Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Managing Diabetes on a Cruise

If you've been following my blog at all you know that I recently returned from an Alaskan cruise.

It was an amazing experience.  I loved every minute of it.  Of course, on a cruise there is plentiful food.  Every meal is all-you-can-eat and not everything is health food.  Those who are aware of my quest for weight loss have asked me how I handled weight loss and diabetes management on a cruise.

There are 2 parts to my diabetes management.  The first is the daily managing of my blood sugar.  This involves limiting my intake of carbohydrates.  It also involves keeping my physical activity up so that my muscles use the sugar that is in my blood.

The second part is losing weight.  Fat cells do not process sugar, and the leaner the muscle is, the better it processes sugar.  So the more weight I lose, the better I can process sugar.  My weight loss journey involves three things: I do weight training three times a week to build lean muscle, I do walking 6 days a week as a form of cardio and I limit my caloric intake.

Before I left on the cruise I decided that I was still going to manage my blood sugar, but I was not going to worry about weight loss at all.  That meant that I could eat all the calories I want, but not all the carbs I want.

There were a few times that those rules were difficult, but for the most part it was pretty easy.  For example, that means that on the last night I ordered both the prime rib and the lobster, but I ordered the sugar free dessert.  I didn't order sugar free with every meal, but I did lots of sugar free desserts and I think I tried every sugar free option the ship offered at one point or another.  The buffet area always had these delicious sugar free mousses that were amazing.  I really didn't feel like I was missing out at all.

I found that there were always healthy options.  You really didn't have to overindulge, but of course, the option to overindulge always existed.  The menu always pointed out which option was the low calorie option.  Sometimes I took that option, other times I didn't.

Of course, the second part of managing my blood sugar is making sure that I get plenty of physical activity.  On days in port, that was easy.  There was nothing I wanted to do in Alaska more than go hiking, so that got my physical activity taken care of.

It was a little bit harder on days at sea, but luckily the ship had a track on the top deck.  I put in a lot of miles on that track.

The first day at sea, traveling from Seattle to Alaska, we were in open ocean.  The ship was traveling 30 mph into a 20 mph wind.  That meant there was a relative wind of 50 mph blowing across the top deck.  That was the funnest exercise ever!  I walked 3 miles in that 50 mph wind.  As I walked on the starboard side, I was walking into the wind so it was like a hard core hike.  On the port side it was at my back, so I pretty much just lifted my legs and the wind did the rest of the work.  So I would run on the port side and walk on starboard.  Super fun!

Other sea days there was less wind and more scenery.  I'll be honest, I can't think of anything on the ship that I could do that would be as fun as walking and enjoying Alaska scenery.  I took this little video to give an idea of what it was like.

I walked 5.5 miles the morning I took that video.  That's 22 times around that ship.  That may sound like a lot but the guy who lapped me 6 times during those 5.5 miles probably didn't think I was too impressive.

So, that's how I managed my diabetes.  I don't have super good data on where my blood sugar was at.  I normally test my blood 2 hours after eating.  Every time I ate, I made a mental note to test in 2 hours, but I always got involved in some adventure and didn't think to test until 3 or 4 hours later.  Every time I tested my blood sugar, it was within the expected range, but since I was slow to test, it may have gone high once or twice without my knowledge.

How about my weight loss?  Since I wasn't trying to lose weight how did I do?  Well, the morning I got back I weighed myself and I had gone up 5 pounds.  But I fluctuate 2-3 pounds from day to day, so it was really only 2 pounds above the margin of error.

Here is a graph of my weight loss for the past 3 months.

As you can see, the weight melted off pretty fast after the cruise.  In fact, my total weight loss this year is now over 50 pounds!  I have a Dr. appointment later this week.  I had my family members try to guess what my A1C will be.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Victoria, British Columbia

The last port on our cruise was Victoria, British Columbia.

