Archive for the ‘Alaska’ Category

Mixed Emotions

As the closing days are before me, I am hurried to sell my possessions, pack, and say goodbye to Alaska. I depart the state I love this Saturday as I head south for the winter. I had plans last week and this week to pick up a little side work but God and nature had different plans. Autumn in Alaska is wet. When the work calls for exterior painting you are very dependent on the weather. Late August and all of September are not always good outdoor days. Nonetheless, I have found myself more bored than I wanted. My wife is in Africa helping a close friend move to be a nurse in an orphanage and I am stuck in Alaska to wrap up the remaining items.

I have found myself unmotivated and lacking self desire to do pretty much anything. I go to bed at night not tired and feeling guilty. Then again, my mind tells me it is time to leave Alaska. The rest of the month will be filled with events and activity as we journey from Alaska to Texas. I often find my heart and mind in PNG. I know there is a need and I am wanted there to help but I am here in a basement in Alaska. I am trying to relish the memories of Alaska as I know over the next three years my heart will yearn for this home.

In the past when I have noticed these feelings, I have learned it is time to enjoy nature once again. On Saturday when the rain broke, my aunt and I went for a short hike to Grayling Lake. A 3 mile roundtrip hike to a small lake in the Alaskan wilderness. It was a rewarding hike and a spot that I found peace as I sat on the lake shore. Please pray for me this week as I pack and prepare to leave Alaska.

Read Full Post »

Last Wednesday was a blue sky day in Seward. When this happens I try to seize the opportunity to enjoy it to the fullest. Emily and I set out for another great hike along the Harding Icefield trail. The hike started at 500′ and went up to 2500′ which I stopped to enjoy a spectacular view at the cliffs overlook.

Read Full Post »

Seeing Through the Mist

This week I am re-posting what Emily wrote for our branch website, pbtpng.org. As I am responsible for administering the branch website, I ask every missionary to write a short article once every three or four months. This week it was our week to write an article. Here is what Emily wrote:

Seeing Through the Mist

During the two months we lived in Alaska, I experienced a few frustrations with the weather.  If you have ever been to Alaska you know that many days there is a fog or mist present.  On those days the mountains are covered and your line of sight isn’t very far.  It’s frustrating to not be able to see the glory of the mountains or the big blue sky when the midst or fog is present.  But of course this is written by as someone who grew up in the BIG SKY state and gets homesick when she can’t see the skies for miles.

On those frustrating misty days in Alaska, I was reminded of many frustrating, impatient days I have had in my past with God because He was only showing me so much of the path ahead of me.  I like a plan.  If I had it my way I would have a plan for the next five years at least. I don’t like not seeing what is on the path ahead and I want it clear.  I laugh as I write this because I believe God chose the year 2012 to be a misty, foggy year for me and is breaking me of strong desire to always have my plan.  As we approach the month of September, I reflect on the first eight months of this year and realize God has only shown me a little part of this year’s pathway at a time.  But I couldn’t have planned the events of the past eight months better.  I say this recognizing how much I felt like kicking and screaming and not surrendering myself to dependence on the Father.  These instances are yet another reminder of how great it is to have God’s promises in my language, that I may find rest and confidence in Him.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”  Jeremiah 29:11

As Emily and I mesh our two lives together into one, I will be asking her to write more frequently for our blog.

Read Full Post »

As I have been making preparations for leaving Alaska and eventually going back to Papua New Guinea I have come to realization that it is time to sell my possessions. One of my prized Alaskan possessions is my Necky Looksha 17′ seakayak named ‘Lizard’.

I bought this kayak in the spring of 2009 with hopes of many kayaking adventures in Alaska. The adventures have not failed as I have paddled next to tidewater glaciers, whales, sea otters, stellar sea lions, and passed many bald eagles. A few weekends ago Emily and I took my last opportunity to paddle and kayak with the ‘Lizard.’ We left on a Friday morning for a 6 mile paddle to Thumb Cove outside of Seward. After a short 3 hour paddle we landed on a private black sand beach in Thumb Cove. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening resting and enjoying the day, beach side Alaskan style. Emily took a nap in the hammock and I went kayak fishing. Emily succeeded while the pink salmon were more interested in going upstream than taking my hook. That evening we enjoyed a nice beach campfire and played our favorite game of Skip-Bo. As the sun started to set just past 10pm, we retired to our tent for the night.

After sleeping in and waiting for the sun to come up over the mountain top, I made coffee and waited for Emily to crawl out of her sleeping bag. I cooked up hot pancakes then we broke camp and loaded the kayaks for our 6 mile paddle back to Seward. With the wind at our backs we landed on the beach in Seward 2.5 hours later. Along the way back a Resurrection Bay wildlife cruise tour stopped to snap pictures of a bald eagle perched high above. We kept paddling and I am sure both Emily and I are featured in many of their Alaskan photo albums along with the eagle.

