Friday, August 3, 2007

Alaska Adventure

We left for Anchorage on Saturday. Here's Jake crawling around in the Portland airport.
On the plane, enjoying a rare moment on his back without being asleep... we were VERY thankful that we had 3 tickets so we always had an entire row to ourselves.
Aaron, Mike's best friend growing up, picked us up and Jake used his son Aiken's carseat for the ride to their home.
Jake and Aiken playing together.
Aiken is just 2 months older than Jake. Jake was thrilled with all the new toys to play with.
Eating blueberries on the porch.
Grandma V spent lots of time feeding blueberries to these 2 hungry boys!
Grandma and Grandpa V and Aunt Shirley were waiting for us when we arrived at Aaron and Adrienne's house. Jake, Grandma V, Aiken, and Mike's Aunt Shirley.
Nice picture!

Jake talking with Grandpa V.
Hi Grandparents!
The 2 best Alaskan friends with their sons.
Bathtime (this was at 11pm, which was midnight on Jake's body clock!).
In the Anchorage airport the next morning, waiting for our 6am flight to Kotzebue. We left Jake's pajamas on. Kotzebue is on a penisula in the northwestern part of Alaska, 30 miles north of the artic circle. It took about 90 minutes to get there by plane from Anchorage on Alaska Airlines.
Arrived! Jake is opening his birthday presents from Mama May (Mike's grandma) and Aunt Etta.
Looking out the window with Mama May as she holds her great grandson!
Papa is mowing.
Looking around.
At Kotzebue, parking for small planes. Uncle Robert's plane is on the left.
Jake saying hi to the dog.
On Mama May's back. He just woke up.
Jake LOVED the trampoline in Aunt Etta's backyard. It was a great place to crawl around and not get dirty or into things. We made sure he stayed away from the edge. In the background from left to right, Uncle Robert, Aunt Cushla (Robert's wife), Aunt Etta, and Mama May.
Jake having fun with Qyanna Bell (on the right) and her friends.
Jake would laugh and cause the girls to erupt in laughter. We were all laughing!
Jake is quite the ladies man, already!
Hanging out with Aunt Etta.
Hi there in the window!
We went berry picking -- the bright orange clusters are salmon berries along with some blueberries.
Wednesday -- Uncle Robert takes the 3 of us flying! I was so excited.
Jake in the pilot's seat.
Up in the air. Jake and I sat in the back for the first part of the flight to the cabin, to see if we would be able to land. Unfortunately we couldn't as the water level was too high, making the airstrip too short.
A picture of me! Yes, I was there!
Views from the plane. So beautiful...

The white dots are mountain sheep.
This little guy napped for an hour in the plane, as Mike predicted he would!
We landed in the wilderness 3 times for a look around. Mike and Jake with awesome pilot Uncle Robert. He's been flying since he was 5 and started flying solo when he was 14.

Hanging out (and occasionally doing a 360 look-around for any approaching animals. We saw none. Uncle Robert did tell us there was a pack of 9 wolves in the area. After hearing this, Jake immediately pointed in the direction where the wolf pack was. Ha.)
Leaving a little momento. 8/1/07 -- it was my parent's 37th wedding anniversary.
Mike enjoying himself.
At the family hunting camp. They stay at this camp 2-3 weeks at a time every year in September to hunt caribou and replenish their meat supplies for the year. Kotzebue is only a 25 minute flight from here so while they stay here, they also go back every few days for supplies and to transport any meat they may have gotten, and to take a shower (yes, I had to ask about showers).

Me up front with the pilot! I was fascinated. As this was my first time in a small plane, Uncle Robert had fun flying, making lots of turns and flying low and pulling the plane up so that our stomachs went into our throats. I loved it!

Jake playing in the water of No-Name creek.

While flying around we saw that Papa and Mama May had landed on the side of a mountain to go mushroom picking we waved at each other! Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of Papa's red and white plane.
Rainstorm in the distance.
A mama moose leading her baby through the water. We also saw 2 bull moose during our flight, but no bears.
Tired boys.
Kotzebue in the distance.
That's the entire town!
With Aunt Etta, playing in the backyard.
Cousin Matt, Jake, and Mike. Matt and Mike look most alike compared to all the cousins.

Jake cooking in the kitchen.
Aunt Etta, Uncle Bill (Etta's husband), and Jake. Jake LOVED the slide! He learned how to crawl up the slide using his bare feet.
Qyanna Bell with Jake in the background.
Great-grandparents Papa and Mama May with Jake in front of their home.
Jake didn't think it was a good time to take pictures. He wanted to play with the rocks in the driveway!
We had a great time. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of 2 other cousins, Chris and Shayla (whom we saw very little of, anyway). My camera battery died and I didn't bring the charger. I won't be making that mistake again.

Getting home was a bit of an ordeal. It took 12 hours and 5 airports to get home. We were supposed to leave Kotzebue on the 12:45pm flight but it was delayed such that we were going to miss all our connections. So we opted to be re-booked on the 8pm flight leaving Kotzebue. It was rather nice to have an extra half-day there. The 8pm flight made a stop in Nome before flying to Anchorage. Once in Anchorage our flight was delayed from 12:30am to 2am. As a result we missed our 6am connecting flight in Seattle but we were bumped to the 7am flight so that was fine. Arrived in Portland shortly before 8am and home at 8:30am!! Jake did really well, considering he finally settled into a deep sleep each time the plane was 30 minutes away from landing. I didn't get any sleep at all :) That was our Alaskan adventure!!


Lynne said...

wow!!! an amazing adventure...thank you for the photos!!!


Donny said...

There's so many pictures, it feels as if I were there! So good to see Aaron and see the two kids together. Despite the distance I hope they grow up to know each other well. Never saw a picture of Mike's grandparents before. Mike, I sure am glad you and Lee got Jake up there. The plane stuff made me jealous :) And, the tiny size of Kotzebue is just amazing. Seems like the 3 of you had a great trip. I hope you have the chance to go again soon. Next time, take me! :)

Jessica said...

Amazing trip! I am so jealous of you guys! What a really special trip that must have been, thanks so much for taking so many pictures to share!

Sara said...

Three things:

I love Mama May!!

I am scared of salmon berries. Seriously.

I'm so jealous!! And so happy you were able to go to ALASKA!!