My dear, neglected blogees, I am back from vacation and newly recommitted to this whole blogging thing. We had the most wonderful time on our trip. Everything was perfect. The weather was amazing, the places we stayed were great (with one single-night exception, which I can live with), and we saw all kinds of wildlife.
To say I got home with renewed energy would not be entirely accurate (we left at 8 pm on Sunday and arrived home at 1 pm Monday), something about coming back from vacation fills me with the sense of a new start. I channelled this energy into my poor neglected Sakaki shawl. Before we left, I had knit almost the entire thing, and then I ran out of yarn just short to the end and had to rip it back. I didn't manage to pick it up again after that, but once I got home, I couldn't put it down, and I raced back through the lace portion and down to the end, and ended up with a very satisfying little leftover ball of yarn.
I also blocked my Asterope at last. I finished it ages ago, but for some reason I just couldn't get up the blocking mojo to get it done. It's no secret, I hate blocking - love the end result, understand it is a necessary step, but I absolutely loathe the process, and I guess I just couldn't face it before the trip. Now she's all done and sitting pretty.
While I was gone, the 7th sister, Alcyone was released, but I'm in the grips of some pretty strong finish-it-up-itis and there is one very important project that is still not done. And let me tell you, I knit that thing the whole time we were gone. And I have proof.
When I left, I was still on the first ball of yarn. I didn't get nearly as much work done on the shawl before we left as I had hoped. However, by the time we got to Seattle I was ready to join the second ball of yarn. I didn't get very far because my hands gave out on the flight to Anchorage and I really had to stop. I picked it up again the next morning, however, as we waited for an hour to get into the restaurant we had picked out for breakfast. I owe a huge debt to the knitters on the Alaska Knitters group on Ravelry, who were generous enough to give me a billion recommendations for yarn shops and places to eat. We sat in a little park and looked out over the Cook Inlet and I knit while we waited for breakfast. Then I knit in the car as we drove out to Potter Marsh, a protected bird habitat outside of Anchorage. We didn't see much, but I kept knitting as we went out to the Wildlife Conservation Center that's just a little beyond Potter Marsh. Sadly, it rained on us and so I mostly stayed in the car.
The next day we took the train from Anchorage to Seward, and did I knit? You bet I did.
In between taking pictures through the windows. I have to recommend taking the train. It's slower than going by car as the train doesn't move very quickly, but it's absolutely a beautiful view and it was much better for both of us to be able to enjoy the scenery instead of one of us being stuck driving.
When we arrived in Seward, we drove around for a while getting acquainted with the place, had lunch, did a little shopping, and then we decided to 'hike' out to Exit Glacier. I put 'hike' in quotes because, well. It's more like a really long walk. Not much effort to get there at all. I took the knitting.
I'm hiking in short sleeves here but as soon as we came over the next rise and were standing level with the glacier, the coat went on. Not surprisingly, the winds coming off that thing are FREEZING.
We hiked to the edge of the Glacier, and then down to the toe of the Glacier. The last bit was interesting because the trail ends at the glacial moraine, and you basically have to pick your way across shifting rocks and streams of melted glacier water to get to the glacier itself. Neither of us fell in, but neither of us escaped entirely dry, either. Fortunately the water wasn't that cold and the weather wasn't cold at all.
The day after that we went on a wildlife cruise with Major Marine Tours in the Kenai Fjords, and it was absolutely amazing. I didn't take the knitting since I had visions of it tumbling overboard or something equally absurd, but I had the camera up so often I wouldn't have gotten much done anyway, because we kept seeing things like this.
If it lives in (or visits) the fjords, it was out that day. The orca pod we saw were being studied by a science vessel, so our captain was able to tell us which orca pod it was. It's led by a matriarch named Aurora and I think I actually saw a Discovery Channel documentary about them at one time. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the science boat, though, and my searches aren't turning up anything.
Anyway, that was really the highlight of the trip. We saw otter, orca, humpback whales, sea lions, Dall sheep on the cliffs around Resurrection Bay, we saw glaciers - it was truly a wonderful experience.
The next day we drove until we found a promising trail head and hiked to Greyling Lake. There wasn't much to see in the way of wildlife but the forest itself was very pretty, everything covered in neon green moss. I found a log sticking out over the water and climbed out and sat on it to knit.
On our last day in Seward, we went to the Sea Life Center, and afterwards we spent some time hanging out outside the sea life center, watching a wild otter in the bay as well as a harbor seal that made an appearance or two. Of course, I watched while knitting.
We went back to Anchorage and I did some yarn shopping, and then we drove to Homer, where we took a quick cruise across the bay to Seldovia. This time I did bring my knitting with me.
Eagles and otter are what I will remember most about Homer. There were tons of both, everywhere. And the otter are so cute!!
And as it happened we arrived to see the annual Memorial Day Chainsaw Carving Competition in progress.
It rained on us a bit in Seldovia, but we stopped in a local shop/bookstore/thingy and sat on the deck under the trees with some hot chocolate to watch some eagles in the trees across the river.
I was sad to come home, but alas, we had to. The flight home was brutal but I knit pretty much the whole time, and I'd almost gotten through the third skein of yarn when we got home. I still have the last skein to knit, and I'm working hard on getting the shawl done so I can show it off here and have it to remember our wonderful vacation.
Once that's done, here I come Spanish Moss and Alcyone! There's so much I want to knit, and so little time. I haven't touched the April installment of Pins and Lace and the July installment is rapidly approaching, plus all the non-Romi stuff I want to knit. I still plan to do the In Dreams shawl, even though it's definitely not a mystery at this point. Lots of stuff I'm just brimming over to do - but I really want to finish what I have first!