Archived blog posts from 2012 and 2013.

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! Be sure to come back tomorrow and read our first guest post, submitted by Lynda Armstrong. It’s a great story of a true pioneer. I’ve always had a fascination with stained glass. It probably goes back to my early years as a child growing up in the Catholic Church. I loved the way the sunlight shone through the multicolored panels and flooded the room with colors. Here’s a piece showing the view my parents have of Pioneer Peak in the Matanuska Valley:     I started making my own pieces about fifteen years ago. I never took a lesson so I learned the hard way… constantly bleeding fingers, soldering iron burns, and lots of screw ups. By no means did I master the craft but I made the kind of pieces that pleased me and my family. When I started having kids, I really cut back on it. It’s a labor-intensive art that does not bode well with small children present. If you have the time, I recommend you take a stained art class. Making your own pieces is a lot more gratifying than buying one from someone else. Here’s another piece of stained glass I made (Abby’s favorite). I saw a painting of an Amaryllis that I really liked and tried to copy it in glass.     Subscribe free to ChuckHeathJr.com and receive notice of each new post! Just enter your email address in the subscription box found in the sidebar and watch for a verification email. Have a guest post you’d like to submit? Read about the details HERE.   To purchase a signed... read more

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! I’d like to extend an invitation for guest submissions. We’ve had so many good stories come through the comment section since we started that it would be a shame for them to be hidden away in past posts. If you have a true high adventure or human interest story that you think we’d all like to hear, please email it to submissions@chuckheathjr.com and include any video links or pictures as attachments. Your grammar doesn’t have to be perfect and you may use a “pen name” if you wish, so please don’t hesitate to share your best stories. I look forward to reading and posting them! Below is a poster for the rafting company I mentioned yesterday, Chugach Outdoor Center. Be sure to contact them if you get up their way!     Subscribe free to ChuckHeathJr.com and receive notice of each new post! Just enter your email address in the subscription box found in the sidebar and watch for a verification email. To purchase a signed copy of Our Sarah, mail a $25 check (made out to Sally or Chuck Heath) to:   Chuck and Sally Heath 425 North Klouda Circle Wasilla, Alaska 99654 (Thermometer in Delta Junction AK image by Birch Leaf Photography)   Start your Amazon search here! Amazon.com Widgets   Amazon.com... read more

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! This is a picture of my wife Abby, standing on a cliff overlooking my old gold claims on the Kenai Peninsula. I spent most of a winter here living in a small cabin and dredging for gold through the river ice. I’ve got a great chapter describing that year in an upcoming book.     In the summer, the river rises dramatically and is a favorite place for whitewater rafters who enjoy Class V rapids. I rescued a couple of rafters over the years in this very spot. If you’re interested in coming to Alaska yourself and riding this river, I recommend you hook up with my friends at the Chugach Outdoor Center. Check out their website: www.chugachoutdoorcenter.com. One of their guides is someone you might recognize from the television show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska. That would be the notorious Mudflap. We’ve remained friends since he guided us down the Matanuska River and he and I have rafted the Nenana and Six Mile since then. Here’s a short clip I took of the river while some adventurous rafters were coming through:   Subscribe free to ChuckHeathJr.com and receive notice of each new post! Just enter your email address in the subscription box found in the sidebar and watch for a verification email. To purchase a signed copy of Our Sarah, mail a $25 check (made out to Sally or Chuck Heath) to:   Chuck & Sally Heath 425 North Klouda Circle Wasilla, Alaska 99654   Pipeline Pull Off on the Richardson Highway image by Birch Leaf Photography   Start your Amazon search here! Amazon.com Widgets   Amazon.com... read more

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! A verse for today: But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. ~ Psalm 86:15 (ESV) Did you see this article and video about a second chance for a determined sled dog? His brother is reminiscent of the brother we talked about last week. From Valley News: Jefferson, N.H. — When Gonzo started tripping over his food dish three years ago, no one could explain or stop the Alaskan husky’s quickly advancing blindness. But a veterinarian offered some simple advice: “Run this dog.”   Gonzo, one of 120 dogs at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, was happy to comply. With help from his brother, Poncho, he soon resumed his place pulling a sled all over New Hampshire’s North Country to the delight of tourists and his caretakers, who quickly realized that if Gonzo didn’t treat his blindness like an obstacle, neither would they. Given the dog’s obvious eagerness, he was allowed to continue on as usual.   “Even though he’s blind, he still knows when hook-ups are happening. He’s still very aware,” said kennel manager Ben Morehouse. “When you have a dog such as Gonzo, with such a want and a drive and a desire … you try it, you hook up, you see what happens.”   …   Some dogs at the kennel, including Gonzo and Poncho, were born there. But it’s also home to what kennel owner Neil Beaulieu calls “second-chance” dogs — former professional sled dogs a bit past their prime — as well as dogs rescued from bad situations. Read more... read more

