Living in Chilkat State Park

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The suns’ position is starting to change in anticipation of summer solstice. That’s one of the many advantages of being outside the majority of the time-you notice all kinds of changes. In the short time we have been here we’ve watched small strawberry plants shoot up and watched their beautiful white blossoms unfurl.

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The ones that are in the sun most of the time are starting to form their berries. I just hope the birds, bears  and squirrels will share a few with us.

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We’ve also watched the trillium leaves break through the forest floor with their beautiful dark green leaves and now they are flowering.  The weather is feeling like summer but Mother Nature is reminding us it’s still Spring.

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John & Jenny hosts from 2005-2010

Thanks to those hosts who left behind their books with pictures and descriptions of the native flowers I’ve discovered thimbleberries. They are growing as wild and as prolific as the blackberries do in Washington. I’ve been reading that they don’t have much flavor so I’ll be in search of sweeter berries around the property.

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The clouds of what looks like dust that you see in the distance above the trees is actually spruce tree pollen.

The bumblebees have arrived and they are huge and the houseflies are small. I can live with that.  Mosquitoes don’t seem to be a problem ,yet !  The spruce pollen is everywhere. A light wind will blow it off trees into puffs of green clouds.  You can easily follow the path of the wind just by watching the pollen blow off of the trees.

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Rainbow Glacier

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It rained all day yesterday. The sky was filled with grey clouds. They covered Rainbow glacier and all her waterfalls. By the evening the rain had stopped, but it was cold and so windy. In spite of that we bundled up and went down to the beach to explore a wild flower path. What a challenge trying to take photos of wildflowers in 25mph winds.

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But it was beautiful.  The overcast sky intensified the colors of the flowers. The path was lined with lupine, wild roses, shooting stars, wild strawberries, violets, buttercups, geraniums and yellow flowers just starting to emerge. The wild irises were just starting to set their flowers.

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It was a wonderful walk along the shoreline. The shoreline looked like an artist had dumped her yellow paints in the water-it was the spruce pollen washing up on shore.  We came back to the cabin and it was so toasty from the wood stove.

The wind blew all night, I could hear it because my side of the bed is next to the west side door and that’s the direction the winds were coming from. This 40 year old cabin has so many sounds at night. The roof usually sounds like some creatures are running track up there!  The huge logs creak like they are trying to bend and stretch old bones. This all usually happens around sunset, 10pm and lasts about an hour or two. We lay in bed and make up stories about what is happening out there.

We know when the cruise ships are in town because our visitor count at the cabin increases.  It’s fun meeting folks from all over and sharing the beauty of Chilkat with them.  And they love looking through the scope for eagles and bears.

Speaking of eagles we took a quick trip over to Chilkoot State Park to check out the eagles feeding in the river.  I can’t imagine what the Chilkat Eagle Preserve looks like in November when about 3000 of these gorgeous birds arrive to feed on the salmon run .

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I’m sitting here alone this morning looking at a cloudless blue sky and enjoying the quiet.  KitKat occasionally interrupts with a little groan which usually indicates she’s snuggling into the blankets for her long morning nap.  She has developed an affinity for the cabin and has made it her home.  The last time we went into town she literally refused to get in the van and promptly turned around and waited by the door for us to let her back inside.

She loves all the different scents around the cabin and her latest interest is the Stellar Jay who comes to visit at the windows. When KitKat spots him she sits up at attention and watches every move he makes. We call him Rod after Rod Stewart because his crown is as crazy as Rod’s hair!

This weekend is Memorial Day and we are curious to see how many campers show up. Friday night we only had 6 of the 35 spots filled, so we shall see.  It’s strange having the cabin, it’s down the road from the campground and we don’t know what’s going on in the campground until we take one of our frequent walks.  When we camp-hosted in Moab we knew all the comings and goings as our camp site was in the middle of everything.  Our campers can’t believe we get to stay in this cabin and every single visitor has asked us how we got this volunteer position.  We send them to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources web site  and encourage them to apply.

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Thursday was baking day for me. I decided to try ‘Bagel everything Scones’.  Those are regular scones with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion and garlic toppings. They were delicious with the roasted corn and poblano soup we had for dinner.  After the scones came out of the oven I made cinnamon rolls from “Little Spice Jar’s recipe”. 

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I use a lot of her recipes , check out her blog I’m sure you will find something delicious to make!  The cinnamon rolls turned out great and were delicious and so good according to my taste tester.  Before we took this volunteer position I had been using the Coleman stove top portable oven.  I decided to up my “ up my oven game “ for the 4 months we would be at the cabin. 

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I love Camp Chef products and decided to buy this combo stove and oven to take with us. It took up valuable space in Ruby the Wild Heart, but the loss of space was well worth it after baking the scones and cinnamon rolls.  I think the local Farmer’s Market starts next weekend and I’m looking forward to finding fresh vegetables to roast in the oven.

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Dinner one night made with ingredients we brought along-Trader Joes Tuscano Marinara Sauce, mushrooms I roasted with garlic and froze, ground beef and the usual spices !

Groceries  are expensive in the little town of Haines-we paid 4$ for a small bag of romaine.  I’m going to look for a nursery and I’m thinking about putting a little container garden on the deck for salad fixings, I’ll let you know how that works out.  The closest large town/city by car is Whitehorse, YT, it’s about 250 miles one way. Juneau is closer by ferry but the ferry cost  makes driving 500 miles round trip much more acceptable.  We plan on doing that once a month on our days off. Right now our pantry is well stocked with canned goods, powdered eggs and milk, pasta, rice and a variety of soups.

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It’s a beautiful Saturday in Alaska so I’m heading out to enjoy some sunshine, hope you are doing the same.

Happy Trails and safe travels my friends.

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4 thoughts on “Living in Chilkat State Park

  1. Donna Robertson

    Not sure if you are interested but there’s a pretty good brewery in Haines and a distillery that has some of the best gin ever and an excellent “Irish” Whiskey. Don’t miss the hammer museum it is quite unique.

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  2. Barbara Dalderis

    Sandy and Jim,
    Thanks for sharing all your beautiful photos. What a great area. We are leaving for our Alaska rolling rally in a bit over a week. Hope to have access to Chilkat SP. I don’t have all the details of our route when we are visiting Juneau, Skagway, Haines area. That area will fall in early August. When I know the details we can talk about it.

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