Let me tell you a story...

This little blog is about me, Hailey and my pursuit of happiness. I've decided to move on from modeling and to a new chapter of my life, artisry. I paint, I take pictures and I enjoy junking for vintage goods. All of this is done with lots of day dreaming in between.

I have a shop on Etsy that I just opened up in Feb 2009 and I am excited to see where it goes from there.

Thank you for your love and support.

Hailey

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A morning in Haines Alaska

It's amazing how well you can sleep when you're just dog tired.  We were somewhere between the U.S./Canadian Border and Haines Alaska. We'd finally made it back in and had just enjoyed a short nap of only a couple hours.  Even though it was short, it felt great.  It was already getting light outside.  It was roughly 4:30 a.m. and I had a haunch that the ferry office would open at five or six.  We continued on for about another 10 miles when suddenly the trusty truck reminded us that she too was tired but most of all, hungry.  She began sputtering.  The truck was running out of gas.  We were still at least 20 or 30 miles from town.  Darren coasted a ways down the hill we were already headed down to a spot to pull off.  Darren got out, poured our spare 2 gallon gas can in and we were back on the road.  The fuel Darren had poured in was from our local grocery store Harmons here in Utah.  We had driven all the way up to Homer and never needed it.  Good thing we had it.  


We pulled into the quiet and sleepy town of Haines Alaska, population 2,300 and to the first gas station we came upon.  Surprisingly this station was 24 hours at the pump.  We filled our tank and headed for the Ferry Station.  The Ferry Station was way down on one end of town.  Cell phone service was good right in town but once we were at the Ferry Station, the service got very spotty and non-existent.  


It was a tiny Ferry Station but not any smaller than the one in Homer.  Actually I think it was bigger than Homers.  The parking lot was empty.  Nobody was in sight.  The lights were all off, the rain was still misting down and it was about 5 a.m.  We pulled right up to the door and Darren jumped out, open at 6 a.m. the sign read.  We were an hour early.  What to do now?  It was a good 10 minute drive back to town if you factored in the construction we had to go through.  We drove down the road a little further, came back to the station and then decided to sleep lightly until someone showed up.  Being that we had a vehicle, we figured space would fill up very quickly on the ferry.  Most of the ferries only carry about 35 vehicles so we were anxious to be the first one in the office to get that last spot if there were any left.  We dozed a little bit waking up every 5 minutes or to any sound of a vehicle passing by.  Finally, an old beat up Subaru pulled in and a woman got out and went into the station.  It was 10 minutes till 6 a.m.  We waited a little longer until finally she came to the door and unlocked it.  Darren jumped out to inquire about a schedule and rates.  He came back quickly and requested I join him inside.  


There were two women inside.  Both looked miserable and unhappy.  Darren and I are both very up-beat people and enjoy being optimistic rather than pessimistic and we don't like to be around people who are the opposite as misery and depression can be contagious.  The woman seemed bored by our questions.  Her answers were short with no additional information or personality.  She solemnly informed us that there was room on the ferry leaving the next morning to Bellingham, that it would take 5 days to get there and the price would be roughly $1600 for the two of us and a truck.  OUCH!  Sixteen hundred dollars?  That was as much as it was going to cost us round trip to drive from Utah to Alaska and back.  We were thinking it to be about half of that, and for half we were ready to jump aboard. We asked if there would be stops along the way, where at and how much time we'd have if we could get off and check the towns out but she seemed annoyed at the whole question and disinterested to look the information up.  Finally, this poor miserable woman suggested perhaps we should take a ferry up to Skagway Alaska.  That way, she explained, we wouldn't have to drive back the same road we'd just come down.  It only took 1 hour by ferry and it would cost $100 for the two of us and the truck.  One hundred dollars was more than the gas would have cost but depending on fog it would have taken us 3-5 hours to drive.  Darren had never been on a ferry before.  I had taken a ferry before from Homer to Kodiak and from Whittier to Cordova so I knew what to expect.  I always enjoyed going on the ferry and thought Darren may too.  We decided to book the ticket.  We were told to be back to the station no later than 11 a.m.  We paid the woman and left.  


