Monday, March 14, 2016

Day Tripping around Seward

View from Lowell Point on a sunny winter's day

On a Sunday morning run
 We've been in Seward for two weeks now and finally we can walk freely through our small house, unimpeded by boxes and plastic crates. We've been getting out and enjoying the cold, cool and bright weather. We're loving the chance to settle in here and enjoy this small town. Yesterday, Sunday, we did a Sunday run, trying to replicate, to some extent, the Sunday runs that I do with my group in Seattle when we are there. Yesterday we ran from our house, down to the waterfront and along Resurrection Bay out to Lowell Point, about three miles, and then back to the Cookery Restaurant, for brunch. The total route was a little over 5 miles and we were fairly winded and tired by the end and eager for food. We are out of practice of running and don't have nearly the endurance that we did just two months ago. It's time to start building back up so that I'll be able to run the half marathons that happen in Denali this summer.

These past two weeks have been slow paced, and quite different in that we've been based around our home and getting it unpacked and organized. It feels different to not be figuring out where we will sleep each night, as we were much of the winter. It amazes me how quickly that we adapt, though. It now seems normal to sleep in our same bed every night. It seems normal to wake up to our same house each morning. And now that we've gotten accustomed to this lifestyle, it's time for a change! On Friday we will be flying out to Dillingham, on the Bristol Bay, for a month's work. We will be working as research assistants for a UW Ph.D. project, interviewing salmon fishermen. We have two more free days to explore Seward, delight in the beauty and then we will be traveling again!

View of our house from First Avenue, shed in foreground

Friday, March 11, 2016

Early Seward Life: Unpacking and Exploring

Greetings on a snowy day in Seward. The morning's rain has turned to heavy snow falling steadily. The view out over Resurrection Bay is thus obscured, but the giant flakes are gorgeous in themselves. We arrived here ten days ago and have been unpacking and rearranging and getting acquainted with the town little bits each day. My trepidations from the drive north melted away as we have been able to walk to this cafe (Resurrect Cafe), to the library, bank, grocery store and hardware store. There is ample road running available as well as trails close at hand. There is the salt water of the bay, which delights Reed and will allow him to do plenty of kayaking in the coming years. I also enjoy the waterfront, especially for jogging and walking along, on the lookout for marine mammals. 

High above the Matanuska Valley,
on the Glen Highway between Glennallen and Palmer

  We found our little house much as we had left it last October. It was snug and cozy and much smaller than the last space that we inhabited, the two bedroom apartment on Beach Drive SW in West Seattle. We are struggling to rearrange in order to fit all of the necessary belongings inside of the space and still have room to move about. Each day the chaos decreases a bit. I am eager for when we can move about freely, without boxes blocking our path.
Soon after arrival, exterior wall of our house. 

The town is beginning to come alive for the spring, after what seems was a quiet winter routine. It seems that many people go away for a few weeks or months in the winter, to get away from the dark, see new places and visit their families. The gearing up for the summer season of many visitors and employment for all who want to work is beginning. All of a sudden, it seems that everywhere in town is hiring. We have committed to go back to work at Denali again this summer. We are looking forward to spending another summer up near the park, and at the same time, as we settle in here, we also long to stay and work here through the summer. Reed especially longs to work on the water here, as a kayak guide or deck hand. We reassure ourselves that we will do that next summer, and perhaps the summer after that. We still have time.
Low tide on Resurrection Bay, view from Seward waterfront park

Seward's Library - one of my favorite places in town! 

Some of our favorite things about Seward thus far are its accessibility. It's wonderful to be able to easily walk to the library, where there is comfortable seating, free wifi, plenty of books, magazines and movies to peruse. I sometimes can't believe my good fortune to be living in a town with a gorgeous library with a number of massive mountains jutting up all around it. Another new favorite is the restaurant, The Cookery. We went out for a celebratory lunch last week because Reed finished our 2015 taxes, which was quite an undertaking. The winter lunch program offers two different meals each day, so we got one of each. I had halibut tacos and Reed had a green pork burrito. So delicious! And the meal finished off with a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Last night we went out for dessert on the treat money that our friend Katherine gave us before we left the Seattle area. Her instructions were to spend it on chocolate or a dessert, something decadent that we wouldn't have bought for ourselves. So we ordered a dutch baby dessert, with all the extra fixings - blueberry syrup, cream cheese ice cream and bacon!

We just have five more days here in Seward before we depart for Anchorage, to catch a flight out to Dillingham. We will be working alongside two other people, doing interviews of salmon fishermen as economic research for a phD thesis. We're quite looking forward to getting to spend time in another new part of Alaska. In the meantime, we've got lots of unpacking and repacking yet to do. We're grateful to be in Alaska, and especially glad that we get to call Seward home!

At the base of Mount Marathon,
ready for our 30 minute morning walk to greet the day