Protected by the Rowans, I Didn’t Lose My Way.

2 layovers,  airsickness, a stolen phone, a lost debit card, and a Kanye West sighting later, I arrived in Anchorage, Alaska with Happy in tow.

Happy handled herself really well.   So proud of her. I brought a hamster bottle and filled it with water just in case she got thirsty during the flights.

 Happy,  “home” at last.

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Seems really peaceful in this neighborhood.  We like.

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 A few weeks later, I decided to go hiking at Chugach State Park. The hike leader decided to take the South Ridge Fork trail. I’m a moderate hiker and the trail was labeled easy but I had a hard time.The temperature dropped considerably towards the top as I knew it would but there was also very dense fog, hail, and really strong wind gusts. Did I mention the mountain was hella steep? So much fun!!

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My hiking mates. One of them happened to be my coworker but we didn’t realize until we started talking. Anchorage is small.  They look pretty fierce…and cold. Brrrrrr1895

Yay! The fog cleared! I planned to really let loose in this shot, taking off my hat and letting my fro blow in the wind. Instead, here’s me with teeth chattering and wearing socks over my gloves since my hands couldn’t seem to get warm. Thank God the more experienced Alaskan hikers came with extra clothes as a precaution. Oh, and I found an abandoned ski pole on the way up. God sent.  1910

The payoff.

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Rowan tree. I fell in love. It’s the little things. The berries were soft and tasted bitter. An Alaskan native told me they use these berries to make marmalade. Also, they use it to make Akutaq, Inuit ice cream. Inuit ice cream is berries mixed with meat and fat. Too bad I didn’t get to try it. The Rowan tree, according to European folklore,  is said to be magical. It wards off evil. Also, it  prevents travelers from getting lost.

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Downtown Alaska was bustling, sort of.

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Made a stop at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts  to find out about upcoming shows.  Dave Chapelle was performing  that night but it was sold out. So, I waited on line for relinquished seating. The show was awesome. Met this crazy beautiful woman while waiting. My partner in crime, we took the world by storm with our superior salsa and bachata skills. Ha! A fellow traveler, she left shortly after we met.

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I felt so alive listening to Nanook. A Greenlandic band. Staying true to their roots, they only perform and record in Inuit dialect.

Inuit throat singing

It started snowing more consistently….the Alaskan Native Heritage Center is a cool place to explore and learn about the  eleven different Alaskan native cultures.

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Unfortunately, I wasn’t immune to the winter blues. The sun  started rising around quarter to ten and going down quarter to 2. The sun barely peeked through giving the sky an overcast look .It snowed a lot, I worked nights. Time to fix that…

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Eklutna, Alaska.   This city is mostly  Denai’na people, Alaska natives, but due to early Russian settlement, the two cultures combined. The result of this prompted a new tradition for the way Alaska natives bury their dead. The burial sites have spirit houses over them.. See more here

http://www.npr.org/2012/06/25/155431017/in-alaskan-cemetery-native-and-orthodox-rites-mix

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Finally, the new year is almost here. I decided  to head into town before work for the Fire&Ice New Years Celebration. My birthday present? This guy. He’s so cute, I wanted to hug him.

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All in all, time well spent. I look forward to visiting in the future, in the summer.

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