Hello and welcome to our blog. We have been getting many requests to join in on blogging so here we go. I hope you all enjoy the "view". Be sure to check us out at www.earthsonglodge.com for detailed information.

EarthSong Lodge in pictures

EarthSong Lodge in pictures

The view of a lifetime

The view of a lifetime
Denali in March 2012

Caribou and Sled Dogs

Caribou and Sled Dogs

two minutes of sunshine at -16 below

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wedding Bells at EarthSong

A very special day at EarthSong Lodge...today we had the honor to host the wedding of Matthew and Brandy from Pennsylvania. And I had the extra honor to officiate the wedding. For those of you not from Alaska, we have a unusual situation in the Last Frontier. Anyone can marry a couple up here, if certain paperwork is filled out. I have done two past ceremonies, and was very happy when this couple asked me to marry them. Very small ceremony, with the wedding couple, Karin, Rose (our housekeeper), and myself. We all wish them the best of luck in their new, exciting life adventure.

The Interior of Alaska is undergoing record-breaking hot temps, with Fairbanks breaking 80F for a few days in a row. This has also accelerated the wildfire season, and already there is a call from extra support coming up from the Lower 48. There is a relatively small lightning strike fire burning east of the lodge, across the Nenana River, from a strike that Karin actually saw. Smoke hasn't been a problem yet, and we hope some rain comes into the picture. Very hot for the dogs, very dangerous for fires.

Our four-month old pups are now on chains in the dog yard with the big boys during the day, a beginning step from young puppy-hood to older puppy-hood. The hot daytime weather helps mellow them out, and takes much of the trauma away. But when they all get together in the evening in the pen, all hell breaks loose! After all, pups will be pups.

Henry's Coffeehouse opened this morning. Our menu looks excellent...pecan-encrusted salmon, Thai panang chicken, honey-cilantro chicken, and of course spaghetti and meatballs. So much for the trim figure this summer...

Our newest addition to the coffee bar is an excellent bean from Uganda, one that I wanted to try for a few months now. Fantastic stuff. I think I still like K-Bay Coffee's Ethiopian Amaro Gayo bean more, but this is a good drink. It's always nice to find a pleasant delivery system for my favorite drug, caffeine.

More to follow in the hot summer days ahead. Watch for moose when driving up!

Happy trails,


Friday, May 21, 2010

And summer is here at EarthSong

All the signs of true summer are being seen at EarthSong now. The days are longer...we will not see any stars in the sky until the end of August. Temperatures are higher, and we have gotten into the mid-70's a number of times. The green is coming...willows, poplars, and birch are starting to leaf out. And the tourists are here! While we only had one family stay last night, we have had up to four cabins rented so far, so the summer visitor season at Denali has begun. Never mind down at Glitter Gulch, near the park entrance! Cruise ships are also here (well, not here at EarthSong), so the megahotels are open for business, and the congestion at the park entrance has begun. Another reason to enjoy the Stampede Trail, well away from the noise.

Our run of projects have continued, with new boardwalks, dog yard fencing, lodge carpeting, and utility work taking up most of our time. But we did have enough time for a great family visit last weekend, celebrating Karin's birthday. Sera and her boyfriend came up from Anchorage with our son Jake's boy, Mason. While Marshall and his wife came down from Anchorage with their two kids Jasmine (who towers over me now) and Teagan. Good to have the two boys play together (they are 3.5 and 4.5 years old), and nice to see most of the family together for a few days. Only disappointment came when Marshall failed to gain world domination in a long game of Risk, one of his specialties from his youth.

Our employees are on for the season now. We are looking forward to a great summer, and an excellent staff to meet all our needs.

As expected, puppies are continuing to grow and become canine monsters! Actually, this litter is much better at sharing food and getting along with each other than some past litters...especially those Eskimo-pups from years ago. We are cycling them out on their own area chains for a few hours every day, another sign they are growing up. The girls, Kira and Dax, are still the outgoing ones that will run full-speed at you and jump. Sisko and Basheer are a little bit calmer, and Odo just does his own thing. Basheer is about twice the size as Dax, and twice as slow...like a big tank rumbling down the road while they follow me on my bike. Fun pups, still living in the pen with Bart, keeping his life "exciting".

Lodge bookings are about the same as last year so far, which means the trend that started last season has continued into this one. A significant number of Denali Park visitors are planning their vacation much closer to the time they travel. We are seeing an uptick in bookings lately, and that is encouraging. This also means that those of you out there just reading this blog but not planning on visiting still can do it this summer. Come see why we all live here...it's not for the mild winter weather! And our pups would like to see as many people as possible.

