Knik River Lodge in winter

Winter Fun at the end of the road

The last two winters we did not have much snow or the extreme cold spells like we used to. Just a few inches of snow on the ground and before you knew it summer was back and life at the lodge jumped into overdrive again.

This year is different. It’s been cold for months and a big storm dumped 2.5 foot of fresh powder in two days. Tomorrow the forecast calls for -22 Fahrenheit / -30 Celsius. School is closed since the road is not plowed yet so it’s the perfect time to strap on a pair of back country ski’s and visit my friend three miles down the road.

Back in Holland where I was born and raised this would be declared ‘Code Red’. Think 800 miles of traffic jams, emergency services out on the highways passing our blankets and hot cocoa, trains ground to a halt, major power outages, you name it.

Here in Alaska you just deal with it. Throw another log on the fire and adapt to the slower pace of life. My husband is outside plowing snow on the four-wheeler. There is so much snow it’s piling over the blade – looks like he’ll be at it the rest of the day.

On the way to my friend the only tracks on the road are from a moose. Their tall legs sure help getting around in the deep snow. When I look more carefully there are some other tracks: a willow ptarmigan was out here looking for food. Hard times for those guys.

Fat biking to the glacier

The cabins and the lodge look beautiful under their white blankets. Today some of our guests went sledding on the hill in front of the cabins. Lots of laughter and the kids looking like little snowmen, love it! Some other guests brought their Fat bikes, mountain bikes with 4” wide tires that you run on super low pressure so you ‘float’ on the snow. They biked all the way to the Knik glacier over the frozen river channels. Perhaps a good activity to offer our guests if we have the bikes for rent here…

“Beep, beep” I hear the plow truck coming in the distance, looks like life is getting back to normal again. Too bad, I really like these little embraces from mother nature.

Talk more soon!
Eva

 

Dog Camp

Summer Snow – Puppies, New Year, Iditarod and summer snow in Alaska

“Come on puppies, fluff up your fur, we’re going for a hike!” They both lift their heads and look at me in dismay. Our dogs spend the nights outside in their kennel and with temps around -10F they may have envisioned this day to be a lazy day inside, curled up on their comfy pillows next to the wood stove.

“Come on hairy monsters, it’s time!” I put on my winter boots and big parka so they know it’s serious. Our dogs love to run and play outside and they are now getting exited about a good long hike in the woods behind the lodge. They shake off their dreams of gigantic dog treats and jump outside, heading off on the trail of a snowshoe hare. Happy guys!

While trying to keep up, I wonder how Justin’s dogs are doing.

Dog Sled Tour

Justin Savidis is our lead musher who runs the dogsled tours on the glacier. They must be getting some good race training in with all the fresh snow. Justin is training his team and a client to run the Iditarod Sled Dog race this winter. The dogs run 80 to 100 miles a day for 12 to 14 days – pretty incredible. During the summer he has 45 of his dogs on Colony Glacier, where he offers sled dog tours in real snow from May to September.

Flower baskets and helicopters

In May we always have two very special days: the first one is when we hang the flower baskets on all the cabins for the summer season. The second is when we fly all the sled dogs and the equipment to the glacier. Everything gets packed into big bags and bundles and hooked onto the helicopter with a long line. The dogs go inside in special crates and the whole circus is flown to Colony glacier where they stay until early September. Loud barking of my two dogs put me back in the present. One of them is carrying something that looks like a snowshoe hare. Oh no, phew, the hare was lucky today; it’s half a moose leg, covered in snow and ice… Gross, but my puppies are besides themselves with their new treasure. “Come on, you monsters drop that leg” We’re going back home for some hot cocoa and (regular sized) dog treats.

Happy New Year!
Eva

Aurora / Northern Lights

Magical Lights – Aurora, Christmas and other magic at the end of the road

With a sleepy head I get into my car. Brr, it is cold outside and the heater can hardly keep up. Hurray for down jackets and snow skirts. Oh boy, I wish I could take it a bit slower this morning but no…crank up the radio. Let’s Dance from Bowie is on, great!

Christmas is just 3 days away. All presents for my boys are nicely wrapped but I guess they need to eat as well. So I have to run errands and finish the preparations for a company Christmas party we’re hosting at Knik River Lodge tomorrow. Centerpieces, fresh ironed linen and Christmas lights everywhere. With the setting against the snow covered peaks the place looks enchanting and I’m sure we’ll impress our guests with the food and the ambiance. The campfire should do the rest.

Moose on the road – stay focused Eva!

I’m tired from staying up for last nights’ northern lights. I guess I needed that extra hour of sleep, but who wants to be sleeping when the sky is lit up all green and purple? Bundled in a warm blanket we sat outside and admired the magic. The aurora was dancing above the mountains, with sudden white beams going on and off like giant spotlights. How does one describe such a miracle of nature? I hope you can join us sometime to experience the magic of winter in Alaska yourself.

Nodding off again…focus! I sing along with the last notes of Let’s Dance to stay awake.

The sky turned grey this morning and little snowflakes make their way down, love it!

Merry Christmas to you all and yes… ‘Let’s Dance’ with the northern lights in up in the sky.

Stay warm,
Eva