Paleo Chocolate chip banana bread — aka Black Bottom Banana Bread (paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free)

Yes, it’s paleo. ¬†I was super excited and intrigued! ¬†This came out so moist and delicious; I just had to share!

Recipe from Living Healthy with Chocolate

Black Bottom Banana Bread (paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free)

 Ingredients
  • 1¬Ĺ cups blanched almond flour
  • 1¬Ĺ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
  • ¬ľ cup raw cacao powder
  • 1¬Ĺ cups ripe bananas*
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. in a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, baking soda and salt
  2. add the bananas, coconut oil, vanilla, egg and honey to a food processor and pulse to combine ingredients
  3. mix together the wet and dry ingredients using a spoon to form a batter. Be careful not to over mix or the batter will become oily and dense.
  4. divide the batter in half. Add the cacao powder and chocolate chips to half and pour into the bottom of an 8¬Ĺ‚ÄĚ x 4¬Ĺ‚ÄĚ-inch medium loaf pan greased or lined with parchment paper
  5. spoon remaining batter on top and bake at 350¬įF until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 45¬†minutes.
Cook’s Notes

* To measure 1¬Ĺ cups of bananas, chop the banana into small pieces and fill the measuring cup.

Apple bananas enhances the flavor of this bread, so make sure to use it if you can find it for sale at your local stores.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins

My Bear absolutely loves sweets. ¬†I’m currently still in the transition of going paleo and eating clean, however, one can indulge every now and then, right? ¬†Last Thanksgiving, we hosted both our families and I was stressing to figure out what to prepare. ¬†I have minimal baking experience. ¬†So I needed something easy and straightforward and most of all tasty! ¬†I stumbled upon this recipe and it was a hit. ¬†It’s one of my Bear’s fave fall recipes — and he loves cream cheese. ¬†It was a great compromise for flavor (cheese cake is appalling to me, but it’s my Bear’s fave) and texture. ¬†For all the new bakers out there, give this recipe a try (see link at the bottom: huge props to The Novice Chef¬†for this outstanding recipe!).


PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE SWIRL MUFFINS

yield: 18 MUFFINS

prep time: 12 MINUTES

cook time: 18 MINUTES

total time: 30 MINUTES

pumpkin-cream-cheese-swirl-muffins-1-sm

INGREDIENTS:

  • FOR THE MUFFINS
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (pure pumpkin puree)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • FOR THE FROSTING/SWIRL
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬įF. Place paper baking cups into muffin pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar and brown sugar.
  4. Beat in eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
  6. Top each muffin with about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture and use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter. This will not look smooth, but it will bake up much prettier.
  7. Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Mimi’s Chinese Chicken

This was one of my childhood favorites. If I wasn’t feeling well, I would drink the broth. I loved the tenderness of the chicken after being boiled. There was a ton of flavor! And I used to love pouring the sauce over rice as I really disliked the texture and blandness of white rice.  Thank you Mimi for teaching me one of my faves!

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 drumsticks (may be frozen or thawed)
  • 5 star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
  • One Thai Chile or red pepper flakes
  • One small dab of honey or agave (very small)
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • One bag of Asian spice pouch (either brand found at the Asian market) — see pics below


DIRECTIONS:
1. In a 3 quart sauce pan, place drumsticks in water (just enough to cover the drumsticks). Cover pan and bring to boil (med-high heat). 

2. Once boiling, skim off fat before adding spices. 

3. Add all spices. Stir well to make sure all ingredients are mixed. Water should still be boiling at this point. Boil one minute longer after all ingredients mixed well. 


4. Decrease temperature to med-low for 30 minutes (if frozen or until chicken meat looks like it’s almost falling off the bone). Keep lid on (do not lift lid to check on meat). 

5. Turn off heat after 30 minutes. 

You may use liquid as broth. It’s great for soup, broth to drink, rice topper, seasoning of veggies, etc. 

THE FINAL PRODUCT

Patagonia – December 2016


Best options:
Company
Cost pp
W Trek
Added activities
All inclusive?
tent?
$3345-3500
yes
kayak iceberg
walk glaciers
$3500 for porter, $300 for regional flights; can add rafting or horseback riding in Chilean Lakes District; wine country
Tent vs. backcountry refugees
Buses in Chile
Easter Island

THE REAL ITINERARY

Air Canada: KMS54I
AC1886 SAN 11:30a ‚ÄĒ> Toronto 7:14P
AC92 Toronto 11:45p ‚ÄĒ> Santiago 12:45p on Dec 24

 
Arrive 12:45p to SCL
Gorgeous flight over the mountains and coast! Looks kinda like the flyover Santa Barbara where the mountains abut the ocean.
Annoying guy in immigration keeps turning and his backpack keeps hitting mine. I want to punch him! ¬†He’s invading my personal space.
Night in Santiago
José Victorino Lastarria 276, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Fantastic lunch spot! In a great area to walk around. Delicious wine and food pairings.
 