Now being about 6:30 a.m. we hoped to find a good little restaurant to eat at.  We hadn't eaten anything except for macaroon cookies, potato chips and strange things my family had packed for us so to keep them from going to waste at the cabin through the winter so breakfast sounded delightful.  We drove back through the construction and into the tiny town of Haines.  The iPhone didn't help much at all in locating any restaurants and I wondered if people in Haines even knew what an iPhone was.   After driving around the small dreary town we decided on the bar/restaurant overlooking the teeny tiny harbor.  I was disappointed in the little harbor.  When I thought of Haines, I thought lively fishing village.  I was wrong, way wrong.  There couldn't have been more than twenty boats in the little harbor.  It was like, the party had happened...but the people never came.  It felt empty.  We found a spot to park in the small parking lot.  There was some construction going on in the parking lot and Kenai didn't like the four or five men moving about so she kept barking at them making the whole back of the truck shake back and forth.  We walked inside the little restaurant.  The bar was on one end and the restaurant on the other.  The restaurant side had lots of windows looking out.  Looking at the construction of the building, you could see it had been added onto, and added onto.  A nice thin lady with a shoddy blondish dye job and harsh liquid eyeliner welcomed us pleasantly.  Between the strange man sweeping the gas station parking lot and the ferry lady we couldn't say the people of Haines were very friendly, outgoing or exuding personality.  This lady at least had some personality, although she too seemed sad.  So far, Haines was just depressing.  Between the people, the rain and lack of excitement I could see how one could become sad.  We sat in the furthest corner of the restaurant from the kitchen but closest to the harbor.  Darren and I like boats and this was the reason we chose this place to eat, was to look out over the quiet, boring harbor of Haines.  We reviewed our menus, the nice lady gave us water.  You'd think being in a state with lots of pristine water everywhere that the water you'd be served would have a great amazing taste but it does not.  It tastes heavily of chlorine.  A major disappointment if you ask me.  The place was dated.  The tables, chairs, all of it, had to be the cheapest crap you could find in 1990.  The chairs were brown square metal frame, the tables were faux wood with the look and feel of a school cafeteria.  The place needed an overhaul big time.  I kept my thoughts to myself and kept my fingers crossed that the food would be exceptional.  Darren ordered the Breakfast Burritos.  He asked the lady what she thought and she said she'd order them because they were "different."  Darren eats breakfast burritos all the time here in Utah so her reasoning for choosing it seemed funny to us. I ordered the Eggs Benedict, eggs poached hard please.  Chef Gordon Ramsey would slap my face and call me an effing idiot with no palate for ordering my eggs poached hard but I don't like jiggly eggs.  I have a hard time with eggs as it is.  We ordered some coffee as well but quickly wished we hadn't as soon as we'd tasted it.  I've had bad coffee but this coffee took the cake.  It was watered down, I wondered if they'd been using the same coffee grounds for the last month and the worse part was the coffee tasted like they'd burned the water somehow.  Oh lord it was awful!!  We poured cream in, added sugar, tested, poured more cream, more sugar, tested, yuck.  Oh goodness it was awful.  The sweet lady offered us more and Darren and I had to try hard not to run out of the place in an effort to stay away from the coffee.  

