Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 4-7

I've not had reliable internet service and I've gotten lazy about updating this blog. So, I will work my way backwards as I update.

We are now in a campground near Sterling, AK. We checked in last, set up our trailer and then drove about 15 miles to Soldatna and Kenai. When we got back to the CG Hollie went for a bike ride and I did a 3 mile run. Later in the evening, we discovered that something was wrong with our electrical connection. Luckily, the owner of the CG had just returned from fishing and he was able to determine that our problem was with our extension cord. He loaned us one and that took care of everything. Later in the evening when I was walking around, I saw a moose and two young grazing on grass and trees in the CG. They were just waltzing among all the campsites as if we were not even present. Everyone was taking pictures, but we all kept our distance as the Mother moose was huge and she could have done some serious damage to any of us who were silly enough to get too close. They defend themselves by stomping the threat. They stayed in the area throughout the evening and I did get some great pictures.

Thursday, July 5 we were still in Seward where the weather was not good. We had rain all day with temperatures in the 50-55 range. I waited around for a long time, hoping it would clear so I could run. It really never did and I gave up and went back to the HS track and ran 4 miles. I did the track so that if I was too cold or the rain got harder, I could bail. All the time I was running, even though it was very cloudy and raining, I could hear several helicopters flying around Mount Marathon. I later heard that they were searching for a guy who had disappeared during the previous day's Mount Marathon race. This is a 3-3.5 mile race that goes straight up and down a mountain. I don't have all the details, but this guy has not been found. He is 66 years old and it had taken him 3 hours to get to the top of the mountain. He was dressed in shorts and shirt and with the low temperatures and the rain, he was probably in trouble at that point. The last person to see him was the last timer at the top. The timer walked down toward him and chatted. He said he was OK and would probably finish in an hour and a half. The time continued on down the mountain and that is the last that anyone saw of him. As of this afternoon (3 days later) he has not been found. If you are interested in learning more about this race and the missing guy, just do a search for "mount marathon missing runne"r and you will find details.

That takes me to July 4 which was a very important day in Seward. It was the 100th anniversary of the founding of the town as well as the 85th running of the Mount Marathon race described above. This year's event had a field of 375 men and 375 women in separate races. There was also a race for kids 7-17 that covered half the distance. This is one of the most difficult races in the world, although it is over a relatively short distance. The race gains 3000 feet in elevation and has an average incline of 38 degrees with 60 degrees at some points.There is one path to the top, but several ways of coming down. Whatever route is taken is muddy, rocky and filled with roots. At the top, there is a snow field and some racers chose to slide down the snow field, rather than taking one of the other routes.One of the down routes consists of a scramble or drop off a cliff area. One of the men fell and sustained a serious head injury and a broken leg.

The oldest female participant was 72 and the oldest male was 84. They both finished the race. Many of the finishers had bloody scrapes and cuts, especially on their hands. Most people wear gloves, but those who do not risk injury. Some wear knee pads and most wear gaiters.

Between the male and female races, there is a typical "small town" parade. We also sampled pie and coffee and BBQ chicken dinners sold by a couple of the churches.

That brings me up to date, with the exception of what we did today. This morning we took a 19 mile drive on a gravel road that went to several campgrounds and boat launches as well as wade fishing areas. There were some excellent views of the a lake with mountains in the background. After the drive, we did our workouts. I ran 5 miles mostly downhill and with the wind behind me---5 miles out and had Hollie pick me up.

This evening we went to a Masonic Lodge fish fry. The cost was $15 and it was all you care to eat. The fish was halibut, salmon and cod. We also had fries and cheese biscuit, as well as cole slaw and beans. Both the slaw and beans were very tasty and different from any I have previously eaten. The slaw consisted of cabbage, apples, red pepper, onion and raisins. The bean dish contained limas, black, pinto, and butter beans with onion and a tasty sauce. While we were eating we met two women from MS. One was from Madison and she has been coming to AK for the past 19 years, The other was from Gulfport.

We really like this campground and we will stay a total of three nights. Then we need to find an RV place to repair our furnace. We really like staying in forest service, state or national campgrounds, but we need the furnace since most of these places do not have electricity for our space heater.

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