Day 1 (6-22): I’ve been awake for nearly 24 hours straight. First flight was delayed for like 5 hours apparently because the tires of the plane we were going to take came across something rather sharp on the runway. I wonder if they cleared it or just kept on going. We ended up getting a different flight plan giving us one stop instead of two. The first flight wasn’t bad, but I found out I’m allergic to Minnesota or maybe just the airport there. Let’s just say I sneezed a couple of times or enough for Mom to tell me to stop sneezing to which I replied, “I can’t.” The flight to Anchorage minus the sneezing was good. I watched Anchorman 2, Captain Phillips, and began watching The Monuments Men (en français parce que je pouvais).
Fast forward to the luggage claim. We waited while more and more bags made their way down the chute. The people around the carousel left until there weren’t very many people left. We were the last ones left and no bags. Good thing we packed some extra clothes in our carry-ons.
FF to the cabin. It kind of has a creepy vibe… so idk. It’ll be better though.
The view is great, not as much the mosquitos. I went into the shower with bare feet because the flip flops were in the luggage. I attempted to keep the bottom of my feet from being contaminated from the foreign floor. My feet remained relatively bearable. It’s currently 3:22 AM Anchorage time … so 7:22 AM MI time. Oh, something else, some poor man proclaimed to his lady friend that the US had beaten Portugal and there was one minute left. First of all, if there’s one minute left they are yet to win, and second of all they conceded an equalizer in that last minute. The blame fell on the bald man (Bradley). They still got one point for the tie and are in a good position to advance. I’m tired and not tired at the same time. I think my body and brain are confused.
Mosquito kill count: ~5
Sneeze count: ~165
Day 2 (6-23): My nose is quite sensitive. It still bothers me. There are many cds in the cabin. I’m having trouble thinking of what to write. It’s funny because it was much easier last night or morning; 3 AM is the morning. My camera is dangling from my neck as I listen to Hillsong. I should probably be doing some HW while there’s a lull of activity, but Alaska + Josh ≠ motivation to do HW. I do believe the mosquitos here are not very intelligent, or at least the pack I just encountered. It seems that many of them ask for my permission to eat me instead of going for the direct assault. They’ve yet to realize that I’m a ruthless mosquito assassin who doesn’t think twice before eliminating all airborne enemies. I wonder where they live. *picks up phone and types “where do mosquitos live”* The website says they live in tall grass, weeds, and brush. What’s wrong with short and medium grass? The site says only the females bite for blood. I presented this fact to Mom and Liz who replied, “Yea.” Disappointment. How did they know? The TVs here sadly lack the only channel that matters: ESPN. No world cup for Josh L. *picks up phone and googles “wc online” … tries “world cup online” … downloads WatchESPN* My phone says its 59 degrees outside (I noticed this while searching for the soccer games). I ended up downloading Univision Deportes because WatchESPN wasn’t cooperating. So I’m now watching Brazil and Cameroon in Spanish. Success!?!
I went on a perilous adventure. It involved me using somebody else’s toilet. If I have trouble touching someone else’s shower, the toilet is infinitely worse. Prior to taking the plunge, I asked Liz to wish me luck. She surprisingly did. I figured she was going to say something like, “Why do you need good luck to go to the bathroom?”
Being outside of the cabin is wonderful. There’s a grand view of the Knik (pronounced kuh-nick) Arm from the fire pit located a mere twenty paces from the door. The cabin is on top of a hill enhancing the view of the water and mountains.
After watching some storm clouds roll off of the mountains to the left, I decided I would lay in the grass. It was nice short grass. After I got up, I approached Liz who had been resting on the picnic table. She was awake so I queried about the dirt on her and her blanket. She said it was from the tree. The patio under the picnic table has surrendered because it’s surrounded by a garden that’s had more work put into it than I can imagine.
