Alaska Journey Day 83 by Dave Hileman

On A Clear Day You Can See Denali

Crystal clear (cold, too) morning. We drove out about 12 miles to the first view point. Denali in splendor. We explored the bus and visitor center and then a steep hike down to Horseshoe Lake. It is a classic ox-bow lake that was once the main bed of the river, Nenana. Picturesque and serene place. New bird number 30 on the hike an Alder Flycatcher. On the culinary front, another excellent meal of the salmon Tom caught. Alaskan wild salmon really is different. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

Big speech to the Moose of Denali is tomorrow. I am trying to get a large crowd together so I am offering a nice tundra water infused lilly root and winter berry beverage that BrrICE is preparing. The Chief of Ceremonies is arranging a salute to the Candidate, really nice touch. And, I almost forgot - not really, just a surprise, but the gorgeous Moose, Ms McKinley, I met and wrote to here in the park is joining me on the platform. What a day tomorrow will be.  

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Alder Fluycatcher

Alder Fluycatcher

Alaska Journey Day 82 by Dave Hileman

Repeat - sort of - Day

We went back to Denali. Stopped for church in Wasilla and then on to the park. As we traveled up the Park Highway we noticed The Mountain. There was Denali completely without clouds- we expect because of the strong winds. The rangers tell us that about 1/3 of people who visit the park see the peak of Denali, we had not until this time. But not just the peak but the whole of the visible range. Striking. After we got ourselves and Tom settled in the campground we struck off to mile post 15 - as far as you can drive a private car. Our plan was a view of the mountain & a hike at Savage River. Neither worked as Denali was no longer visible and the wind kicked up a notch and with dropping temperatures and rain, we turned around after 200 yards. In the truck headed back we spotted both caribou and moose and found a nice walk at Mountain View trail. The weather still a bit cold but the wind and rain stopped. A pasta dinner in Tom’s RV completed the day.  

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

Good place to start my campaign swing across Alaska. No idea why it is a swing. Then on to Washington and the Great NorthWest. I am also starting my funding. I expect this to be expensive so I am going to try and raise $274.58. That ought to cover everything. I have also learned I need a vice candidate. Well I am opposed to vice, so I think it is a trap set for me by some of the more devious of the 282 other candidates. I will put BrrICE on it. Finally we are back in the Central part of Alaska - my major Moose constituency will be the back drop of my first major speech. Then I’ll sequester (I have learned some political words - erudition being one of my most outstanding qualities) for a week or so to finish staff stuff.  Right now into what passes for a town to get a latte. I really need to fill the Chief of Latte Acquisition soon.

Tom’s First Moose, except for Cadillas

Tom’s First Moose, except for Cadillas

Our first full view of Denali but it gets better!

Our first full view of Denali but it gets better!

Alaska Journey Day 81 by Dave Hileman

A Day in the City

Spent the morning using Starbucks WiFi to prep some posts and then we went into Anchorage to find a food truck that is owned and run by the daughter of a friend we were with at Johnson University. Amanda has a large following and had spent a day earlier this week with the Man vs Food guy! We had huge egg sandwiches. CJH and Tom shopped at the PX for food for the week in Denali. Then back into town to search for moose. Zip. But we did find the Alaskan inspired ice cream at Wild Scoops. Excellent cones. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

Why did I not know about saluting? It is so cool. Minion One it turns out was in the army. He showed a card and people saluted him. He said that if, (IF?) I get to be president they will salute me. What a perk. He, the minion, under my careful tutorage, is salvageable like BrrICE. And since he gets saluted I am making him my Chief of Ceremonies. He will be thrilled. He is pretty organized so planning events and special ceremonies for me will be an easy hit. He will, of course, need to work with the Chief of Telling HP about Me (TBA) and the Chief of Public Stuff (TBA) and the Chief of Campaign Security (TBA) and the Chief of How I Look (TBA) and the Chief of Latte Acquisition (TBA) and the Chief of Candidate, me.

