Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First days in Seattle

I got a tour with the institute. It turns out that there is this awesome troll under a bridge somewhere. He's eating a VW bug.

And the library at UW is so big that they have these signs posted. Just in case you get lost.

And the crazy diversity here - our LDS institute booth set up right next to the Secular Student Union. On the other side of us was the Jewish Experience, and on the other side of them was the Muslim Student Union. :) It was pretty awesome.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Golden Gate Bridge

I found this picture on my phone. It's proof of how windy and foggy it is in San Francisco. But look how happy I am to be there!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Kulik River

Our last day fishing was AWESOME! We had to leave early, just like normal, and get on a plane and fly to the river. The amazing thing about the Kulik is that it is only 1/2 mile long. And we were able to fish just about the entire day in one spot.

This is my grandpa and I wading to shore after getting off the plane in the morning.

The first "real" fish I caught was a rainbow that had previously broken it's back. can you see how it looks humped? The rainbow stripe follows the hump. Somehow this little guy managed to survive breaking it's back, and is still around to show it.

In this daddy-daughter picture, my dad has a bigger fish than me. It happens.

And this is my beautiful rainbow. In front of some beautiful land. While I'm kneeling in a beautiful river.

There were so many bears! I saw at least four different mammas with their cubs. And one juvenile, and at least one big male. They were so fun to watch! And they weren't threatening at all. We take a lot of precautions so that the bears won't associate humans with food. We eat only in the boat (so all the crumbs fall into the boat which we pack out with us).

See the red fish I'm holding? That's a sockeye. I caught a lot of those, but usually they aren't fun to catch. The sockeye have reached their nesting grounds, and most of them have already mated. They are just swimming around waiting to die. This is the kind of fish the bears eat. But this sockeye (shown below) fought like mad. I was sure it was a trout because it was so alive, running with my line, swimming all around the stream. But it was a beautiful sockeye! And now my fish is bigger than my dad's fish. :)

This is a movie of a bear fishing. He just jumps in and pops out with a fish in his mouth! It was amazing to watch.

And this is what the sockeye look like underwater.

You know how every fisherman had those awesome pictures of them holding a fish? And you wonder why fish hold still for them? Well, the truth is that fish don't hold still. I snapped this picture of my dad failing to hold onto his fish. This is what I look like so much of the time. :) (don't worry, he just picked the fish back up (it was still hooked) and we took a good picture).

And these cute little guys were my "pet" white fish. They always swam about six inches off my boots. I was proving a break in the current, and they enjoyed resting there.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Heavenly Creek (aka "Hike of Death")

Our third day in Alaska, my dad and I decided it would be fun to hike into the Headwaters of Brooks Lake. It's a 2 mile hike across the tundra in this trail that has been used for longer than humans have been around. The tundra is so beautiful!

When we got to the creek, we were quite warm from our hike, so the cool water felt good. And while there was plenty of bear tracks, there were no bears to be seen. Probably because there were almost no Sockeye to be found either, and the bears eat the Sockeye. And because the trout eat the eggs from the Sockeye that don't make it into the redd (salmon nest), there were very few trout.

I only caught a handful of fish, but the greylings are particularly cool. They have this dorsal fin that can stand up really high:

The fin is half again as big as the fish!

After lunch, we needed to make a decision: 1) stop fishing sooner and hike back out the way we came, or 2) keep fishing downstream and hike to the lake. Both places were about 5 miles away (straight line distance) at the time we made our decision: hike to the lake. Nobody had ever done it before, and we figured we could handle the extra hiking.

On our way our we found a pocket of spawning silver salmon. Thy were fun to catch and are quite colorful in their mating colors.

After we caught some silvers, we had to leave the riverside and hike cross-country. There was no trail, but we had a GPS and coordinates. And we were INSANE. Tundra is a unique surface to walk on. It sinks when you step on it (anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of give), but it doesn't push back on your foot (it isn't very springy). But when you step off it, the tundra fluffs back up. Hiking across the open (thawed) tundra in waders wasn't very easy. I shoved my fishing rod down the pants because I couldn't carry it. I had to use my hands to pull up on my waders so my feet didn't get stuck. It was harder than hiking uphill in sand. I had to lift my feet twelve inches in the air for each and every step. And it was so hot. And I didn't know how I could keep going. I felt like I would cry when I found out that we weren't even half way there after an hour of hiking. I started counting my steps to keep my mind occupied. I got to 1,250 or so before I got distracted by TREES.

A ridiculous amount of time later (but only 30 minutes late for our pickup time), we arrived at Brooks Lake. HALLELUJAH! I was so happy to be done.

We were the first (and probably last) people in the history of the lodge to attempt (or succeed) in this feat. We just might have made it into the lodge lore :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

American Creek

My second day in Alaska was awesome! We got into a float plane and flew to a national park. We had a satellite phone in a metal brief case. And our food was kept in bear barrels. I was excited!

My first fish of the day ended up being the biggest of the trip - 25.5"! I was very excited.

This is a fun daddy-daughter picture. Notice how my fish is bigger than his? This day I caught more rainbow trout than he did. It was pretty awesome.

Another beautiful rainbow.

I love this shot that Kate took. It shows off the beauty of the fish.

And this lovely specimen is called a Dolly Varden. It's named after a character in a Charles Dickens' book. It has pink polkadots on its side and it looks like it's wearing orange lipstik. It's pretty awesome. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Naknek River

As a graduation present, my dad took me to Alaska to go fly fishing out of King Salmon. I wasn't entirely sure how much fun I would have, but I was pretty sure I would enjoy myself.

On the first day, I got up and ate the wonderful, cooked-to-order breakfast. Then I got dressed in a lot of layers to keep warm, and off we went into a boat. My dad and I looked much larger than we normally do. I felt like the kid in "A Christmas Story;" very puffy.

This is a TROUT. I didn't know that trout came so big! It was 25" long. The fish is silvery even though it is a rainbow. That's just the coloring of the rainbows in this river. I was so proud of my very large fish.

And this is the smallest catch of the day. I somehow managed to hook a very small fish. I only realized that I had him on when a much larger fish tried to eat this smallish one. I couldn't hook the larger one because this small fish was covering the hook! I believe the little fishy survived (well, he swam away after I released him).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lots of new posts

Hey all! Be sure to scroll down and maybe go to the next page. I published some new posts, but backdated them. The newest old one is about my band that I joined this summer, so if you didn't see the pics of our performance, make sure you check it out!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Cousin's Keiths' Wedding

I found this picture on my cousin Shay's blog, and I love it! We love to really "fight" over the flowers as they get thrown at weddings on this side of my family. There are always enough flowers to go around, but we love to play for the camera.