FF to picking up the rental car we’ll use for the remainder of the trip. At Enterprise there was an F-150 that pulled into the parking lot. A shady crew consisting of middle aged ladies and some teens popped out. All they did was step out of the truck (I assume it was a rental) and peer into the rental adjacent to theirs. The bravest of the clan opened a door and the rest followed suit. They continued this routine of looking, inspecting, and opening doors for several minutes. I guess they wanted to rent the car but not go in and talk to the people inside the building. It was bizarre whatever they were doing. I’m trying to write and then Mom goes, “Whoa!” While writing, I somehow managed to make my hair stick straight up by running my hand through it. She is very amused by it and says, “You don’t even look like my son with your hair like that.” I feign emotional distress.
We ate at Arby’s. We were the only ones there for a while. From our booth we could see the mountains peaking out over the neighboring building complex. It was the second time we ate at that particular Arby’s (the other during the previous trip to Alaska). As the trash was piled upon the tray, one tiny cup was placed into the other. My sleep deprived brain knew the next logical step: the giant smoothie cup. It only stuck out like 4 inches. Sometime around the cup stacking incident I hypothesized that my excessive sneezing was my body’s plea for nourishment. This hypothesis was quickly rejected when I sneezed just after exiting the restaurant. Maybe it’s differences in atmospheric pressure that are the true culprit. *Googles “can atmospheric pressure result in sneezes.”* It seems plausible.
If I worked on my schoolwork instead of doing this, I could probably get it done. Not happening. “No Mom every sip of cranberry juice does not require a satisfactory growl.” She now badabas a Christmas song of all things. “What are you doing Dad?” “Looking for the internet,” I hear in response. I offer an “Oh…”
There were two mosquitos on my wrist at the same time, and I failed to notice them until it was too late. I guess I’m not as much of a mosquito assassin as I previously proclaimed. The good thing is the bites from Alaskan mosquitos go away pretty quickly. I tried to type “propaganda” into my phone. I typed “peopagangsa.” It’s only three letters off so I get a C-. 70% isn’t bad.
Mosquito kill count: ~23 (18 today)
Sneeze count: ~176 (11 today)
Day 3 (6-24): I woke in time to watch Uruguay hold off Italy’s final attack en route to a 1-0 win. I looked at the game summary and found that Mario Balotelli had received a yellow card in the 21st minute. I immediately questioned if that was the name of that one chef. It’s Mario Batoli, but it’s still sad that when I read the player’s name I thought about the overweight chef.
It’s now halftime of the Greece and Ivory Coast game. It’s been pretty good so far. Greece has the lone goal. I was attempting to watch the game outside when I was brutally attacked. I had no idea what to do; it had gotten both of my hands. I would have to wash off the dog slobber. It was a little dog and it followed me around after the initial attack. I’ve never really liked dogs as I’m allergic to most things with fur and apparently many things without. This dog was okay though.
I entered the main room to hear, “Can someone help me?” “…No!” I thought that was a bit harsh until I realized that Liz had asked for help putting on her shoes. Oh boy.
When we were leaving to go to the Bodenburg Loop I noticed I had left my cup of water in the car. I then stated, “That’s good because it won’t get unhumid.” I guess I need more sleep. We drove down to the loop located near Palmer. It was a nice little trip. The mountains in the distance were spectacular.
We might head back that way and climb the Bodenburg Butte.
Dad and I went to the disc golf course at Peters Creek. The course isn’t bad. There are a lot of trees greatly narrowing most of the fairways and also there are many mosquitos. There are a good mix of shot types and changes in elevation presented by the holes. There was one time where we weren’t exactly sure if we played the correct hole or not. I had a decent run in the first round, but ended with a disappointing bogey on 18 to put me at 3 over par. The second round was the worst round I’ve played that I can remember. My drives and approaches were just not cutting it. There was one stretch where my driver found a tree on at least 7 tosses in a row. It was infuriating to say the least. I ended up shooting +10. It was the first time someone beat me in a round of disc golf in probably about 2 years.