Confirmation Number: 310507392 
Lovely modern hotel in the middle of Bellas Artes district. Easily walkable to/from. Metro stop close by.

6am flight to Puerto Natales –> 9:30a
Stay Puerto Natales for the day:

Hotel IF Patagonia

Calle Magallanes 73, XII Región Puerto Natales, CHILE
Email: reservas@hotelifpatagonia.com
Phone:¬†+5661 2410312,¬†Fax: —

They have a sauna – super hip and modern!!


Swoop partnered with Chile Nativo in Puerto Natales to organize W trek.

11am Рmeet at Eberhard #230 office for group orientation. 

Day 1:

Starting from Puerto Natales at 12 PM or from Cerro Castillo at 1PM, we drive all the way to¬†Torres del Paine National Park. We will¬†drive through open pampas and huge ranches¬†(estancias), and chances are we will be able to observe one of the most typical animals in this area, the nandu, (rare South American ostrich). We will follow an unpaved road heading to Refugio Las Torres to spend our first night. Upon entering the park we will have¬†excellent photographic and bird-watching opportunities¬†as we drive alongside¬†lagoons frequented by Chilean flamencos and black-necked swans. Today’s hike is on a gentle trail following the border of the park and offers opportunities to see¬†guanacos (Llama family)¬†andthe Andean Condor.

2 hours private transfer to Torres del Paine

Hike duration: 3 hours 

Accommodation: Refugio Las Torres

Meals: Dinner 
It was freakin windy!!! Omg. Hard to stay upright!

Day 2:

We will start our first day¬†trekking to the base of the Towers, following the Ascencio River to enter the Ascencio Valley. Our walk will be uphill for one hour before stopping to observe the first glimpses of the valley surrounded by¬†unbelievable beech forests (Nothofagus family), glaciers and waterfalls.¬†We’ll continue through the valley for another hour and a half before ascending a huge terminal moraine to a lookout (900m), excellent for picture taking. At this point, we will be surrounded by three giant granite towers (2850m) and a lagoon with slurry waters due to erosion produced by glaciers. This amazing view will be accompanied by lunch to add to the enjoyment. After being awed by the towers we’ll start our descent, following the same path back to the hut.

Hike duration: 7-8 hours 18 km

Accommodation: Refugio las Torres

Meals: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner 

Day 3:

We will start early morning to enjoy, weather permitting, a magnificent dawn filled with orange-pink colors. As we leave the campground we will arrive at Inge lagoon. Chances are, on this path, we may see the flight of an Andean condor or eagles hunting hares or small rodents. We follow a well-marked trail ascending (around 200m) from the base of Almirante Nieto Mountain (2750m), crossing the Bader River to arrive at Refugio Los Cuernos where we will stay overnight.

Hike duration: 5 hours 11km (500m difference of level)

Accommodation: Refugio los Cuernos

Meals: Breakfast, boxed lunch, dinner

(You can upgrade to private cabins with two beds and sharing bathrooms in between the cabins only and a free Hot tub access for USD $80 per single occupancy or USD $40 per double occupancy)

Day 4:

We will start our day with a 2-hour walk going to an undulating path until reaching the French River for our first glimpses of the hanging glacier. Then we will ascend (300m,) for one hour through a surreal Japanese garden landscape, crossing beech forests, to reach the French Valley viewpoint gifting us with a magnificent view of both mountains and lakes. We will lunch here with good possibilities of seeing avalanches from the hanging glacier or simply observe the west side of the Cuernos (2600m), Espada (2400m) and Fortaleza (2800m). Our way back will be the same until we reach the entrance of the valley where we will continue on a different path around the South-West side of Paine Grande, the highest peak in the Park, through native forests of Chilean fire bush and evergreen beech (Nothofagus Bethuloides), up to the shore of the Pehoe Lake.

Hike duration: 7 hours 18 km

Accommodation: Refugio Paine Grande

Meals: Breakfast, boxed lunch, dinner 

Day 5:

We will begin early in the morning with our hike to the Grey Glacier. Initially ascending 200mts up a winding narrow path leading us to Laguna Negra, a place where we will observe the first glimpses of the South Patagonia Ice Field with its many unclimbed mountains. We will advance through forests and rivers, with possible sightings of spectacle and flying steamer ducks, up to the glacier viewpoint. We will have lunch at this place to and hopefully catch sight of ice calving from the huge glacier wall. Right after lunch we start an exciting adventure by boat. We will navigate for a while in front of the glacier in the hope of seeing icebergs calve. Our return journey offers views of Paine Grande with its impressive ice mushrooms and we sail through icebergs of different tones of blue. Then we will take a transfer back to Puerto Natales.

