The Hall Family

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Blog #63



Home in Ohio


   After a weekend of salt air, campfires, and tent living, we packed up on Sunday morning and headed back to Wasilla. We all took home little mementos of the outing. Svea and Brigitta brought home 20lbs. of rocks and shells. They also had ground much of the black sand/dirt into their clothes – more like a little memento for their mother who does the laundry. David had filled his camera with pictures and movies to share with everyone. And Annika? Annika brought home a little eye infection. After watching her tiny eye ooze yellow stuff for the six hour car ride home, David and his Mom took her to the clinic on Sunday night. She was diagnosed with bacterial conjunctivitis and given some eye ointment.

   On Tuesday evening, with a sick husband, sick baby and two eager children, we plodded home. Annika slept fitfully and David’s ears were so painful he nearly wrenched the armrest from the seat. Somehow we landed safely in Cleveland with much of our sanity in place. Eighty-five percent humidity and temperatures in the high eighties greeted us like an endearing chokehold. I actually felt comforted by the oppressive heat because it is the summer weather I am used to. My Dad picked us up and drove us home filling us with the local news of the past month and our own garden produce report. By Wednesday, Annika’s eyes (now both infected) were not healing so we decided to have her examined by our pediatrician. She not only had the eye infections, but two ear infections as well. Our doctor put her on eye drops and amoxicillin.

   Having my decision making process adversely affected by jet lag, I decided to undertake a major home project on Friday morning. We are moving the three little girls into the biggest bedroom in the house, which at the moment belongs to my Mom and Dad. My gracious parents think it is high time Annika leave our bedroom. Since the room that Svea and Brigitta currently share is too small to add a third, Bill and Hat have offered to switch to the smaller room. I have decided that now would be the best time to do the switching. Unfortunately, both rooms need to be painted because my parents have requested not to sleep in a room with The Little Mermaid and Nemo. As of Friday night, the small bedroom had been painted and “Operation Room Reversal” was set to commence Saturday morning.


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Blog #62d



Family Pictures


   For some reason we waited until nearly our last day in Alaska to gather all of my parents children, spouses and grandchildren for dinner and a few pictures.  Poor little Annika was sick with a cold and eye infections and was not enthusiastic about anything other than being held by her mommy.


Back row: Michael & Sheryl Wittig, Mark Hall, Amy & Robert Hall, Joan & David Hall

Middle Row: Kevin Hall, Helen & Bert Hall, Robyn Hall

Front row: Becky & Michael Wittig, Brigitta, Annika & Svea Hall


An obligatory silly one


My parents with all seven of their grandchildren.


Uncle Mark (the best uncle ever) and his nieces and nephews


Seven grandchildren - six happy



On Monday the sky looked great so I went to a low mesa to get some final pictures of the Matanuska Valley

The Talkeetna Mountains and Hatcher's Pass

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Matanuska Valley on the left and Knik Valley with Knik Glacier on the right.

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Blog #62c


Camping in Homer - Sunday

Homer Spit and Family Pictures


   On Sunday we were to break camp and head home.  I had been hoping for months to get some pictures on the Homer Spit and Homer Harbor but never really seemed to get around to it.  Being sick made it hard to do much.  So Sunday morning I got up a little early and wet out to take some pictures.  Here they are:

The Eagle Lady's yard. 

One extra large space at the Homer Spit Campground belongs to a famous permanent resident known as the Eagle Lady. She takes care of the only grassy and floral spot on the Homer Spit and feeds Homer's Bald Eagles.  Laws that forbid people to feed wild Bald Eagles include an exception only to her.  I've never seen her directly in person but often I've seen the top of a rather tall hairdo inside her window.




"All Partied Out" Starfish


Barnacles, Seaweed and Slime (Oh My!)


Sunbathing Starfish


Wet Rocks

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King Crab of the Hill


Illegal Crab hiding from the Coast Guard


No Wake Zone at the Homer Harbor


The Vigilant at Dry Dock




Ahoy Anchors


The Star and Nightwatch


Star Destroyer


Twenty Six Sea Kayaks


Homer Harbor and the mountains across Kachemak Bay

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We took family pictures about an hour or two before we left.  This is what we look like after four days of camping and 8 changes of clothes for the kids:

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I always like the silly ones the most

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Grandpa and Grandma Hall and their seven grandchildren


One pose position is never enough

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Grandpa nailed the silly pose

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Halfway through the six hour drive is Summit Lake Lodge where the Ohio Hall family stopped for lunch.  Svea and Brigitta thought this would be a good place for a picture.