The first thing I saw when I got off the ship was the Canadian flag.  Canada may not be very exotic, but we were in a different country.  Woot!
We had to figure out how to get from the dock into town.  My parents went and chatted with some taxi drivers and tour companies.  I let them figure it out.  I went straight to the big Victoria sign to take a super touristy picture.
Once we figured out how to get around, we booked a tour bus that would take us out to the Butterfly Garden and the Butchart Garden.
Zack didn't obey the rules on the bus.
The first place the bus dropped us off was the Butterfly Garden.  It was absolutely beautiful!  There were numerous kinds of butterflies.  There were flamingos, turtles, various other birds and billions of butterflies.  We took a million pictures but I'll just share a few.

It landed on me.  Robyn didn't have a chance to change the camera settings before it flew away.  So it's a little washed out but she got the shot.

Robyn was distressed about the one that landed on her.
After the Butterfly Garden, we headed to the Butchart Gardens.

The Butchart Gardens were stunning.  It was something that Robyn had really wanted to do, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would.

I loved these corridors made entirely of flowers.  I told Robyn this is a good place to take engagement pictures.  We should have known that 5 years ago.
We came around the corner and looked down on this beautiful sunken garden.

Robyn's job is always to take pictures of flowers.  She had her work cut out for her that day.

Robyn's parents had taken a picture of this globe long ago.  In Robyn's mind, this globe represents the Butchart Gardens.  Naturally, we had to get a picture.

This was a top secret window out to the boat harbor.

Every inch of the whole place was covered in flowers.

One of these is a statue, the other is me.  Can you tell the difference?

We had a great experience at the Butchart Garden.  Afterward, the tour bus took us back to the ship.  We still had a couple hours before we had to be back, but we were tired so we decided our time in Canada was done.

But there was one little thing that I really wanted to do.  Upon our original entry into Canada they didn't stamp my passport.  I really wanted it stamped.  So we went back into the Port of Entry to find someone who could help us out.

When we went in, there was no one manning the station.  I was dismayed, "What if someone sneaks into Canada?"  Robyn didn't think they were very worried about that.

Eventually we tracked someone down and told him we really wanted the stamp.

After accomplishing our mission we got back on the ship.  It was our last night on a cruise.  Don't worry.  Our adventures weren't over yet.  We still had some adventures planned in Seattle after our cruise ship landed.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My 2013 Hugo Votes

An important item on my bucket list was to vote for the Hugo Awards.  The Hugo Awards are awarded every year.  There are a number of different categories but all of them have to do with fantasy and science fiction.  I've been following the Hugo Awards for decades now.  But I decided this was the year to be a part of it.  So I read the nominated works and cast my vote.

I recognize that many of my normal readers will not be familiar enough with these works to care what I voted for.  However, for those who have read these it's fun to see how others voted.  My guess is that this post will get more traffic from Google than from my normal audience.  So, if you're not interested, I won't be offended if you leave.  But for those who choose to stay, here's a brief explanation about the Hugo voting process.

To vote, you just have to be a supporting member of the World Science Fiction Convention.  (This year, it cost $60.)  They send you an electronic packet with copies of all the nominated works.

You don't just vote for your favorite.  You rank them in order of preference, this eliminates the problem of two similar stories splitting the vote.  The computer does complex algorithms that make it so that if your first choice doesn't get enough votes, your vote goes to to your second choice, etc.  The whole process is explained in detail here.

You'll notice I voted for "no award" a few times.  If you vote for "no award" before a candidate, you are saying that you would prefer that there be no award given, rather than have that nominee win.  This is used when you feel a nominee is not worthy of a Hugo award.  No Award can actually win, and in that case they will not give the award to anyone.

Without further ado, here are all of my votes with some brief commentary explaining why.  I included all of my ranked votes.  I also tried to include cover art where available.  For the short fiction I included the cover art of the magazine that published each piece.

Edit: I have revised the text below by highlighting the actual winner in red.  But, I have left the order of my votes intact whether I voted for the winner or not.