Hike duration: 4 hours 12 km

Boat trip duration: 2 hours

Transfer duration: 2 hours

Meals: Breakfast, boxed lunch 

Please note: Trip can start/end in El Calafate, Argentina. Arrival El Calafate around 2pm on Day 6. Please enquire for further details.
 
Done with trip around 6pm.
 
Massage/spa at Mandala Andino
301, 6160000, Manuel Bulnes, Puerto Natales, Natales, Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile
7p – Deep body or detox massage (Christy), Thai massage (Kris)
Find bus from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas: BusSur
SALIDA LLEGADA SERVICIOS PRECIO
Puerto Natales
30.12.2016, 21:00
Terminal Rodoviario Puerto Natales
Punta Arenas
31.12.2016, 00:15
Terminal Bus-Sur Punta Arenas
HOTEL ILAIA
Telefono / Telephone:¬†+56 61 2723100, Direcci√≥n / Address: Ignacio Carrera Pinto #351, Punta Arenas – Patagonia ‚Äď Chile.
E-mail: reservas@ilaiapatagoni

a.com

|   www.ilaiapatagonia.com


Fly out of Punta Arenas to Santiago: Sky NK5V6
Punta Arenas – Santiago de Chile
FLIGHT DATE CLASS CONNECTIONS DEPARTURE TIME ARRIVAL TIME
SKY 004 31/12/2016 L 10:10 13:30
Must get rental car to drive from Santiago to Valparaiso: https://goo.gl/maps/ivFNiMfuBBp (1 hr and tolls)
 
Airport transfer from Santiago to bus terminal. Then another bus to Valparaiso. We found our our air bnb hostess can arrange for a driver for us to do Casablanca valley wineries!  
 
Uber to plaza de sotomayor
Ascensor el peral 
 
 
AirBNB
 
Check In

Sat, Dec 31

3PM – 9PM

Check Out

Mon, Jan 02

Flexible check out time

Address

Javiera Carrera 340 1604

Valparaíso, Región de Valparaíso

Chile

Get directionsView listing


 
 
Sun, Jan 1, 2016
Valparaiso

Mon, Jan 2, 2016
Morning in Concepcion and alegre
3:30p cooking class at Cafe Melbourne

Tues, Jan 3, 2016

Casablanca Valley (bt Santiago and valpo)
  • Fruity chards
  • Sauv blancs
  • Pinots
Rte 68
Emiliana (biodynamic), vina indomita (carmenere), vina veramonte (cab, chards);
Casas del bosque, Bodegas Re, Loma Larga, Matetic. 
 

?Mendoza (8 hrs away) — too far w border check
 
Maipo Valley (south of Santiago, 1.5 hrs)
Cab, merlot, carmenere, Syrah
  • Town of Pirque as central locale
Vina aquitania (santiago’s most interesting; high quality, small production), vina almaviva (partnership w baron philippe de Rothschild and concha y torro; sophisticated sis of concha y toro), vina Santa Rita (premium casa real cab );
Haras de Pirque, Perez Cruz, De Martino. Vina cousi√Īo Macul,¬†
Stay @ Hotel Casa Pando
Cabello 421 (6 blocks north of Plaza de Armas)

Wed, Jan 4, 2016
Colchagua Valley
Use Santa Cruz as departure point
10:30a Lapostolle (sig red Clos de Apalta); 12pm Montes
2p Viu manent
Stay @ Hotel Casa Pando
Cabello 421 (6 blocks north of Plaza de Armas)

Thurs, Jan 5, 2016
Pichilemu
Bus: Terminal Santa Cruz
Hotel: Ruka Lobos
Rsv: 1373.041.090
Punta de Lobos
3220000 Pichilemu

Maule Valley (export wine)
Feb 2010 earthquake
Town of Talca as base camp
Via wines (sustainable, sauv Blanc, Syrah), vina gillmore (cab franc)

Fri, Jan 6, 2016
Back to Santiago
21:00 Borago Santiago, Chile: http://www.borago.cl
Nueva Costanera 3467, Vitacura, Región Metropolitana, Chile
 
