Sunday, October 3, 2010

August 2010: Roadtrip, Calder's First Birthday, & Move to Petersburg!

Hello! Lots of pictures following this text. The last few months have been chaos interspersed with moments of relaxation, as we’ve sold a house, bought a house, graduated residency, gone on an Alaskan roadtrip, celebrated Calder’s first birthday, and packed up our family of three and moved to a new town.

We were lucky to sell our Anchorage home easily through mutual friends, but needed to be moved out before I finished residency. We had most of our belongings packed up and shipped via barge to our new home in Petersburg, before we had even officially closed on the house! Then we packed up our remaining items and moved in with Chris’ folks in Anchorage while I finished residency. We packed up again for the month of June to do a rural medicine rotation in Seward, Alaska; where our sailboat has been residing. This was a very fun month with lots of sailing and good Emergency Room experience. Chris, his dad Terry, and friend Nate then sailed the boat from Seward to Petersburg across the Gulf of Alaska. It was, thankfully, an uneventful voyage. Then all of us back to Anchorage for the end of residency. We had a few weeks off before I started my new job, so we decided to go on a roadtrip in Chris’ parents’ trailer. This was Calder’s second Alaskan roadtrip and he did great – much better than the roadtrip at age 2 months! We saw lots of Alaska (see pics below) and celebrated his first birthday. Then back to Anchorage, where we packed up the rest of our stuff in two vehicles and set out for our new home in Petersburg – 3 days by road, 1 day by car ferry.

Petersburg is a fishing village of about 3,000 people on an island in Southeast Alaska with strong Norwegian and Native roots. It is in the rainforest of Southeast Alaska, getting about 110 inches of rain. For comparison, Portland only gets 36 inches of rain a year. You can get here only by airplane (when the planes can make it in) or boat (on the ferry). There is a substantial logging road system on Mitkof Island that we have been exploring. Chris has been fishing and moose hunting. We’ve all been hiking and blueberry picking. Our house sits up in the muskeg (bog) on piling. We joke that it is our “floating home,” as we are surrounded by wetlands. We’ve been out enjoying the unusually sunny weather, so haven’t finished unpacking yet.

As far as work, I’m the fourth full time family doctor here. The clinic is attached to the ER, the hospital, and long term care. When on call, I cover the ER in between seeing clinic patients. I admit my own patients and follow them in the hospital, and I take care of long-term care patients. Call is taken from home at night, some nights quiet, others busy. In clinic, I see everyone – from geriatrics to prenatal care, from well baby exams to acutely sick people. It’s a great mix and I’m staying VERY busy.

The first week we were here we made the newspaper twice – there was an article about us, as well as an ad for a “Community-Wide Open House” to meet and greet the new physician in town! We are just so happy to be making this home and it’s neat that people are excited to have us here.

Today, Calder had his radio debut. You know you’re in a small town when you go to the local radio’s potluck fundraiser kick-off and find yourself live on the air. Calder was in a pack on my back and started babbling during the radio interview, so he was on the air!

NEW ADDRESS: PO Box 313. Petersburg, AK 99833

That’s all for now. Enjoy the pictures and sorry that it’s been so long since we posted.

Our roadtrip rig at our first stop - the Boltz Family house in Big Lake, Alaska. That's Chris, Calder, and Nate:Talkeetna, Alaska: walking the trail from our campground to town:Talkeetna, by the river. Calder loves playing with and throwing rocks:Talkeetna at the airstrip, watching the planes take off: Byer's Lake Campground: rainy afternoon walk:Byer's Lake: Calder's first canoe trip! He did great on this 2 hour canoe trip around the entire lake:

On the Nenana River, Calder loves the rocks:
Our campsite near the Nenana River in the Interior:
North of Fairbanks on the Chataneka River, playtime with Grandma Hyer:
Uncle Trav and Calder:
Calder with Grandpa Hyer:
Calder's FIRST Birthday! I made him pancakes for breakfast:
Out for a birthday walk:
Onto Fairbanks for his birthday afternoon at Uncle Trav's house. Yummy organic carrot cake with yogurt frosting:
Calder was a bit concerned about us all standing around him, singing at him, with a candle lit in front of him. It was all a bit much at first...
But he warmed up to it...
Then he discovered frosting...
and then he was REALLY happy...
Neat porcupine puppet from Uncle Trav:
This is Chris' birthday outfit from when he turned one. We squeezed Calder into it:
Fairbanks, checking out the muskox:
Trav and Chris at the Fairbanks Fish Hatchery, where Trav is assistant manager:
Calder's bed in the trailer:
Then, back to Anchorage to pack up for our big move to Petersburg. Here we are on Day #1 of our trip to Petersburg, our rigs all packed:
Grizzly Lake for our first night on the road:
Pulled over for a picnic lunch break:
We drove past the lake where Chris proposed to me about 6 years ago when we were driving to Oregon to start Medical School. We have a picture of me on this very rock, newly engaged. It's the last lake before you leave Alaska and head into Canada:
Haines, Alaska:
Our hotel in Haines, an old historic fort:
On our way on the Alaska Marine Highway:

Calder peeking out of our ferry cabin at 3am (he didn't sleep well):
Rounding the corner into Petersburg...

Almost to Petersburg:
Our new home:
Fishing boats were heading out of town, float planes were landing and taking off, and 2 eagles were perched to meet us at the ferry dock:
Our living room, waiting for us with many boxes:
First fishing expedition, only 20 minute drive from our home:
The view of the muskeg off our back porch:
Calder on his new birthday bike:
Chris' first Petersburg salmon:
Yummy carrots from our local market: