When flying back and forth to the cabin, I keep my eyes toward the north, looking for Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America. Did you know Denali, previously known as Mount McKinley, measures 18,000 feet from base to peak? The summit elevation is 20,310 feet above sea level. Denali is about 135 miles from Anchorage as the crow flies but is visible there when the weather is clear. From Cub Lake, Denali is approximately 70 miles or so. We can’t see the “Great One” from the cabin, but when we can when we get out in the muskeg nearby. I love it when we are snow machining and come out of the forest into the muskeg to see her in all of her glory. I think of all the people who make the trek to Alaska to get a glimpse of her and know that I am blessed beyond measure to see her on a regular basis.

What about you? Have you seen this magnificent mountain?

Shon and I took a drive on the Parks Highway a few days ago when we had a little bit of sunshine, and we had a break in the snow. I wanted to share a few pictures I captured while we were out and about. These were all taken a few miles north of Willow. I never tire of the beautiful views.

Read More

Last year around this time, we were traveling from our cabin to Deshka Landing by snow machine. We broke out into a clearing, and this is what I saw. I had to stop for a picture because this view took my breath away.

Do you notice all of the dead spruce trees? 

If you look closely, you might even notice one that is broken off.  A few years ago, spruce beetles came through our neck of the woods.  We did our best to protect the huge spruce trees around our house, but to no avail.  They got every single one.  Thankfully, the beetles were not interested in the younger, healthier spruce trees.  When the wind is blowing, we don’t get out in the forest.  Even standing on the front porch, we sometimes hear dead spruce trees snapping in a strong gust.  During the winter, our trails are often blocked by newly downed spruce.  We have heard from some of our neighbors who have saw mills that much of the standing dead spruce trees are getting so rotten that it is no longer good for lumber.  It will be a long while before our forests look healthy again.

Even the largest, most stately tree can be brought down by a host of quarter-inch bugs. 

Read More

One of my favorite things to do is walk around our cabin on Cub Lake admiring the flowers. My husband, Shon, has NO interest in them whatsoever. I don’t think he even sees them, so it is one of those activities I do on my own. I take my camera with me and shoot picture after picture of the beautiful blooms, hoping to snag that perfect shot. I dream of the day when I have a greater variety of beautiful Alaska flowers. Right now I am rich in daisies with just a few other perennials.
A few days ago, I came across this little flower in the midst of my daisies.
What the HECK? Where did it come from? What is it?
It looked so out of place. It was the wrong color. The center was too big. The petals drooped down instead of curving upward.
And yet it was beautiful and demanded my attention because it was unique.
Do you feel out of place at times? I sure do! I hope I can remember this little flower the next time I don’t feel like I fit in.

Read More
Alaska Beauty

Sometimes when we are snow machining, I have to stop and take a picture of the beauty around us. It is always changing. There is beauty in the color of the sun, the shading caused by the fog, and even the shadows around humps of snow. If I stopped every time I wanted a picture, I’d never get anywhere.

A few days ago, Shon and I canoed across our lake. We took a short hike across the hill to what we call the “back lake” which is actually named Dog Leg Lake. We were checking to see if the lake was ice-free. We are waiting for a friend to come to pick us up in his floatplane. He is not able to land on our little lake, but the back lake provides a bit more room for his plane to land. We were happy to see that the ice was moving out! I was also happy to see my swans, Orville and Amelia. With the backdrop of Beluga Mountain, I had to stop a moment and take in the view.

Beluga Mountain and Dog Leg Lake