You can smell spring in the air! That means pollen, dust, dog poop, and lots of muddy puddles here in Anchorage, Alaska. This is the time of year when I start to really miss our cabin in McCarthy, and looking forward to escaping there. We’re planning to head out there the day after Mother’s Day. That’s right, you still have a little time to order a present for your mom, before May 9th! I’ve gone to MXY (the airport code for McCarthy) earlier in the year, but the driveway to our cabin gets really swampy during meltdown, so I’ve found it’s better to wait until the second week of May. This year will be especially swampy, considering the heavy amount of snow. I hope the wood shed is still standing! On big snow years, piles of snow are still sitting around through Memorial Day weekend!
I love the first trip in spring to the cabin, because we no longer have to do too much building, mostly just opening up the cabin, setting up the rain-catchment system, and seeing my MXY friends. I always bring my painting supplies with me, so I can keep working in my little studio out there, which was formerly our shelter while we worked on the cabin. This year I hope to go on a couple over-night backpacking trips into the National Park, and plant a big garden. My mother-in-law came to visit last year, and decided that we needed a garden, so she ripped out a lot of bushes, and cleared a nice spot for it. Then I cut down a few trees, tore out the stumps, and rototilled the dirt. We just need to build a fence to keep the critters out, and then we can plant the seed potatoes we’ve been saving all winter, and the little starts that are growing nicely in our condo right now.
Summer isn’t even here, and I’m already planning out the entire season. We all kind of go nuts here in Alaska in the summer with all this daylight. Here’s hoping for plenty of sunny days, but also enough rain to keep the forest fires at bay.
An anonymous source recently revealed to me that he found out the secret ingredient that makes Pliny the Younger Triple IPA taste so amazing! He requested that I do not reveal his name, because he doesn’t want to be banned from Russian River Brewing for disclosing this information. He was lucky enough to score a permit to Yosemite National Park during Feb. 12-24, when the phenomenon known as “Firefall” occurs. During this time of year only, and during just the right time at sunset, the sun hits the water of Horsetail Falls just right, making the waterfall look like bright red flowing lava! After taking many pictures, he looked down at the bottom of the waterfall and saw something very strange. There was a man filling large containers from the waterfall! He couldn’t believe his eyes! So, he had to find out why the man was doing this, and walked over to talk to him. Turns out, the man was one of the brewers at Russian River Brewing, and he needed the water from that waterfall just at that precise time when it looks like lava, in order to brew Pliny the Younger according to the super secret recipe. We are all in shock that the man shared this sensitive information with my friend, but since that water is so difficult to find, this beer recipe is incredibly hard to duplicate. So, next time you enjoy a sip of that delicious IPA, just remember that it was brewed with extremely rare water from a phenomenon that only happens for two weeks once a year at one of the world’s most beautiful places! That really explains why Pliny the Younger tastes so incredible! This story inspired me to paint this new beer painting of Pliny the Younger in front of the “Firefall”.