First Time Turning 50

I am a birthday person.  I like to celebrate them, I like to acknowledge their importance, and especially when it’s a milestone birthday, I like to do something special to mark the occasion.  So one of the major reasons we are in Alaska this summer is because of my 50th birthday.  We knew it would be expensive to come up here so we would have to work full time, and we knew it would involve some long travels days, but I couldn’t think of a better place to spend my birthday.

As part of my interview I requested several days off to celebrate, and Kelly and Bill did the same.  Then Jo and Ben (traveling nurse friends of ours) worked their contracts so they would have a couple of months off during the time period. I am still blown away by them going to so much trouble, and not only did they make it to Alaska this summer to see us, but they made it to Glennallen for my birthday.

Everyone arrived at Northern Nights on Saturday, and since they had a travel day we cooked dinner for everyone.  Well, I should say Lee cooked, as he made “Daddy’s Special Chicken”, which is pounded chicken pan fried in butter and garlic, and is absolutely delicious, but labor intensive.  We had a wonderful time getting caught up, but I was itching to get on the road.  After much deliberation we had decided on Valdez because Kelly and Bill hadn’t seen it yet, and we were all going on a glacier cruise the day of my birthday.  Lee and I had scouted out campgrounds on an earlier trip and decided on the Valdez Glacier military campground (that takes non-military personnel) outside of town.

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Jo and Kelly hanging out in our place

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Ben trying out some wine Bill brought

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Bill and Jo

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I decided to make desert and thawed out some red velvet cookie dough that Bridget had sent with me

 

We all decided they needed frosting though and Jo, Kelly, and I combined ingredients and Kelly made some from scratch cream cheese frosting

We all decided they needed frosting though, and Jo, Kelly, and I combined ingredients and Kelly made some from scratch cream cheese frosting

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So good!!!

The next morning we were all up and packed and ready to go.  We were the last ones ready, it takes awhile to pack up when you’ve been sitting for awhile, and as a last minute check we looked at our brake lights on the trailer.  Well, they didn’t work, or rather they worked intermittently.  Lee, Bill, and Ben then spent the next 4 hours completely rebuilding a new plug and cable, and replacing a fuse.  Since it was a Saturday this was a lot harder than you would think, but they MacGuyvered it, and Kelly and Jo went to get us all Mexican food for a lunch break while we waited.  Jo, Kelly, and I had a wonderful conversation while we waited, but it did take a long time, and I was really grateful that they all stayed to help.  Finally around 3:30 we were on the road to Valdez with working lights and brakes!!

Ben working on the cable

Ben working on the cable

Lee and Bill putting electrical tape on the cable they made

Lee and Bill putting electrical tape on the cable they made

Hooray we are on the road

Hooray we are on the road

Originally we were going to walk Worthington Glacier, but since it was late we skipped it and just stopped to take a couple of pictures and stopped again in Keystone Canyon. Everyone loved the views though, and although it sprinkled some, the rain largely held off as we made our way down.

Our rig, Kelly and Bill's, and Jo and Ben's truck camper (they left their Arctic Fox in storage back in Washington)

Our rig, Kelly and Bill’s, and Jo and Ben’s truck camper (they left their Arctic Fox in storage back in Washington)

Worthington Glacier

Worthington Glacier

Thompson Pass was relatively clear which was nice

Thompson Pass was relatively clear which was nice

Stopping to see the handcarved tunnel

Stopping to see the handcarved tunnel

Me, Kelly, and Jo checking out the waterfall

Me, Kelly, and Jo checking out a waterfall

The canyon isn't as narrow as it looks in this picture but the walls are dramatic and pretty close

The canyon isn’t as narrow as it looks in this picture but the walls are dramatic and pretty close

My favorite Horsetail falls. Got the best rig porn to date!!

My favorite, Horsetail falls. Got the best rig porn to date!!

Lee directing the falls

Lee directing the falls

So nice being with other people so we can get pictures taken

So nice being with other people so we can get pictures taken

Kelly, Bill, Jo, Ben, me, and Lee. I sweet talked a random stranger into taking this for us

Kelly, Bill, Jo, Ben, me, and Lee. I sweet talked a random stranger into taking this for us

We made it to the campsite around 6:30, and after some discussion ended up getting two electric sites right across from each other.  Rain was called for all weekend and it was chilly so we needed electric for heat since solar probably wouldn’t pull much in.  Jo and Ben didn’t need electric, but the camp host was nice enough to allow them to double up with Kelly and Bill as long as they paid the dry camping rate.

