Sunday, July 8, 2007

4th of July

Sonja and I spend the 4th of July by ourselves, because Martin and his sister and her boyfriend were finishing their Chatanika float that day, and were not in town. I was hoping to go to Ester for the parade at noon, but first Sonja and I and the dogs went to Will and Anne's, mainly to get Sonja acquainted with Anne. We went down to the slough with Anne, her friend Vanessa, and the little dog Rosie. The water level in the Tanana was very high, but one "beach" still remained, and that's where we went. I say "beach" since it is more like a mud flat, made up of the silt deposited by the river, as opposed to sand.

Sonja loved it. She played with Anne at the water's edge, digging and trowing rocks and sticks into the water. The dogs loved it too. Saphira kept chasing Mica. Mica kept trying to find a safe haven, and thought it might be in the vicinity of people. At some point, I tried to deflect Mica and Saphira away from Sonja, which of course meant they just bumped into her, and she fell into the water. So much for my idea. We stripped Sonja naked, and she continued to play happily in the sun and the silt and the water. At one point, though, she wanted her socks back on, so for a while she was naked except for the socks, and those ended up matching in color the beach, since they were wet. At times, her bottom and legs, and back, also matched the beach in color. :)

After a while, Will joined us with their second dog May, and a bit later, Will and Anne's neighbors Lane (sp?) and Dorothy came walking the path too, and they started chatting. Since it was approaching noon, I got Sonja dressed in the wet shirt and wet pants and wet rubber boots, and we made our way back up to the house. To my surprise, Sonja was happy to be helped (and later carried) by Lane. She sometimes plays shy, but not on that occasion.

Will and Lane chatted about the worms infesting the spruce trees on this side of the town. From an article in the paper earlier, it was the spruce budworm, but Lane also thought some of it might be the spruce coneworm. Either way, our spruce trees are in for a suffering, if they make it at ll - all of this year's growth has been eaten by these insects. And I mean all. From far away, the parts of Chena Ridge area that have a large spruce population have reddish tint to them, which is what you see close by too. Around our house, not a single tree is unafeected, and every new growth has been eaten - literally, an infestation.

We got to Will and Anne's house, Sonja had a snack, and then we got into the car and left. The sun and water took their toll on her though, so as we headed out in the direction of Ester, Sonja fell asleep. Well, we might make it to the parade one of these years. For pictures from the parade, you can check out the subarctic mama blog.

After Sonja's nap, which she finished at home, we headed to Pioneer Park ( formerly Alaskaland). While I hardly ever visited that place before, except for the Fairbanks summer folk festival, it is a favorite place for Sonja to go, both to swing and slide, watch all the other people around, and watch the choo choo train. We must have been there a dozen times this year already. One set of swings is close to the train station, and that day they had both the regular train and the steam engine running, so she was content to swing for a loooooong time since she got two for the price of one - swinging together with watching the trains. At least she was partly in shade :)

Then it was time to go home to grab a bite to eat, and head out to Murphy Dome to pick up Martin et al. Those guys finished their float trip earlier that day, put the canoe into the bag (it should make it to town for some nominal fee in the car of the guy who owns that place where they stopped), and hiked the seven miles to the top of Murphy Dome. Our plan was to meet at 7pm, or 8pm, or 9pm, and I was going to see if there were any blue blueberries in case they didn't make it at 7pm (plenty of green blueberries everywhere). Apparently they got lucky though, because some 4-wheelers stopped and asked if they should take their backpacks, which they gladly did - after all, it was all uphill. So at 7pm they were already waiting for us at the top. But didn't seem in any hurry to load up, much to my chagrin - I still planned on bathing Sonja that evening and trying to get her to bed not too much after than her 8:30 bedtime. Apparently they did see some blueberries down by the river, but when we looked on the way back from Murphy Dome, in a place we often go, those blueberries still needed another week or two.

When we got home, Martin bathed Sonja, out on the deck, and then we eventually managed to get her to bed, though of course having once again a full house was rather exciting for her.

Martin has some nice pictures from their canoe trip, and he said it was an excellent float, so if anyone needs an easy 3day float trip, he can recommend starting at the Elliot Highway bridge and flaoting down, and stopping at the "1st Alaska Outdoor School". One can even drive to that place from the top of Murphy Dome, a 14 mile road, though the going on that would apparently be rather slow.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Thanks for linking to my pictures and for finding my blog after my quick mention at the folk fest. We'll have to get together before you guys head out of town again.