Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hope Alaska 2011

It was no coincidence that my and Micca's trip to Alaska was to a little town called "Hope."  I recognized the irony of the name for as long as I have heard our friends talk about this "magical cabin in the most beautiful place ..." but could never fully appreciate it's name until I stepped foot into Hope. My years of dreaming of this place finally arrived!   I didn't realize how "hopeful" Hope would make me or how much I needed my best friend and some time away.   Hope was perfect, in so many ways.  

I knew it would be painful to leave Mattie, but I also knew she was in great hands - between her favorite woman, Nona (yes, I think she rightfully loves her Nona more than me even), her dad, and what ended up being a good amount of time with her Nana Jo and Aunt Amy - she wasn't lacking for attention or love.   She had a BLAST.   Thank goodness we have a "Village" around us, or I would have to live like the rest of the world ... Juggling time between babysitters, daycare, and NOT going on week-long vacations.  Mom and Jim also watered our plants, fed our chickens, looked after the mail, yard, and even the dogs when Pete was gone.  Thank you- none of us are sure what we would do without you! 

So, the trip - it was refreshing, hard, wonderful, busy, relaxing - all of the things that make life great.  We based out of the cabin in Hope, a little town of 150 people (I only saw about 10 actual residents, the rest I assume live in the trees).  Matt built this place along a creek, hidden in the tallest most magical forest.  It has good "juju."  You immediately check reality at the door and step into relaxation mode (this is an understatement).  Micca and I stocked up on some food and a bottle of wine for each day we were there and literally kicked our feet up in the Sky Chairs on the porch and started talking.    In between our wine drinking and talking we also hit the road and the trails and tried to see as much of Alaska as we could in our short week.   We needed to do some healing and relaxing, but we also had to see stuff!   Here it goes....

Can you see the glaciers?
 We flew in to Anchorage - Micca and I bought our tickets so we could meet in the Seattle Airport and fly in together.  When I had arrived (at 5am) to the Bozeman airport, they had CANCELLED me off of my flight from Seattle to Anchorage and put me on a different flight (without Micca) earlier in the day.  That was NOT going to happen, and the nice young man with Alaska Airlines worked his magic and we arranged a new flight that Micca and I could BOTH be on.   This proved to be the ONLY hiccup on the entire trip (amazing)!  We had just as much fun on the plane and in the airports as we did on the trip - but that is why Mic is my best friend.  We could be locked in a cellar for a week and we would manage to not kill each other or cease laughing. 

We took the beautiful drive from Anchorage to Hope, around the Turnagain Arm and through some pretty amazing mountains, rivers, streams, all along the ocean.  We made a few pit-stops in Anchorage to see Peter - yes, he was just arriving in Anchorage on his way back to Livingston after a week long fishing trip on the Good News River - fishing for trout, salmon, steelhead and dolly varden (that post is coming soon).  He had a great time and we shared some Moose's Tooth Pizza in Anchorage with him before heading to the Cabin.   As soon as we pulled into Hope, and about 2 minutes after Micca said, "I sure hope we see a moose sometime on this trip,"  We saw a momma moose and her two babies.  We saw MEESE!  We could check that off the list of things we wanted to see - yes there was a hand written list.  A few other items on the list:  Sarah Palin, eskimos, "a bunch of eagles" and "bears, but not eating us."

Wow.. this place.   Tiny.  Cute.  You could miss it if the road didn't literally dead end there.   We followed the instructions and turned left at the "road across from the cafe and a left at the "intersection" (which ended up being a bush and a mud puddle).
We got acquainted with the place and made our selves comfortable.  Hopped on the kiddy bikes and rode through the "town of Hope."  This was a few dirt roads, some restaurants, a gallery, a library, a very strange gift shop and some beautiful views.   Our first day consisted of breakfast at the Discovery cafe, this bike ride, a few little walks, and some front porch sitting!

We got REAL comfortable in these chairs.

The lovely Discovery Cafe where we met Matt and Jeannette's friend Gina and where we filled up our water jugs and ate breakfasts most morning.

The old school that is now the Library

Open "most days" 

Riding through Hope

Where Resurrection Creek meets the Turnagain Arm

Shortly after taking this picture WHILE riding my own bike, I flew over the handle bars and ate dirt.
Day two:  Breakfast at Discovery Cafe, anxious about seeing some "Alaska stuff," and a lovely hike to Twin Lakes.  Just the drive up Palmer Creek Road was gorgeous.  The hike was perfect and a great way to get our legs moving and  our minds free!

Surprisingly, still no bear sightings.  We did see a big beaver in one of the lakes on our hike.  I did get some solitude, BIG vistas, wildflowers and my best friend.   We had some delicious halibut and chips at the Seaview Cafe and of course, more wine on the porch and bed around 1 or 2 am?  It REALLY IS light ALL day there.  Maybe between 3 and 4 am it is "pretty dark" but I can still see exactly where I am going.  Our sleep masks weren't cutting it.  