Renaissance Santiago Hotel
Avenida Presidente Kennedy 4700, Vitacura . Santiago 7630454 Chile 
Reservation Confirmation: 84481467
For MS Christy Cosper
MARRIOTT REWARDS MEMBER
CHECK-IN DATE
Friday, January 6, 2017
CHECK-IN TIME
03:00 PM
CHECK-OUT DATE
Sunday, January 8, 2017
CHECK-OUT TIME
12:00 PM

Sat, Jan 7, 2016
Santiago during day
Air Canada: KMS54I
AC93 SCL 9:10P¬†‚ÄĒ> Toronto 5:40am (Jan 8)
 
Renaissance Santiago Hotel
Reservation Confirmation: 84481467

Sun, Jan 8, 2016
AC1887 Toronto 8:20am¬†‚ÄĒ> San Diego 10:34am

Oregon – October 2016

Wineries from Jason
Willamette
  • St. Innocent ‚ÄĒ 11-5p daily
  • Brooks ‚ÄĒ 11-5p daily
  • JK Carriers ‚ÄĒ Fri & Sat 11-4p
  • Shea ‚ÄĒ the shit ‚ÄĒ Ressies Thurs, Fri, Sat
Columbia Valley
  • The Rocks – Syrah
  • Gramercy Cellars ‚ÄĒ syrah
Seattle
  • Resties: Wild Ginger, Canlis, EMP museum
Portland
  • Pok Pok
  • Distillery Row — ginger liqueur
Breweries
Hikes
  • Multnomah Falls
  • Get this guide:¬†Scott Cook‚Äôs guidebooks Bend Overall and Curious Gorge offer detailed (and irreverent) info, direx, and fun facts about all kinds of adventures you can have in two of the areas we‚Äôll focus on in this loop: Central Oregon and the Columbia Gorge respectively. They‚Äôre available at Powell‚Äôs in Portland and almost every coffee shop in the town of Hood River.
Surf Articles
North Coast Oregon tour (references breweries in Astoria)
101 Brewery Tour Oregon (coastal breweries)
RV options: Sprinter
Sample from Cruise America (need to call for one-way)
Anticantrea winery
Patricia Green winery
Amatello winery
Portland
Forest Park
Seattle
Westward

THE ITINERARY


 
Alaska Airlines AS571
San Diego 2:50 pm, Portland 5:14 pm
Alamo
Portland (PDX)
Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown/Pearl District
1150 Northwest 9th Ave, Portland 97209
Check in after 4:00 pm
Pok Pok (2.4 miles to Hair of the Dog Brewery)
Distillery Row
Hair of the Dog Brewery
Stay in Portland

 
Shea Wines – 10:00 a.m. booked with Peter Shea
The tasting will be in the winery, which is the first building on the left as you come up the driveway.
Travelodge Suites Newberg
Check in 2 pm, checkout 11 am
2816 Portland Road, Newberg (Oregon), OR 97132
J.K. Carriere –¬†Parrett Mtn. Paulee Party, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m
Deschutes and 10 Barrel Brewing (both also in Bend)
Potentially Ten Falls Hike

 
St. Innocent Winery –¬†Tourt, Tasting, and Pairing –¬†11:00 a.m.
Brooks Winery2:00 pm, scheduled with Jessica Pierce via email, live music 1-4 pm
Cascade Trail Head – approx 1:05 min drive from St. Innocent
South Trailhead
Take 22 to the 18 to the Coast
3.4 miles, 6.8 out and back, can do car pickup after first half

Staying at turtlejanes bed n breakfast
Pacific City
Hike Cape Kiwanda
Pelican Pub and Brewery
Moment Surf Company – for rentals
Surf by haystack monolith
Hike Cape Lookout
Additional option: Otter Rock, south

Oswald West State Park – waterfalls, surf, creeks, tide pools, old growth forest
Short Sand Beach – Surf, protected and picturesque cove
Hug Point – go on low tide, beaches, caves, tide pools
Manzanita
Cannon Beach – Surf, Pelican Brewing
Ecola State Park – Cannon Beach to Seaside, 9 miles
Indian’s Beach – Surf, secluded, in Escola State Park
2740 South Pacific * Cannon Beach, OR 97110
Ph: 1-800-633-3466 | Fx: 503-436-9711
info@stephanieinn.com | www.stephanieinn.com

Please review the following information for accuracy.