Best Novel

Is it because I'd really like to see a zombie novel win?  Possibly.  But, this novel (and the whole trilogy) was more than just a zombie novel.  It had political schemes, conspiracy to assassinate, clones, and an entire society completely rocked by a deadly virus.  This novel is what I think science fiction is supposed to be like.  It explores how one change in our future could completely change society.  Oh, and if that's not enough, there is a zombie bear.

1Blackout by Mira Grant (Orbit)
2Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
3Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor)
42312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
5Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

Best Novella

It's an apocalypse story, it's a time travel story.  It's pretty much awesome sauce all around.  I love the way the story unfolds in 3 different time periods, so in a sense you know what is going to happen from the beginning.  Yet there is still a big reveal at the end.  Totally amazing!

1After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
2San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant (Orbit)
3"The Stars Do Not Lie" by Jay Lake (Asimov's, Oct-Nov 2012)
4The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
5On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)

Best Novelette

i went back and forth on this one.  The top 3 were all really good, and could have potentially got my vote.  But "The Girl-Thing who Went Out for Sushi" was just so unique.  Have you ever wondered what it's like to be an octopus or a nautilus?  Well, maybe you should go out for sushi.  (I also love the title, because you have to read the story to get what the heck it's talking about.)

1"The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi" by Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
2"In Sea-Salt Tears" by Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
3"Fade To White" by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
4"Rat-Catcher" by Seanan McGuire (A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean)
5No Award

"The Boy Who Cast No Shadow" by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications)

Best Short Story

All three of the stories were good.  This is another category where I reordered them several times.  The first time, I actually placed "Mantis Wives" in third place, but the more I thought about it the more it grew on me.  It's so brilliant.  On the one hand, it's a horror story.  On another, it's not really horror, it's just insects, it's like a nature documentary.  But yet, on another hand, (yes I have 3 hands) it's a commentary about marriage, and what fathers sacrifice for their children.  You just need to read it.  It's too brilliant.

1"Mantis Wives" by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
2"Mono no Aware" by Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)
3"Immersion" by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld, June 2012)

Best Related Work

I have to admit something.  There are 2 categories where I didn't read every nominee cover to cover.  This is one of them.  However,  I read enough to discover that I thought this was a very thorough companion to fantasy.  I really want to check out the companion to science fiction which was the Hugo winner in this category in 2005.


The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature Edited by Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn (Cambridge UP)

Writing Excuses Season Seven by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Jordan Sanderson

Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who Edited by Deborah Stanish & L.M. Myles (Mad Norwegian Press)

Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Sigrid Ellis (Mad Norwegian Press)

I Have an Idea for a Book… The Bibliography of Martin H. Greenberg Compiled by Martin H. Greenberg, edited by John Helfers (The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box)

Best Graphic Novel

This is the second category where I didn't read everything cover to cover.  But, I did look at them enough to discover that Schlock Mercenary had a genuinely fun feel to it.


Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia by Howard Tayler, Colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media)

Grandville Bête Noire Written and Illustrated by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, Jonathan Cape)

Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks Written by Joe Hill, Illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
4Saga, Volume One Written by Brian K. Vaughn, Illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run Written by Paul Cornell, Illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

I've only seen 3 of these movies.  I don't watch R rated movies so I voted the other 2 below "No Award" as my personal protest against R rated movies.  Of the 3 I've seen, all were super awesome.  Ultimately, I had to pick The Hobbit.  I love Tolkien, and I've loved everything Peter Jackson has done with Tolkien's work.  


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, Directed by Peter Jackson (WingNut Films, New Line Cinema, MGM, Warner Bros)
2The Avengers Screenplay & Directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios, Disney, Paramount)

The Hunger Games Screenplay by Gary Ross & Suzanne Collins, Directed by Gary Ross (Lionsgate, Color Force)
4No Award
5Looper Screenplay & Directed by Rian Johnson (FilmDistrict, EndGame Entertainment)

The Cabin in the Woods Screenplay by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon, Directed by Drew Goddard (Mutant Enemy, Lionsgate)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

There's no cover art for an episode, so you get a picture of me with a Dalek.
In the Doctor Who category (clearly I jest, other years it has been the Star Trek category, or other popular shows) if there was an option to vote for Daleks, I was clearly going to do it.  Daleks have been trying to exterminate the human vermin since before I was born.  They're about as awesome as it can get.