The nice lady, with her black liquid liner doe eyes was trying hard to read our expressions and we tried to graciously decline the offer of more coffee.  As we waited for our meal I inspected the place some more and was disgusted to find several dead flies starring into space next to me on the window sill.  Oh my!  How long had it been since they'd just wiped down the window sills in this place.  I began to wonder just what we'd gotten ourselves into.  Did this place ever have a crowd?  I wondered what my favorite reality chef, Gordon Ramsey would say if he saw this place.  I figured the lady serving us had to be the owner or have a large share or interest in this place.  She looked tired, bored and depressed.  She'd lost interest in the whole restaurant idea by the looks of it.  Poor thing.  I thought to myself, wonder if the bar is the thing that keeps the doors open here.  I didn't want to stay in Haines any longer than necessary and since we were leaving in a few hours I wouldn't get the chance to see what bar life was like here.  Thank goodness.  The meals came out.  More coffee was offered and we declined again.  I think she was confused as to why we were suddenly so anti-coffee and I wasn't about to tell her unless she specifically asked as she really looked like she was in a fragile state of sadness and depression, I didn't want to add to it more by telling her that her coffee is crap and to maybe give up the whole idea of ever making coffee again.  The burritos looked simple and to the point and so did the eggs benedict.  I quickly checked my eggs, they were good.  Phew! Gold star for the cook back there.  We dug in.  Darren scarfed his meal as usual and I made my way through mine.  It was all edible. It tasted good, good enough to eat all of it but it was nothing to write home about.  We thanked the lady, paid and left.  


It was a relief to get out of the depressing restaurant and out into the refreshing ocean air and misty rain.  We decided to walk the harbor.  Things were livening up slightly.  A few people were down at the harbor on their boats.  We were stopped by an older man and younger woman on a boat.  They started up a conversation with us and we quickly found out why they were so friendly.  Turns out a cruise ship was on it's way in that morning and they were looking for people to take out on their boat.  The man showed us the pictures he had at the ready and boasted of the great catches they'd gotten on past trips.  Clearly, they were fishing for more customers.  We declined and the conversation ended abruptly.  It was very clear that they were only friendly if you had money to spend.  


It didn't take long to walk the harbor.  We still had a couple hours so we decided to pick up some bottled water at the grocery store in town.  There were two grocery stores apparently but with no parking on the street.  We chose IGA and parked on the side street where there was a covered stairway that led straight up to the the actual store itself.  It was odd and decrepit feeling.  Once inside the store, it struck me even more odd as to why people even live in this town.  The lighting was poor, the florescent lights flickered.  The greens looked wilted, the apples looked mealy.  Everything was expensive and they had only a couple six packs of water bottles.  We bought water and some candy bars.  The main reason we bought water was to give it to Kenai.  We weren't sure what our water options would be on the ferry or when we got off in Skagway so we wanted to be sure to have something for her to drink just in case.  When we got back to the truck, I looked back at the odd stairway and the ugly building it led to and tried to envision it during winter.  Ugh!  It had to be awful.  


After that we decided to check out some little shops that we'd seen earlier in the morning.  One place we stopped at was a vintage shop.  The man greeted us, as though almost excited we'd stopped by.  This was the first person who, although helpful, was not so depressing and not so "i'll talk to you if you spend money" like the guy on the boat down in the harbor.  He was lean and had hair long hair past his ears.  His little shop was filled with vintage stuff.  Everything you could think of but all was priced at retail prices.  I looked for that special thing that I couldn't live without but found none.  He informed us of the lady next door and pleasantly wished us well on our journey.  I actually felt kind of bad for not buying something in his shop as he seemed so sincere and was so pleasant.  The lady next door was nice, but reserved.  She didn't seem so depressed as some but she also didn't seem interested in having us in her shop, it almost felt more like she was annoyed we were in her shop.  But it was in her shop filled with all sorts of vintage goods, native-made goods and other little things that I found something I had to have.  A little eskimo doll, made by an Alaskan.  This little doll was made of wood and wore a neatly made little leather outfit with a hood over the head trimmed with overpowering beaver fur.  This little doll looked just like a little eskimo and it was oh so cute!  I had to have it, so I bought it.  I asked this woman how business was.  She said it was much slower this year.  I mentioned I'd seen many For Sale signs on homes and she said she didn't know of any home that had sold in the last year.  Talk about depressing.    