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! Thank you to all who heard about Mom’s hip joint replacement surgery yesterday and have shared your well wishes and prayers. As I mentioned on Facebook, she made it through her surgery! Her hip was in worse shape than they initially thought so she was in the OR twice as long as expected. The doctor said they cleaned up what they could and she should be good to go in a couple of months. I showed Mom all the nice messages you guys left her. She was embarrassed but very touched. Thanks again for the thoughts and prayers. I also shared a picture on Facebook of what I thought was Mom after surgery…except it wasn’t. It was from my recent Walrus post…that big, old dead cow on the beach! I thought I was in trouble for sure, but we all had a good laugh. Anyway, in case you didn’t get to see the real picture of Mom, here it is.   Did you happen to see the latest cover of Alaska Magazine? It’s getting to be Iron Dog time! The Trail class race begins February 15, and the Pro class, the one Todd races in, begins February 17.     And from the Ski-Doo Facebook page: Iron Dog racer Scott Davis just sent us this pic and note: “Sleds are working great. Todd [Palin] has 2,000 miles and I have 1,700 with no failures. We just add gas and oil!” Subscribe free to ChuckHeathJr.com and receive notice of each new post! Just enter your email address in the subscription box found in the sidebar and watch for... read more

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! Below is a picture of Dad last summer heading into our favorite mining area in the Talkeetna Mountains. On this particular trip, we ran into a herd of approximately 2,000 caribou. These caribou are part of the Nelchina herd that roams a 23,000 square-mile area from the foothills of the Chugach Range to the Tetlin Flats on the Canadian border. During the 1970s, the population of this herd was estimated at 12,000 animals. Today, it’s around 46,500. Good game management has resulted in this impressive increase. We are extremely grateful to have this herd so close to us. These caribou are a regular part of our diet and we have countless memories from our yearly hunts. If you’re wondering if we bagged one on this trip the answer is no. This was earlier in the summer and we were after gold. When the Fall hunting season begins, we never run into these big herds. They must have some kind of internal calendar because they sure are hard to find come hunting season! Subscribe free to ChuckHeathJr.com and receive notice of each new post! Just enter your email address in the subscription box found in the sidebar and watch for a verification email. To purchase a signed copy of Our Sarah, mail a $25 check (made out to Sally or Chuck Heath) to: Chuck & Sally Heath 425 North Klouda Circle Wasilla, Alaska 99654   (Albino Barren Ground Caribou image courtesy of wikipedia)   Start your Amazon search here! Amazon.com Widgets   Amazon.com... read more

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! Below are some quick shots I took of Denali from the Anchorage hillside. You can read more about Denali, visit webcams (not very accessible during winter), and plan a visit all at the National Park & Preserve website. Any readers been there before?   Subscribe free to ChuckHeathJr.com and receive notice of each new post! Just enter your email address in the subscription box found in the sidebar and watch for a verification email. Purchase your signed copy of Our Sarah by clicking HERE.   (Bird Over Water image courtesy of Jack King)   Start your Amazon search here! Amazon.com Widgets   Amazon.com... read more

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! Here’s a great picture of one of my nieces…can you guess who without looking at the caption?   You can check out more pictures and stories from Bristol over at her blog site HERE. Subscribe free to ChuckHeathJr.com and receive notice of each new post! Just enter your email address in the subscription box found in the sidebar and watch for a verification email. Purchase your signed copy of Our Sarah by clicking HERE.   (Sunrise at Paxson Lodge in AK image courtesy of Birch Leaf Photography)   Start your Amazon search here! Amazon.com Widgets   Amazon.com... read more

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! A verse for today: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. ~ Matthew 7:12 (NIV) This big brother surely understands… From Sports Illustrated, 2012 SportsKids of the Year: Conner and Cayden Long: Conner Long is nine years old. His little brother Cayden is seven. But Cayden can’t do a lot of things his big brother can do. At four months old, Cayden was diagnosed with a condition called hypertonic cerebral palsy, which leaves him unable to walk or talk on his own. Playing sports is a great way for brothers to bond, but it seemed to be out of the question for the Longs — until Conner had an idea.   A year and a half ago, he and Cayden started participating in triathlons together. Conner swims while pulling Cayden in a raft, bikes with his little brother towed behind him in a trailer, and pushes that trailer when they run. Over the past 18 months, the pair from White House, Tennessee, traveled up and down the East coast to compete in races. Seeing the brothers working together has inspired onlookers, while bringing Conner and Cayden closer than ever. Their amazing determination and spirit is why the Long brothers are the 2012 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKids of the Year.     As for the future, the Long brothers have no plans to stop racing. The Long family is trying to start a non-profit organization to inspire more people, help the Longs travel to races, and, as Cayden gets bigger and heavier,... read more

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! Hope you’re have a great weekend! What are your plans for today? Resting like this sled dog, toting the kids to all their events, or catching up on chores? Maybe I’ll do all three! I want to extend a special welcome again to all our new readers and commenters, many who have discovered us at Facebook. Please join in the discussion! Here are links to some of this week’s posts in case anyone missed them: The Porch, January 13, 2012 Edition – information and links to Greta van Susteren’s Haiti recovery coverage, including work done by Samaritan’s Purse and my sister Sarah’s past involvement. My Thoughts on Gun Control – where I stand on this important topic. The Porch, January 15, 2013 Edition – a short clip of a recent Fairbanks gold nugget find. The Porch, January 17, 2013 Edition – a feature on my cousin’s band, Missing Stateside. Alluring Gold – several pictures and background from some of my past gold mining adventures. The Porch, January 18, 2013 Edition – a short clip of a really big gold nugget recently found in Australia. Subscribe free to ChuckHeathJr.com and receive notice of each new post! Just enter your email address in the subscription box found in the sidebar and watch for a verification email. (Copper Basin Sled Dogs Resting image courtesy of Birch Leaf Photography)   Purchase your signed copy of Our Sarah by clicking HERE.   Start your Amazon search here! Amazon.com Widgets   Amazon.com... read more
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