Sunday, July 24, 2016

Palmer, AK - Not What I Wanted to Do Today

Boy, did we do a dumb thing yesterday. It started out weil enough, I saw some trash on the ground, a dirty plastic container with the lid open, on the ground partially in a hole. It had some protein bars in it and some other trash. Dumb hikers. Who left this trash here? So, we did as we often do, we picked it up, put it into our backpack and took it home.

Darn, as we opened the plastic container, we soon realized that it was a ‘letter box’ and for those who don’t know about this: it’s like a Geocache - but people leave a notebook, pen and stamp in it.

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Others who are in on this game and have looked up where there might be letterboxes in their area, then stamp their own books, sign, date and leave their own stamps on the notebook in the letterbox. Inside this letterbox we had were a notebook and pen, no stamp, some old bandaids, some small red beads, a twig, a leaf and some other stuff. But, here’s the amazing thing, the oldest stamp on the date in the notebook was 6/5/2011 and the newest was 7.24/2016. WOW. This letter box has been here for 5 years. Darn again.

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So the only thing to do was to return the letterbox and the notebook and pen to its rightful place. But, the lid to the plastic container was broken so we went to Fred Meyer to buy a new one. Nope, none that would have a good snap lid that sealed so we decided to return the original and send an e-mail to the owner to tell her or him that the container was broken and what we had done. That meant that we had to hike the trail we had hiked yesterday, in the rain, to return the letterbox. But, first, how about breakfast in town. Breakfast was not so great but to have this bird hovering over us was a bit much.

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And, that’s what we did today. It was rainer and foggier than yesterday which gave the trail a much eerier feel.

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I felt like I was on the moors in England. We hiked there once but, it was so foggy and the ground so soggy (and I kept hearing that hound baying in the background) that we hiked no further than about 50’ from our car - not so far that we couldn’t see where the car was. Otherwise we would have gotten so disoriented that we might never have been found. Eerie, eerie, eerie. We looked back over the parking lot to the mine buildings.

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We had our raincoats on, gloves, rain pants, warm clothes and off we went. Hey, we weren’t the only ones out here. Another car pulled into the parking lot as we did, and we teased them about hiking in the rain and fog.

‘Who in their right mind would hike on a day like this?’ I said.

‘You would’ the guy said. ‘And so would we.’

Again, it was very cool hike, a bit slippery but fun.

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OK, here’s the hints to the location that we had to follow to find the correct place to put the letterbox. We had read them last night and knew that it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. It was in a hole in the ground and here is the description:

        Head up to Lynch Cabin and check out the sink.

        It could be in there, but it's not where you'd think.

        You'd stop and you'd look, but you musn't stay long.

        The babbling waters are singing your song.

        Up at the lake, to the left of deep blues,

        is where you must stand to discover more clues.

        Venture those switchbacks, but be mindful of rocks.

        They could make you slip or get into your socks.

        Once you conquer those zigs, the trail splinters and jigs.

        It's so close now, under rocks and some twigs.

        Look for a huge boulder as the trail bends around.

        You'll find it in front, down so low to the ground.

        But which of the boulders? You may want to ask.

        There are too many for guessing this pretty big task.

        Find one so huge, and so grand, and so tall,

        with a small splintered fragment as thick as a wall.

        One trail cuts between them, now this marks the place.

        It's under pink granite at the angled front face.

Now, we just have to find that huge rock with a trail through its two parts. Have you looked at our pictures of this area? It’s all rocks. Big, little, medium-sized. Rocks, boulders, pebbles, stones. All of those.

But, our hiking friends and we scanned the area and found a big boulder, splitered in two, trail running through it, pink granite. Think we’ve got it. And we went to work rehiding it.

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OK, back down the hill and back to our warm cozy RV. We hadn’t planned to hike the same hike we did yesterday and certainly not in the rain. But it was the right thing to do.

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Whew. Last time we pick up trash on the trail. No, probably not but we’ll examine it more closely.

And we headed back home.

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You Know You're In Alaska When...

. . .when it warms up to -35 degrees(Fahrenheit) and you go out in your shirt sleeves to wash you car.

. . .when you drive for a mile on square tires on a -65 morning before they eventually become normal.

. . .when you have to put your sun visor down at 3:00 a.m.

. . .all of your relatives refer to you as that crazy person that lives up there.

. . .your kids think that you have to get on a airplane to go on vacation.

. . .freezing, 32 degrees(Fahrenheit), is warm enough to wash your car.

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