This summer in Alaska came with fresh memories of summer 2009; filled with long sunny days, tanktop&shorts runs in the mountains, and swimming in Prince William Sound. 2010 became more like the summer of 2008 (when it snowed in June), but instead of just being cold, it rained – a lot. In fact, until about 3 days ago, we were on a 33 day (maybe more?) streak of rain every day! Wowza. Thankfully, what this summer lacked in sun, it gained in Øistein and other visitors! I was at home for around 2.5 months, and Øistein joined us for just about 2 of those. Heidi came home from Spain, so our house was filled (when we were not housesitting) with one big happy family. Our family was enhanced by visits from the Barnwells (see later in post) and Nain (my mom’s mom Sylvia) and Aunt Marcia. It was wonderful!
The summer was filled with many work opportunities. I was working at AlaskaYouth for Environmental Action part time conducting a Program Evaluation. I also picked up Fridays at The Physical Therapy Place. In addition, housesitting, dogsitting, catsitting, cleaning, babysitting opportunities were everywhere and Øistein and I found ourselves running around in circles for much of the summer. Working, of course, has wonderful benefits and it allowed us to make new friends for those we worked for, and for me to maintain wonderful relationships with my friends at AYEA and the PT place. It was great!
Despite the rain and the working, outdoor adventures were frequent, although they required more rain gear and planning than was optimal. Our local standards for what was “nice” became that the mountains should be visible (through clouds and fog) and that there was only a drizzle, not downpour. We went on some great hikes, trail runs, bike rides, and camping trips to boot. Not all were equally beautiful, but they were all deliciously Alaskan. Even running on the trails above myparents’ house presented us with such grand beauty… there is nothing to really complain about. And even if we were wet and cold post adventure, we always knew that when we returned we could eat some organic or wild scrumptious food (SALMON! KALE!) and enjoy the company of wonderful people.
The increase in rain meant that Anchorage’s great city-life beckoned. We went to Cafe Del Mundo to visit Heidi almost daily, Snow City and Middleway breakfasts & lunches, Bear Tooth burritos and movies, and of course Mooses Tooth concerts (Yonder Mountain String Band and G-Love) and the necessary delicious beer. Of course, the best part of it all was that no matter where you go, you are bound to meet someone you know; in Anchorage I am always reminded that I am a part of a great community.
Another highlight of the summer was the memorial weekend the Barnwell family had for Audrey Barnwell in August. The Ted, Bob, Mary, and Charlie Barnwell’s descended on Seward for an EPIC weekend of fun. We took a water taxi with kayaks and Uncle Bob’s sailboat across Resurrection Bay to Thumb’s Cove where we camped and used the public use cabin. The backdrop was utterly Alaskan and beautiful: steep mountainous cliffs, glaciers, stream beds, jelly-fish, rocky beaches, kayaks, yummy food, and gorgeous late dusky evenings. We celebrated Grandma by leaving her in the ocean, where she wanted to be. It was a great weekend getting to know my young cousins, Zane and Zola (Ted & Virginia’s kids) and laughing with the Seward Barnwell Girls, who Heidi and I both adore. All in all it was truly “epic” and we all appreciated how lucky we are to have great family around us.