Saturday, June 30, 2007


Katie Does Fox Island

After a couple of days in Anchorage, my real Alaskan adventure began. And okay, maybe it was only a little adventurous, and maybe it only lasted a day, but what a day! This was the day I planned my entire trip around.

Another early morning saw me leaving the 26th St. Hostel for the Anchorage train station. I took the Coastal Classic Alaska Railroad train to Seward, Alaska. This is a four-hour train ride, and if you rent a car when you're in Alaska, you can take the Seward Highway, but I would definitely recommend the train. It's a prettier route, and you won't have to concentrate on your driving. Instead, you can sit back and watch the scenery of the Kenai Peninsula.

The tracks of the Alaska Railroad roll past three different glaciers, a glacial lake filled with icebergs, and countless mountains and waterfalls. I saw dall sheep and a moose. At one S-shaped turn in the tracks, in front of a glacier, we saw a grizzly bear. The conductor called out over the intercom, "Grizzly, 3 o'clock!" Every passenger ran to the right side of the bus to look out the windows. And there it was, running in the pasture. The train actually came to a stop so we could watch him for a few minutes. He finally disappeared into the trees, and we resumed our ride. I may have teared up a little, because 1) I'm a big softy who cries at Kodak commercials, and 2) Hello! I was watching a grizzly bear running into the woods in front of a glacier. Amazing!
The train pulled into Seward at 11:15, and I hitched a ride with some other cruise-ship passengers to the Seward Small-Boat Harbor for my "cruise" (read as: small boat with about twenty passengers) to Fox Island, a small island in Resurrection Bay, where I would meet up with my kayaking guide for a three-hour tour (hee, hee, three-hour tour...) of the shoreline, before heading back to the town of Seward.

For me, there is nothing quite like sea kayaking. I could never fully describe how wonderful it is, quietly sitting in your kayak watching the land go by, the only sound in your ears that of waves crashing or the dip of your paddle in the water. Getting into a zone with your paddling is kind of like the zone you get into while knitting. This is like meditation for me. And luckily for me, only two of my fellow passengers were staying for the kayaking trip, so it was a nice small group of kayakers. If you enjoy kayaking or wildlife watching, you should definitely take this trip some time in your life. Fox Island is beautiful and remote. And as far as the wildlife, I saw mountain goats, five bald eagles (including two in a nest), sea lions, a seal that kept following our kayak, two humpback whales, puffins, and many other types of sea birds. I love you, Alaska!

Yet again I don't have pictures of wildlife to show you, though this has less to do with my fear of looking like a tourist, and more to do with an experience I had in Hawaii. Rick and I went on a whale watching tour there, and we did see a lot of whales, but I spent so much time trying to get The Perfect Whale Picture, that I really missed out on a lot of the action--and all my pictures were crap anyway. So when I saw wildlife on this trip, I decided to just enjoy it and soak it in to my personal memory, instead of my camera's.

I'm so glad I did.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Katie Does Anchorage

All right! My vacation photos are finally loaded on this here computer, ready to be posted in the Blogosphere. There are only two major disclaimers that I need to, um, disclaim:

1) Though I have absolutely no problem taking pictures of yarn and finished objects in my yard or on jungle gyms, I am afraid of looking like a tourist when I am touring. I therefore miss out on a lot of good pictures because I don't want to join the group of people who have their cameras out. Go figure.

2) I forgot to turn my camera off after a couple of shots taken during my sea kayaking trip, and ran my battery way, way low before realizing it. And of course, I did not pack my battery charger in the interest of saving weight in my backpack. Note to self for next backpacking trip: instead of carrying three heavy books, take the damn camera charger.

I arrived in Anchorage on Sunday, after a grueling fifteen hours of flying and layovers. I'm usually a big fan of booking the cheapest flight possible (cheap is how I travel), but this was ridiculous. My flight took me to Atlanta, Georgia before heading to Anchorage. My flight to Anchorage passed over Kansas six hours after I began traveling Sunday morning. Sheesh!

So I was pretty tired upon my arrival. I snapped this picture of my hostel (26th Street International Hostel), checked in, and went to bed. Are y'all familiar with hostels? I know some people aren't, like my cute mom, who thought when I said hostel that I meant hostile, and asked me if it was really safe to stay at a place called a hoss-tile? My definition of a hostel is: a place where you can stay in a bunk bed in a room with several other travelers for cheap, usually has a communal kitchen, and if you are in an interesting location, many foreigners drinking beer until all hours. Did I mention that hostels are cheap, and so am I?

When I woke from my hostel early, early, early Monday morning (it is so hard to sleep when the sun doesn't set), I set out for downtown Anchorage. It's really a pretty little city. From downtown you can see the ocean and the mountains. Sounds nice, huh? Want to see the only picture I took of downtown Anchorage (see Disclaimer #1):

There are lots of salmon sculptures downtown, and this one perched in front of the start of the Planet Walk (I love Planet Walks)...was my favorite. What can I say? You know how the Yarn Harlot took a picture of the glacial ice? Well, I saw that same glacial ice, and yet I TOOK A PICTURE OF A FISH SCULPTURE.

