Spoiled Rotten

We just had a visit from a dear friend, and living so far away from...well everything... makes each visit that much more rare and that much more special.  And while this place is drop dead gorgeous...it doesn't always appear that way when cloaked in a downpour.  For those who don't know, Cordova's weather doesn't generally aim to please, it aims to make you cold and wet and completely flummoxed about what outdoor gear to wear and what possible recreation to indulge in. Now my visiting friend is particularly partial to sun, and being late in November I had already vouched for the fact that the days weren't that short!  Once daylight savings time hit earlier in the month, I began rethinking the wisdom of my response as I walked  to and from work in the pitch black.  On top of the increasingly shortening days I spent the last three weeks fretting over the undulating weather patterns.  Snow, cold, clear, clouds, warm, rain, fog, clear, cold, snow... and then somehow, by some magic, the dice finally landed on clear and cold with a few inches of snow solidly adhered to the ground in town.  And the forecast stuck.  We've had 6 straight days of bluebird skies...and counting!

And we made the most of it:

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A morning hike up Mt Eyak to get the birds eye view of town, the inlet and the surrounding peaks.

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It's a good place to get your bearings.

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 It's such an amazing feeling to step across the shadow of a winter morning and in to the first rays of sun, just peaking across the Heney Range.

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It felt pretty good up there.

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Looking out towards the Copper River Delta, reminded that there's much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

We spent the evening with friends & food, entertained or entertaining our littlest of friends:

Friday found us out on the Delta, with a quick foray to Flag Point, just to feel the force of the wind, like a freight train, speeding down the Copper River.  The winds were so cold and harsh it made my teeth hurt, I wouldn't have wanted to drive out on this bridge, it felt like the wind could just send you over the guard rails and into the icy river.

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Braced against the wind  and looking like they've stumbled upon a whole other world...Image

Safely huddled inside the truck we made our way back towards the trailhead for a nice protected hike out to Saddlebag Glacier.  We brought along our skates, and took bets an whether we'd find clear ice or a snow covered lake.  Turns out we were all wrong.  We came out of the woods to find a wide open, unfrozen, gorgeously calm lake.

So much for skating!  But we found a few friends on our way in, and so though there was no ice, we all basked in the sun for some mid-day lunch.

So that was a pretty spectacular day, and yet Morgan's luck still did not run out.  After dinner we were bundling up for some star gazing only to be called by an excited friend letting us know that the Northern Lights were going off!  I didn't bring my camera and in fact we only saw about 5 amazing minutes of color followed by an hour and half of standing around and hoping the green would return...but alas it did not.  A photographer in town, David Little, did manage to capture this great shot:

It's too bad we didn't have a camera to document my amazing attire!  I was wearing not only my large pink puffy coat but also Heath's gigantic parka over top of pink puff.  I think I measured at least 2 feet thick from front to back with small arms sticking out of my sides.  I'm sure I was quite the sight to behold, maybe I should be thankful that the camera was safely at home.

Saturday we woke to more sun, and though nearly discouraged by a flat tire, we managed to get the tube replaced, the studded tires on and get ourselves out to Sheridan Glacier for some ice biking, a first for both of us:

We came home from this outing with nearly 300 photos!  Dont' worry I whittled them down to less than a dozen but that landscape is so captivating.  It was hard to stay on my bike, every few minutes I'd have to pause for a photo...or 10!

Every day it seemed we were lucky enough to watch the moon rise after a terrific sunset, this day was no exception!

Are you still with me?  I swear that was the most picture heavy day.  We got a little snow that night and some clouds in the morning, giving us an excuse not to head out the door as soon as we finished breakfast.  We made it out for an afternoon walk down Power Creek Rd...but even that was phenomenal, talk about Eagle Central:

We came upon one tree with at least 10 bald eagles perched in in...too bad we didn't get any clear shots when they took off..but we did get this one!

With one day left to go, we spent it exploring, eventually getting out on a hike and finally even got our skate in!

We didn't take the camera out for the bulk of our skate and thus sacrificed getting those pictures that make the frozen lake look like it had been sprinkled with white fairy glitter.  The dusting of snow reflecting in the low angled sun was quite a sight to behold...but you'll have to trust me on that.  All I've got are these dark shadowy pictures from the end of the day.

It was so fun to put skates on, to glide and explore and equally fun to hike through the meadows of Pipeline to get there.

Cheers to good friends, who remind you who you are and what you love and help you see the magic in your own home!