Our next stop was to a shop that had great curb appeal but lacked everything I hoped it would have inside. It was called the Lily or the Iris or something.  It had a little white picket fence, a beautifully kept garden and a lovely little path leading up to the door.  Turns out, this shop was really a converted front porch.  It was about 10 feet wide and 25 feet long.  That was it and the rest was a lived in house that had nothing for sale.  A tall, skinny eccentric man with dark hair, plaid shirt and khaki docker trousers greeted us.  This man was overwhelming and had an obnoxious maniacal laugh that drove me nuts.  He would say something... pause a good 5 seconds, one .... two .... three .... four ... five and then laugh this off the wall shrill maniacal laugh.  It was nice to finally get out of that place.  I wondered if maybe he took people into his house and if those people were ever seen again.  There was some other dock on this end of town.  Apparently it was the cruise ship dock and the ship had arrived.  People were beginning to filter off the ship and down the wooden dock.  Time for us to go.  We didn't want to get caught in the midst of tourists gone amuck so we then drove around some dirt roads up on the hill side and looked at homes.  There were some nice homes with some nice views but Darren and I knew we'd never plan to come back to this town.  It was just interesting to look around.  
Time was moving slowly.  We headed back to the ferry station.  We still had at least an hour before we were suppose to be there so we parked our truck at the beginning of the row number we were to be in and slept.  


We woke to the loud "bang bang" of a hand smacking the hood of our truck and some guy in a reflective vest yelling.  It was time to drive the truck onto the ferry.  We sat our seats up and followed the directions we were given.  We pulled into the belly of the Columbia ferry.  Parked, reassured Kenai we'd be back soon and went up the stairs to check out the ferry.  You cannot stay in the vehicle deck.  On long ferry rides they allow you to access the car deck every couple of hours.  Dogs/pets are not allowed outside of the vehicle deck.  Even though I've always enjoyed my trips on the ferry, i've always found them to be drity and grungy feeling.  The crew on board look suspicious and untrustworthy as do most of the people traveling aboard.  You worry about your car, you worry about your purse or bags if you should fall asleep.  It is not a relaxing trip, you are constantly looking over your shoulder and keeping your space between yourself and others.  It was a good little trip over to Skagway.  We passed some beautiful waterfalls raging down the mountainsides into the ocean.  There were some birds that people lunged to their feet to take pictures of but other than that it was pretty quiet and we were left alone.  An hour was plenty of time.  Darren quickly decided he was glad the price was too much and that we hadn't opted to take the ferry to Bellingham. I felt the same way.  We would get bored, surely and poor Kenai would only get to see us every couple of hours for 15 minutes before being cooped back up.  It was better this way.  One hour was perfect to explore the areas we were allowed to explore of the ship, look at the food options and know we didn't want any and decide driving was the best.  Then finally Skagway began to emerge from the mist.  






Thanks for reading.  Our time in Skagway Alaska is next.


Hailey Rose

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Journey to Haines Alaska

It was dark once we'd left my family to their own at the Anchorage Airport. Just past midnight, it was raining. It had been raining the whole drive. No sun had been out and with the cloud cover, darkness crept in faster and with more authority. We decided to make a stop at CARRS to pick up a few items, like more of those divine coconut macaroons, yum! I bought a lot of them. So many that I knew when I bought them that by the time I finished them I'd be burnt out on them, I knew this and I still bought all of them because I didn't want to get back to Utah and be craving and fantasizing about them. We sat in the rainy parking lot of CARRS discussing our remaining trip. Where were we going to go now. Options always make it hard for Darren and I to make decisions. We are indecisive, unsure and want to do "all the above" even though it never seems to be an option to do "all the above." We pondered and openly discussed in the dark rainy parking lot directions we could go, what we would do there, where we'd go from there, how much time it would take, how many hours of driving, how many miles, stops along the way, etc. It is a lot to consider really and being that Darren and I work on spontaneity only makes things more open to possibilities.

There was only one way out by car from Anchorage so we knew our itinerary for a couple hundred miles worth. We pondered traveling to Fairbanks and drive across a portion of the Denali National Park. We pondered driving up to Prudoe Bay, just to say we'd been as far North in the United States as the road could take us. We pondered about just driving the exact way we came. We pondered driving to Haines Alaska and catching a Ferry all the way down the inside passage to Bellingham Washington. We pondered every possible way we could think of.

