You'll probably here me griping a great deal about my aches pains, bumps and bruises.
Hey I got an idea, how about you come visit and fix me up after the first few weeks show your community spirit.
Certainly! You need a surgeon up there?
I'm sure he'll need a surgeon after I brain him with a shovel for whining too much ROFL!
Sorry, I'm not that kind of surgeon. Safe travels, you two!
(psst.... Gungnir, you might want to hide the shovel...)
You mean other than my Wife?
Having a thoracic surgeon could be both a blessing and a curse a lot like WebMD, but more personal.
Considering for the past year or so I've been somaticizing a bunch of unrelated symptoms caused by high stress but I'm about a clear in everything as can be reasonably confirmed 4 full blood and metabolic panels (nothing statistically relevant in the data variances between tests), an abdominal CT (with and without contrast including lower lobes of my lungs) upper and lower GI endoscopy, 2 stress echograms, 2 chest X-rays both front and side, Carotid ultrasound, and EBT of my coronaries multiple pokes prods, blood pressures, and physicals (some of the testing was included from this http://www.swedish.org/body.cfm?id=1248 ), everything came back clean as a whistle, except borderline high LDL and borderline low HDL (which I can control by reducing stress (Cortisol), and increasing exercise), and a sub 5% Mitral Valve regurgitation, I was incredibly surprised the EBT was completely clean, because of family history.
Sounds like you mostly need an extended vacation -- somewhere remote, away from the beep and ping of gadgetry such as cell phones and computers. Y'know, fresh air, exercise, clearing an acre or two of land...
And p-cat: do you have your CCS permit for Alaska (Concealed Carry Shovel)?
Safe trip -- Sager
Update: Gungnir and Plickety just departed Delta Junction and should be arriving in Fairbanks in the next hour or two, so they are in the home stretch now. Jpitre has it right... just talking with them for the couple hours they were here I can tell they've got their stuff together and aren't doing things halfway or half-a$$ed. I think they're going to be much more successful at this than I would if I tried the same thing... and I'm supposed to be the one that grew up here LOL. It was fun getting to talk with them in person and hopefully I will get to meet up with them again on one of their occasional trips into Fairbanks
Thanks for the vote Nick
Nice meeting you, and having a chat, even if we were suffering a little from the Grumpy Grizz which became incredibly grumpy gas (I still don't know what it was fish, frying oil or water, but feel a lot better this morning than last night). Just a BTW, to everyone else reading this, pretty much everything in Alaskan Restaurants in some way involves deep frying, except salads (and even then it might have something deep fried like Croutons or similar).
We'll be sure to meet up again in Faibanks for sure, if only to return the Zombie Survival guide.
Sager, gotta love Alaska... no concealed carry permit required (shovel or otherwise) But the typical Alaskan Divorce follows the same 3 S rule as hunting off season... shoot, shovel, shut up ROFL! Personally, I think Gungnir is much more likely to take me out than the other way around
Nick, it was great meeting you. Sorry we chattered like magpies and barely let you get a word in edgewise! You know how it gets when you're punch drunk from the road Thank you for your vote of confidence, always nice to hear from a "real Alaskan" that we're not totally unprepared. I'm trying very hard not to be your typical cheechako!!! I might be a newbie, but that's no excuse to be completely ignernt!
Here's the proof...
That we're actually in AK, and not making this all up.
Awww . . . And you're all matchy-matchy too! Seriously, great photo! Well, good to see you've made it . . . Now's when the fun starts . . .
I'm so glad you got there safely. Now all I have to worry about on your behalf is the bears, mosquitoes and fast approaching deep freeze... Sounds like you are extremely well prepared, though. I'll be thinking about you, as will many other well-wishers. Love your blog.
I seem to be a mosquito magnet, Joy!
Bears aren't that much to worry about, Bear appears, yell wave your arms, make noise, not working shoot the bear, if that didn't work shoot it again, if that didn't work you likely don't need to worry.
Living in a deep freezer, should be Ok, we'll have our Cache up and live in that over the winter, so at least we'll be in a more permanent structure than a tent, and the bears sleep over the winter too...
I once mailed my family an envelope full of huge mosquitoes from BC . . . Took me only an hour to "collect" them . . . That'll teach 'em to question the vericity of my "fish stories"! I can only imagine how big they are in AK! I've got a bolt of mosquito netting . . . I'll make you a "veiled" hat, if you like . . . I made one for myself for berry picking . . . It's not so bad when they're on your arms, but when you start breathing them (no joke!), it's really annoying .. . .