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Alaska Journey Day 80 by Dave Hileman

Air Force Day

We have left the Kenai. But the very last thing we did, late last night was to find one of my long sought birds, a Spruce Grouse. Not only did I see one, but before we left that area, 10 Spruce Grouse were seen. Yay. On the way back to Anchorage we stopped at Portage Glacier to once again hike the Byron Glacier trail. The snow there was nearly gone in the two weeks between visits. On to town with lots to do. We first got visitor passes to the Elmendorf - Richardson Base in north Anchorage and after secured two camping spots on the huge base. Then back to town to pick up Tom’s RV for the week and an orientation to its operation. Nice rig. Then loads of laundry - see very exciting day! We did stop for a nice cone at Wild Scoops. Rhubarb Crumble was tasty. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

I think I am now in a secure facility with guards and gates and scary stuff. I did not know that being a candidate for President of US would be so intense. But I guess they recognize my value. So instead of selecting some of my staff I had to do security things. I did promote BdB and am pleased to announce that BdB is now to be known as BrrICE - a clearly intimidating name for my new head of personal security. He is somewhere training with these soldiers.  Oh, and all of these armed forces people get super neat hats. I wonder if I get a hat as president? I bet I do and it must be the most amazing hat of all. 

First Spruce Grouse

First Spruce Grouse

Young Male Spruce Grouse

Young Male Spruce Grouse

Alaska Journey Day 79 by Dave Hileman

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Announcement Day

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

I told the guides I would write their part and get on to the important stuff. The guides and my minion did various things at various times in various places. Done. Now on to the Most Important Announcement of the Year.

Most Important Announcement of the Year

Given the sad state of Moose Rights in the US, the poor representation of Moose in any official capacity and the fact that not one of the 207 HPs running for the highest office have a single reference to this burning issue, I, Cadillac Moose, late of Acadia Maine and currently residing in the North of Carolina, do now restore the glorious Bull Moose Party to its rightful place as the premiere party in the United States and accept the unanimous call of the entire party leadership as the Bull Moose Party declared & official 2020 candidate for the office of President of all of the United States of American, how ever many of them that there are.

In the tradition of the renowned Bull Moose Party, Cadillac makes his announcement at the first of multiple Whistle Stops along the campaign trail,

In the tradition of the renowned Bull Moose Party, Cadillac makes his announcement at the first of multiple Whistle Stops along the campaign trail,

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To allow time for this momentous announcement to permeate the collective conscious on the American HPs I will not hold a press conference at this time nor enumerate all of my staff and position papers but will attend to them over the next few days.  

Don’t Mess With US.

Don’t Mess With US.

Alaska Journey Day 78 by Dave Hileman

Moving Day

We left Homer with great memories, nice photos and a pantry full of pie from the Pie Guy and baked goods from Two Sisters. This was a day of finishes.

  1. Went to four stores to buy some things we had been thinking about getting for gifts

  2. Completed the fishing trip by picking up the packaged fish and storing in the freezer and Tom gave a lot away.

  3. Bought: gas & propane

  4. Trip to the ATM

  5. Drove to an overlook to see a perspective on the bay

  6. Cindy got a really nice knife from Tom - useful for the kitchen

  7. Stopped at the farmers market

  8. Broke camp, repacked things for the short drive to Soldotna

So, that was the morning. Nothing exciting extraordinary except the eagle that landed near our campsite. He was really large. Our drive north was beautiful and we could see across the bay for the first time to the snow capped, glacier filled volcanos that make up a lot of Lake Clark National Park. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

Finally some peace and quiet for me to get ready for the huge announcement tomorrow. So much to do, I must not get distracted by anything. I did get a nice letter from one of the ladies I wrote to that I met in Denali. She was so pretty and clearly adored me. I need to get the guides to return to Denali so we can have a berry-date and get to know each other a bit. But can’t think of her now, got to concentrate on tomorrow. I have to finish a lot of tasks. Of course, it would not hurt to stop and write her a short note. Won’t take too long. She was very pretty and smart and, I think, entranced by the Moose Rights idea. Sure, good idea, I could use a short break.

