Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fresh off the Wheel

I love the yarns and roving that Denise dyes at Fiber N' Ice.  This is roving I purchased many years ago in a colorway called "King Fisher"

Predrafted and ready to spin.
Spinning up nicely, this stretch of roving was very blue!
Pops of ochre and yellow showing up.
Three bobbins, ready to ply.
Plyed on the bobbin.
Twist set, in a skein trying to decide what it should become!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Saturday I Dyed!

Denise Morrison from Fiber N' Ice in Big Lake, Alaska, had her first of the summer "dye day".  There were about ten of us, it was a blast and I can't wait to return for another day.  I used to dye yarn when I lived in Minnesota, but here in Alaska, I just don't have the space to do this fun activity!
I started with this lovely Willamette Sock Merino.
She had them in long skeins to they could be dyed to self-stripe.
Dye applied.
This was then wrapped up and placed in the microwave for 7 minutes.
Out of the microwave
It was a hot mess to get out of the melted plastic!

My lovely at home.
Getting the long, 30 foot (+/-) skein into a ball was another mess.
My husband is great and helped me while I wound the yarn into a hand by ball, then on the ball winder! I am thinking Dalekanium socks, but this is subject to change!
I usually knit Magic Loop Method, but enjoyed knitting with my Dreamz Double Pointed 5-inch Knitting Needle Set; I might have to order another set to knit two at a time with them!
I also dyed this lovely sparkly yarn.

While waiting for my freshly dyed yarn to dry, I spun this.
Decay on Oatmeal BFL.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I am Dying Today!

Spinning wheel ready to go.
I have loved telling people all week that "I'm dying Saturday! Yarn, that is, I'm dying yarn!"

I am packed up ready to go, the lady putting on the event suggested we bring knitting or spinning projects, so I decided to bring my wheel.   Wheel, lazy kate, and roving are packed in the car!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Journey Continues

Our Collection of go-to books.

Last year, due to a massive project at home, followed by D working out of town, we got the RV out a total of TWO times!  Before that, we tended to go to the same three or four campgrounds.  This year, we are going to explore!

We are attempting to go RVing/Camping as much as possible, explore campgrounds we haven't been to, AND get out and hike as much as we can.  When not camping, we are going to get out and hike local trails.

We are planning our next trip, and I'm busy seeing which of the campgrounds fit our desire to get out and hike.  We are deciding between Primrose Campground and Ptarmigan Creek Campground, so I have my laptop fired up for internet research (because many campgrounds still have their gates closed), and my little library.

The Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping: Alaska and Yukon Camping With RV or Tent (Traveler's Guide series)was the first book we purchased after deciding to get an RV. It is a great little book that provides a lot of information on camping by tent or RV in Alaska.  I only wish that it had more information on boondocking locations!

The Alaska Wilderness Guide, from the editors of The Milepost 2016, also offers information on camping, but I like reading up on various hiking trails in this book.  The Milepost 2016 is also a great reference, but not one we use often.

We love to fish, but dislike combat fishing (fishing elbow to elbow with 1000's of people on the shore of a river or lake).  The book Highway Angler, Fishing Alaska's Road System, 6th edtion provides some information on some more out of the way places one can fish from.  These locations do involve a little hiking, and that is what keeps the crowds away.  We don't have fishing gear, so that book can wait.

The fourth book in my pile is a recent find and not one I am using as I gather information for our next exploration.  Explorer's Guide 50 Hikes Around Anchorage  This book was written by a friend, and as the title states, outlines 50 hikes around the Anchorage area.

Once we have decided on a campground, I'll head on over to and see if there are any geocaches in the area!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Porcupine Campground, Hope, Alaska

Hope, Alaska
April 15 - 17, 2016

Porcupine Campground

It has been an incredibly early spring here in Alaska.  Last month, D kept talking about the early spring we were having.  I kept pointing out to him that it was MARCH!  March in Alaska is NOT spring!  We love exploring the different trails and campgrounds in Alaska and start itching to get out and about in late winter.