Later that day, I discovered that Anchorage, like any self-respecting city (ahem, OKC?), has an REI! An REI in front of mountains! I spent a nice hour here drooling over backpacks and canoes. And in the same shopping center as REI was Tidal Wave Books, where I saw the Yarn Harlot! It's always so wonderful to meet up with knitters and listen to Stephanie talk shop! The bookstore was amazed at how many of us came to the event. One of the staff told me they had a Nobel Prize winner and he didn't draw nearly as many attendees. I met a fellow blogger named Glenda, who lives in Girdwood, Alaska, the lucky girl! Glenda designed her own yoga mat bag, how awesome is that! Do you think I got a picture of her? If you answered No, you would be right.

I just hope Stephanie wasn't too weirded out by this sweaty, traveling knitter, who made jokes about stalking her all the way to Alaska and then practically stabbed her in the throat with her own knitting needles while taking a photo op.

To be continued tomorrow....with better, more ALASKAN pictures, I promise!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


At least he remembered?

In an email to Nanda earlier this week, I expressed my husband's lust for the new Apple iPhone. He only mentioned it once, but I know how he is about all things Apple. I quickly squashed his zeal with a well-played bit of name-calling.

"Consumer!" I yelled. But I told Nanda he would probably start dropping Apple-flavored hints closer to Christmas time.

Ha! He didn't even last until iPhone's release date. Over dinner tonight, he hit me with this: "If you're thinking of what to get me for the tenth anniversary of our first date next week, the iPhone comes out tomorrow."

Isn't he romantic? :)

Sunday, June 24, 2007


You dropped a bomb on me, baby.

Hello, everyone! I've been back from vacation for a week now, but have unfortunately not had time to blog yet...or email...or call...or, um, yeah. It's been a week. But really, I don't feel like talking about the flea infestation we came back to, or the kitty cats that wouldn't look at us after five days in the kennel, or the jury duty I had to perform right after I got back from vacation. What I'd really like is a bit of time to upload all my pictures and talk about ALASKA!

Alas, now that I'm back in my recently fumigated house, I must do things such as unpacking and laundry and feeding cats lots of treats to make them like me again. So since this post has no interesting Alaska pictures, I thought I'd go ahead and make an announcement I've been sitting on for awhile. Because in about six months, there's going to be an addition to the Prairie Knitter/Prairie Climber family, and no, we're not taking in another stray cat.

I'm pregnant! Right at twelve weeks, as a matter of fact. And since the nausea STILL isn't gone, ya'll are in for a lot of whining and general belly-aching about the whole process. You lucky readers, you! I always thought that if I got pregnant, I would feel good and natural and, I don't know, I guess I thought I'd be some kind of granola, nature mother type who felt healthy and strong. Instead, I'm nauseous every day and more tired than I've ever been in my life. Just wait until I can't sleep at night and can't go ten minutes without peeing. Y'all will really be in for it then!

Hopefully I'll start getting some baby knitting in to distract you (and me) from my own yuckiness. Speaking of yuckiness, did anyone see my picture on the Yarn Harlot's site? I promise to talk about the event in a future post, but dudes! Was I ever gross in that picture! In my defense, I'd walked about eight miles over Anchorage that day and was pretty tired (and oily and pregnant, yada yada). I guess I should have taken a shower before the book signing!

I hope everyone's been having a wonderful month, and I will try to get some Alaska pictures up soon. And oh yeah---Rick totally kicked ass on Denali! The mountain allowed his team to summit on June 12th, and I'm super proud of him. I like being married to a man that follows his heart and shoots for his dreams. I would have been proud of him even if he hadn't made the summit, but I always knew he could do it.

Well, back to laundry with me then. Woohoo!

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Because twelve hour flights demand a good knit.

I'm heading out for my own Alaskan adventure this Sunday and, among other preparations, I have been trying to figure out what knitting to take with me. I've been working on a pair of socks, but frankly, I'm rather uninspired by them at the moment.

The yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot, and I love the color. I even like the bare bones, 3x1 rib pattern. I'm afraid the reason it's not working for me right now is that I am such a selfish individual. You see, the sock does not fit my freakishly narrow foot. It does, however, fit my mom's cute, normal size foot, so the pair will become a gift for her. But unless it's a hat for my husband who is going to -30 degree weather in a week, my gift knits move as slow as glaciers. Sorry, Mom!

So I bought some new sock yarn today. I knew that I wanted to knit socks, so I can take a small, compact set of needles with me on the plane. And then I saw a colorway of Cherry Tree Hill at Gourmet Yarn today that just lit my fire. It screams Harry Potter with its rich reds and oranges and golds. Or rather it screams Fawkes the Phoenix, and because I'm a nerd, a nerd who is still mourning Albus Dumbledore, I decided I needed my very own Fawkes socks for the upcoming release of Book 7.

Only once I got home did I realize that my new yarn also coordinates with my backpack and stuff sacks.

My pack is almost full already and I haven't finished packing yet. Time permitting, I plan on visiting a couple of yarn shops in Anchorage and have wondered where I'd be able to make room for my purchases. While I was taking pictures, it came to me!

Why not take advantage of all the straps on this here backpack? Good thing Rick's already in Alaska--he'd be rolling his eyes at my color-coordinated, knitterly ingenuity.

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