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Alaska Journey Day 77 by Dave Hileman

A Split Day

Some of you know that our friend from Williamsburg, Tom, has joined us for a couple of weeks. We have been getting RV parks that have other lodging options for Tom until next week when he rents an RV for the days that we are back in Denali. Yesterday he went salmon fishing while CJH and I took a water taxi across the bay to a state park for a seven mile hike to a glacier lake that had some interesting ice bergs floating in it. Tom caught his limit of four salmon and we are going to cook one tomorrow night. He said it was a great experience. We enjoyed our outing, no birds, no fish or other animals but a really nice trail and the lake with the Grewingk (not a spelling error!) Glacier in the background was beautiful. We were all pretty tired and made it an early night. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

I was not distracted but rather answered the call to service that the minion and the guides needed. But how, they were in separate boats? Even a Moose talented and clever as I could not be in two locations at the same moment. Since I don’t know if the minion is even worth anything yet, I stayed with the guides, cause I still don’t have a car driving permit. MOOSE RIGHTS NOW! I cannot afford to lose the guides, as mildly competent as the Driver is, still. I did let them go on the wander by themselves so I could work on my speech but they returned soon and back across the bay. Now I have only two days until the big reveal, tomorrow I simply cannot rescue anyone. 

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Alaska Journey Day 76 by Dave Hileman

The Birds & The Bears Day (G rating)

Wow. The day began with me heading out to the bay with a guide to view sea birds (along with 7 other people). Lots to view and I saw 3 new birds including the elusive Kittlitz’s Murrelet, a Pacific Loon, and a Short-tailed Shearwater. Lots of puffins, gulls, Common Murrs and a few Harlequin Ducks. We also saw a humpback whale, seals and lots of sea otters. 

Then in the late afternoon, Tom and I lifted off in a seaplane for Lake Clark NP (Number 239). We landed in Chinitna Bay that boarders on the park. Then we transferred to an airboat like you usually see in the Everglades - were told it is the only one in Alaska - and off skimming across the mud flat and the silted glacier water in the very shallow bay to view bears. We saw a mom and first year cub and watched them a long time, then an older big bear caught two fish as we watched from a different vantage point. The captain then moved us closer to a couple of other bears who emerged from the tall grass but they did not really come too close. We saw more at a distance then took a long ride to another vantage point off shore where four younger, active bears were fishing. One went back to the grass but the other three walked straight toward us with one curious fellow stopping about 25 feet from the boat first to stare at us (HP-O as Cadillac would say) and, then picked up a fish and chose to eat it facing our boat. Amazing. Along the way we also spotted eagles and gulls, a large flock of loons and, for me, the fourth new bird of the day, Greater White-fronted Goose. We landed back in the home base lake and taxied to the dock about 9 that evening. Spectacular day!

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

I did not get much work done as I had to fly and drive a boat in the same day! Impressive. First I fly a floaty kind of half plane half boat. It was a cinch. Then I drove a boat that thought it was a plane and we skimmed over the water. Once again looking at un-antlered animals. Hmm, must include one of them in the new staff since the HP like them. Anyway, back in the plane and then it was late. Bearly- did you catch that? (I think the HP/s call those a D’Faith.) Anyway hardly time for my evening latte and wild bay salad. Tomorrow I’ll not be distracted with only three days to go. Focus is one of my most outstanding qualities. 

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The baby captures a stick.

The baby captures a stick.

Alaska Journey Day 75 by Dave Hileman

The Orthodox Day

We moved today back to Homer. Turned out to be a very nice day. Along the way we saw swan at Tern Lake, a very interesting Russian Orthodox Church building from the early 1900’s and a family of eagles who were nesting on a cliff. The younger one was on the beach. We checked in for tomorrow’s events and ate a very good meal at AJ’s Steakhouse. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

I have a big announcement - Announcement Day is in only FOUR DAYS. Please set your calendars and clocks. Lots of last minute stuff: staff, logo, keynote, slogan and minion training. Good thing that one of my most outstanding qualities is time management. Sorry, must get started with nothing to distract for the next three days. Busy, busy, busy. 

