Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kalsin Ridge

I have one word for you: bushwhacking!  That's basically what the entire first half of our hike up Kalsin Ridge was about.  Definitely not my favorite hike.

Taking a rest after thrashing through the bushes

We're talking alders thick as a mass of cable wires, the dreaded pushki, thistles, rampant thorny branches, and endlessly scrambling through seemingly impenetrable bushes. - Until we got above the trees and brush to the alpine level, anyway.  Sounds fun, right?

This was also the first guided hike we went on.  The Kodiak Audubon Society has a guided summer hiking schedule each year, and one of our acquaintances was leading the hike, so we decided to check it out.

It was an excellent weather day with sunshine to spare, and the views were spectacular as usual. - But it's not a hike I would go on again.  We weren't even on a trail, we had to bushwhack a path through all the not very friendly vegetation as we went.

It was a big group, so that helped in the whole hacking our way through department, but it was mostly annoying.  I couldn't help thinking, "Where's Jack T. Colton with his machete to clear the trail for us?"  Bonus points if you get that 80's movie reference.

Once we hiked up and out of the alders, it was much more pleasant.

Getting higher...and less thorny!

So the trek through all the brush was slow going, as you can imagine, but once we cleared the treeline, it was nothing but outrageously green mountains & stunning views as far as you could see.

This really is what it looks like.  No enhancements here!

Another favorite hubby & Puggy Boy in Alaska shot

It took almost 2 hours of not that much fun jungle wrangling just to get to the first ridge.  At one point, the woman ahead of me started singing "Welcome to the Jungle" while we struggled to create a trail. I think she sang what we were all thinking.

The first ridge was about where we decided we'd rather renew our energy with our standard PB&J hiking lunch and head back down. Somehow ascending that final ridge became less compelling after the morning slog through the alders.

I have more than my fair share of scratches and bruises from the Kalsin Ridge hike.  There's nothing sexier than a three inch, mottled, blue contusion on your thigh, by the way.  It was totally the tree stumps fault.

Cheety was a trooper, too.  I'm pretty sure our short-legged pup wasn't that into crawling under and over branches for as long as we did.  The big Labs and Hounds that came along on the hike had it a little easier than the Cheety boy.

He kept looking back at me as he struggled through the chunky undergrowth as if to say, "Are we really going to keep going?" I have to say I was thinking the same thing.

Oh who am I kidding?  A mud puddle or two and the open fields were enough to erase any unpleasantness he might have had on the way up.

Now that's the face of a content pooch.  He slept well that night!

Even though this hike was tedious & a little light on the fun-factor, it's still not a bad way to spend the day.  Kind of like bad pizza.  It's not really that bad...it's still pizza!  Sure, it was on the harsh side...but it's still hiking in Alaska!  Fresh air, exercise and sunshine? It's just good for the soul. 

And I have to remind myself that I'll pine for days like this when it's thirty degrees in December and still dark at 10AM.  Perspective, right?

Kalsin Ridge gets an "eh, you may want to skip it" review in my book.  Unless you need a good excuse to channel Jack T. Colton. 

Ta-ta for now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

DIY Jewelry Board

Every last one of us has those - we'll just call them quirks - within our personalities that we're not exactly screaming from the rooftops about having.  Are ya with me on that one? 

You know the ones.  Those less than positive traits that your friends/family/significant other probably cringe over.  Or maybe even outright harass you about.  Like habitually running late, unintentionally talking with your mouth full, or interrupting others when they're talking.  (I'm guilty of that last one.) 

One of those - ahem...quirks that I'm in a constant battle with is the P word. 


It's bad.  I will always, always, always put off tasks until tomorrow.  Or later.  Or some other time.  It's a wee bit of a problem.

Which is why I'm so happy to finally be able to share this project.  Because talk about procrastinating.  We're talking years!  This project has been on my DIY/crafting radar for about 4 years.  Maybe more.  And it wasn't even a difficult task!  Who knows why it took me so long.  Procrastination at its peak.

So I'm thrilled that I finally finished it!  Some of you I'm sure have seen them before, and some of you have even made your own - it's a DIY jewelry board.  I love how it turned out!

Supplies for this project were mostly what I already had & re-purposed:  a cork board, fabric, craft paint, and hooks. I started with this:

The pinhooks were a great find. - They're basically thumb tacks with a hook on the end.  They were just what I was looking for.

I painted the bulletin board frame with white craft paint, and cut out the amount of cloth I would need for the space on the board.  Truth be told, I hadn't done any sewing in a while, so the final seams on the fabric turned out to be a bit of a shit show.  Crooked, uneven, you name it.  But, it was done!

After the painting and sewing, I used a little bit of basting spray to secure the fabric to the cork board, and sort of shoved the edges under the frame border.  Came out okay.  Not perfect, and most definitely an amateur job, but I still love it:

Of course, I ran out of pinhooks and couldn't fit the rest of my rings, so I'll need to order another box of hooks.  Perhaps some would say I don't need more hooks, but less jewelry.  Nonsense.  Variety is the spice of life, right? 

I love that I can see everything all at one time now. - And I'm wearing pieces that have been hidden & stuffed in the back of a jewelry box for years.  Earrings and necklaces I forgot I even had.

Procrastination be damned, I'm calling this project a win.  Crooked seams and all. 

Ta-ta for now.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Green Door Tavern

My fixation began sometime last summer.  It all started when I read this article about the oldest bar in every U.S. state.  The article got me thinking it would be a fun goal to try and visit as many of the bars on the list as possible.  Booze and history?  Sign me up!

Not long after I read the article, we took a trip to Italy, which was the perfect opportunity to explore my new found interest in historical pubs.  My first visit to an "oldest bar" started in Rome at Antico Caffè Greco.  It was fun - and from there, the fixation was full on amplified.

Ever since that silly little oldest bars article, I've been intrigued by the whole idea of visiting historical pubs.  And I was happy to discover that the oldest bar in Alaska is just down the road in Kodiak!  Sadly, (and surprisingly) I still haven't managed to poke my head in there yet.  I'll get there!  And of course, you know they'll be a blog post about it.

So, on to the topic at hand.  We took a trip up to Chicago not too long ago, and I was looking forward to continuing with my historical pubs venture. We didn't make it to THE oldest bar in Chicago, but we did manage to see one of the oldest:  The Green Door Tavern.

What a fun atmosphere!  It was predictably chock full o' crap hanging from the ceiling and cramming the walls.  It made me immediately think that Frank and Mike from American Pickers would want to haggle for some of the pieces on display.  It also reminded me of The Green Parrot in Key West.  Same old-timey feel.

The stairs down to the bathroom were just packed with antiques.  There was an old pinball machine hanging on the wall that screamed vintage.  I may or may not have flicked the flippers when no one was around.

There were tons of antique metal signs, historical photos & interesting things to look at everywhere you turned.

Apparently The Green Door Tavern opened its doors in 1921 and was a speakeasy during prohibition.  There was a "secret" door to the downstairs speakeasy, but it was locked when we were there.  Maybe because it wasn't even noon yet.  What?  Bloody Marys!

We had a few drinks at the bar before heading off to our next escapade.  I can't even remember what we did after this.  That's bad, considering it wasn't that long ago!

Hubby & my favorite Curcios

 It's a fun stop if you ever find yourself in Chicago.  It'll fill the billet for the Illinois portion of my historical pub sleuthing.  I'll take it!

Ta-ta for now.