Bears aren't that much to worry about, Bear appears, yell wave your arms, make noise, not working shoot the bear, if that didn't work shoot it again, if that didn't work you likely don't need to worry.
Aw, come on, Gungnir . . . show us you're a real man by doing the play-dead-and-let-'em-gnaw-on-me-until-he-gets-bored routine . . . Nah . . . Never sounded like a good plan to me, either . . .
bears sleep over the winter too...
Ya gave me a start there, for a minute, Gungnir . . .
until I check the polar bear range map:
Hehe - we're just a little too far south and too far from the ocean to be in polar bear range. We just have lots of blackies and brownies in our area and they nap in the winter for the most part (although blackies do wake up with the midnight munchies on occassion). On the drive down and back yesterday, we saw a few moose, 4 blackies and 1 brown... plus several really fast things that might have been wolves. There are some caribou in the area a little north of our location, and lots & LOTS of porcupines on our acreage (along with grouse, ptarmigan, martens, ermine, beavers, [huge] voles, etc). The only critter I'm even the least concerned about in the dead of winter are the wolverines... they do not play nice, but normally don't invade human camps too often.
I don't seem to be having too much of a problem with the skeeters, but I'm sure that will change once I'm really working and get warmed up. We have netted boonie hats to keep the little buggers off our heads, and we have those oh-so-fashionable net blouses to keep them off our arms even when it's too hot to wear a proper long-sleeved shirt. Luckily, there is a pretty substantial wild fire burning south of us across the river and the smoke from that is keeping the mosquitos to a minimum. If that can just hold up until we get into rainy and then frozen seasons I think we'll manage not to donate too much blood to them this year!
We've arranged to stay in a cabin in the village for a couple weeks while we break trail and clear a section for the homesite. We'll get the tent set up and then start in on the cache... which will probably be a 20x20 quickie stick-built structure that we can over-winter in and get started on the real cabin in the spring. Much as I loathe stick-built, commercial dimensional lumber and "tiny boxes", we're running out of time before the rain and freezing comes. At least I can rest easy knowing that I won't have to live with right angles for too long
So just to keep you guys posted.
We're actually off to Manley today, so posting will become much more random. We've concluded most of our business in Fairbanks, other than some stuff we have to wait on. So we're setting up camp closer to the property and will break trail tomorrow.
Thank you for the updates and the pic!
All the best to you both as you make your way on this part of your journey in life.
Chris & Becca
Just dropping in to say "Hi". We're knee deep in thickets now, having cleared a large portion of forest on our way in, we're now stuck in tundra. JOY!! These tussocks are evil, so we're heading back into town tomorrow to purchase "the big guns" --- a 13hp Billy Goat brush cutter that is supposed to chew up tundra for breakfast :)
So far we're surviving and enjoying ourselves; but we definitely have even greater respect for the pioneer peoples who did all this mess without the benefit of chainsaws and other mechanized equipment. Everyday is clear, saw, limb, and haul... rain or shine. We take a day off now and then to recuperate, but our endurance and efficiency is slowly improving. At this rate, I'm confident we'll survive the winter and be ready to go again in the spring. But we have a month or two before we have to start really worrying about winter :)
I follow your blog; good to hear all is well.
Plickety , Are you so worn out and busy that you do not have the time to admire the majesty of it all ? Just wondering because the pioneer spirit in us likes to think that the freedom and adventure would balance out the hard work . I realize none of it is for the weak in mind or body but as things get more overwhelming down here, I hear more and more people say something like they they are feeling so lead to take on the challenge .
I have friends who went about 8 years ago and ,OH MY , she did laundry for a family of 8 by hauling creek water for two years . It took the desire right out of me. We lost contact for years ..... finally having found them on facebook of all places : )
How long do you have before your tooth brush freezes in the cup ?
oops , almost messed up here ...... wishing you success.
