Got back Sunday afternoon from a really great weekend with my family. My parents were in their glory as friends and far-flung cousins joined in their celebration of 50 years together. Dad’s musician friends sat and played and sang into the evening, the younger cousins took off briefly for a couple of hours at the local go-cart track, and the rest of us meandered about, acquainting or re-acquainting ourselves with one another. My free-spirited aunts were a big hit with my camping friends!
Dad pulled out a bunch of old photographs family and of past gatherings, laying them on a table in the entryway of the apartment we were using for the party. In one, he pointed out that of all the grown men in the photo (taken nearly 40 years ago) only he and an ex-husband of an aunt (does that make him an ex-uncle?) are still alive. The women, especially on my Mom’s side, are very long-lived. If I can dodge the family bullet of breast cancer, I can expect to be around for another 30-50 years! Even with two bouts of that miserable disease and a terribly sedentary lifestyle, Mom is looking great at almost 75.
In the spirit of protecting unsuspecting family from public exposure on my blog, I won’t be posting any pictures of the party, but the drive to Soldotna and back was lovely.
On the way down we stopped at a campground to let Filson out of the motor home for a potty break and a chance to run for a bit. The sunshine felt glorious and the lake was beautiful.
Filson found a dead fish carcass and kept trying to get it to play with him. He would swim out to fetch his tennis ball and then would detour on the way back to show the ball to the fish…”you sure you don’t want to play?” (Apparently during his week on the Kenai River he got used to the freshly caught salmon flopping on the bank.)
The fireweed is especially brilliant this year, probably because there hasn’t been a great deal of sunshine to fade the blooms, although Friday’s weather couldn’t have been more perfect.
The day of the party, Saturday, the rain came and went all day. Luckily, prepared Alaskans that we are, we had a total of four canopies between us, so there was plenty of shelter over the outdoor eating area. Filson was a hit with everyone, even the assorted little dogs brought by other family members. He had no trouble finding people to throw the tennis ball for him, and of course he loves the rain!
Sunday’s drive back to Anchorage was not quite as nice as the trip on Friday. Although it didn’t rain, the sun never quite overcame the thick layer of clouds. Still, my stop at Tern Lake netted me some nice shots of spawning red salmon and king salmon (sockeyes and Chinooks) in Dave’s Creek. And you should have seen the one that got away! Friend D. came back to town Monday and said the kings were thick in the creek. The red coloration occurs when they hit the fresh water after living the bulk of their lives at sea. They are literally rotting to death as they make their way upstream to lay and fertilize eggs in the gravel beds.
I was once again thankful that my Cabin is NOT on the Kenai Peninsula as I fought miles of steady traffic all the way home. I hope to make a quick trip up to the Cabin this weekend. Although I may endure some heavy traffic – 3 lanes deep and as far as the eye can see – on the way out of town at rush hour, I will soon have the whole highway to myself. I lived in Los Angeles for a few months and I understand that some folks will find my definition of “heavy” traffic amusing, but everything is relative.
Anyway, a weekend trip is something to look forward to regardless of traffic.