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This is so neat, I am in the veterans section of their old graveyard and you can see the American flag, there were many, in the yard of the Russian Orthodox Church. A diverse nation.

This is so neat, I am in the veterans section of their old graveyard and you can see the American flag, there were many, in the yard of the Russian Orthodox Church. A diverse nation.

Alaska Journey Day 74 by Dave Hileman

The Nice Easy Day, oops. 

In the morning with the aftereffects of a tough headache, I chose to slow down today. We went to a church building that was now a coffee shop (newer church down the street) and worked a bit, we shopped around the little stores and had lunch at the old pre-earthquake train station. I even bought something at the Russian store. Neat. Then we decided to take a hike on the “level” trail along the beach to an inlet where the salmon were running but no fishing. Three different people told us a nice easy hike. Chose your own conspiracy theory but the level hike was not and the distance was twice what was stated. It was beautiful. Worth it. Yet not an “easy” day. Except for the superior halibut we had at dinner. That was more than easy to enjoy. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

Clearly I have work to do with only BdB and this one un-proven minion. The one upside is that he has not looked at ice - yet. However, not to worry once the plan is public volunteers will flock to the cause. I do need more staff. Perhaps I should advertise here, clearly scores of HP’s read my prose and delight at my choice of clever riposte. Well, no fear, I will figure it out. Plus I need to set the announcement date. Definitely this month. Soon. 

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Alaska Journey Day 73 by Dave Hileman

Fjords Day

Made up for the two photographs yesterday with 700 today. The trip out to the glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park begins in the Seward Harbor boarding one of the tour boats. Ours was very comfortable - table # one, window, second floor. The boat offered food and drinks at reasonable prices and free coffee and tea anytime. Before we were out of the harbor, we spotted a regal bald eagle on a piling. Next were sea otters, then at the head of the bay, a humpback whale. Nice views close to the boat and the shore. Across the open edge of the ocean, many horned and tufted (new bird for me) puffins were swimming and flying. Then a large pod of orcas appeared all around the boat. What a treat! We then saw stellar sea lions and Holgate and Aialik tidewater glaciers. We watched harbor seals on floating bits of ice that calved from Aialik Glacier. Drinks were served on the boat made with chipped glacier ice.

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

What a busy day, first I got to drive a larger boat and, even though it was to see ice, it was still great. So conflicted about what kind of pilot I want to be, train, plane or boat. They all get neat hats. Saw a lot of un-antlered animals. Eh. In between my responsibilities, I did an initial interview of the minion. He is not as useless as he appeared. He is also a pilot - though I did not see him with a neat hat - so that is interesting, and he offered to handle the radio for me which is good because the HP on the other ends are not very good at understanding the King’s English when I give them such clear commands. Also, he brought me a momento of home, an Acadia NP Moose wall hanging made out of precious metal that magically hangs on things. Must have been very expensive. I was able to mold BdB against all odds, so I think I can use this one - still one minion is not what I expected. May delay that thank you to Mr. Mook.

New bird number 24 for the trip, a Tufted Puffin serenely sailing in Resurrection Bay.

New bird number 24 for the trip, a Tufted Puffin serenely sailing in Resurrection Bay.