As I said my Alaskan kayak adventures are ending. I posted my kayak on Craigslist and the next day I had a buyer. So following our overnight kayak adventure to Thumb Cove it was time to sell the ‘Lizard’. This past Monday I sold my kayak to another paddler from Anchorage. As this adventure closes, another one begins.

I still have one big possession that I am trying to sell, my 1999 Jeep Wrangler. I am praying that a buyer will come before my departure in early September.

Read Full Post »

Watch the glacier creek tram ride and the hike to the 13 mile long glacier.

Read Full Post »

Glaciers Galore

I realized once again that I live among giants. These giants are extremely cold, well rather melting as I type, and blue in the face. There are over 10 different types of these giants. In south central Alaska, every degree you turn you can spot one of these cracking, popping, and sometimes thundering glaciers.

This past week can be summarized as a glaciate week frozen in time. Monday afternoon a friend Emily and I met while working in Papua New Guinea visited us during her tour of the USA. She is from Australia so Emily and I had plenty of ice adventures awaiting.

Tuesday, we cruised the must see tour of the Kenai Fjords National Park. The 6 hour cruise took us on a wildlife and glacier viewing cruise. We saw puffins, humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, bald eagles, harbor seals, and many other species of birds I cannot recall. However the highlight was pulling along side Aialik Glacier. This is a tidewater glacier which regularly calves and displays its mighty gentle energy. As we enjoyed our prime rib and silver salmon buffet, we were entertained by nature and the moving glacier.

Also along the tour we saw Bear Glacier the park’s largest glacier at over 15 miles long. All of these glaciers call the Harding Icefield home. The Harding Icefield is the largest icefield in the USA and one of four remaining icefields in the USA. The icefield is 400 sq miles and spawns over 40 glaciers of all kinds. This past week we had the experience to visit three well known glaciers: Bear, Aialik, and Exit Glacier here in Seward, AK.

Later in the week, we planned a hike to view Grewingk Glacier in Kachemak Bay outside Homer, Alaska. We boarded a water taxi in Homer and they dropped us from 20 minutes later at the trailhead in Kachemak Bay State Park. This is a very well known and well traveled hike. I have never done this particular hike but I knew I had to explore the glacier creek hand tram. There is a 2 person tram car that enables you to cross the glacier creek.

Emily and Missy pulled themselves across the cold glacier filled creek for an enjoyable once in a lifetime experience. Have you ever cross a glacier creek in a tram car?

After the tram car, we continued our hike to see Grewingk Glacier. We ate a power bar and hiked on to our lunch date with the glacier. 3 miles later we were standing at the glacier lake feeling the cold glacier wind coming off the face of Grewingk. We enjoyed our lunch guest and snapped many pictures of the giant.

Alaska is truly a special space. I am humbled to be able to call this place home and feel so unworthy of what God have given us to ponder with amazement.

Watch the video of the hike on my blog or at Vimeo here.

Read Full Post »

So what have we been doing for the past two weeks?

Two weeks ago, we had a road trip to interior Alaska for our attempt to see Mt. McKinley. Emily and I set out for a mid-week adventure 500 miles north to Denali National Park. Denali NP is home to North America’s tallest mountain at 20,300 feet. However, it is noted that the mountain shows its face 10 out of 30 days in an average month. The mountain is so great and so high that it actually makes its own weather. As we drove north that Wednesday we were able to catch a glimpse of the bottom half of the mountain but not the peak. The next two days were worse, with lots of big gray clouds. We camped two nights 75 miles south of the park and drove to the park entrance on Thursday for a day trip. We visited the park visitor center as well as a short hike for lunch at Horseshoe Lake.

We drove 14 miles on the park road before being stopped because private vehicles are not allowed past mile 14. If you want to go into the park further up to 80 more miles, you have to purchase a ticket to ride one of the park buses. However on the short 14 mile stretch, we did see a bull moose in the bush not to far off the road and a Caribou in the rocky Savage River stream.

On the way home, we stopped to get some fuel at $4.53/gal and a round of firewood. The mosquitoes were bad so a nice campfire was the ticket to chase them away. We enjoyed a nice campfire that night before crawling into our tent.

Last week, summer showed its face in Seward. For three miraculous days the sun was shiny bright and the sky was blue with no clouds. Temperature rose to upper 60s. A hot summer day so face this year in Seward. So last Wednesday, Emily and I set forth on a mountain climb to summit Mt. Marathon (3022 feet) here in Seward. It might not sound too difficult but when you start at sea level (0 feet), climbing 3000 feet is no small task.

The climb starts 45-50 degrees right from the start. Within 5 steps your heart rate doubles and you start to think the big breakfast you had was not a good idea. It didn’t take long before we were crossing snow patches from last years record snowfall. (Seward received over 200 inches of snow last winter.) We made it above tree line and turned around to see beautiful Resurrection Bay and the small harbor town of Seward below.

