slept through my alarm, which I've never done before, and didn't wake up till 6:30. I found the render had another error, and I was starting to worry that it wouldn't work. I could always play it from my editing program, but it would be jerky and slow.
While other people were preparing samples, I worked on the video for a while, editing and helping Kelly, a classmate, write up a script for our presentation.
We had decided to do a newscast. The news anchors would sit in the auditorium and report on the news, news backgrounds and the video segments would appear on the projector.
I worked on the movie all that night, and skipped activities to finish it. I stayed up till 2 and got a preliminary version finished, then set it to render. When I got up at 5, I found the render had a error, and I had to start over.
The next morning we packed everything up and left around 10. We stopped at Savage River again and climbed up a small hill. At the top was a amazing view of the valley and we shot a segment of me explaining glacially formed valleys. We also shot a segment where Peter, a classmate, used a radio to talk to Jill at the bottom of the hill. We used this as the final sequence in our video.
We climbed the pointy hill in the upper left hand corner, which is where the rest of the pictures are taken.
We left the park and drove into Nenana Canyon, which is right outside the park. Everyone started calling their parents. As they did, they realized that many of their parents had been worried about them. While we were in the park, a group of 7 students and 2 instructors (almost exactly the same as our group) had been attacked by a bear near Denali. This made national news, and a few of the parents thought it might have been us.
On the way back we stopped at the Stampede Trail, which is where the guy from into the wild was staying in a bus (Or so Emily told me). Emily was slightly, just slightly, obsessed with the book and movie, and narrated the whole story to us in about 3 minutes. I recorded it, and although we didn't have time to put it in the final video, I think I will put it in a version for all of the parents. Anyway, we stopped and took a picture of the sign, which just said Stampede trail.
Next we stopped at a canyon near the Usibelli Coal mine in Healy. It was a beautiful canyon, with visible sedimentary layering in the walls. There were a few veins of lignite coal, which stood out from the rest of the layers. We found a bunch of fossils, and also did a video segment about layering and sedimentation.
While we were there, a bunch of kids started jumping and sliding down scree slopes. We nicknamed it “screeing” These were some of the best pictures I got.
We didn't get back to the dorms to eat dinner at the cafeteria on time, so we stopped at a burger joint and ate dinner. Then we drove back to the dorms and unpacked.