Alaska Journey Day 72 by Dave Hileman

The Off Day

I shot two photos today with my iPhone. We had some work to do on the trailer in the AM, and I went back to Anchorage to pick up Tom at the airport because his plane was delayed in Newark he missed the train. I picked up parts needed for the RV and a couple of items from the grocery. Cindy was able to visit the Sea Life Center in Seward. Highlights were watching the puffins being fed and the recuperating sea otter munching on ice as well as seeing the huge stellar sea lions. Tom and I arrived in Seward about 6, the three of us ate dinner in the trailer, then after Tom crashed (very little sleep for him in 30 hours) at his hotel, CJH and I walked downtown and sampled the gelato. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

Frustration - I don’t know where to begin. We did get to the plane lot and much to my chagrin I got a minion. Not minions, one minion. One. Single minion not an army of them. Not sure what I am going to do with a single minion. He does not look like he is capable of much. This is a setback on my plans. However, I will figure this out, overcoming adversity is one of my most outstanding qualities. It does throw my planning off a few days. Tomorrow apparently we are going to go see even more ice - I am so tired of ice that a cannon or a moldy house would be a pleasant diversion. I’ll take the minion along and assess his skill level, it must be more than zero, and re-jiggle my schedule. One solitary, lone, minion and a whole campaign to organize - BdB will have to step up. He will be back from wherever he goes day after tomorrow. Leadership can be a lonely burden. 

A section of the Blue Ice Trail near Portage Glacier was a raised boardwalk through the forest. Really nice.

A section of the Blue Ice Trail near Portage Glacier was a raised boardwalk through the forest. Really nice.

Alaska Journey Day 71 by Dave Hileman

Exit Day

We arrived in Seward near noon - just in time to nab an RV spot on the waterfront: a real find. So we are set up with a stunning view of Resurrection Bay and the mountains across the bay. We have Marathon Mountain on the other side of our park. Clear blue skies, crisp mountain tops with dabs of snow and ice, sparkling water with boats moving up and down the bay and a pleasant breeze keeping everything comfortable in the high 70’s. WOW. Exit Glacier is accessible from land; we walked the trail there at Kenai Fjords National Park, number 238. Each glacier is different so always interesting. A walk to downtown along the water and another after dinner to the boat docks with an ice cream shop brought total walking today to about 5.5 miles. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

So the minions are not coming by train but by plane, and we have to go back to Anchorage to get them. I don’t know how they will all fit in the driver’s little truck. (Who, if you are keeping score, walked to see ice AGAIN, maybe it is an unhealthy obsession and not a ritual?) Well, however the minions get here, the critical thing is that they are here and needed. I will have to write Mr. Mook a thank you note. Courtesy is one of my most outstanding qualities. Well, a bit of time tonight to finish the plans. I also need to stop and refill the cereal bins, we are down to an unreasonable and unsafe 34 day supply. 

Bonus points if you can find the people in the photo!

Bonus points if you can find the people in the photo!

Alaska Journey Day 70 by Dave Hileman

Training Day

Retraced our drive back to Potter Marsh where we saw two swans. A short hike at McCleod Picnic Area led to a beautiful view of the Turnagain Arm after crossing a striking creek. At Portage Whistle Stop, we embarked on a train ride through the Placer River Valley. Amazing mountain views on the slow train where we sat high up in the domed viewing car. Saw only one eagle in a nest on the whole trip. We did go by five named glaciers, and the ride on the narrow gauge Alaska Railroad included a high trestle and five short tunnels along the Placer Gorge. A short drive south to the campsite on the shore of Summit Lake. 

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

I think the Driver felt guilty about leaving me behind when he flew off to the North, so they let me drive a train. Really neat hat! I was quite good at driving the train and kept It on the very narrow track. That clearly took a great deal of skill. Now I can pilot boats, trains and planes. I need an extra special hat. It was a day of Great News. BdB tracked down my minions in something called Kansas and put them on a train - they arrive in two days. Yay. Mr. Mook must have been given directions from the Driver, you would think he would know better. BdB did say a few got lost so there are fewer of them coming. Not good. My research is done and accurate & much of my strategy is complete. I’ll finish that tomorrow. All that remains is to put some assistance in place and arrange the announcement that will startle the world. Moose Rights is near! (The guides looked at ICE again??? In fact the whole train was agog with multiple ice viewing this HP-O is not easy)

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Rolling out of the whistle stop

Rolling out of the whistle stop

Trail Glacier

Trail Glacier