Doctor Who: "Asylum of the Daleks" Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)

Doctor Who: "The Angels Take Manhattan" Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
3Doctor Who: "The Snowmen" Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Wales)

Game of Thrones: "Blackwater" Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)

Fringe: "Letters of Transit" Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Akiva Goldsman, J.H.Wyman, Jeff Pinkner. Directed by Joe Chappelle (Fox)

Best Editor (Short Form)

When you look at a written work, it's hard to know what the editor actually did to contribute, versus authors or other contributors.  However, I figured in this category, I just had to choose my favorite magazine or anthology.  My 3 favorite magazines are Asimov's, Analog, and Clarkesworld but Asimov's has a special place in my heart.

1Sheila Williams (Asimov's)
2Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld)
3Stanley Schmidt (Analog)
4Jonathan Strahan (Edge of Infinity)
5John Joseph Adams (Armored)

Best Editor (Long Form)

Again, editors are hard to pick.  But Toni Weisskopf edited Captain Vorpatril's Alliance which was my number 2 pick for best novel.
1Toni Weisskopf
2Patrick Nielsen Hayden
3Lou Anders
4Liz Gorinsky
5Sheila Gilbert

Best Professional Artist

I was completely unfamiliar with these artists, but I made my vote based on the artwork included in the Hugo voter's packet.  Doesn't dragon chick above look pretty awesome?
1Dan dos Santos
2John Picacio
3Julie Dillon
4Chris McGrath
5Vincent Chong

Best Fan Artist

Again, in this category  I just decided based on the voter's packet.  We've got aliens, we've got redshirts.  What's not to like?
1Steve Stiles
2Brad W. Foster
3Maurine Starkey
4Spring Schoenhuth
5Galen Dara

Best Fan Writer

This category helped me discover a new blog that I totally love.  Mark Oshiro runs and it's the funnest site ever.  He reads books and shares with you his thoughts as he reads them.  Try reading a book along with him.  (Read his entry on each chapter after you read the chapter.)  It's a fun experience.
1Mark Oshiro
2Steven H Silver
3James Bacon
4Christopher J Garcia
5Tansy Rayner Roberts

Best Semiprozine

The choice here was obvious.  I love ClarkesWorld.

1Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Jason Heller, Sean Wallace and Kate Baker
2Lightspeed edited by John Joseph Adams and produced/directed by Stefan Rudnicki

Strange Horizons edited by Niall Harrison, Jed Hartman, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Abigail Nussbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Dave Nagdeman and Rebecca Cross
4Apex Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore and Michael Damian Thomas
5Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews

Best Fanzine

I had no prior experience with any of these fanzines, several of them are very fun, but Elitist Book Reviews is my favorite.  It probably doesn't hurt that I got the chance to meet Steven Diamond at CONduit this year.
1Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
2SF Signal edited by John DeNardo, JP Frantz, and Patrick Hester
3The Drink Tank edited by Chris Garcia and James Bacon

Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Emma J. King, Helen J. Montgomery and Pete Young
5Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer

Best Fancast

Several of these were really fun, but SF Squeecast was the most fun for me.  Several of the hosts are SF authors, so it's fun to hear their different perspectives.

SF Squeecast, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente (Presenters) and David McHone-Chase (Technical Producer)
2StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith
3The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
4SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, and JP Frantz

Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)

John W. Campbell Award for best new writer

Blackbirds was the book that I felt took the best skill to write.  The protagonist wasn't very likable, but somehow Chuck Wendig got me to really like her by the end of the book.  Also, of all the books written by these nominees, Blackbirds was the only one that got me to want to read the sequel.  It's such a unique story.  Miriam Black can tell you the day you are going to die.  Creepy and awesome!
1Chuck Wendig 
2Mur Lafferty 
3Max Gladstone
4Stina Leicht 
5Zen Cho 

So those are my votes. Are there any you agree with? Are there any you disagree with? Let me know!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tracy Arm, Alaska

The third adventure on our Alaskan cruise happened entirely on board the ship.  The ship took an excursion into the Tracy Arm Fjord for a viewing of the Dawes Glacier.