We got Mom's Honda pretty dirty driving in the rain, on the unpaved East Ridge Road above Homer


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Blog #62b


Camping in Homer - Saturday

Sea Kayaking


   I've been kayaking for over 20 years but had never sea kayaked in Alaska.  Our big splurge while in Alaska was a short guided sea kayaking paddle with True North Kayak Adventures.  Joan and I paddled a solid and stable plastic tandem kayak.  We rode to Yukon Island on the Harlequin while other kayakers on other tours rode over on the company's other boat, the Beowulf.  The weather was decent and the water was pretty calm.  I didn't feel the need to take the Nikon on this trip so we brought only the little old pocket Cannon S400.  Joan took all of the pictures and several movie clips that will be edited later in the summer or fall.  We saw a sea otter, a seal, several eagles and a peregrine falcon. 

The Harlequin and the Beowulf at Yukon Island


Yukon Island has several aquatic natural arches


True North's kayak and gear cache on Yukon Island


One family homesteaded 40 acres of Yukon Island's 200 acres and has several cabins belonging to its family members.  Yukon Island also is an important archeological site and has been inhabited for about 3,500 years.


I'm always happy in a kayak (except for that unfortunate Baidarka incident).  Our group included a guide and a cute newlywed couple on their honeymoon.


What a great place to be a barnacle.


Beachfront cabin


These rocks were formed in Mexico by layers of petrified microscopic sea critters.  Each layer represents about 1,000 years.  According to our guide, continental drift brought them all the way to Alaska and Kachemak Bay.

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Just feel the bliss.


Following Tammy and Ivan, aforementioned cute newlywed couple.


I think Joan had fun too.  (self portrait)


Tall, dark and handsome cliffs


Sadie Cove (I think)


Joan was the first to spot the seal that surfaced close to us.  Here we are waiting for him to resurface.  He followed us for a few minutes.


Yep, Joan definitely had fun.


My wife is such a sport


Meanwhile, back at camp, Becky contemplates the fate of a starfish. 

Photo complements of her dad.


Michael and Grandma, also by his dad.


Brigitta had a good time creating echoes in some rusty old pipes.


Homer Spit and Kachemak Bay

Annika wouldn't nap so we went for a drive on East Ridge Road.  The views were spectacular in spite of the drizzle.

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Michael, Michael, Kevin, campfire, hotdog.


We went through bags and bags of marshmallows and quite a few hot dogs.


"Yeah, this is my 17th marshmallow..."


I think Becky ate her weight in hot dogs. 


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Blog #62a


Camping in Homer - Friday

Tent Palace


   Wednesday night I had a pretty sore throat; in the middle of the night I woke up cold and was shivering uncontrollably.  This was not a good way to start a camping trip.  I perked up, however, and Thursday late morning we drove to Homer and set up camp.  That's all I had in me though, I didn't even take one picture all day. 

I woke up early Friday morning, took this picture, and went back to bed.


Our 15$ thrift store tent has a separate "room" that fit Svea and Brigitta pretty well.  The big room held Annika's Pack-N-Play/crib and still had enough room for us parents.


Annika spent much time on Uncle Mark's shoulders.


Brigitta guards her collection of shells and rocks from this dead ugly fish.


Our camp: Mom's and Dad's Taurus and borrowed motor home, an emerging tent palace, Sheryl and Michael's Scamp trailer and Isuzu Trouper, Our tent and Mom's van, and Amy's, Robyn's and Kevin's tent and Taurus. 


On Friday I was commandeered to lead the construction of a "tent palace".  Although I've been out of state for over a decade, I am the family's most recent resident of Spenard which is probably what most qualified me.  The Homer Spit often faces strong bitter winds.  I fully expected a storm to tear down this temporary structure and drag it along with Sheryl's and Michael's Scamp out to sea.  Note the union of the Scamp's awning, a blue tarp, a big green beach umbrella, Sheryl's new but cheesy green canopy, Mom's and Dad's red, garage sale cabin tent, a bunch of clothes line and a few found objects.


Masterful construction techniques.


We figured that we would be on our way home before they could actually write an ordinance, call a city hall meeting, vote and enact the ordinance.  Clearly, however, we are the kind of folks that make other's feel the need to write ordinances and conveniences for things that they assumed were common sense.  


Brigitta's rock and shell collection table grew daily until little Michael got involved. 

Note Mark's little blue tent.


Grandpa's moment of Zen.


Annika enjoyed the spaghetti that Grandma prepared.  Note the nail in the plate.


Annika eats - note the proximity of the Huggies wipes. (picture by grandpa)


Joan is befriended by a lime cloaked Jawa.


Annika often would pick up the first rock she saw and head straight for the ocean.  After tossing it in she's go and get another even if there were no rocks nearby due to sand and mud.  This rock, however, was more than her match.



Joan and Svea dance while Michael plays his guitar (out of frame-left).




Typical campfire scene.  I think Brigitta is going to be either a miner or a geologist.


We never convinced the girls that Homer's beaches are not the kind of bare foot beaches that you might find in North Carolina.


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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)



Wittig Family









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