August 14, 2014


I have been to Kodiak a number of times and have blogged about one of those adventures here. I was fortunate enough to go again at the end of July for a field visit for work. However, I had never been to Kodiak in the summer, so it was nice to see the island in full bloom...

I went with Larry, who works for the State of Alaska Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. Our first night in town we navigated down to the beach. The temperatures were in the high 60s and the sun was out.

After a few minutes at the beach, we decided to head to Fort Abercrombie where there are trails and another view of the ocean. 

Alaska fireweed is a plant that grows wild in most of Alaska. The flowers on the weed grow in a unique way compared to other plants. The plant starts flowering at the bottom and then works its way to the top. Alaskans often use the fireweed to help determine how much summer is left; if the blooms are at the top, summer is almost over. 

The field visit with Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) lasted three days, and each day was filled to the max with business meetings and appointments at KANA and with community members in Kodiak. These productive days resulted in a desire for some solitude in the evening, so we drove along the road toward Chiniak, which is the only town (Chiniak is technically not a town, but a census-designated place) on Kodiak Island accessible by a road system. 

The road system on Kodiak Island is relatively short, so a number of families who live in Kodiak have second homes or camps in Chiniak. However, Chiniak does have a K-10 school with a total of about 10 students. After 10th grade the students are bused to Kodiak High School. 

The orange circle in the picture below is a jelly fish.

After driving around the island, Larry and I met his niece, her husband and their three kids for dinner at Olds River Inn, a fantastic restaurant near Chiniak, or about an hour west of Kodiak. The food was fantastic.

The Kodiak Library was built in December, 2013. The space was lovely and had some really interesting pieces of art. There are gathering rooms open and available to the public, so we headed to the library to utilize one of these spaces for a meeting.

I loved this art piece using glass floats. These floats are traditionally used to keep fishing nets and longlines afloat. They can be easily found in Kodiak.

After a long day of meetings on Thursday, Larry and I enjoyed a brew at Kodiak Island Brewing Company.

They have used traditional fisherman type art to decorate the building, which is pretty neat.

After getting some dinner, we headed west of Kodiak to try our hand at fishing. Unfortunately, only the pink salmon, or humpback salmon, were running, which are really not the best salmon to eat. Larry preferred that we didn't waste our time fishing and just enjoy the scenery.

We headed to another river to find the same luck, but experienced even more beauty.

One thing I always do when traveling is try to find a gym. The KANA gym is available to all Indian Health Service beneficiaries (Alaska Native/American Indian people) and KANA employees. We were given visitor passes so we could access the gym. The gym was very nice and had weight lifting equipment, barbells, cardio machines and a number of different type of strength and cross fit accessories. Larry and I visited the gym each morning before starting our day.

Before a long day of meetings on Friday, we grabbed a coffee from Harborside Coffee and Goods, one of my most favorite coffee places in Alaska. They roast their own coffee beans, so I purchased a bag for Matt and me to enjoy when I returned home.

I love traveling to Kodiak because there is so much to do and each time, I find myself exploring new things. However, I was definitely ready to head home after three long days of meetings and evenings of exploring the island.

Thanks for reading. Cheers!

August 10, 2014

Dog jog.

Rio and I participated in the Friends of Pets Dog Jog in mid-July. The Dog Jog is a fun event that raises money for "Friends of Pets" which is a non profit organization that provides welfare and protective services for abandon animals.

Knowing that I loved walking with Rio, a coworker asked me to participate in the Dog Jog. I couldn't resist. She and I made puppy chow and dog treats to help raise money toward our fundraising goals. The treats were a hit...and Rio sure enjoyed watching and helping me make the dog treats (she even sampled a few). 

Fortunately, the treats were dog approved. 

Registration before the jog included a lot of people...and a lot of different breeds of dogs...

The starting line of the jog...

Rio was very excited to get going...

The Dog Jog was a 5K that looped around the Hillside trail system, which is just a few miles from where we live. 

At the finish line...

The family fair, which was held after the jog, was quite fun and involved all things dogs. There were games that included dog races, demos and obstacle courses, and vendors, who gave away freebies and coupons.

Rio especially enjoyed the water baths...

The morning was very fun, and Rio was worn out. She enjoyed a treat from the event...and then worked on her napping skills all afternoon. 

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Cheers!

August 08, 2014

Leah stayed longer.

This post is a continuation of the post I shared in early July about when my parents and Leah visited...

After my parents left, Leah stayed another week in Anchorage before heading back to Iowa. Saying goodbye to my parents was much easier knowing Leah was still in town, and what's better than having your sister come over??

I worked off and on throughout the week, but we did have a chance to go on a few adventures, including meeting a friend in Girdwood, Alaska (the drive down was beautiful)...

We ate dinner at Jack Sprat in Girdwood, one of my most favorite restaurants in Alaska...


and enjoyed breakfast at The Bake Shop...

However, due to an unfortunate circumstance the weekend before my parents left, Leah was slightly non-mobile for the second half of her stay. Leah fell into a crawl space and severely bruised both of her legs, causing swelling and pain in her ankle and knee. Before going to the doctor, she hobbled around nicely, but after the doctor looked at her ankle, she was put in a brace and was told to ice and elevate as much as possible.


What happens in Alaska, stays in Alaska? BUMMER!

Rio joined us on the adventure to Girdwood, and it was her first time in my new car. I tried to keep her in the back, away from the seats, but she didn't listen very well...

...and eventually made it all the way to the front seat.

I still love this dog!

After getting home from Girdwood and because the weather was beautiful, we stopped at Midnight Sun Brewing Company for dinner and brews. Leah and I both love this place.

We were hoping to sit outside, but the restaurant was packed full...

I loved having Leah visit...and can't wait for her to come again next summer!