February 25, 2010

the emerald city...

I headed to Seattle (first time ever to the city) to attend the Native Tobacco Policy Summit hosted by the University of Washington Native People for Cancer Control. Topics covered at the Summit included tobacco use among Native Americans, environmental tobacco smoke, health, successful policy efforts, and tribal casinos, among other topics.

Upon arriving in Seattle Wednesday night, Allen (my co-worker/ANTHC tobacco program manager) and I ate dinner at Joey (www.joeysmedgrill.com), a popular restaurant in Seattle that was also very close to our hotel, the Silver Cloud Inn: Seattle - Lake Union (www.silvercloud.com).

The summit didn't start until noon on Thursday, so in the morning, Allen and I drove around downtown Seattle, where I got my first look at the city.

Loved it.

Thursday afternoon after the conference, Allen and I first went to University Village for some shopping (my idea). I went to Lululemon to check out their awesome clothes for pilates and running (www.lululemon.com).

We then went to the Elliott Bay Brewery Pub for a burger and microbrew (www.elliottbaybrewing.com). The pub had tasty food and the brews were excellent.

I put in a full day of summit"ing" on Friday. Allen and I drove to the airport so he could catch his flight and I could meet up with Carmen Storer, a friend from my freshman year at NWC and who was also Leah and my FIRST visitor to host in Anchorage. During the drive to meet up with Carmen, I took some pictures of the infamous Space Needle (www.spaceneedle.com), built when Seattle hosted the World's Fair in 1962.

It costs $25 just to go to the top, so I didn't go...

I also caught a glimpse of Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

On Friday night Carmen, Jared, and I met Carmen's sister Christi (and Leah's freshman roommate) and sister-in-law Stephanie at Racha Thai (www.rachathai.com) for dinner. Carmen, Jared, and I then went to watch a U2 cover band at Mick Kelly's Irish Pub (www.mickkellysirishpub.com).

They not only had a nice sound but the group pulled off the look as well...

Jared and Carmen...

Carmen and myself...

On Saturday, Carmen taught Body Pump at Normandy Park Athletic (www.normandyparkathletic.com), the gym where she works. As owner of Perseverance Fitness (www.perseverancefit.com), Carmen then personally trained two clients for an hour. I attended her body pump class and then while she was training, attended an RPM class. It was obvious that Carmen felt extremely comfortable in this environment and I'm excited for her and her career as a personal trainer.

After our morning of exercise, we grabbed a protein smoothie at Emerald City Smoothie (www.emeraldcitysmoothie.com), picked up her son Liam, and boarded the Seattle Light Rail for downtown Seattle.

We first went to Pikes Place Market...

I went in the first ever Starbucks...

and purchased a mug.

Carmen and I also caught up with some dear friends of ours...

and it was great catching up with them again.

We ate lunch at Sister's European Snacks (www.sisterssnacks.com), a cafe in Post Alley...

View of the Seattle water front.

The rest of the day was spent walking around downtown and enjoying the sunny 60 degree weather.

Sunday Carmen, Jared, Liam, and I went to church, Carmen and I received pedicures, and then while Liam napped, Carmen and Jared taught me how to play The Settlers of Catan, which was so fun.

I left for Anchorage at 7 PM, exhausted from a great weekend.

xc skiing at Hatcher Pass!

For Valentine's Day Matt and I went to brunch at Cafe Amsterdam in Anchorage (www.cafe-amsterdam.com) and then xc skiing at Hatcher Pass, which is a mountain pass through the southwest part of the Talkeetna mountains located about 60 road miles north of Anchorage.

First discovered by miners in 1906, the first mill in the area started operating in 1908. Underground hard rock mining of gold continued at locations around the pass until 1951.

In the 1980's one of the hard rock mines was re-opened for a brief period of time and currently, one mining company still actively explores the area for gold and over 500,000 ounces of gold have been produced in the district.

Miles of groomed ski trails are set, some as high as 4,000 ft in the Gold Cord Bowl, which is an October training site for the U.S. cross country ski team.

I love the look of the buildings left over from when the mine was in full operation.

The coffee can in the window cracked me up...

The bunk houses...

Matt's retro skis with the mine in the background.

After a long day of skiing, we headed to the Hatcher Pass Lodge (at the base of the mountain in the above picture) to enjoy a cozy atmosphere and bite to eat before heading back to Anchorage (www.hatcherpasslodge.com).

February 24, 2010

Eagle River Nature Center ski

Matt and I went to the Eagle River Nature Center to xc ski.

It was beautiful except due to the extremely cold weather Anchorage had been having, the snow was very icy and crappy for xc skiing. We started on the non-groomed trails which was a bad idea...

While Matt was skijouring with Rio, he fell...twice.

So, we decided to stick our skis in the snow and walk the rest of the trail.

The hike was so pretty! After we were done with the hike, we headed toward the groomed ski trails and enjoyed a 3 mile ski.

February 23, 2010

Global warming at negative 45 degrees?

Thrifty Liquor may seem to be just a liquor store in Fairbanks, but it is not...

...because in front of this store is an ice sculpture hooked up to the exhaust of a pick up truck of former presidential candidate and self-claimed global warming activist, Al Gore.

When the pick up truck is turned on, it looks as though Mr. Gore is spouting smoke. An obvious negative dig to his global warming campaign, the creators of the sculpture plan to continue their masterpiece every year until Mr. Gore agrees to a debate in Fairbanks regarding his global warming theories, which they believe were instigated with financial incentives.

I was so excited to get these pictures that I did not take another picture in Fairbanks.