The captain came on the loud speaker the night before we entered the Tracy Arm area.  He said that we would enter the fjord at about 5 AM and that we would reach the glacier about 7 AM.  I told Robyn I definitely didn't want to miss it, so we needed to be awake.

Of course,  I had been waking up ridiculously early for the entire trip.  I normally wake up around 7 AM in Utah.  7 AM in Utah is 5 AM in Alaska, so I would usually wake up at 5 and  be completely done sleeping.  Of course, the early to bed, early to rise lifestyle is not the best for a cruise.  They have all sorts of shows and activities late at night.  But by 8:00 every night I was ready for some good sleep.

However, this one day was the day for the early risers.  (If they ever invent a time machine, someone should go back and read this blog to High School me.  It would blow his mind that I am an early riser.)  I woke up ridiculously early as usual.  I still read my book for a little while before waking Robyn.  I figured we could miss some of the fjord, but I definitely didn't want to miss the glacier.

Around 6:30, we got dressed and headed up to the top deck.  If we had a window room we could have just enjoyed the view from our room, but we didn't so we headed up top.  I didn't really mind though, I absolutely loved the chilly Alaskan air.  It's the freshest smelling air you'll ever breathe.  Not to mention, how awesome is it to be in 40 degree weather in July?

When we got to the top deck, we walked around the whole ship to check everything out.  People were crowded around the bow, looking at the glacier off in the distance.  We picked an uncrowded spot on the port side and just watched amazing nature go by.

Every half mile or so, there were these little glacier fed stream/waterfalls.
I loved the greenery with the mountain backdrop and the wisps of fog.
We saw 5 or 6 seals.  These were chilling on the ice, others would swim on top for a moment and then vanish
Before we reached the Dawes Glacier, we saw this one off in the distance.  I imagine there were dozens of glaciers all around us that were too high to see.
After we'd been up there 20 minutes or so, we ran into my parents as they were making their way around the ship.
Notice the mug in my mom's hand.

On the ship, you can eat all the food you want in the buffet for free.  However, when ever you come up to the top deck, you always encounter people selling drinks.  I was never interested because I don't drink alcohol, but this particular morning they offered hot chocolate.  It was like 5 dollars, so I still declined, but my mom bought some.  The thing is,  they just asked her if she wanted hot chocolate, they handed her the mug and asked for money.  My dad was mad because he didn't realize it cost money.  They almost gave the mug back, but decided they'd just do it.  I guess we're a cheap family.  That's just how we roll.

Finally we started to approach the glacier.
The ship was able to get about a mile from the glacier.  Then the captain just rotated the ship in place.  I didn't realize they could do that.  But it just sat there and did a 360 degree spin for about an hour, spinning around 3 or 4 times in that span.  That way all parts of the ship had a chance to get a front row seat.  We had staked out a good spot on the edge and just waited for our spot to become the front row.  When the time came, people came and crawled all over us for a minute, but it was all good.  The scenery was beautiful.

We make the glacier look precious.
I was blown away by the deep blue color.
I loved the deep blue color.  It looks like frozen antifreeze or something.  I don't know what causes it, but the little floating pieces of ice were really blue as well.

At one point, we were standing there looking at the glacier and chatting, when a huge chunk of it fell off.  (The word on the street is that they call that "calving".   I call it "breaking off a big chunk".  Calving does seem more concise.)

I looked around to see if we were in trouble for breaking the glacier, as the giant chunk fell into the water.  After a few seconds there was a roaring sound like thunder.  I wish I had gotten video, or even just audio.  The sound was amazing.  We felt like we were pretty close up, but the delay in sound made us realize how far away we really were.  That means the glacier is much more ginormous than I realized.