We couldn't decide. So we figured we'd best start driving and at the very least, get to the first "Y" in the road and make a decision at that point. I told you. We run on spontaneity. With darkness still in charge and rain misting down upon us, we began our journey home. The highway out of Anchorage was quite active at this time of night but everything got quiet almost instantly once outside of Anchorage. We passed Fort Richardson, Chugiak, Eklutna. We were
headed towards Palmer and suddenly barricades started to show up and a flashing sign said the Glen Highway was closed. Shoot! Where do we go now? Follow the detour signs! In the dark. In the rain. We got lost. We took off on Highway 3 which took us towards Wasilla. We searched for more detour signs, but found none. We came to Wasilla, pulled off the quiet highway and got out the iPhone and the Alaska map to find a way back over to the Glen Highway. It was confusing. Nobody was around and everything was closed. It was about 2 a.m. and we were in Wasilla, Alaska... lost. We were burning up time and we were anxious to figure out which way to go.
Finally we located a dark wild road and took off down it in hopes it would lead us where we wanted it to. I kept asking Darren, "Are you sure this is right? It feels so wrong, we've been on this road forever. We're not that far from that highway we want."
Apparently directions are not my thing. Really, I think Darren was just lucky. Eventually we made it to the Glen Highway and continued our solitary drive in the rainy darkness. The road went back and forth in classic "S" shapes. Cliff on one side, mountain on the other. I knew the view was beautiful along here as we'd driven this during the daylight on our way in. I knew there were beautiful lakes along this stretch with raging massive mountains reaching for the sky. We drove pass the small town of Sutton and drove another 15 miles. Darren pulled off the road. It was near 3:30 a.m by this time and Darren was exhausted and I knew I couldn't drive. I'd been dozing off as it was. Darren let Kenai out and took her for a walk down to the raging
river he could hear. It was a little creepy sitting in the dark truck all alone for 10 minutes. Your imagination likes to think of every possible bad thing when you're a little spooked. Here we are along a dark, desolate road, stopped, along a river that surely is swarming with fish and where there are fish, there are bear and to my left was a thick forest of trees.... It was a relief when Darren and Kenai came back to
the truck. We put the seats back, pulled light fleece blankets over us and went to sleep.

We woke up about 9 a.m. to the occasional car or truck passing by. It was Sunday and still very quiet outside. I was surprised we'd slept that long but then again we knew that we wanted the drive down to be a little more leisurely and perhaps after two weeks we were more tired than we thought we really were. We got up and I took Kenai down to the river this time. Surprisingly it was a little more civilized feeling than my mind had led me to believe a few
hours earlier in the darkness. There were a couple travel trailers on the other side of the river with four wheelers sitting outside their doors. Kenai ran around for a few minutes, we didn't see any bears, got back to the truck and headed out again.

From Wasilla we had the option to go to Fairbanks from there on Highway 3 but had decided to head towards Tok instead. We arrived in Tok, Alaska shortly. We knew this was the last spot for cell phone coverage for a while depending upon which way we went so we made a call to our folks, warned them of the lack of cell phone coverage, fueled up and headed for the Canadian Border. We drove along the awful stretch of neglected highway, fingers crossed that we didn't
bust another lug bolt on the wheel and then finally reached the Canadian Border building. We passed through with much more ease than on our journey up. I don't think they had any internet connection there so it wasn't so official feeling with barcode scanners and what not. The questions were much shorter and we were on our way quickly. By this time we had decided that Haines Alaska was to be our next stop. We had really started to fantasize about taking the ferry all the way down and Haines would be our last place to do this from. We also had heard that Haines Alaska was a place to see before you die...we didn't need much more convincing so we went for it.

