My favorite holiday was this week: the 4th of July. To celebrate, we took a break from our usual work around the property and went on a hike and planned a nice meal.
In Alaska, fireworks are not allowed in the summer due to the high risk of forest fires. I completely understand protecting my heavily forested home from burning due to a man-made accident. Also, it wouldn't get dark enough to see them.
It continues to be hot with temperatures reaching the low 90s so we decided to seek higher elevation in hopes of cooling off a bit. We chose to find the unmarked but recommended Box Ridge Trail in Hatcher Pass of the Talkeetna Mountains. It was relatively mellow, although I struggled with the heat reflecting off the rocks and the dry, dusty trail. There were some steep inclines at 5 months pregnant. We had the trail mostly to ourselves, except for a few passing ATVs. Down at the trail head, there were miles of dirt roads winding along the beautifully clear Willow Creek. The road had just opened up for the season and was surprisingly well kept. It had many turnouts next to the creek that were nearly all filled with people camping for the holiday. Families and groups flocked to these free campsites to fish, ride the creek or cruise the countless trails in the area. This is one of of many things we enjoy about Alaska! It was a wild yet peaceful area. The last third of the Box Ridge Trail was above the treeline and was mostly green meadows of tundra wildflowers and vegetation. The dogs loved bouncing through it like a scene from a movie. Despite being in the tundra, it was still 86 degrees! I do not regret forgetting long sleeves on a hike into the high tundra. The top had beautiful sweeping views across the valley with Willow Creek. In the hazy distance, you could see the snow capped Alaskan Range. A couple of small float planes flew over head. Probably headed to a secluded lake to fish. We could have kept going for miles along the back of the ridge or descended down into Box Lake, but for our first hike in Alaska since living here, we decided to call it quits. My legs felt like jelly! There was a small creek from a natural mountain spring we had to cross. It was surrounded by trees and the shade next to the cool water made the perfect resting spot for us and the dogs on the way down. Pete waded through with no socks and shoes while the dogs drank and splashed water. Rez stood in the creek looking downstream over the small rocky rapids like a bear waiting to catch a salmon. The salmon aren't running yet, Rez! We came home, took refreshingly cold showers and made our favorite halibut dish for dinner.
We tackled a big milestone on Monday by having the well drilled on the property. The well drilling truck showed up unexpectedly on Saturday, a week or so sooner than expected. The crew planned to store the truck until Monday, then get started first thing. It was tough watching that truck sit next to the RV all day Sunday knowing that water was to come on Monday. --obviously finding water isn't guaranteed, but we had really high hopes! On Monday, the drillers arrived and did a fantastic job with the drilling process by demonstrating their years of experience.
It was a success and we hit water! It was clear water from a formation of 1" gravel. Static water reached up to 65'. The crew pumped and drilled through A LOT of sediment which came from a large glacier in the now Cook Inlet we live on. It receded thousands of years ago leaving behind a large amount of sediment on the banks and ocean floor. I had fun making 'glacial facials' by combining the ancient sediment with the fresh water. Now we will focus on getting a well pump and plumbing it in. This part Pete will do himself including plumbing a line to the structure and future house.
This week, Pete added two more deep cycle batteries which doubled our existing energy storage. It should now get us about 4 days running off only battery power. We run power tools off of the generators while most everything else can run off of the battery bank.
Weather continues to be hot here with Alaska making national news on it's record setting temperatures. Anchorage set an all-time record on the 4th of July for reaching 90 degrees. Many high temperature records were set in the month of June and continue into July. Record lows for rainfall as well. Hoping July will bring some rain and cool relief from this hot weather! We took the dogs to the neighbor's dock and let them swim while we dipped our toes in the lake. The lake is somewhat shallow so the recent heat has warmed the lake a bit! Not used to warm lakes! Though the dogs seemed tired from yesterday's mountain climb, they didn't seem fazed and swam around us with big smiles.
We are continuing to work on the layout of the house build. Even though the layout is fairly simple, we aim to make it an efficient enough design to save on materials and energy while also making it easy to build. After we get all this tediously detailed planning out of the way, building the house should be a breeze, right!? Fingers crossed.
Hello, I am Melissa, owner of Wild North Design. Recently, my husband and I decided to pick up and move to Alaska. This dream has been a couple years in the making and we are enjoying the journey so far. We love to learn and make all kinds of things. From wood craft, to painting, to vehicles, landscaping, building, exploring...we love it all! We are finding out that Alaska is a great fit for our restless minds and bodies! Excited for what the future holds for our expanding family!
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