The Hall Family

Early July 2006 Blogs

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Blog #60



Welcome Wittig Family!


   My sister Sheryl, her husband Michael, daughter Becky and son Michael arrived Saturday night.  My parents now have five grandchildren under the age of seven visiting as well as Sheryl, myself and our spouses; I'm sure they are relieved to have the calm and quiet finally broken.  It's been great visiting and seeing how much Becky and Michael have grown.  It's also pretty cool to see the cousins playing together.


   I set up the tents a few days ago.  Mom and I each bought cheapo tents at garage sales.  Mom's tent was missing parts and mine had broken poles and a bad zipper, but it also came with extra pole parts.  With a little bit of measuring, cutting and stringing together of poles and a zipper repair, I was able to fix both tents.  Mom and dad borrowed a motor home that they will drive to Homer; it's nice to know that we will have a place to go if the tents do not hold up in a rain storm. 




Lazy Mountain Trail Hike


  We had no hope of hiking from 717' to the summit of Lazy Mountain at 3292'; but we thought we'd see how far we could get.  It was overcast and we had a bit of rain.  The lower portion of the trail is heavily wooded; enough that my camera wanted to use it's flash.  The trail was up, up, up and got a bit slick with rain; I slipped for the first time with Annika in the back pack.  Fortunately I was able to catch myself with my hand and neither of us were hurt.  Brigitta was the hiking champion of the day and wouldn't let me past her.  Svea was not having a great day and required much encouragement.  We made it to where the trees were thinning out, but not to tree line where I hopped to reach.


Tired Dad and Svea


Brigitta, Joan and Svea force a smile


Knik River and Palmer Airport

The view from higher up the trail was too overcast to discern much.


   Last night we visited my old friend Tyan Payne, her husband Kay and their young children.  We had a great time and got caught up on the past two years since we were last in Alaska.  The Payne's three children are absolutely adorable and live in a very happy household.


Alaska Zoo Visit with the Wittigs

   Today we went to the Alaska Zoo with my sister and her family.  Much fun was had by all.  We ate at McDonald's on the way home and the kids played at their Playland.  After spending six hours together, much of it in the car; I don't think that Svea and Brigitta had one fight; I just wanted to note that for the record book.  Another one for the record book is that Annika said four new words today.  We have been getting one or two new words a day out of her, but the zoo animals seemed to really excite her.  She said "eag" for eagle, bee for bee, "beah" for bear and on the way home repeatedly shouted "PEAS!" as a request for more wedges of little Clementine oranges.



Annika and Joan at the Alaska Zoo


Below: Joan reads to Becky








"Little" Michael Wittig is generous with his smiles.


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Blog #60



Bodenburg Butte Hike


   I can't believe that I lived in Alaska for 29 years and waited until yesterday to climb the Butte.  What a great, but dusty, hike.  The view from the top of Bodenburg Butte is a spectacular 360 panorama.  Pioneer Peak and the Chugach Range are completely visible to the south: Knik Glacier to the south east, the entire length of the Knik River from the glacier to Knik Arm, all of Knik Arm, much of the Matanuska Valley and the Matanuska River.  The Palmer area of the Matanuska Valley and part of the Talkeetna Mountains are obscured by trees on the north side at the top of the Butte.  The bottom of the trail was extremely dusty.  Part of the trail had a layer of loose fluffy dust that was a few inches deep.  Every step produced a puff of dust; it was like walking in flour.  A couple of sections near the top were steep and rocky and required hands.  On the way down I was a bit concerned with Annika in the backpack and Brigitta and Svea needed guidance on the way down.  A sign at the bottom said that the top was at 875 feet.  Most of the valley is close to sea level.

Svea near the mid point


Joan helps Brigitta on the steepest section about 2/3 of the way up.


View of Knik Glacier and Knik River

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View of Pioneer Peak with Knik River at its base.  The Matanuska River sweeps in from the right and nearly converges with the Knik before both rivers empty into Knik Arm.

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The Hall family spazzes out in front of Pioneer Peak

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Joan guides Svea and Brigitta down the steepest section.



On the way home we stopped at the Knik River off of the Old Glen Highway.  The girls and I washed the dust off of our feet in the silty Knik River.  In spite of the muck I think we walked away cleaner.



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Blog #59



Farewell Bill and Harriette


   Yesterday we bid farewell to Joan's parents.  They had a late flight and long night but made it home safely.  We will see them again in two weeks.  Earlier in the day Grandpa Hall took Svea, Brigitta, Bill and I to the Transportation & Industry Museum of Alaska.  There was a little bit of everything.  I especially liked the three hole Baidarka hanging from the ceiling.

Mush Svea!




"Chitina Auto Railer"


ARR = Alaska Rail Road


Joan took this picture of Columbine in my parents back yard.


Svea, Annika and Brigitta with their parents and all four grandparents. 

Not many little kids have grandparents whose combined age exceeds 300 years!

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We promised the girls if they could stand still for 10 seconds to take the above picture we would take a silly one; we kind of like the silly one better.

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Blog #59



Charlie Bader Visit and Glacier Cruise


   On Sunday Joan and the girls and I went to Anchorage to visit Charlie Bader, his wife and their new babies.  Charlie's wife gave birth to twin girls six weeks ago.  They also have just moved into their new home.  Charlie has owned it for over a decade and been working on it for years.  Hardly anything is stock Home Depot; Charlie custom built one of a kind countertops, handrails, cabinets, flooring, etc.  He started by tearing down the second floor, reinforcing the first floor and then added a new second and third floor.  It's been a big project.


Dormer window detail



Charlie also is an avid gardener and has thoroughly studied gardening issues unique to Alaska. 