From Tok we went the same way we had come. The first "town" was Beaver Creek and then
Kluane Lake and then the town of Haines Junction was to follow. We stopped somewhere to let Kenai get a drink along a little lake that had a little decrepit dock and friendly bread loving ducks. By the time we got to Haines Junction it was about 10 p.m. at least. The sun was setting. It was surprising how much faster night was coming compared to two weeks earlier. The
daylight begins to disappear rapidly. Haines Junction was a town with no fuel that I could find both when we were driving in and now, driving out. There were gas stations but all were abandoned looking. So we continued on for Haines. We stopped along the way to let Kenai out
at a little lake with a tiny dock. Darkness again crept in with authority as it was still raining. As we began our trek towards Haines the fog thickened greatly. We were driving over mountains as far as we could tell. All you could see was the stretch of 20 feet of road in front of you and for the most part, all you could tell was you were alone and maybe driving through the sky. There was nothing on either side of us through much of this drive. I wondered what the view was like. I'm sure it was amazing. As the fuel gauge approached "E" and as the fog thickened I stayed more awake. Even though there were relatively no cars on this segment of road there were several porcupine encounters. Porcupines? WTF! Amidst the fog and darkness and rain were porcupines crossing the road
. Go figure. It was eerie. We thought for sure that if we were to run over a crazed road crossing porcupine that a flat tire would be a for sure thing.
One poked his head out here, another was crossing the other half of the road and the third, with some special-ops type movie style vehicle maneuvers hit our differential and we felt a solid thud under the floor boards of our truck. Luckily the larger that I envisioned porcupine missed our back tires. Phew!

We approached the U.S./Canadian Border yet again. The only way to Haines by car from Anchorage or anywhere in Alaska is by crossing back into Canada and then back into the U.S. By this time it was about two or three a.m. and the U.S. border patrol was a sight for sore sleepy eyes. We had been driving straight since Tok Alaska. The Border Patrol informed us that if one were trying to go from the U.S. to Canada at this time of night that they'd be out of luck because the Canadian Border was only open certain times but that the U.S. Border is open 24
hours, thank god. Our truck fuel gauge was literally on E at this point. We were still about an hour from Haines and the Border Patrol informed us that all the gas stations would be closed until until around 8 a.m. We didn't want to wait that long because we wanted to be on the Ferry out of Haines if possible. I knew the Ferry Station would open early, probably six so we drove for a little and found a spot to pull off the road to get a couple hours of sleep.

The town of Haines is next. Thanks for reading.

Hailey Rose


Take a breath and relax - Homer Alaska

Do it with me, take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Could you smell the fresh ocean air? Could you hear the seagulls and the waves gently rolling in? Woosh... woosh... the sun is out, it's about 65 degrees and it's time to just relax. Find a comfortable spot in your favorite chair or out on the deck, snuggle up with a good book or a sketch pad or.... just sit and stare out into the distance and day dream about the glacier you see, the mountains, the boats, nature....life. I did a lot of this in Homer.

We were in Homer for about 10 days and in Kenai for a couple days. Kenai Alaska,
located on the Kenai Peninsula is about an hour and a half drive from Homer. The Kenai River is what has made this town and it's neighboring town of Soldotna famous. The Kenai river, in the summer months, is a rip roaring huge river of the most beautiful blue green water you'll ever see. I've never seen a river with a color like this river has. Some of the best and biggest Salmon ever caught have been caught on this river. In fact, the world record of the largest salmon ever caught was caught on this river. The King Salmon weighed in at 97.4 pounds and was caught by Les Anderson in 1985. Les Anderson owned the Ford dealership in Kenai and I got to meet him myself when I was about 12 years old. My eyes were big and round while listening to him tell me about the fish he had caught. All I remember
was that it took hours and he had to go into the river to keep from being spooled by the monster of a fish. During the month of July 50,000 - 80,000 King Salmon swim their way up the Kenai River in search of their spawning grounds. If you are so lucky to catch the next world record, and if you went and bought your derby ticket earlier that day you win $50,000. Pretty exciting.