Today we will start working on opening the coffeehouse, turning on water, moving equipment, etc. Memorial Day Weekend is just around the corner.

Happy trails, all!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Yurt News at EarthSong

Karin and Jon are now back at the lodge, after a relaxing few weeks at our home on the hill above Homer. Our first guests arrive this summer on May 15, so there are many projects to do before the summer season gets underway. One was putting up our new yurt. We purchased a 16' yurt from Nomad Shelters in Homer, a locally owned company that makes yurts to 30' in diameter. Our new yurt was erected on it's platform yesterday, with the help of our dog handler J.J. and good friend Will. After only two phone calls to Homer for some clarification of instructions, the yurt is up, and just in time for an overnight snowfall. Blowing and snowing now, but the yurt is standing strong...except for the 8" hole at the top. Didn't get the stovepipe in yesterday, but everything else is up. Our yurt will act as our registration/lodge office this summer, and Karin is already working on interior design ideas. If this works well, we are considering adding more yurts in the near future, and offering them as an alternative to overnight cabin lodging. If you don't know much about yurts, take the time and surf the web, and check them out. Very cool.

Our pups, the "Star Trek Deep Space Nine" litter, are growing like weeds. We've now opened up all four areas of our dog pen, so they (and Bart) can run around and play more. We started taking them for walks using a bike, so they can run a bit more. Personalities are starting to emerge and solidify, with the small female Dax being the one that seems to need to run at you full-speed and jump up. Kira, the other female, is also very social. The three males, Sisko, Basheer, and Odo, are friendly but not demanding. Basheer is the largest of the pups. Since this litter has the same parents as our last litter, the two-year old "Battlestar Galactica" dogs, we can make some striking comparisons. Dax looks and acts like Boomer, Basheer is the big tank pup like Adama, long-bodied Odo looks like Starbuck, Kira is built like one of the female pups we found a home for two years ago, and Sisko has the grey fringy facial hair like a young Apollo had. The pups have another month at most until they move out onto chains in the yard, and take their place among the rest of the dogs. Some will have to stay in the pen with Bart, as he needs someone to pick on!

On a non-lodge note, all of us up here in Alaska are closely watching what unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico with the latest oil spill. Especially those of us who were up here during the Exxon Valdez incident, and those of us (like me) who love to kayak Prince William Sound. This disaster has not come close to it's full capacity, but even now we see that it will surpass the damage PWS saw...and still sees, with some marine populations still gone or depleted, and oil still on some beaches. Many Alaskans have paid attention to BP's slow fall from grace. In the early 1990's, BP was considered the model of efficiency and environmental standards...for an oil company. I spent the night at Endicott Island, an artificial gravel island/drilling platform in the Beaufort Sea in 1991 prior to starting a long dog sled expedition along the arctic coast. Everything was immaculate, clean and efficient. As the years went by, the State of Alaska backed down on it's regulatory monitoring of the oil companies, allowing them to set their own standards for safety inspections and the like. The result was a series of problems surfacing about five years ago with BP, from pipe corrosion to leaks to false record-keeping. Their untarnished reputation got "oiled" a bit, and this Gulf incident seems to be the culmination of a downhill slide. I can see the residents of the Gulf states viewing BP like Alaskans view Exxon, and I can also anticipate the upcoming court battles over liability and finances. As Shell Oil completes paperwork for off-shore drilling in Alaska, it seems time to admit that you can't sacrifice one resource for another, and a real comprehensive energy program needs to be passed. And Alaskans are paying attention to this while the gigantic Pebble Mine project continues to gain momentum, an enormous gold mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay...the most productive salmon fishery in the world. Lots of lessons here, time to go back to school.

Some of you out there are getting ready to come visit us very soon...we will be ready for you! Our employees will be here soon, and we are looking forward to some great changes at the coffeehouse. K-Bay out of Homer will continue to supply our coffee, and I have discovered an amazing Ethiopian bean they sell...Amayo Gayo...and hope to have it as one of our drip choices this summer. Amazing brew, but even more amazing as a cold coffee drink. Those that know me know that I generally like my coffee cold, and I brew coffee for myself with a cold-brew system that ends up without the bitterness you can get from old hot-brewed coffee. The cold-brew coffee concentrate from this Ethiopian organic bean is something for the nose to behold. Try some when you come up, you won't be disappointed. We'll still have the Dream Blend for espresso drinks, and likely also a Java bean I enjoyed last summer. Go to K-Bay's website and see what they offer, and you'll see why we pay a bit more for excellent quality and social responsibility.

That's all for now, the pups need a run in the snow, and then some breakfast. More about the yurt soon, and Karin will post some photos. Happy trails, all.


our visitors from around the world