He mixes and screens his own dirt and "brews" his own water.



The best things that he has helped make, however, are Sadie (in his arms) and Natalie.


Whittier Glacier Cruise

   On Monday Bill & Harriette joined the girls, Joan and I for a glacier tour (complements of my brother, Bob) out of Whittier.  We left Wasilla at 9:00 AM and made the 11:30 Whittier tunnel.  When I was growing up Whittier was only accessible by train from a depot near Portage.  In 2000 the last train tunnel was paved over into a single lane one way at a time tunnel.  After paying a fee cars can pass through the 2 1/2 mile tunnel to Whittier at the bottom of the hour, out of Whittier at the top of the hour and the trains run through just before.  Its a crazy schedule but it works quite well.  We ate and toured the once military city of Whittier and then boarded our boat at 1:30.  The highlight of the trip was Blackstone Glacier where we saw much calving.  I was envious of the sea Kayakers that we saw in the water and camping on the beaches.  The water was amazingly flat as the fjords are far from open sea and there was little wind.  We all took sea sickness pills which made Svea and Brigitta a bit drowsy on the trip.


Glaciers that touch the water are tidal glaciers, land locked glaciers, such as this one, are piedmont or alpine.


The tour also included a few waterfalls.


Blackstone Glacier


Proof that Harriette and Bill were there.


Joan and Annika up the stairs.


David and Annika at the stern.


Joan and Annika on the deck of the Glacier Queen II.


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Blog #59



"Hanglider Hill" Hike & Talkeetna Trip


   I'm not sure what it's really called, but when I was young we would sometimes see hangliders and later parasailers fly from a particular hill in Hatcher's Pass.  Although another hill is now more popular with these fliers I still think of this hill as Hanglider Hill.  Its a good hike that is all up, up, up.  We didn't make it to the top and stopped at about the same place we did two years ago.  In spite of the fact that the girls look happy in some of these pictures there was much whining and complaints of hurting feet and fear of puppy attacks. 






View of the parking lot from where we started.  The mine is up to the right, out of this picture.


This is about the steepest point of the hike.


View of the hill from the parking lot. 

We made it to the rocky spot about 1/3 of the way from the top.


Grandma and Grandpa had a nice spaghetti dinner waiting for us when we got home.


Svea and Brigitta fight like most siblings, but do love each other.


Talkeetna Moose Dropping Festival

   On Thursday Uncle Mark joined us for a trip to Talkeetna where we attended the Moose Dropping Festival.  The weather was gorgeous and everyone had a great time.  We made it in time for the 12:00 parade.



Brigitta and Svea hugged a moose-man.



Annika rode on Uncle Mark's shoulders much of the time and enjoyed the view.



Many of the "floats" had moose themes.


Rafting and flight seeing tour businesses promoted their trade during the parade.


Festival attendance was good.



Brigitta entered the ages 0-12 watermelon eating contest.



She didn't win, but she did a good job and got to eat fresh watermelon on a hot day.

When the contest ended she just kept on eating.



I ran into an old friend of mine (Jenny Derks/Anderson) from high school.


Talkeetna is a tourist town and also the main airport that flies Denali climbers.  Planes land on a glacier at the base of the mountain to drop off climbers.  Most Talkeetna businesses are cute and rustic such as Talkeetna Air Service.  Bear proof trash container can be found all over town; note the brown one in this picture.


We took a break after eating $24 worth of ice cream.



Svea and Brigitta got to pet and feed a reindeer.  The next morning we all had reindeer sausage.



Many bush planes have "tundra tires" that allow them to land almost anywhere.


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Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

June 25


Ohio Hall Family

Departs Ohio 5:05pm

(NWA Flight #1857)

Arrives in AK


(NWA Flight #851)


Rotary lunch - Dad & David


Jet-lag recovery




Independence Mine Lake Hike






R & R

(Rain & Relaxation)





Garage Sailing with Grandma

Uncle Mark visits

Wasilla Wonderland Playground

 July 1

Independence Mine Cross Hike






Summit Lake at Hatcher's Pass with Mom and Dad





Bill & Harriette  Depart Ohio


(NWA Flight #865)

4th Parade - pony & slide rides


Bill & Harriette  Arrive in AK


(NWA Flight #4101)

Toured Independence Mine with Bill


Hiked Matanuska Glacier






Hiked "Hang Gilder Hill" at Hatcher's Pass





Attending the "Talkeetna Moose Dropping Festival" (we should make the parade by noon)



Visit with Charlie Bader & family


Picked up Mom's and Dad's new laptop



Whittier Glacier Tour (Thanks Bob!) - leave home @ 9:00

12:30 Portage tunnel

1:30  launch

Home - late


Transportation & Industry Museum of Alaska


S,B & A's 4 grandparent - dinner in Anchorage


Bill & Harriette  Depart AK 1:00am (NWA Flight #842)

Arrive in Ohio 1:25pm (NWA Flight #2828)

Bodenburg Butte Hike


Girls went to Wasilla Wonderland Playground with Grandpa


Joan cooked

David blogged


David & Mom garage sailing


"Friday Fling" in Palmer

Lazy Mountain Trail Hike




Wittig Family Arrived





Visit with Payne family


Alaska Zoo Visit with the Wittigs




Hatcher's Pass Hike


Homer Spit Camping trip


Homer Spit Camping trip


Homer Spit Camping trip


Homer Spit Camping trip





Ohio Hall Family Departs AK 9:40pm

(NWA Flight #844)


Ohio Hall Family Arrives in Ohio 11:51am

(NWA Flight #1704)



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