Looking across at Kelly and Bill. See the huge waterfall on the mountains behind them. We could hear that water running at night

Looking across at Kelly and Bill. See the huge waterfall on the mountains behind them above the mist?. We could hear that water running at night

The next day I took them around to see the interesting things in Valdez and by far the best was Dayville road where the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery is.  We had seen it before , but not when the salmon were in, and the amount of fish was absolutely amazing.  None of us had ever seen anything like that and although there were no bear, we did see some swans and eagles along the way.  Plus the fish themselves were just cool.

The first creek we came upon with some fish fish

The first creek we came upon with some fish fish

A family of swans across the way so cool to finally get this shot!

A family of swans across the way so cool to finally get this shot!

The next creek was totally full of fish

The next creek was totally full of fish

And the seagulls were having a field day

And the seagulls were having a field day

NEar the fishery there were so many and they were trying to jump the small wall

Near the fishery there were so many and they were trying to jump the small wall

That took them to this pool and waterfall where we hoped to see bear but it was still beautiful

That took them to this pool and waterfall where we hoped to see bear but it was still beautiful

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The top section of the falls.  My friend Sue saw a grizzly over here, but for us it was not meant to be

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Seagulls were nesting right above the fish and Bill pointed out this baby Black-legged Kittiwake

Seagulls were nesting right above the fish and Bill pointed out this baby Black-legged Kittiwake.  So cute

Signs made it clear this was a bear area

Signs made it clear this was a bear area

No bears but this beautiful eagle was hanging out

No bears but this beautiful eagle was hanging out

We all found the fish hatchery itself fascinating.  They have a “ladder system” inside that allows some of the fish to get back to the spawning area where the eggs are collected.  The ladder setup allows them to rest in between levels.  Then Jo and Ben spotted some seals out in the bay which was really neat as well.

The fish ladder

The fish ladder

Each section has a resting area

Each section has a resting area

Seals in the bay

Seals in the bay

The bay itself was beautiful

The bay itself was beautiful

And if all that wasn’t enough, Kelly and Bill surprised me with cake and candles because with the 4 hour time difference, we all decided my birthday actually started at 8pm!

Afterwards we went back and had a campfire and ate some pulled pork I had made for travel day

Afterwards we went back and had a campfire

Peyton, Jo and Ben's Alaskan Malamute, loved the weather

Peyton, Jo and Ben’s Alaskan Malamute, loved the weather

Bill's homemade carrot cake was delicious and they even had big signs!!

Bill’s homemade carrot cake was delicious and they even had big signs from Bill’s 50th birthday party which they had been holding onto until I turned 50.  How sweet is that?

It was a nice couple of days, and packed with firsts and great friends, which was a good thing.  Because to be honest, turning 50 really struck me funny, and it caught me off guard.  The last time I was bothered by an age change was when I turned 30, so it’s been awhile and I really didn’t expect it.  That’s what is great about good friends though.  They get it when you are off your game a little, and were kind enough to give me a little space.  I’m honestly not sure I can verbalize what bugged me about it, other than it felt as if I had turned a corner and was looking downhill.  And yes, I know I have lots of life left in me, many adventures ahead, and I am obviously blessed with the love of family and friends.  Still, I was bummed a little, and I might as well say that out loud since I am 50 now 🙂


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13 thoughts on “First Time Turning 50

  1. I felt the same exact way before my 50th Bday…the funniest thing though….as soon as I was 50 and “on week” I felt super young again….”60″ was quite a ways away💕❤️💕❤️ So glad you had fun😍

  2. My 50th bugged me also, until Diana threw me a retro kids birthday party with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, clothes pin drop, etc. It did the trick, as I brushed it off after that.

    Just remember: it’s natural to feel odd on your odd milestones. You will feel the same way on your 70th, 90th and 110th birthdays. You are good to go for 20 years, Trace. 😉

  3. I love birthdays, I know a lot of women dread getting older, I consider each birthday an accomplishment that I’m still surviving. What a wonderful way to spend your birthday, congratulations and Happy 50th Birthday

  4. First… HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY!!!! What a wonderful way to celebrate. I so want to see the Salmon Run…maybe on my 70th Birthday;o))

    Speaking of 70th Birthday…they say the 70 is the new 50. If that is true (which I believe it is) than we will be almost the same age in a couple years:o)) However, I also think the 50 is the new 30 so you still will have a few years to catch me!!!

    Just remember to enjoy the journey…it is so good at ANY age:o)))

  5. Well, you may have had your first 50th birthday but it does not have to be your last! How great that you were able to have it with Bill, Kelly. Ben and Jo! The hatchery looks very cool, I wished we could have seen it when the fish were spawning. By the way……Daddy’s Special Chicken? That sounds just wrong!

  6. Awesome birthday celebration; wish we could have been there! Fish were really cool! And Bridget’s cookies somehow didn’t look like Bridget’s cookies!! I’m sure they tasted good though!! I’m happy to have some company at 50!!

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