Tonight we had a campfire.
I had some music playing on my phone and I strummed along on a yellow rubber band. I did that for some time while taking pictures of the fire and the others watching it. My favorite part was when rain started to fall and I played along to “A Million Suns.” If Hillsong ever needs a rubber band player I’m available.
Earlier in the day I discovered that wearing socks and flip flops at the same time can cause predicaments. The left one ended up broken and cannot be easily fixed.
I feel like I’m staying in a museum. There are so many paintings and artifact like things on the walls and in the book cases that it might as well be one. Liz and I just had midnight popsicles. Quite satisfying.
Mosquito kill count: ~62 (39 today)
Sneeze count: ~181 (5 today)
Day 4: (6-25): My normal amount of summer sleep is 11 hours per day. I’m learning that I can function on 3 hours less than that. While waiting for something exciting to happen I’ve been playing 2048. On my third attempt of the morning I had a decent run ending up with 67,284 points. My phone says 100% humidity. I’ll go check… It’s raining and low 50s. This is my kind of weather.
I learned that an open drink in one hand combined with a Twix in the other, and the car making a turn means that I get very wet. It’s ok though because it’s only a lot of water on my leg. Later on in the car ride to my Great Aunt Karen’s home there was a small traffic jam caused by a car stopped in the middle of the road. As we passed the traffic jam, we realized that the car was stopped because there was a man face down half on the sidewalk and half on the grass. One theory is the car hit the man, the other is the driver stopped because he noticed someone in need (although it was probably too late at that point).
After picking up Great Aunt Karen and Gene, we headed to the Anchorage Museum. I had read that the museum had had a hundred million dollar plus renovation and expansion in 2010. There were some nice paintings and exhibits about Alaskan history and other things. A few of the exhibits featured mannequins in clothing made out of “gut.” That was as specific as the plaques were. Just “gut.” Is it whale gut, giant octopus gut, moose gut, or mosquito gut? It’s not that hard to specify.
I cooked the meat for the tacos. During that process I found myself wanting to eat the half cooked meat. I guess I was hungry. Later on I told those in those in the room, “The meat looks like ice cream.” That was the hunger talking. I satisfied that hunger with 4 tacos.
Today seems uneventful as I’ve written less than the other days. It’s been rainy all day and it’s currently 12 minutes to midnight. Earlier I was outside and dancing in the rain to “Oceans.” Don’t worry, I made sure nobody was watching.
Mosquito kill count: ~89 (27 today)
Sneeze count: ~181 (0 today, wow)
Day 5 (June 26): I got up early today and watched the US lose to the Germans. I wasn’t upset at the 1-0 result because I also like the German team, and I have a 2010 World Cup shirt with Germany on it. I can still hear the Spanish-speaking announcer’s excitement as he sung out gooooooooooooooal. It’s all good though, because both teams are advancing past the group stage. After the game, I fell asleep for 2 hours which felt like 3 or 4. When I woke up I saw 12:14 on the clock. I pondered which time zone the clock was set for and decided that it had to be Anchorage time. I tried to stretch out my legs--bad idea. I immediately got a cramp in my left calf. I frantically searched for anything that was cold and close enough to put on my leg. I picked up a coaster which I found out was wooden and not cold. I then found some sort of glass decoration that sufficed.
“Liz you’re not supposed to play with it (her hot chocolate), you’re supposed to stir it.” “I am stirring it. This is how I stir.”
We went on a drive to check out the area around Peters Creek. We drove over this super sketchy bridge wide enough for only one car that even had old nails poking out of it. While in the car, I was moving the strap of my camera around on the screen of my phone and not really thinking about what I was doing. When I looked down, I was one click away from calling 911. After driving around residential areas, a stop was made at the disc golf course solely to torture me. This torture consisted of bringing me very close to the sport I love playing the most only to say we’re not going disc golfing right now. You don’t go to the ice cream store and then just not get ice cream. That’s just as inhumane as my example.