April 10 we decided to get up early and take a drive to some of the campgrounds we enjoy to see their progress towards summer.  The day was cold, wet, and windy, a great day to explore from inside the car. I had never been to Hope, Alaska, and when we got to the road to Hope, we decided to venture that way.
Our meandering lead us to Porcupine Campground at the end of the road in Hope.  It was a small campground, appeared to have trails, so we decided to go camping the following weekend there.  The campground is "open" at a level of "no services - no fees" stage.  The vault toilets are unlocked, but that was it.  No access to water, and no dumpsters for trash.

During the next five days, we scrambled to get the RV ready, managed to get it into Great Alaskan Holidays to be "de-winterized" and headed out Friday, six weeks earlier than we've ever been able to take the RV out before!

Our first evening at the campground, we took a short walk to explore the campground.  I always bring my phone as I track my travels with the app, MapMyHike.  I love MapMyHike, and more than once, it's saved us when we got a tad turned around.  We could see where we had been on the app's map and find our way back to camp.  I noticed that there was a geocache 0.7 mile from our camp site, quill cache, and I was itching to get a smiley.

D and Abby walking to the cache location.
The trailhead was easy to find, just near the entry to the campground, and a quick 10-minute walk had us at GZ (ground zero).  There is a small area to park outside of the campground.
D and Abby searching for the cache.
The Geocaching App on my phone was bouncing around, and I left the GPS at the RV.  We searched for a while and were about the head back to the campground when I noticed an area that didn't look quite right.  I poked the area with a stick and heard the clank of wood hitting metal! SCORE!

View from the breakfast table Saturday morning.
Early morning sun coming up over the Chugach Mountains.
As promised, the morning started with a very light drizzle and then a beautiful sunrise over the Chugach Mountains.

After breakfast,  we continued exploring with a hike on Gull Rock Trail.   The trailhead is at the end of the campground and easy to find.  The trail is an easy, fairly flat trail out to Gull Rock, with about a 600-foot climb in elevation.  It is a nice long trail at 5.7 miles one way.  I am more out of shape than I want to admit, too much time on the couch this winter, and working from home means too many hours at my desk on the computer!

The vistas were beautiful!  The hike traverses along the rocky, cliff shore of Turnagain Arm.  The wind was brisk at times, and I was glad we tossed our wind-proof outer layers in on packs for the times we stopped to enjoy the views or to rest.

Early morning sun trying to peak through the clouds.
Turnagain Arm.
Turnagain Arm
Anchorage is on the other side of that point of land. 

Trail heading towards Gull Rock.

Turnagain Arm, Chugach Mountains
Glacial silt makes the water a muddy gray and the "beaches" are what we call mudflats.
Mudflats are not safe to walk on as they are very much like quicksand.
Turnagain Arm and the Chugach Mountains
Turnagain Arm and the Chugach Mountains

After walking 3.87 miles (based on MapMyHike app), I began to wonder if I could make it to Gull Rock.  As the crow flies, we were 0.5 miles away from a cache at Gull Rock.  We stopped and enjoyed a light snack.  My arthritic hips told me, "time to return to camp!" and that is what we did.  It was a brutal walk back, and thanks to my walking stick (trekking pole) I made it back to camp, one step at a time!  

Round trip was 7.28 miles - our first long hike and I did well.  Rolling a tennis ball under my feet helped stretch and relax them; the closest thing to a foot massage a girl can get!  Advil and  plenty of liquids (may or not have contained alcohol) also helped recover from the long hike.

We enjoyed a campfire while the sun sunk behind the mountain behind us.
The setting sun lit up the white of the snow-capped mountains across the valley.
Sunday included a quick walk about up and around the campground and learned there are more trails to explore from this quaint little campground, logging another couple miles:

Trailhead near campground entrance leads to Hope Summit, or you can take the fork that leads to the Gull Rock Trail.
Good signage on trails.
Trail winding behind the campground towards Gull Rock Trail.
A gorgeous sunny morning walk.
Spring has sprung in Hope, Alaska!
Gull Rock Trail heading back to the campground.
We would recommend Porcupine Campground to anyone who enjoys hiking.  In the summer, you can explore the itty-bitty town of Hope, Alaska.  Hope is an old gold mining town and still attracts gold prospectors in the summer months.  We will be back!

Total miles "hiked" was 10.88 over three days, and managed to find two geocaches.