Hardy, Happy Bunch!
~Saturday, July 30, 2022~
Day 40 of Alaska Trip
Well, I hate to start off a post with something gross, but the biting flies have left their nasty mark on me. They’re worse than a mosquito bite and itch like crazy. There are a few marks on my legs, where the area is inflamed and rock hard which forced me to further investigate why I’m having a reaction to it the way I am. Apparently, these tiny annoying creatures have razor sharp teeth that allow them to latch on to your skin and suck your blood. They aren’t quite like a tick, but can be difficult to knock off because they don’t just sit on top of your skin. If they’re biting long enough, they can leave behind a tiny puncture wound that causes a lot of irritation and redness which is what I have in 2 or 3 spots. Side effects can be headache and a low-grade fever. Thankfully I only have a headache, nothing that a little Ibuprofen won’t cure. I’d still say Alaska is very much worth visiting despite a few pesky insects. Don’t let my description of these guys keep you away.
One thing is for sure about the Last Frontier state…….the rain doesn’t keep Alaskan’s at home. Rain or shine, it’s all about being in the great outdoors. If it weren’t for the cost of living here, it might be a state we’d consider moving to, at least the southern portion. In some low lying areas, snowfall hovers around 2 feet annually, not much different than some of the northern Lower 48 states.
Not only is there a wedding today at the resort. But with the plethora of cars filling up our parking lot and the numerous healthy looking people exiting them, it wasn’t hard to tell that some sporting event was about to unfold. I feel sorry for anyone who was counting on finding a camp spot here today.
The resort was hosting what’s called a Cirque Series. Over the course of the summer, Alaska holds a series of challenging mountain running events for novice to professional athletes. For the Alyeska course, it basically starts at the base of the world-famous resort, rallies up windswept ridges and glacial cirques to towering peaks with a 3,890 foot elevation gain in 6 miles then to power down a quad-burning descent to an inflated archway and cheering crowds at the finish line. You know when Yeti is a sponsor, it must be an event worth checking out.
Though it was a drizzly, overcast day, it made for perfect racing conditions. The race started at 10:00 a.m. and we could already hear cheers a little over an hour later. So we hurried up with showers and breakfast. What an energized fun contest.
Jeff and I have always enjoyed the challenge and camaraderie of competitions like these. Early on in our dating years and marriage, we participated in a number of running events in California…..Bay to Breakers in San Francisco, Wharf to Wharf in Capitola and the Angel Island Run on Angel Island, San Francisco. There’s something infectious about watching people come together who have a like-mindedness for fitness and challenge. There’s a vitality to everyone’s faces as they’ve accomplished such a difficult feat and pushed their bodies hard. Though most participants were from Alaska, some came as far as Florida for the event. We stayed through the awards ceremony where they announced the top 3 winners in each of the 4 male/female categories:
Sport Division (beginner/intermediate)
And the most inspirational category called the Lexi Award
The record time for a male at 25 years of age was 1 hour, 7 minutes and 1 second. For the ladies, a 20-year old girl set the all-time record in the female division at 1 hour, 25 minutes and 30 seconds.
The oldest participant was 74 (who actually won the Lexi Award), and the youngest participant was 12 (a boy). The prize money for the professional level was $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $300 for third place. And the raffle prizes were amazing. A side note about the Lexi Award……Lexi was a beloved companion for many years of one of the race coordinators. She was an inspiration to its owner as they explored many difficult climbs together, seeking out races, and pushing him to be better. Very cool! So, it was only fitting a 74-year old would win that prize!
Somewhere in the middle of handing out raffle prizes, we headed back to the campsite to divide and conquer with an afternoon of laundry duties and grocery shopping. I always prep the laundry before we go since laundromats tend to be crowded. We had read great reviews for the laundromat in Girdwood. The sign outside even says, “The Best Laundromat in America'', so how could we go wrong? It certainly is a very nice place to do laundry, but it would be more appropriate for the sign to read, “The Most Expensive Laundromat in America ''. Is it because we’re in Alaska where everything is expensive? $5.50 per load for the washers where you have room for maybe 2 pairs of jeans and a few shirts. The bigger machine we used to do our sheets was a whopping $8.00/load. Drying was about $3.00/load. After we got everything going there, Jeff stayed back to finish that up while I made the 40-minute drive to Anchorage to do some big shopping. Yes, I finally had to give into a $3.00 avacado and a $300 grocery bill. But it is what it is. In exchange however, the fish prices are low. Since we’ve been in Alaska, we never leave a store without wild Alaskan salmon or halibut in our cart. It’s that delicious and affordable.
I didn’t arrive back until about 6:30 to pick up Jeff. He even folded the laundry. What a guy! Our evening would be spent putting away clothes and the always challenging game of “Tetris” in trying to find a home for all the groceries. We decided to have the salmon tonight with a side of rosemary potatoes and parmesan cheese garnished asparagus. Deelicious! Over dinner we talked about how much we love the southern part of Alaska, more populated, but not overly populated. And though we’ve seen a lot of amazing scenery in our years, nothing tops Alaska. I think it goes without saying that if you live in Alaska, you must live and breathe the great outdoors since most everything is geared toward it. Mountain biking, hunting, running, hiking, cycling, fishing, kayaking. EVERYONE is doing something and it’s not just the 20/30 somethings. Young and old alike have a certain vitality that we’ve not seen elsewhere. Alaska holds the #1 spot, Colorado #2 and Utah #3. The activity factor is certainly high on our list in our choice of where we want to live. It has to be a city, maybe even a college town, that has a lot of energy where people enjoy being OUTSIDE!!
Though the cars have all left from the race, including a few RV’s that camped here pre-race day, there are still a number of RV’ers that remain, making for a lively Saturday night.