I did get my disc golf fix later in the day. I felt like I played well enough the first round, but somehow managed to shoot +8. I did beat Dad by a few strokes, so that’s good. There were multiple occasions in which I became frustrated because the trees and I weren’t getting along. During the first round we also discovered a hole we had accidently skipped the first day we played the course. The second round was really a roller coaster. Hole 4 gave me ample amounts of trouble. The previous times I got a 4 and 2 5’s if I’m not mistaken. This time I got a 7. That is a disaster. Just unacceptable. At one point I was 3 shots back of Dad, and that never happens. I quickly closed the gap by getting a nice string of birdies and pars. Going into hole 17, the scores were all tied up at +8. I had an easy approach that I put right into a tree and ended up with a bogey that put me a shot back. On 18 I had a solid drive leading to a par that once again tied everything up. This meant a playoff hole. Since there was no one behind us we played 18 again. I was confident that I was going to be able to slide my backhand shot between the two trees that were in the way, so I was feeling good. Dad went up first and hit the left side of one of the trees, giving him a tough next shot. My opportunity for victory presented itself, so I lined up the shot and nailed the tree. I took my second shot first and put it within 10 feet of the basket. Dad’s second shot left him with a longer put. I sunk mine. Dad had to make his and didn’t. Victory feels good, but it should have never been that close. I should be +5 and lower on that course.
Nighttime here breeds odd conversations/situations: Mom touched my chin, so I said, “Don’t touch myself.” This caused Liz to spit her lemonade onto the table.
Mosquito kill count: ~112 (23 today)
Sneeze count: ~193 (12 today)
Day 6 (6-27): At around 6:30 AM I was awakened by an earthquake. My first thought was is anything around me going to fall on me. Since the answer was no, I Iaid back down and let the earth quake itself and me back to sleep. It was a 3.9 magnitude earthquake.
In the morning a blueberry exploded onto me and the surrounding areas without any warning. The casualties were my sweatshirt, the counter, and the butter. There were sadly no world cup games to be watched this morning. We journeyed over Gene’s place to pick up him and Great Aunt Karen for our trip into Seward. In Seward we first went to the SeaLife Center. They had a lot of fish. All kinds of ‘em. Round, fat, flat, spikey, ugly, little, cute, red, black, and blue. There was an area for seabirds. There were different sorts of ducks and puffins and probably other kinds. Many of them stood in a line to be weighed by a trainer for the reward of a fish. The adjacent tank was home to a giant sea lion and his mate. When the big male was in the water, he tried to coax his female friend into going in there with him. This didn’t work. He then moved himself onto the rocks close to her, and she made her way into the back of the enclosure. The amusing thing is the male is too big to get back there, so he went to a little window in the door where he could see her.
We ate at the Marina Restaurant. In my notebook that I’m keeping track of events in, I wrote that I hate halibut, fries, and chicken at the restaurant. I think what happened is I combined had and ate into hate. I didn’t hate the food; it was decent. The only bad part was that some ketchup joined the blueberry explosion on my sweatshirt. It was a party of stains. After the restaurant, we proceeded to meander around an endless number of touristy stores. The water and mountains surrounding the city nearly make up for the crazy number of stores that I had to endure. We went to an ice cream place and Santa was there. We then headed to Exit Glacier. We stopped at an overlook where the glacier was partially visible. Santa was there too. He was taking pictures. I took his picture. He didn’t notice because I’m sneaky.
As the car navigated the road leading to the glacier, there were signs that showed where the edge of the glacier was in different years. It had receded a significant amount. There was a surprisingly large number of people there. We first hiked to see the glacier up close. The trek wasn’t too bad. My calf that had cramped up did try to annoy me, but it was hard to pay any attention to it with all of the incredible nature demanding you look its way. The glacier appears much bigger when you’re next to it. The people on the right side of the picture show how massive the glacier is.
