Ullr Fest

Quite a fun day! It started out with Torsten’s soccer game (while Carrie and Suka went out for a ten mile run), then up to Pajarito for

We had fun wandering around, running into friends, sippin’ beers, having lunch at the lodge, running through the forest, etc… Carrie took Aven for a drive up in the Jemez at nap time. Torsten and I picked up our season passes — yeah!!!

Then Torsten and I took the lift ride up to the top with our bikes:

It was really a beautiful day. There were areas of fire damage in the ski area, and you could see it in the surrounding hills for sure. It was really amazing how well the grass came back, so the black, brown, and copper trees (and some green ones!) are standing (some sitting/laying) above green hillsides for the most part.

Then rode down! WAHOO! (I wasn’t good enough with the camera to get action shots…)

We finished it with a fantastic dinner and evening visit with Cassie, David, & kids..

Another successful day of fun and tiring out the kids!

Friends of the Pleistocene

Torsten and Matt took the long Labor Day weekend to join the Alaska Friends of the Pleistocene on Prince of Wales. It was great to catch up with everyone, especially Chip, Adelie, Cathy, and UAS students. We got great lectures from Dave D’Amore and Jim Baichtel. Here are the two naturalists on the first day:

Torsten and Matt flew up and met Chip and Adelie in Ketchikan. Due to crazy, constantly changing logistics (standard operating procedures for SEAK), we flew into Klawock early afternoon. Flying over Prince of Wales Island is a fantastic treat! For all of us, and definitely according to Torsten and Adelie, visiting the El Captian cave was the highlight of the trip. Here at the mouth of the cave,

we read up the warning signs:

and got some great info/lecturing from Dave D’Amore on the forest:

Once inside the cave, we learned lots of cave geology from Jim Baichtel and Johanna.. Torsten and Adelie were rapt:

And then Torsten and Adelie got to explore a small side cave (the “kids cave”) that had space for about four people max. Here’s Adelie making the first entrance to the side cave:

From El Capitan, we went to the Beaver Falls Karst hike (super cool!). The boardwalk trails through the sink-holes was fantastic:

Every night, one highlight was S’mores!!! (The other highlight was great geology lectures, and I think Torsten and Adelie did an amazing job paying attention for the ~2 hours lectures!) But did I say S’mores!?!? 🙂

We had a great hike down to Staney Creek, and the naturalists investigated and recorded some fantastic rainforest mushrooms. Amazing early (~3000 years ago?) human habitation was also described during the forest and river-side hiking with Jim.

We had many roadside stops, deer and bear viewings, and saw many spawning salmon. Here are a few more photos of the budding naturalists at work on the hike to the Thorne River erosion site:

After all the fun, we were all very exhausted:

What an incredible experience!! Thanks to everyone that made it possible. Here is the group photo in the front of the El Capitan cave entrance:

And if you desperately need more photos, the whole gallery is available..