It is my firm opinion that no one loves summer like Alaskans do. I love it even more than most. Weekends like this are what makes it worthwhile to live with winter seven months of the year. Just beautiful.
We had a great 4th of July weekend here in south-central Alaska. The extended fam, my best girlfriend, and I went to the Girdwood Forrest Fair on Saturday. Girdwood is a bedroom community based around a ski resort and also the infamous home of Ted Stevens's re-modeled house. They have a music festival there every year that features lots of booths selling only hand made goods, sort of like a small state fair run by hippies. We brought a pic nic and spent the day in the sunshine in the mountains. I think I'll plan the logistics differently next time, but it was a good time. I was the driver so no bier garden for me, but maybe next year.
Yesterday, the girls and I went to the local swimming hole lake and got up close and personal with an eagle. Anchorage residents can be pretty blase about encounters with wildlife; we frequently have moose in our yard in the winter and bears are becoming more of a problem in some parts of town. (I'm not kidding, a bear recently ate a co-worker's cat. She lives sort of out in the woods though.) This was amazing even by Anchorage standards. We often see bald eagles flying around our house. They like to hunt for fish in the local lakes, but I have never been this close to one before. The eagle had its eye on some delicious looking goslings, when some seaguls chased it into a tree. They usualyl stay up pretty high so you don't see them down in the cottonwoods, but there it was trying to get one of those fuzzy little floating snacks. We finally went up near to the tree when we realized the seaguls weren't going to let it go anywhere, they are quite insistant, and we were only about 35 feet from the eagle. It was amazing and I will probably never get that close to an eagle outside a zoo ever again.
I made a big batch of Alaska-style bouillabaisse last night with salmon, halibut, cod, clams, and crab stock, all caught wild by someone I know. Real Alaskans consider me too much of a city girl to count, but I felt authentic last night. We finished up the evening on my deck with my husband and a good friend and a mojito watching the squirrels in the trees. The hot temperatures made the evening shade feel just perfect. I often dread the hassle and expectations of holidays, but this was the perfect ending to a great 4th of July weekend.