Alaska 2014 - Part I

Monday, July 28, 2014

The last time I wrote, we were prepping for our trip to Alaska. Now I'm super sad because it's OVER. It was one of the most fun trips, and now we all want to live there. So without further ado...our trip to Alaska!

We left Atlanta on Saturday, July 12 and arrived in Anchorage 5pm local time (5 hour flight to Seattle followed by a 3.5 hour flight to Anchorage). Katie and Jeff arrived about 20 minutes after us, so we waited for them at their gate so we could be the first to officially welcome Jeff to his 50th state. Yes, we got to witness history - as of July 12, 2014 Jeff Duncan has been to all 50 states. Amazing!

After cabbing to the hotel, we decided to go explore Anchorage. Jeff heard from a friend (of course!) about a little pub called F Street Station, so we headed there for dinner. Hungry before your food gets there? No need to fret - there's a huge slab of cheddar cheese on the bar!

Our next stop was the Gaslight Lounge where Katie and I decided to partake in a little bull riding. These pictures don't even do it justice - Jeff has the full videos. The man in charge of the bull clearly has some anger issues he needs to work out.

On our way back to the hotel, we decided to stop at Hotel Captain Cook because we saw some sort of top floor restaurant/bar. Turns out the Crows Nest is kind of fancy pants and we were kicked out because we looked so rough. We all just about died though - the hostess told Adam he could wear their "loaner pants" if we really wanted to stay. Hilarious!

At this point it was 9:45pm and still as sunny as can be (something I still find fascinating). It's seriously light out all day during the summer. The darkest hours are 2-4am, but even then it's not that dark.

We had the next morning/early afternoon to continue to explore Anchorage before our flight left for Cordova, so we headed over to Humpy's Alehouse to watch the World Cup Final. (Highly recommend the fish and chips!).

And then it was time to depart for our 40 minute flight to Cordova. (Hi, Katie and Jeff!)

When we landed, I kept looking around for the airport. Turns out this is it. The entire airport is smaller than our house - which is small, people.

I always think it's so fun when you get to exit a plane on the tarmac. The little things!

"Baggage claim" was just this open area where one guy (probably the pilot) just threw all the bags.

And in case you (for some strange reason) fly into Cordova without transportation, you can rent a 1994 Explorer or creepy white van from Cordova Auto Rentals! Not sure how prosperous an Enterprise would be here.

Michael picked us up, and after a quick drive we made it to the Hafertepes! Jeff and I's cousin, Michael, is stationed in Cordova with the Coast Guard - which was the whole point of the trip. His wife Maggie is so awesome, and we were so excited to have the opportunity to spend some time with them in such an awesome place! How cute is their house?

After getting settled in the house, we headed for a tour around Cordova (lasted a whole 10 minutes) before heading to dinner at the Reluctant Fisherman. This meal really set the tone for the whole trip - all of the food was amazing! We grabbed a drink on their patio after dinner and got to listen to a really cool group of people that were some sort of band (including a cello/bass thing!).

Tractor party! It was 10:30pm when this was taken, by the way.

On Monday, the weather was perfect and Michael & Maggie planned for us to go on a hike. I was prepared for this to be an active vacation, but this 6 hour/9.5 mile hike was a little more than I expected!  We still had a great time and got to witness some incredible views.

The top of Ski Hill. Silly me, I thought we were almost done. This was mile 1 of 9.5.

The gang's all here!

Ski hill by winter, hiking trail by summer.

We came over a hill and saw a man with a briefcase get into this helicopter and fly away. I'm 99% sure it was James Bond. And then we waved goodbye. Like idiots.

Cartwheels! Why not?

 A hiking we will go...

 ... a hiking we will go.

 Michael and Maggie... and the treacherous rope bridge.

Our navigators.

 We finally made it to Crater Lake!

Bear cub print.

The views were so worth it.

Katie and I finishing strong! So happy to feel pavement! (Also, it was in the mid 60s and there were kids swimming in the lake across the street. Guess that's Alaska for you!)

Showers for everyone, then it was time for dinner. Michael is an amazing cook, and all of our meals at their house consisted of fresh fish he caught.

To ensure we had meals the rest of the week, Michael gave the guys a quick fly fishing tutorial.

Well, this post is much longer than I anticipated already! Guess we're going to break this trip into a few. Part II coming soon!

this and that (descriptive, huh?)

Friday, July 11, 2014

I'm not doing much better updating this bad boy. I blame it on the fact that I have to solely depend on our Mac to write the posts, and I haven't quite mastered this whole "system" yet. Regardless, I want to get this update out of the way so I can have a nice, uninterrupted post on our trip to ALASKA that we leave for tomorrow!

Madi threw a World Cup party for her birthday, that was then combined with a Friday the 13th party because... well, it was Friday the 13th. We show up all decked out in Italia futbol clothes and are the only ones dressed up besides the birthday girl and her boyfriend, Evan. Talk about a bunch of party poopers! Fun times had by all, though. Have you ever partied in workout clothes? It was the most comfortable I've ever been. I did cartwheels and high kicks all night long.

Birthday girl and I showing off our killer soccer moves.

We were all about the World Cup this summer - especially Adam. #teamamerica.

We spent a glorious night celebrating VANN and her birthday at our house. Weeee! So much fun.

The next weekend, we found out our AC was broken. Rather than suffer through the hottest weekend of the year, we camped out with the 'rents. Mom celebrated by making this fun pineapple/vodka drink!

I do love that back deck of theirs!

And the dogs love all the snacks.

I celebrated my new job with three days at Jury Duty. (Insert sarcastic "yay".) The whole process was actually pretty interesting, the subject matter was NOT. Two Koreans fighting over a tae kwon do studio, and they both needed translators. It would have been total snooze city if not for the very entertaining judge.

June 28 was one of the greatest days, ever. It was finally the Katy Perry concert! There are no words....other than LIFE CHANGING.

Last weekend we celebrated the 4th of July in Asheville. We arrived Thursday evening and spent the night with Whittney and Jade, along with some friends from Florida.

We spent the 4th with some friends I used to work with in Florida. Totally random, but they were going to be in Asheville for his 40th/the 4th of July - and we'll take any excuse to go up there! The weather was so perfect and we spent the day eating some amazing food (and drinking some beer and boxed wine, duh. #merica).

Happy birthday, Clay and America!

We didn't actually go see any big fireworks, but my big kid was just fine enjoying sparklers with the kids. Fun times!

Before heading back to Atlanta, we had to make a pitstop in God's Country... Cullowhee, NC aka Western Carolina University aka my Alma Mater. After lunch at Speedy's, we headed into Cullowhee. They have done so much renovating on that campus it doesn't even look the same! Loving this new water fountain, though.

I spy... a really strange/hilarious dedication brick at the Bell Tower.

Take us back!

On Monday, I joined my parents for the Lionel Richie concert at Chastain Park (the summer of concerts, apparently). Adam didn't want to partake in the dance party, so Dominica and her parents joined us. We had so much fun dancing on the ceiling! (Get it?)

Well, that's that! I'll try to be more timely in my next update... about ALASKA!!