Even though it seems quite large, it’s the smallest of many glaciers fed by the Harding Icefield. Once we were as close as the do not go any further signs allowed, I noticed little black dots down on the glacier. They were rocks. I quickly searched for a sign that says, “No throwing rocks.” None to be found, so I launched a couple of rocks that came up short. I then threw harder, and I landed a couple on the glacier that slid down the side of it. This was fun so I continued to gather and toss rocks, throwing them as far as I could. On my final throw I managed to lodge a rock pretty high up the glacier. There were only a couple that were higher than mine. Mine would’ve went at least that far, but there was a downwind and the humidity wasn’t ideal for rock throwing. There’s another trail that we started on, but only went 0.8 miles on. On that I trek I pulled my phone from my pocket to find that it was calling 911. How did I pocket dial 911? Good thing there’s no service in those mountains.
Mosquito kill count: ~122 (10 today)
Sneeze count: ~194 (just 1 today)
Day 7 (6-28): It’s the end of the day and I’m recounting today’s events. I just looked up from sitting on the couch to see that all of the kitchen chairs had managed to migrate around the couch. I guess that some sort of floor cleaning is going on. There was a lot that went on today. If I manage to jumble up the order of events it's because my brain is accustomed to more sleep. I just asked Liz to turn on the radio, and she replied, "You! I don't have feet." She probably meant shoes.
First, I watched the Brazil Chile game. I noticed it was 1-1 when I got up, so I turned on my phone. The game went into overtime. In the waning minutes of the second overtime period, Chile had a shot ring of the goalpost that would've meant victory. The game remained tied, so they went into penalty kicks. After nine kicks, Chile had to make theirs to advance. The ball rocketed off of the player's foot out of the reach of the goalie and ... smacked into the goalpost and bounced away. Game over, Brazil wins. Because of me having to watch the game, we were 30 minutes late.
We went to the Botanical Garden Fair. The most entertaining thing for me was following around a butterfly and taking pictures of it.
Taking pictures of the flowers was also ok.
We headed then to the Saturday market in downtown Anchorage, where we went straight for the food. I filled my belly with halibut, fries, and some sort of donut thing filled with corn. The food was fine. We sat on the bluff overlooking a portion of the city and the ocean. Mom, Dad, and Liz left to shop in the market leaving Great Aunt Karen, Gene, and myself to watch people and planes. From the bluff, McKinley was visible for a few short minutes before it covered itself in clouds. I captured many airplanes with my camera as they flew overhead. There was a group of boys with a frisbee who ended up hitting or nearly hitting a tour bus driver as she lay down next to her bus for a midday snooze. They also threw their frisbee under one of the tour busses, but were eventually able to get it out.
Kincaid Park was next on the agenda. There were two weddings and a soccer match occurring at the park. We traversed our way through the woods and down to the rock covered beach. Last time we visited the beach it was empty. This time there was easily more than a dozen people. I searched for rocks to do one of three things with. The first was to put them in my pocket to keep, the second was to smash them with a larger rock to see if the pieces were cool enough to keep, and the third was to skip them on the ocean. While rock searching, Great Aunt Karen gave me a delicious cinnamon roll which satisfied any hunger I had. Gene dropped a large chunk of slate on the ground and it shattered, making many skippable smaller rocks. Many of which skipped nicely, but both of us ended up with cuts on our throwing hands. There was a rainbow in the sky that was visible as we drove back from the park. We dropped off Great Aunt Karen and Gene and made our final two stops at McDonald's and Fred Meyer.