Turnagain Arm with the bore tide in.

 Micca and I both are not fans of traveling with too much of an agenda.  The best surprises lie in the exploring and just going with the flow.  We had "rough" plans but weren't afraid to change them if a fork on the road looked interesting, or if the food at a certain place looked good.  We stumbled across a lot of beautiful things as we just got in the car and "went."

Day 3:   We drove to Girdwood and took a loooong road where some mines used to be.  Beautiful.  It also led us past the Alyeska Ski Resort and to the Crow Pass trail and Raven Glacier.  This might have been my favorite part of the trip.   Words can't describe how beautiful this hike was and how many different kinds of terrain we traveled through on the short 6 mile hike.  We finished up the day with a long steam "shower" in the sauna.  There's nothing like a hot steam in a sauna situated on a beautiful creek in the middle of the woods.  Being stark naked in the middle of nowhere never felt so good!

Old mining equipment... not sure HOW they got it all up here.

Can you see the trail meandering?  LOTS of switchbacks.

Raven Glacier in the background.
Dinner was delicious at the Double Musky Inn.   Wine, crab stuffed mushrooms, halibut .... YUM!

Day 4:   We drove to HOMER!  This was about a 3-4 hour drive south and West, straight to the ocean to a classic Alaskan Fishing town.   Beautiful, idyllic, just what we were looking for.   We signed up for some kayaking for the next day, found a very odd place to stay (we stayed at a Fisherman's Lodge which was actually a remodeled room above a fish packing / processing plant).   We strolled the Spit and had some beers at the famous Salty Dawg Saloon, got MORE fish and chips and crab cakes (we ate WAY too much fried food on this trip), and of course, drank some more wine and talk, talk, talked.  We LOVED Homer and all it's character.  It's a breathtaking place and has a fun atmosphere.   

Yes, that is fully shingled RV with flower boxes installed.  Awesome.

Halibut!  I think we ate some of the 4th one that night!

Coolest bar ever.

Another self portrait.

Local Homer brew ... served in a Sobe juice bottle and wrinkled label/sticker of course.

Day 5:  Kayaking around Yukon Island in the Kachemak Bay.  Gorgeous!   A short 20 minute water taxi (called the Beowulf) and we were suiting up to cruise for the day.  We saw cool marine life (lots of jelly fish), sea kelp, little critters in the water, some amazing rock formations, "a bunch of eagles" (Micca could cross that off her list), sea otters (also on our list), sea lions (and... on our list), and even a little Alaska rain.  It was very relaxing and peaceful.  The other couples on the trip were even from MONTANA!   Pretty small world.  Glad I was behaving myself. 

Water taxi to Yukon Island.

Burr... it was ALMOST cold!  Love it!

The Beowulf Water Taxi.  Dropping us off.

Our rides for the day.

We LOVE ALASKA!  Oh, and rubber wellies.

The Homer Spit scene.

We headed back to Hope that night, saw another moose along the way, and cooked ourselves a lovely smoked salmon alfredo dinner and .... more wine.   

Day 6:  Sad day.  The day we had to THINK about leaving.  We went to the Dacha in Hope to do our laundry, cleaned the cabin, and then it started to rain a bit.  We enjoyed so much just being still and doing more talking, laughing and enjoying this amazing getaway.   Micca kept commenting how "sad she felt for Jeannette and Matt" because they had this place and they couldn't be there more often.  I completely understand what she means.  If I owned this place, I would yearn for it.  It is really a special place on this planet.    Anyways, we did one final sauna...ahhhh.  

The sauna

Hot steamed goodness awaits.

You can picture my naked ass standing there looking at THIS.... Kidding, please don't.

Day 7:  Tears and sadness to leave Micca but some happy anticipation to be back home with Peter and Matine. I know Micca was really missing Josh and Cash.   I had a layover in the Seattle Airport from 9am to 8:00pm.  That is a LONG time to be in an airport.  I finished a book, caught up on the phone with old friends, spent WAY too much time in a gift shop (or 7), got a pedicure, and did my own version of a "pub crawl" through all the bars listed on the map at the airport.  I think the Alaskan Brewing Co hefeweizen was my favorite beer of the day. 

I will never forget this spot.

or this little home.

or this wonderful little space.

Goodbye Hope Cabin, Goodbye Alaska, Goodbye BF, Goodbye week of nothing but goodness.... I WILL see you all again soon!


taylor said...

Brooke, great pictures of you and your friend!! i loved this whole post...good stuff :)
this made me want to go on a trip with my best friend! i have been looking at your blog for a long time now and it keeps getting better!

lauren and brad said...

That is just the most amazing trip ever. BEAUTIFUL! I know it was good for your souls to get away together. I am so happy you did it!

Meg Taylor said...


Mr. Nolan said...

While googling my old home town I stumbled upon your website. Many of the pictures of Hope were a welcome sight. Loved the post and brought back some great memories.

Have been living in California for the last year and and your pics and post made me very home sick.

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