Finally, after enjoying the view for a long time we made our way to the main dining room for breakfast.  I enjoyed my eggs benedict and watched out the window as the ship slowly made its way back out of the fjord.  We chatted and watched Alaska go by as the ship began its journey toward our final stop in Victoria, British Columbia.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Skagway, Alaska

The second port on our Alaskan cruise was Skagway.

In this city, my mom suggested that we try dog sledding.  I mostly thought it sounded fun just to be in nature in Alaska.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to experience nature from a dog sled.  It turned out to be super fun.  Definitely, an awesome idea.

However, Robyn wasn't very interested in the dog sled so she chose to sleep in and relax that morning.

We got off the ship and immediately got onto a bus which took us out of town.  The Musher's camp was located about 15 miles away, so we rode the bus for a little while through some Alaskan wilderness.

I just kept snapping pictures like this.  It was so beautiful.
The bus took us to the Musher's camp and there was a short walk to actually get into the camp.  During the walk my mom told me that since Robyn wasn't with us, it was my job to take pictures of flowers.

I did my best to fill in for Robyn.

I didn't get very far before the paparazzi started snapping shots of me.
I was loving the beauty, and our adventure hadn't even started.
We went left.  Next time: zipline.
Once we got into the base camp we climbed aboard this Unimog made by Mercedes-Benz.  It was able to climb us up to wear the dogs train.
When we pulled in, we saw the dog version of a parking lot.
These dogs are actual racing dogs.  During the winter they pull sleds, but they need to continue to train for the summer.  So they hook them up to these little wagons and give people like us rides.  Several of the dogs that were pulling us have competed in the Iditarod before.
This is what the wagon looks like when it's empty.
This is what the wagon looks like filled with my family.
This is what the wagon looks like filled with family with dogs ready to pull.
Finally they started to pull.
They gave us quite a ride.  The musher would stand on the back of the wagon and call out commands.  He didn't have any reins or anything, everything was verbal.  He said they get up to about 20 mph.  It was fast enough that it blew my dad's hat off.  You can hear the musher asking my dad if we need to go back for it in the video below.  (Don't worry, one of the other dog teams grabbed it and it was safely returned to him.)

They took us on a ride for about 10 minutes.  After that, they let us meet and play with the dogs.
One of the dogs really wanted a selfie with me.  He's a fan of my blog.

After meeting the sled team we took the unimog back to base camp where we also got to go meet some puppies.  They are future racers and they want them to get accustomed to people, so part of their learning to socialize is letting people like us hold them and cuddle them.
Be honest, which one of us is cuter?
After the puppies we had some hot chocolate and got back on the bus.  The bus offered to drop us off in town, but since I was missing my wife, I rode the bus all the way back to the ship.  I met Robyn for lunch on the ship and then we headed back out together for another adventure.

This adventure was not a guided excursion so we had to use the city bus system.  Their bus system is the SMART bus.  For 5 dollars you can be branded and get all you can eat (or ride) access to the bus.
I'm smart.  My arm says so.
We rode the bus to the very edge of town.  It dropped us off next to a little train yard with a trail running past it.  We began our march onto the trail, and ventured into the wild.

The first thing we came upon was an old 1850s cemetery
The cemetery has definitely been restored.  The headstones were too readable to be original.  But it was fun to walk through and look at the dates.  If that cemetery is any indication, it seems that 40 years old was truly ancient back then.  Most of them died in their mid twenties or early thirties.  Can you imagine having your mid life crisis at your sweet sixteen birthday party?

We hiked through the cemetery and the trail went into a heavily wooded area that was green and beautiful.
Robyn said that Alaskan wilderness had a peaceful, zen feeling
At the end of the trail was a beautiful waterfall.
This is Reid Falls
It was beautiful.  The air was fresh and cool.  The trees were green.  Alaska has joined the ranks of my favorite places on the planet.

Finally, it was time to head back to the ship.  We had to hike back to the bus stop.
We're cute when we sit on the ground waiting for transportation
The bus got us back just in time for a delicious dinner on the ship.  Cruises are awesome.
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