Mosquito kill count: ~133 (11 today)
Sneeze count: ~198 (4 today)
Day 8 (6-29): Today was a rather quiet day. We drove to Talkeetna. There was a hitchhiker. We passed a Subway. We went into downtown Talkeetna. It was obscenely busy with tourists. We hopped over a creek to look at a river. I sat under a tree and watched Costa Rica play Greece. They were in penalty kicks. After the first couple of kicks, I tried to wipe something off of the screen of my phone and accidently hit the back arrow. I went back into the soccer app and watched the commercial that plays before you can watch the game. As soon as the commercial ended, I wiped something else off of the screen and hit the back arrow again. I didn't learn my lesson. After the second commercial, I saw Costa Rica's winning kick. I went back to the river and skipped some stones. Liz and I stayed in the car while Mom and Dad looked through the stores in downtown Talkeetna. I looked in one and bought a geode. We tried to get a view of McKinley from this lodge that we stopped at, but the clouds weren't compliant. I did get some cool pics though.
We drove around and stumbled upon a road that confused the GPS. It looked like it was having a seizure. It showed that the car was not on any road, and then it tried to zoom in and out a couple of times before giving up. On the way back to the cabin we saw a car that had hit a moose.
Mom is lyrically impaired. She always seems to switch up the lyrics or insert new lyrics as she sings around the cabin. Liz and I correct her to no avail. Liz and I treated ourselves to another edition of midnight popsicles.
Mosquito kill count: ~158 (25 today)
Sneeze count: ~214 (16 today)
Day 9 (6-30): I'm never sure how to start off a new day's entry. I watched Germany and Algeria play today. Germany had so many opportunities that they failed to capitalize on. In the first overtime period Germany scored. We left after the first overtime period was over and, I thought the game had finished. I looked at my phone a couple of minutes later and it was still going on. I clicked on the soccer app to see a replay of Germany's second goal in the second overtime. Algeria scored without much time left, so it ended 2-1 with Germany winning.
Dad and I went discing and this time Mom went with us. She couldn't stand the bugs, but I don't notice them much when I play disc golf. I played fairly well the first round before going bogey, bogey, double bogey on the final three holes. That put me at 8 over, but I still won. I played pretty well the second round. There were some putts that I'd like to have back, but I still shot a respectable 4 over. Hole 4 gave me trouble on both rounds once again. I will conquer that hole.
We bought a halibut from some people down the street. Mom and Liz are going to figure out how to cook it. After we got the fish, we went to Reflection Lake. There were so many mosquitoes there that if you opened your mouth while walking you would get a tasty snack. We walked around the lake searching for good spots to take pictures. Dad and I continued out onto another path while Mom and Liz headed back to the car because of the bugs. There was a nice spot to take some pics at the end of the trail we took. You can even see a rainstorm in this picture.
Mosquito kill count: ~209 (51 today)
Sneeze count: ~223 (9 today)
Day 10 (7-1): I can't believe it's already day 10. Time goes too fast up here. I watched the U.S. and Belgium play today. Belgium was the better team and deserved the win. Howard (goalie for the U.S.) kept the game tied at 0 until overtime. Without his excellent play, it wouldn't have been close. The loss is all the more painful because the next world cup is a whole four years away. At least Germany is still alive.
We had a campfire going all afternoon long. We cooked hot dogs. I like to put mine in the coals and then just wipe it off before I eat it. This way it cooks quickly and tastes good. Mom and Liz maintained the fire while Dad and I went discing. I played poorly the first round, bogeying far too many holes. My final score was 9 over. The second round was much better. I had some nice drives and sunk some long putts. I almost defeated my arch nemesis hole number 4, but it still got the best of me. I had what I thought to be an excellent drive on that hole, until I realized that I was stuck behind a cluster of trees that forced me to throw off balance. I ended up with a 25 foot putt that would've given me par, but I failed to convert. I finished that round with a score of +5. My goal for this trip is to finish at even or below par for that course.
We ate pizza again. Later that night I had a popsicle, but it wasn't midnight. I couldn't wait that long. (I spelled it weight when I wrote it down and that is disappointing. I'm not mentally astute at the time of night I record the day's events)
Mosquito kill count: ~224 (15 today)
Sneeze count: ~227 (4 today)
Bear count: 0