Homer was much more peaceful and relaxing than Kenai. All the dip netters were in Kenai the weekend we went trying to catch their fish limit. Alaska residents are allowed to catch a certain amount of salmon per person which they catch using huge handheld nets and I think the whole state was in Kenai. The nets seem to be about 6-8 feet long and the opening to the net seems to be about 3 feet across.
You can pretty much figure if you see a truck or boat with a big dip net on it, that they are Alaska residents as they are the only ones who can catch their fish this way that I know of. I was anxious to get back to the quiet beach house back in Homer. We stayed at our friends house on the Kenai River for one night, caught a couple fish in the river and went home. The fish were pretty quiet the day we fished the river. I suspect the fish were all getting caught by the dip netters getting their allocation of fish down stream. It was nice to get back to Homer and away from all the chaos.

Back in Homer we took an afternoon to go over to a little place called Halibut Cove. Halibut Cove is only accessible by boat or plane. The boat ride is about 30 minutes from the Homer Harbor on a calm day. We took our husky dory out for a trip.
This was mostly to take some pictures and to show Darren the infamous Halibut Cove. The best part about visiting Halibut Cove in my opinion is the view as you are floating into the cove. The homes and cabins all whisper mystery to me. You can see the rickety wooden steps coming down the sheer rock faces to their little docks where they have or have had their boats tied up. Trees surround each of the cabins giving each place the look of seduction and adventure. What more could a girl want? Mystery. Seduction. Adventure. Perfect. My kind of place.

A boardwalk connects most of the homes and you are welcome to walk down in it during a certain time of the day. I suppose the boardwalks are all privately owned and
not just anyone is welcome to walk along them at any time of the day. The boardwalk leads you past some homes, little pastures, and into artist galleries. Luckily we showed up during the time it was "okay" to walk on the boardwalks. We spent about 45 minutes taking pictures and wandering around. We
ventured into a couple art galleries, smiled at some of the locals, one man said it was a waste to have so many young people just wandering about and not working. ... that's nice, badger the young tourists who may spend money about not working. We all smiled and walked by. For all he knew, we didn't speak English as there are many foreigners visiting.
We took the boat out a couple more days, and did some fishing. We caught a lot of fish but they were all "junk" fish for the most part. We caught lots of Irish Lords. Irish Lords are one of the ugliest fish ever. They have this huge open mouth and big ugly bulgy eyes with a little meatless narrow body. We must have caught 30 or 40 of these. We also caught some flounder and sole and some baby halibut that were just too cute to eat. It was fun though. It was nice to be out in the ocean, land in sight of course since we were in such a small boat, but out in our own little space of peace and quiet with the boat bobbing beneath us, the birds flying by and relaxing. It was cold though. Don't think for a minute we were out in shorts and t-shirts. We all had our Under Armor on with several layers of clothing
complete with hats and gloves. It is always a lot cooler on the water than on land. We saw lots of otters floating around on their backs with rock in one paw and shell in other, floating, calculating our distance from them and then all at once rolling over quickly and diving down. It made me wonder if they dropped their rock and meal or if they still held onto it once they rolled and dove. We explored up China Poot Bay another day. China Poot held more mystery, seduction and adventure in it's
scenery than Halibut Cove did. We didn't spend much time there. There weren't any fish biting and it was much more secluded and private feeling so there weren't any
boardwalks to walk down which was okay. I preferred viewing from the ocean anyway. I don't know the history as to why it's called China Poot, but the main mountain you see that looks just like a volcano is called Poot Peak. I would like to climb that mountain one day. There's a funny ledge that pokes out on one side, you can see it in the photos. I want to stand on the edge of that ledge and look out over the wilderness. One day maybe I will.

I loved going down to the beach. We all went down a couple times and Darren and I
went a couple extra times. I liked looking for treasures on the beach. Nobody was on our beach. It was all private beach, no public access. Just private owners all along it so it made for all sorts of things to be found and lots of peace and quiet. The tide swings in Homer are huge so you have to watch the tide and know when it's time to go so you
don't get stranded somewhere against a cliff when the ocean rolls back in. Kenai loved the beach. She loved all the sticks and the water. She is such a funny dog. If you tell Kenai to get something, she will get it. She will attack it. Stick, rock, clam, sand... whatever. You can point to the ground and say, "get it!" and she will dig and dig looking for whatever she is "getting" all while growling and barking her aggravation at trying to get it. Silly girl. I think the beach was Kenai's favorite part.