Arrival Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Departure Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2016
No. of Nights: 1
Number of Guests: 2 Adult(s)
RATE DETAIL: 
From:   10/25/2016    To:   10/26/2016    For:    1 room

         1 night(s)  in a 1st Floor Oceanfront King
PLEASE NOTE:
‚ÄĘ The Inn provides a completely smoke and pet-free environment.
‚ÄĘ We welcome children over the age of 12.
‚ÄĘ Check-in time is after¬†4:00pm. Check-out time is¬†12:00 noon.
‚ÄĘ All reservations with a credit card on file will be guaranteed for late arrival.
‚ÄĘ Reservations will not be honored if credit card declines or a deposit check is returned for any reason.
‚ÄĘ Cancellations: We adhere to a 7 day cancellation policy. Should you have a change of plans, please advise us no later than 7 days prior to your date of arrival. This will enable us to refund your entire deposit.

Once again, thank you for selecting the Stephanie Inn.

Seaside – Surf, Seaside Brewing Co.
Seaside to Astoria – approx 30 min drive
Astoria
Astoria Brewing Company, Buoy Beer Co. (see link above)
Astoria to Portland – Approx 1:45 min drive
Astoria to Hood River – Approx 2:30 min drive

Portland to Hood River, 1:10 min drive
Multnomah Falls – en route to Hood River
Three Waterfalls Hike (see link above)
Oneonta Gorge – en route to Hood River
Eagle Creek, alternative side trip – waterfalls, pools, wild flowers, forest. Could also do this Sat 10/22
Hood River, Columbia Gorge – SUP, biking
Double Mountain Brewing

 
Hood River to Bend, approx 2:40 min drive
Stop for hike at Tamanawas Falls, near Mt. Hood
     Use south/Tamanawas Falls hike entry, 150 ft waterfall
     Dry cavern behind the falls
Stop at Metolius River – hiking, wildlife viewing, world class
Stop at Smith Rocks State Park

Bend, hiking, mountain biking
Deschutes River Trail – potential SUP
Bend to Portland, approx 3:10 min drive
Leave Bend by 1:00 pm
Alaska Airlines AS 552
Portland 6:55 pm to San Diego 9:14 pm

Best convenient meals that work for me

Everyone seems to be busy these days.  It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re a student, professional, stay-at-home… everyone is running around in the rat race of life.  When I lived in Boston, I would have a delivery service called PeaPod deliver my groceries typically on my postcall day bc I knew that’s when I’d be home.  But today, delivery services have improved!  I’ll go through each of my favorites:




GOBBLE

For the person or couple or family who likes the idea of cooking and/or cooking together, Gobble makes it super easy to whip together a delicious meal that takes all the menu planning, grocery shopping, portion controlling out of it.  It’s my go-to date night meal.


————————————-

FRESHLY

Freshly is a more Paleo focused meal that offers single serving portions of breakfast, lunch, or dinner that is super quick and convenient!  Some of the best parts about this delivery service: high quality protein, no refined sugars or artificial sweeteners, always gluten free, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and nutrient-rich veggies.  Need I say more?


————————————-

FRESH AND FIT

Fresh and Fit meals are more a local delivery food service that is super convenient and served in single serving containers.  It’s all natural and organic, seasonal, and comes from local, sustainable farms.  It’s more veggie intensive and they taste delicious!


————————————-

DAILY HARVEST

Daily Harvest is a wonderful way to blend up healthy stuff that’s super convenient and perfect for that sweet tooth craving!  Usually I’ll whip one of these up in the morning — either with water or coconut water or almond milk.  The directions are on each cup.  Oftentimes I’ll add my own protein powder, chia seeds, flax seed, etc. to boost my nutrition.  These shakes taste delicious — almost like a decadent milkshake (but one that’s actually healthy and good for you!).  So go ahead and have one for dessert!

‚ÄĒ——————————-

*** UPDATE March 2017 ***

SUN BASKET

This is now our go-to meal planner for the week! We love the nutritious aspect of this quick throw together meal delivery kit. It’s faster to prep than Blue Apron, but slightly longer to make than Gobble. The sunbasket ingredients are organic and as expected have a longer shelf life in the fridge. The recipes are super delicious and diverse. I prefer a paleo delivery kit and this one delivers!! 

Alaska: the last frontier

I needed a nature getaway. With work and wedding planning, I felt nature was a great way to connect to the very thing that “resets” me. So here’s an itinerary I took with a childhood buddy of mine in an RV for two weeks.

Italicized verbiage was my journal while there.

THE REAL ITINERARY


Mon, Aug 29

Fly out to Anchorage and pickup RV from Great Alaskan Holidays.


Anchorage

Flew in and picked up RV. Grabbed groceries from the local Walmart and Costco in Anchorage. Dinner at 9p at 49th State Brewery: beer flight — the Smoked Marzen was smokey and delicious. Beer battered halibut and fries. Drove until midnight; looking for side rest areas. Hard to see at night.

