28 June 2011

playing in the rain (with pictures!)

I've been trying to get the kids outside to play more recently for a variety of reasons (they seem to like it, it's good for them to play with others, it gets me out of the house, it's good for their eyes...), so joining the Sitka Outdoor Kids group seemed like a great idea. We've managed to make it to two playground dates so far and we're going to try to get involved with their initiative to build a new community playground in town.

Today was a very . . . Sitka day. The kids have been excited to get outside for a few days since our last hike, but the weather and other factors have just not cooperated. Today, I decided that I'd do my best to get them out regardless.

They both have good wet-weather boots, but I didn't really want them climbing on play equipment with those crappy soles and put them in good shoes instead, plus Porter doesn't have any real rain gear and Seren only has a good jacket. This meant that they were guaranteed to get wet pretty quickly, especially when they were going down slides that were nearly waterslides! After about a half hour of puddle stomping and running in the wet mulch, it seemed advisable to head home. As I type this, the kids are very happily throwing sponges at each other in a warm bath.

Pictures! Instead of sticking to tradition, I'm not going to narrate each of these images. The other children pictured are Birch and Ry, the sons of the lady who runs Sitka Outdoor Kids. They were far better prepared for the wet than we were!

26 June 2011

Totem Park (with pictures!)

Yesterday, we went for our first walk through Totem Park. We've been in Sitka for nearly a year, so it was definitely about time that we made this happen. The kids seemed to love the hike, we enjoyed the weather and the scenery (and, of course, the totems), and the dog really was happy to get out and walk a bit. Until she got completely winded, because she never gets walks this long.

Now, pictures!
It's a little-known fact that our children are hamadryads.

It's really hard to go 200 feet without seeing something incredibly beautiful in the temperate rainforest. Jo and Nika got a bit ahead of the rest of us as they both were excited to be stretching their legs.

The neat thing about these rainforests is the way that there's not really any soil. Everything grows out of the trees - the moss, the plants, the fungi, the new trees. The dead logs are called "nurse logs" for just this reason.

"Daddy, come on!"
"...but I'm trying to take a picture of you guys ahead- oh, never mind."

Seren was pretty excited to take a turn at walking the dog. Ever since we got Nika a new leash and collar, she stays right with anybody who's holding the other end of the leash, even if that person weighs only about as much as the dog!

I feel like Matthew Modine should have taken this picture of one of the few open spaces in the Park. You wouldn't guess it, but there's a trailer park about 25 feet to the right of the kids.

Remember what I said about how easy that leash/collar combo is? Porter proved to love helping with walking the dog. It also meant that there was an easy way to keep pulling him along and keep him with us!

Porter gets up close and personal with one of our most cuddly invasive species - the banana slug! Right after this picture, he touched it and freaked out. No amount of pants-wiping could get the slime off well enough to keep him from fixating on how much he wanted it gone.

Oh, the joy of an open trail.

Indian River. In a couple of months, this'll be the perfect spot to see many thousands of salmon swim upstream, spawn, and die.

The bridge over said river.

An extreme example of a nurse log. I want to come back here in 40 years and see this root structure!

Another example of the awesome root structures that come about from tree cannibalism.

Seren taking in one of the many totem poles in the park. It's fascinating to see so many different ones, created in so many different styles and over so much time. I can see how artists and historians could find themselves captivated and spend many hours studying these.

You get two versions of this picture. We managed to get the kids straightened out for the second picture, but I snapped it when Jo was distracted. Right after this, Porter kicked off his Xtratufs (yes, he's the first REAL Alaskan in the family) and refused to hold still for any more pictures.

That's it! As usual, feel free to link this page, comment, or email. If you want to borrow one of the pictures, let us know of your intention and we'll work something out!