Well, well, well . . . . Look what the cat dragged in . . . . . . Here's a picture to cheer you up, Plickety. It was taken somewhere in Alaska:
I just want to give thanks to Plickety and Gungnir for the heads up on the road conditions on the Alaska Highway and the large number of construction projects along the way. My family and I followed most of their path from Washington to AK without incident and are now safe and sound in Palmer, Alaska. It was kind of depressing how some of the smaller towns and villages on the Alaska Highway have suffered with the downturn in tourism (so many places seem to have closed down since my last Alcan trip 3 years ago!), but there's still a few places hanging in there. I admit I've never been a fan of many restaurants in northern BC or the Yukon in the past, but to see so many out of business is still unfortunate. But we made it!
PlicketyCat and Gungnir: My wife and I follow your blog and look forward to each post. Having done some heavy clearing on our 87 acre place in Central Texas over the years, I can relate to your comments about how hard it can be. One of the hardest tasks here was pulling down what seemed to be miles of thick poison ivy vines, which took a toll on my skin. At least you don't have to cope with that -- I think.
A Billy Goat brush cutter is an excellent tool. I have a competing brand and eventually wore it out. But I found what for me is a better solution for making quick work of brush up to two inches in diameter. It is a Stihl clearing saw. You have to keep the blade sharp, but it will cut through a two inch branch in no time. It's very effective and a well balanced power tool. It's also reliable. They are not cheap, but a lot less expensive than a Billy Goat. Just thought I would mention it. There is likely to be a Stihl dealer in Fairbanks. My chain saws, string trimmers, hand held brush cutters and clearing saws are all made by that company, and I have been pleased by the quality and reliability. There are other good brands, of course, but my experience is with Stihl.
As you described the difficulties of breaking your trail to the center of your place, I could relate. The terrain and climate are different here, but the challenges are similar. It's hard work. The two of you will be tough as nails before long. It's too late for us to do what you are doing, but my wife and I wish you all the best. You might let us know how your two little princesses are doing as time permits. Have they adjusted pretty well?
Thanks for the tip on the Stihl, I'm a bit of a Husqvarna fan myself :) the goats still running fine for the time being.
It's nice to see people relate, I know most of the folks here in Manley relate just fine, but seeing that others in parts of the country have similar problems is sadistically enjoyable to see too its strange that until we started to clear the trail I never even thought that it would be a problem (oops!).
Anyway we're now in the process of building our tent platform, so we're up off the ground. It's currently entering Fall here, and the Aspens and Birch are turning Golden seemingly overnight. temps are dropping which is both a blessing and a curse. Great for not overheating working, but concerning knowing that the first snow is likely to appear before the end of September according to the locals and we'll have snowpack by beginning of November.
When I remember I'll post a pic on our Blog of the current view from our Cabin Bedroom window. I didn't really notice it until last week and had a "WOW!" moment, and the scene.
Thinking about you all.
Right on Gungnir,
I am glad I have tuned in when I have, after having missed seeing the once-in-awhile posts on this thread. I can relate to the trail building. I have been a forestry service volunteer in The Angeles Forest for about 10 years after having hiked through a lot of it during the few years prior. A group of frriends adopted a canyon to be the trail maintenance crew on the worst ranked trail in the forest...if you even knew it was there. We have spent all these years recreating the trail and having to re-do it after winter rains wash out large portions of it on the canyon floor. Water goes where ever it wants and takes bolders and trees with it.
But amazingly, although our tools are not power tools (except an occasional chain saw for a large tree trunk across the trial) we use McClouds and Poliskis, we have realized the great effort that went into building all those trails in the first place...and the ruins that are up there just from the early 1900's is all amazing. It seemed that those persons could build anything...and they did it in suits too...and hiked without special shoes and plastic bottles of water.
Anyway...IT'S all on fire right now. That beautiful forest being consumed in flame. And the Bear Canyon Trail?? It will be charred but the real ruin will come when the rains come. The mud filling the stream will be enormous and wil fill up all the smimming pools along the way. Very sad.
I take time to enjoy the majesty of it all every chance I get. The other day we were hauling another load of brush into the pickup and I was standing in the bed just looking out over all the endless miles of trees with the hills in the distance. Sometimes, a little change in vantage point is all you need, and standing on top of our pickup puts you about ten feet higher than normal :) All the autmun colors are beautiful, especially this one muskeg plant that turns vibrant red and the birches and aspens glowing gold... it's purdy. It's quiet in the village, but when we're out on the property it is divinely silent with nothing but birds and critters talking to each other. Ahhhhh, bliss! It's a good restorative during a hard day of work.
I'll have to post more pics on the blog once we remember to pic up some AA batteries in town.... ooooopps! There are bunch being held hostage in the camera, and many more we need to take to show our progress!