————————————-

Tues, Aug 30
9am – 14:30p ‚ÄĒ White water rafting @ 6 mile creek
http://www.chugachoutdoorcenter.com/six_mile_rafting.htm

We had some changes to our itinerary where instead of the 9am start, we started around 12:30 and it was perfect. So before the rafting, we opted for a really close hike with a view of Turnagain Arm.


Description: Three Canyon Six Mile Creek Rafting6 mile creek most challenging. On way from Anchorage to Seward.


OUR OFFICE FOR SIXMILE CREEK RIVER TRIPS IS LOCATED AT MILEPOST 7.5 ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE HOPE HIGHWAY.

TO GET THERE FROM ANCHORAGE GO SOUTH ON THE SEWARD HWY. TO THE HOPE JUNCTION, TURN RIGHT (NORTH) AND PROCEED 7.5 MILES DOWN THE HOPE HIGHWAY.

THE HOPE JUNCTION IS 70 MILES FROM DOWNTOWN ANCHORAGE.

SHUTTLE VAN TRANSPORTATION IS AVAILABLE FOR GROUPS OF 2 OR MORE FROM GIRDWOOD, COOPER LANDING, WHITTIER AND SEWARD.

PLEASE CONTACT US FOR PRICING.

CALL TOLL-FREE AT 1-866-277-RAFT (7238).

ANCHORAGE AREA RESIDENTS CAN DIAL LOCALLY AT 277-RAFT”

Exit Glacier:
Google Map: 1h 18m
https://www.nps.gov/kefj/planyourvisit/exit-glacier-area.htm
Ice Climbing Exit Glacier: ?8hrs — we opted for an easy 2 mile hike up to see Exit Glacier since we would be having our own ice hiking/climbing adventure at another glacier.

Post up in Seward for the evening:
http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions/alaska/seward
http://www.cityofseward.us/index.aspx?nid=864
http://www.cityofseward.us/DocumentCenter/View/2969


http://www.themilepost.com/features/ipad-and-android-apps

Tuesday, Aug 30

Hope

Drove into Chugach National Forest — so beautiful! Tall mountains, tall trees and pines, gorgeous lakes and creeks. This morning, we were supposed to have a 9am white water rafting trip down 6 mile creek (class 5 Rapids)…. But there was a miscommunication. But, it got worked out — we ended up going to do Hope Point hike and saw some amazing views of the Turnagain Arm. After we did our hike, we went down to grab a coffee and snack at Kayak and Coffeehouse. The owner, Levi, was super helpful in explaining to us the bore tide as well as answering questions on what to do in town and what Alaskans think about the pipeline. After a bite and convo, we headed to our whitewater raft company to get suited up and do the 6 mile creek class 5 Rapids at 2p. It was an incredible experience. You do a practice swim…in a dry suit with a life vest…and then get in your raft with your guide. Canyon 1 and 2 are fun. The class 5 occurs in the 3rd canyon — Staircase is a 5 foot waterfall drop. And then there’s the other two right after (Sucker hole? And ZigZag). So rad. Just do it! Dinner in Seward at Chinook — yummy halibut. Fresh caught.

————————————-

Wed, Aug 31
Seward
TripAdvisor: Things to do in seward

Fox island kayak and cruise:
7am: Check in at Adventure Center (1302 4th Ave, Seward)
8am:Depart Seward on a Kenai Fjords Tours boat
9am:Arrive Fox Island


http://www.sunnycove.com/

Drive to Soldotna (possibly stop thru Cooper Landing on way?)

Wed, Aug 31

Seward

Woke up early for the kayak and fjord tour and found out that it was really windy and choppy on the water, so the kayak portion of our trip was cancelled. But we still got on the boat and checked out the fjords with glaciers! There were tons of wildlife out: sea otters, seals, puffins, bald eagle, northwest humpback whale, and Dall’s porpoise. So many incredible views and sceneries. After that, we did a little hike out at Exit Glacier. Then we rolled into Fred Mayer grocery store — which is like a combo of Super Walmart/Costco. We picked up our fishing license and then RV’d in the driveway of our fishing place for tomorrow in Soldotna. Seward was decimated by an earthquake back in the early 1900s and had to rebuild. But before that, it was on it’s way to becoming a big town!

