Saturday, January 27, 2007
This is my busy time of year. It is a REALLY busy time of year for Tom. Tom coaches cross-country skiing on several
levels. He coaches the team at his high school and with Alaska Nordic Racing. This year he has spent a great deal of time developing some junior high skiers. They have been a fun group of kids. They have also really pushed to Zoey to improve and get moving. It's amazing how motivating it is for her to ski with kids just a bit ahead of her and a little older. Some of these kids are homeschooled like her. I think homeschoolers are more adaptive to age differences. Regardless, Zoey's technique has taken some amazing leaps.
And now begins the time of the out-of-town races! Like this last weekend we went Soldotna on the Kenai peninsula. It was
exhausting! Tom taught all day then drove us all to Soldotna, got up at the crack of dawn and waxed loads of skis, coached kids, and still had to be a parent. I had to get trades since I work Friday - Monday. No small feat, weekends are precious.
YIKES!!!! That can make it nerve wracking just getting out of town. Now, this week off of races and up to Fairbanks the next week. I've already got my trades lined out, so I can relax a bit about this one. Exhausting for me or not, it is a great opportunity of the kids. They get to ski in different venues, with different conditions. They have to navigate around places they have never been before to find their race bibs, figure out the course, how does the start work. I think Zoey always takes away tidbit every time we travel for her races. Vivi is champing at the bit to be in the mix. This time she got to race her daddy.
Perhaps the best thing about the races in Soldotna is that there are at
least five bald eagles that hang out in the trees on the trails. They
sometimes fly over the venue just out of arms reach. And when we drive home
we get to see the second biggest wintering grounds for bald eagles in Alaska
-- Cooper Landing. When we drive down we do not get to see it since it
dark. Sigh.... We do get to dodge moose on the Kenai burn. They like it there and when the snow is deep (like this year) they tend to hug the road. We saw six in the space of about 20 minutes. Several of them were on the move. I am sure they were just waiting to leap out in front of the truck and cause a real problem. It was very nice to get to the hotel and have a beer at midnight!
Driving home this last weekend had a surreal
moment when we crossed the bridge at Cooper Landing. This bridge is at a
very narrow spot on Kenai Lake, not quite where it turns into the Kenai
River. This part of the road is narrow and twists and turns and is usually
icy. Not a place to stop even though it is breathtakingly beautiful. At
this spot there was an open place in the ice with two fly fishermen casting
and reeling in. A lovely sight. Also, about 100 feet away from the fly
fishers, swimming in this small patch of open water were two adult swans, two
bluish juveniles and six more swans on the ice watching. I was too far away
to know if they were trumpeter or tundra. And there was just no where safe to stop and investigate. And now I am haunted by this image. I have never seen any swans here this
time of year. Amazing. The light was so flat, and the ceiling so low it
seemed so intimate. When the ceiling is up it is spectacular scenery with
mountains and green-blue glacial water all around.