First set of photos is from my trip back home last winter for Christmas. Wasilla, Alaska. Matanuska-Susitna Valley. About 1 hour north of Anchorage.
The Mat-Su Valley
Let’s start out with the best. This is from last winter. This is the lake next to the house I grew up in.
The above is the same lake scenery, but I moved about 20 feet to the right, closer to the shore. This was probably 8 a.m. in the morning in December.
This photo of the moose outside our front door makes me think of Monte the Wonder Dog getting kicked by a moose. A brief diversion here. Monte was a Min-Pin. I did not see this event I am about to share, but I heard about it.
Mom and Dad left for Texas, as they do for about 4-5 months out of every year. The dude who watches the house while they are away told my parents this tale about Monte and The Moose.
Monte went outside to do his business and saw a moose in the driveway. Monte began barking incessantly at the moose. The housesitter watched out the window, unable to do anything. Monte wasn’t responding to calls to come inside, and you don’t go outside when there is a moose around.
The moose stood there, the dog kept barking. The moose became annoyed and layed its ears back flat. Never a good sign.
The moose walked toward the little dog, and the dog continued to bark. The moose came right up to the dog, within a foot….and the moose then kicked that little dog!
According to the house sitter, the dog immediately passed out upon being kicked. The moose, satisfied with his work and apparently happy with the fact that the barking ceased, walked away into the woods.
The dog was knocked out cold by the violent kick, and the housesitter feared, as anyone would, that the dog was dead. The house sitter chilled inside, hoping for the best, but fearing the worst as he watched TV.
About an hour later, he heard the little dog barking loudly and scratching at the door. He let the little dog inside.
Monte ran inside with a passionate fury, headed toward the kitchen and began slurping up water and eating chow like the dog had not received water or food in 3 days.
Afterword, now satisfied, the little dog ran over to his bed and slept for 10 hours straight. The next day he popped up like nothing… and he was absolutely fine. The housesitter reported that Monte was barking loudly and begging for food in the morning hours as usual… just like his usual overbearing self.
Monte was a survivor and a free spirit. He had deep talon scars on his butt where an eagle, or some other very large bird, had obviously tried to take off with him, and he somehow wriggled free and ran away to reclaim his liberty. We noticed these scars upon adopting him.
In fact, his previous owners gave him away because he was too much of a pain in the ass for them to deal with. He would constantly escape and run off. They were very forthcoming about that fact. Apparently my parents decided to take Monty on as a challenge.
At another point in time, we watched Monte nearly succumb to an opening in the ice covered lake. He wandered out in spring when the lake was melting and there were many soft spots.
Monte hit a soft spot and fell in. We were alerted by the barking of our other dog, a large Mastiff/Rotty mix, standing on the shore, looking out at the lake and barking frantically. We looked outside and saw Monte bobbing up and down, gripping the ice on the sides and trying to get out.
We couldn’t do anything except hope for the best. We shared in this terrible experience of thinking we were about to watch little Monte succumb to the water. But… somehow… little wonder dog… Monte got a firm grip on the surrounding ice, and finally, he pulled himself out.
He got up onto the ice, ran back onto solid land, and then he bolted his little ass straight up the hill and went bursting toward the sliding glass door of the kitchen at lightning speed, barking like a little insane devil.
We covered him in blankets, fed him all the food he wanted for the rest of the night and cooed at him.
And again, the next day it was like nothing had happened. Back to same old Monte. Being obnoxious. Getting his big brother in trouble. Acting the fool. Eating like a pig. Barking. Business as usual.
And after all these dangerous adventures… he simply died of old age. 17 or 18 years. Just passed away in his sleep like any other senior dog. But Monte lived a full life. He lived it better than most canines, and arguably better than a lot of humans.
I spent 7 years living in Juneau, and yet I have very few personal photographs to show for it. How is it I lived somewhere for so long, and don’t have any pictures? I probably do have some on my thumb drive… but I’m too lazy to go find them right now. So, I am going to steal some from the internet.
I talked to a few people raised in Juneau who believe that the Mat-Su valley is “ugly” in comparison. This is understandable. I don’t agree, necessarily, but I do see their point. Juneau is much further south, and the land surrounding Juneau is a combination of the beauty of Washington State, mixed with the beauty of the Wasilla/Anchorage area. Juneau, and Southeast Alaska as a whole – it’s a unique area.
All the rugged mountains are there, except they are much closer to you, and you get these wild-ass temperature fluctuations and rain in the winter. The foilage looks a little more like Washington.
Juneau is where I learned the word “Snain” – Snow mixed with rain. It’s a frequent occurrence in winter time Juneau, and yet before moving there I had never heard the term. Look at these summer shots of Juneau that I found.