————————————-

Thurs, Sep 1
-drive to Soldotna

Check out Cooper Landing:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g30971-Activities-Cooper_Landing_Alaska.html

Trip Advisor: Things to do in Soldotna

High Adventure Air: salmon
High Adventure Air Charter
38675 Longmere Lk Ct, Soldotna, AK 99669
(907) 262-5237 https://goo.gl/maps/AA39paQDgcw


730am flight:

buy fishing license there

Fishing in Alaska


Soldotna to Glacier view: about 5hrs (Google Maps)
Drive as far as possible…

Thurs, Sept 1

Soldotna

Took a fishing trip with High Adventure Air. Our guides were so wonderful!! Gorgeous seaplane flight from Soldotna to Crescent Lake. We flew over big lush trees and crater-like mountains. It was a beautiful takeoff and landing from the seaplane! We started casting out immediately and my first fish was a dead one. ;P. The next fish I caught was a silver salmon. Vinoop caught several Dollys and a lake trout. Overall, it was a terrific day with gorgeous sunshine and a beautiful backdrop of landscape. We also saw several bears including a mama bear and her two cubs. In fact, the fish we caught were kept in the lake water bc it was so frigid, but we had to gut and fillet them so the guts were thrown back in the lake which seemed kinda like a nice flowing river. The mama bear started swimming toward us and made it halfway across the lake to snatch up the guts of the fish we cleaned. It was pretty scary. Otherwise, the Bears did a good job of just keeping on their own. We checked out Kenai River brewing and then made the 4.5h drive to Glacier View for tomorrow’s ice climb!

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Fri, Sep 2

Glacier View

10:30a – 18:00 Ice climbing
https://micaguides.com/#_=_
https://micaguides.com/activities/ice-climbing/


(907) 351-7587
info@micaguides.com

Milepost 102.5, Glenn Highway
Glacier View, Alaska
Google map

Glacier View to Valdez


Fri, Sept 2

Glacier View

We arrived to the Matanuska glacier and Mica Guides for some ice trekking/ice climbing. They gave us our gear and strapped us into some gators, ice climbing boots, crampons, waterproof gloves that looked like dishwashing gloves, and a helmet. Once we hiked out to the glacier, they gave us lil activities to check our skills. First was learning how to walk in crampons. You want to dig your feet into the ice — stomping, kicking, anything to get a good grip. Duck walk to go up the ice…and the cowboy to go down the ice. Next check off was how to use a ice climbing pick. Reach behind like you’re doing triceps (keep your elbows in) and extend the pick up overhead and use the wrist to snap it down for more power. The key is the wrist snap. We practiced our safety grips as well. Always have the leash on — just like a beginner surfer! After getting familiar with the ice climbing pick, we practiced traversing a glacier free style (just a couple feet off the ground). It’s important to be able to kick into the glacier to get the 4 teeth on the front of the crampon to grip the ice. Test the bite and make sure it’s stable and then kick your other foot in. Our first test, we went down a glacial crevasse. It was spectacularly beautiful. We used our foundation that our guides Emily and Brett taught us. It’s difficult not to marvel at nature’s beauty. I felt like my rock climbing skills really helped. After that pass, we went to a more difficult pass known as a moulin ( like Moulin Rouge). It was a glassier, more iced over face that was shaded and had a different texture and feel. It was more difficult to get the ice pick and crampons into the ice. BUt, you just gotta make your tools stick. I felt like a real ice climber. It was such a wonderful experience!! After the ice climb, we got back into the RV and made our way to Valdez — stopping by Tok Thai — an awesome Thai place we found on Yelp. We settled in overnight at Copper Center along the road at a picturesque spot where you could see Mt. Sanford and mt. Wrangell.  

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Sat, Sep 3
 Valdez


Sat, Sept 3

Valdez

Walked around the pier here — home to the great Valdez derby. This derby is a contest to see who can catch the biggest halibut as well as the biggest salmon. We caught it on its last day — and so far the biggest salmon was 17.8 lb and the biggest halibut was 253 lb! Small quiet fishing town where the Alaskan pipeline ends. Seems to be a bit smaller than Seward.

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Sun, Sep 4

Evening close to Denali

View from bodenburg butte


Sun, Sept 4

Drove from Valdez to Copper Center thru Wasilla (home of Sarah Palin) to Bodenburg Butte. We did a lil hike there and then ended up heading to Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna. Excellent Belgian strong there.  

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Mon, Sep 5

call for wonder lake shuttle tickets 8am (alaska time) shuttle
http://www.alaska.org/detail/denali-park-shuttle-bus

Drive to Denali


Camp in Denali Riley creek site.