By the time it was our last day to take the boat out, we all had pretty well learned what our jobs were when putting the boat in or pulling the boat out of water.
My job was to collect the launch fee, fill out the little paper and put it with the money in the lock box then to run down to the dock where my father was launching the boat in and hold onto a line. Darrens job was to undo the line and crank that held the boat on the trailer and to hold a line once on the dock as well. My sisters jobs included bringing down the gear, loading boat, undoing the string on the steering wheel that kept the motor from twisting sideways and to assist in keeping other boats from bumping into us by pushing them away from us. It was really fun. We all had our jobs.
We all had found our place and without each other it would have been more difficult. It was fun to work as a team.
The moose came to visit again the day before we left. Kenai regularly barked at the moving brush in the night. She knew the moose were there, I'm sure she could smell them. I couldn't see them or smell them but I trusted what Kenai knew was true. It was surprising to see how much larger the moose calves had already gotten since when we had arrived. They looked like stout ponies you could ride. The mother moose was still very annoyed that we had moved into her space and made sure to let us and the dog know this. I told mama moose that she would have the yard all to herself again in just another day. I don't think she understood me.
Mama moose and the calves explored the area around the trucks and boat. Mama moose nibbled on my truck antenna and the calves licked the salt off the boat motor. Finally they decided to move on again. I figured this would be the last time I saw the trio as our time in Homer was ending the next day. It was kind of sad.
The day to leave came all to fast as it always seems to come when you're on vacation in a place you really love. Cassie, Darren and I went to some garage sales and stopped up on the ridge for some pictures of both the ocean and of the wilderness on the other side of the ridge. The fireweed was in full bloom by now and it moved like purple waves across the open meadows. It was truly beautiful. I decided then that I wanted to paint what I saw. It is on my to do list.
We got back to the cabin, shut her all down and we all said goodbye to the cozy little beach house. It was kind of sad to leave it. She was sitting there, like as though she was happy to have someone come stay in her and then sad that she would be all alone again. Just her and the moose for the fall, the winter and the spring until next summer when we would all be bustling about her and relaxing all in one. Does that make sense? To me it does.

We put the boat away, put the truck away, positioned the Bronco until our next arrival. Luggage was dragged from the house, down the steps to my truck. Sleeping bags, totes, found beach and garage sale treasures carefully organized and stacked to the ceiling of the truck shell. Kenai was sad. She looked at us when we told her to get in the truck and then looked around, like as though asking us if this was it. Her eyes asked, are we coming back? Come on Kenai, time to go. I think she knew and she reluctantly jumped in the truck and went in her crate.
The drive into Anchorage was sad too. We all knew our trip and adventure that we had been enjoying all together was coming to an end. This was it, the end of the trip. As with every vacation, you have to go back to reality at some point. At least for Darren and I, we still had a week of adventure to go but I thought about how quiet it would be.
There had been six of us staying in a two bedroom beach house with one in operation sink and two toilets. I had gotten to know my sisters more so in those 10 or so days than I had in the last 5 years. Being that we don't live together, it was surprising how much we had all missed out on. Experiences had been shared, stories had been shared and I grew to love my sisters even more.
Advice, thoughts and dreams had been shared and I knew none of us would ever forget this trip. That one summer in Alaska when dad went with his four girls. That trip when we were all young, that trip when we all learned something about ourselves and each other. The trip where we all gave each other nicknames. The trip we would always remember. We all had grown closer and we all knew it. I couldn't think about all of this at the time. I knew it, but couldn't think about it. I can't be seen crying. I'm the oldest, I am to be the strongest. I focused on the rest of the trip Darren and I still had ahead of us. We all hugged, wished each other safe trips and they walked through the airport doors and they were gone.

Thanks for reading, more to come.

Hailey Rose