I take time to enjoy the majesty of it all every chance I get. The other day we were hauling another load of brush into the pickup and I was standing in the bed just looking out over all the endless miles of trees with the hills in the distance. Sometimes, a little change in vantage point is all you need, and standing on top of our pickup puts you about ten feet higher than normal :) All the autmun colors are beautiful, especially this one muskeg plant that turns vibrant red and the birches and aspens glowing gold... it's purdy.
My last drive between Palmer and Delta Junction was very picturesque, particularly south of Glenallen, with most of the trees turning yellow and all the reds from the lower vegetation. I'm kicking myself for not bringing my camera! Seems too soon for it to be getting colder already, but dang is it pretty out here
Plickity and Gungnir: I am so, so very sorry about Celine. I cried when I read that you had to put her down. Eva and I love our cats and dogs dearly. They are so much a part of our lives. We have lost pets over the years but have never really gotten over it. My eyes are wet as I type this note of condolence to you both.
Plickety & Gungnir -
Sorry to hear about Celine, it's been several years since I had a dog or cat but I remember how hard it was when they passed. I only met her for about a minute or so, but she seemed like a wonderful cat.
Just following your blog, your wall tent can, with some planning, make a good winter residence even this far north. As long as you have some additional insulating material (snow counts of course, and I'm pretty sure you've done enough research to be familiar with other methods of insulation) I imagine your existing firewood supply will be sufficient for most of the winter. I don't know if a quick-built shack will be much better than what you already have unless you've already bought insulating fiberglass or the like, so you may be better off where you are depending on how you insulate your wall tent. And you may find a way to use your winter water tank as a thermal mass to store residual heat from the daytime sunlight during late fall and early spring. And during the real hard cold snaps (and there will be some! Delta Junction had sustained 50+ below zero temps a couple times last winter!) please don't be afraid to spend a couple weeks in the rental cabin in Manley or even in a motel in Fairbanks. Even us freaks that grew up in AK don't deal with that crap on our own if we don't have to. Hope you two are getting the same sunny and (relatively) warm weather that I'm getting in Delta Junction!
Hey all - thanks for your condolences on Celine. She was a great little furbaby and we miss her, but luckily we still have Charlie and she's adapting to tent life fairly well. We'll probably be picking up a couple of dogs from the pound before winter makes the road to Fairbanks too impassible... which considering my drive in this morning will be sometime before the end of October (icy muddy gravel roads are NOT fun at 0-dark-thirty in the morning with frozen fog).
Things are going well and we've decided to double-wall the tent from all recommendations rather than dink around with blueboard. I think we'll be fine. Even when the fire has been dead for a couple of hours and it's only 18 deg outside, it's still above freezing in the tent... we just have to get on rotational schedule to make sure that someone is always awake to feed the fire every 4 hours. Luckily there are tons of dry dead standing spruce all over our property, so we only have to go a few hundred feet to get another weeks worth of wood. Eventually we'll have all the little set-up projects done and can focus on a few mega-wood-collection days to reach our 10 cord quota before it gets too darned cold to start the chainsaws. Oddly, even though it's below freezing, if the sun is shining we're still pretty warm and toasty working outside.
I'm stuck in Fairbanks for a couple days getting upgrades and winterization done on the truck and running a bajillion errands trying to stock up and get stuff for "Home 0.1"... mostly storage stuff since we have a ton of food already but nowhere to really put it. Can I just tell you how completely bug-nuts I'm getting having stuff crammed in the corners and stacked on top of boxes and tripping over crap all the time?!?! That does not bode well for the OCD portion of my Aspergers in the least. Thank goodness for rubber storage totes, I'm shoving everything that won't freeze under the deck for now so I can have some breathing room in the tent.
Poor G-man is stuck all alone with Charlie in the tent for 2 nights while I'm up here... lets see if he gets the heebie-jeebies and lights up our huge bonfire, or whether the burn pile will still be there when I get home. So far we haven't had any problems with critters other than a quick long distance recon from a couple of blackies while I was there alone one day. But Gungnir doesn't have as much backwoods experience as I do, so he still gets a little jumpy at times.
Nickbert - I always find that the best photo ops are places that you really just can't pull anywhere off the road safely to get the shot. Sure, there are some nice views from a few of the pull-outs, but they're sooooo played out LOL!
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