Mon, Sept 5

From Talkeetna, we drove into Denali national park. We stopped for lunch at Prospector’s (it was rainy and cold). Excellent craft beer on top — like 40+ beers! Excellent pizzas as well! After lunch, we walked around the park and then decided to make the sled dog demo. These dogs are so excited to pull!! They’re Alaskan huskies who love to pull a sled. We saw the 6 week old pups! This is the only working sled dog kennel in any of the national parks. These dogs work hard in the winter freeing up debris from roads, hauling supplies to hard to reach places, helping keep the roads maintained — but they love what they do! Gotta say, they’re the hardest working federal employees! We stayed the night in Riley Creek campground (yes you still get a cell signal on AT&T).
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Tues, Sep 6


Tues, Sept 6

Early early morning shuttle bus ride to Wonder Lake — we saw beautiful views of bears, caribou, and moose. It was super rainy and drab…cloudy. We got to Eielson center and decided to take the 12p ranger led hike up Alpine trail. Although we got soaked from the rain, it was worth the 1000+ ft elevation gain to see the different terrain. We learned from Ranger Nick (which this was the last ranger led hike of the season) that there are a ton of earthquakes or at least seismic activity happening in the Eielson area. But we didn’t feel anything that day. Do take a moment to stop and check out Eielson center. It’s full of info and a great stopping point to watch a movie on climbers to summit Denali — 3 weeks, no Sherpas, and you carry your own waste in the freakin’ cold! I don’t think Denali is in the cards for me. We took the return bus (we didn’t make it to wonder lake)…cold and wet. Once we got to the RV, a change of clothes and a beer did the trick to turn our frowns upside down! We hit up Prospector’s again for dinner and it was fabulous!! Night again in Riley Creek Campground. 

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Wed, Sep 7


Wed, Sept 7

We decided to fill up our RV with fresh water and then check out of Riley Campground and park in the Visitors center lot (just for the day). We opted for the Mt. Healy Overlook trail — which is a strenuous 2 hour trail, one way, 2.7 miles, 1700ft elevation, 25% grade, 2 feet width, with native soils with roots and rocks. It was totally rad!! Great way to see the various terrain at the different altitudes. Pack a lunch and have it at the top of the trail as the views are beautiful — even on a partly cloudy day. The descent is much faster than the ascent. There are edible blueberries along the way for a great snack! Dinner tonight at Karsten’s — a new restaurant that has a yummy caribou burger as well as awesome sweet jalape√Īo cornbread! After dinner, we drove to Savage River campgrounds to RV for the night. No AT&T cell phone reception here.

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Thurs, Sep 8

From Savage River campground on Savage Alpine Trail

View from top of Savage alpine trail


Thurs, Sept 8

From the Savage river campground, we walked to the trailhead to Savage Alpine trail. This trail can be started either at the campground or at the end by savage river. If you have trouble with steep descents, I recommend starting at Savage river (from the campground, you can catch a shuttle to take you there) — it’s a steeper ascent by more relaxed descent closer to the campgrounds. The Savage alpine trail is strenuous, 3 hours one way, 4miles, 1500ft in elevation, 25% grade, 2 feet width, and has native soils with roots and rocks and gravel. So, from the campground going up you start a gradual ascent with tall grasses initially that breaks open to subalpine/alpine tundra that’s short. We didn’t’ see any large wildlife along this trail — but there are plenty of warning signs for bears. Once we got to the top (no more elevation gain on the maintained trail), we saw a rocky peak that we wanted to get to for a better look at Denali. So, we forged our own trail. It was rocky and barren and was an extra 400ft or so almost straight up (>25% grade). The wind was fierce and strong — but we made it. At the top, we had an Alaskan Summer Ale beer to celebrate the climb and enjoy the peace of the area around us. Our descent was tricky — super rocky terrain with steep areas. We went carefully and slowly down the mountain back to the maintained trail. I spotted an alpine squirrel who didn’t seem to be scared or even interested in me — he was going after some grub in the ground! The descent was super steep even once we got onto the main trail. After we got down from the savage alpine trail, we opted for an extra 2 miles along the savage river loop trail. Nice and relaxing 45min trail around the river with minimal elevation change. I’m still amazed at the sheer beauty of Denali and could easily come back here. We drove into town to see if we could arrange a flight for tomorrow to circle Denali. Looks like we’re a go with Talkeetna Air!

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Fri, Sep 9
Denali to Talkeetna

Denali


Fri, Sept 9

Today we drove from Denali to Talkeetna to catch a plane that will go over some glacial ice fields and then circle Denali from Talkeetna Air.  Impressively spectacular views from the plane!  I highly recommend it!  Dropped off the RV back at Great Alaskan Holiday and arranged for a taxi to Moose’s Tooth — a must stop for awesome pizza and craft brew in Anchorage!  After that, we took a taxi back to our RV and then picked up our luggage and then headed to the airport for a midnight flight.

Talkeetna to Anchorage: about 2 hours

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Sat, Sep 10


Sat, Sept 10

Flight home from Anchorage waaaaaaaay early!