Once we climbed to the ridge, Emily asked, ‘where is the top?’ I said, ‘well you can’t see it from here but we have to go up along the ridge.’ I figured we were about half way there in elevation so the last hard push was ahead of us.

We finally made it to the top and had congratulatory high-fives along with an energy bar. We sat quietly to enjoy the majestic viewpoint that has made Seward famous.


Looking east to west from the summit of Mt Marathon (3022’). The town of Seward nestled on the Resurrection Bay.

Read Full Post »

Our first full week in Alaska is over. We endured the huge 4th of July Mount Marathon race in Seward and lots of cloudy, rainy weather. I don’t think we saw the sun all week but finally yesterday, it poked through for a brief time before the sprinkles came back.

On the 4th, Emily and I journeyed to the bottom of the mountain to watch the women’s race come down the chute. At the base of the bottom is a very dangerous place and on the 4th this year it was wet, damp, and slippery due to the drizzling conditions. Following the that race we went to the finish line and walked the streets among the thousands of others who came to Seward. An estimated 30,000 people come to Seward for the 4th and to watch the race. This year was a lower turnout due to midweek celebration and wet/rainy conditions. I still got my bag of kettle corn and enjoyed it.

By the time Friday rolled around I was getting stir crazy and had to get outside for some physical exercise. There are endless activities in Seward even when it is not so good weather. Emily and I drove to a popular hike, Primrose Trail. The trail traverses 15 miles in total from Primrose to Lost Lake trailhead but we just hiked 4 miles round-trip. We hiked to Porcupine Falls overlook and had a snack as we enjoyed the peace and solitude of the Alaskan wilderness. I forgot how bad the mosquitos could be as they swarmed our heads and bodies but eventually hiked out of their attack soon. The next day I was prompted to buy mosquitos head nets and Deet.

Saturday I still had the bug (no pun intended) for more hiking. Emily and I enjoyed coffee and breakfast before packing a lunch/snack for our day hike. We went to another favorite hike of mine, Ptarmigan Lake. This trail is about 6.5 miles round-trip, half way at the turn around, you come to Ptarmigan Lake. A beautiful lake sandwiched between snow-capped mountains. Of course a light pity-patter of rain on the lake surface ascents the day. It was this hike 4 years ago that God spoke to me.

As I hiked to this exact location with very similar weather conditions, I sat on probably the same log and asked God, I want to hear you, I am listening please speak to me. As I opened the Bible that I brought alone with me that day, this is the passage God led me to:

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

That ‘perfect peace’ was what God showed to me in Alaska. I had peace in the wonderful, majestic Creation that was Alaska. The short time I lived in Alaska, God continue to speak to my heart to find rest and peace in Him. As my soul searched for purpose and calling, I was led to full-time service in the Lord as a servant missionary.

Read Full Post »

Back in Alaska

As I read the news and hear the stories of the extreme heat in the lower 48, I am glad to arrived in cooler Alaska. Emily and I left on Saturday and arrived into Anchorage just past noon from our flight from Seattle. We were greeted with partly cloudy skies and 61 degrees. Very pleasant Alaskan summer day. Sunday and Monday have been cooler and cloudy with temps in the mid 50s.

Saturday evening my aunt and uncle fixed a great Alaskan meal with salmon as the top course. Add sweet corn, pork chops, Greek salad, and some Colombian salsa, it was a very tasty meal to welcome us back to Alaska. Then Sunday night, we again had a great dinner with some church friends featuring grilled salmon and pork ribs. It has been very nice to be welcomed back with great food and fellowship.

I hear rumors that the salmon are finally returning to Seward to the Resurrection River. They are about 6 weeks later than normal but they are trickling in. Yesterday I opened my utility trailer to be pleasantly surprised that my stuff was still in great condition. I found most of my camping gear and fishing gear. Only missing item, my sleeping bag. Hopefully later today I might dawn my waiters and go snagging for those Seward salmon that I once knew.

I still have not got to my other stuff including clothes that were in my cousins basement for storage. If you remember in January he had a fire in his basement, he said he was able to salvage some of my stuff but I have yet to go through it yet. He moved his stuff plus mine into a storage unit in town. He has misplaced the key to the lock so I am hoping and praying he will find that soon.

Emily and I will be adjusting to Alaska in the next few days and perhaps enjoying a hike or two before the big festival held in Seward on the 4th of July. Seward will swell from 3000 to over 30,000 people on the 4th as they come to watch the Mt Marathon Race. I will be use to enjoy some kettle corn, watch the race and of course the parade.

Be on the look out for our first combined newsletter to be hitting our inbox soon.

Read Full Post »

A short 2 min video from my drive home from Anchorage on Saturday. I wanted to show the road conditions, little to no traffic, and the beautiful white mountains on the short sunny day of less than 6 hours.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »