Cynthia St. Charles Store

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Teklanika River in Denali National Park

I made a reservation for us to camp at Teklanika Campground, located 28 miles inside of Denali National Park.  Camping here allowed us to save an hour each way on the daily bus ride into the interior of the park.  Most people park somewhere on the edge of the park and catch the bus into the park interior from the outside edge.  We were able to drive our vehicle into the park and camp.  We were booked onto the first bus to Wonder Lake - the furthest point inside the park accessible to park visitors.
The sun came out of the clouds a couple of times during our first day at Denali.  This day we hung out at the campground.  We could drive no further than the campground and our first bus reservation was for the next day.  It was super windy.  Hard to sit outside and read (although we tried).  Hard to cook.  Hard to eat.....  We envied people with RVs. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Denali State Park - No View

We stopped along the way at the Denali State Park - which has an overlook for Denali Peak.  Again, we were not able to see the peak.  Nice scenery in spite of that.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Parks Highway in Alaska

As we headed towards Denali National Park, we enjoyed the views along the way.  This train is headed for the park filled with tourists.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Talkeetna is a very small town located at the confluence of three rivers, the Susitna, Chulitna and Talkeetna.   This historic little town (no pictures of the town) is quite a tourist stop.  The place was swarming with people brought in by tour buses, probably off cruise ships docked in Anchorage.  We chose the solitude and peace of a hike along the river (we thought - until we discovered they take very noisy jet boat tours out of Talkeetna.  They seemed somewhat interesting, although rough and very loud smelly rides.  If the weather had been nicer, we probably would have taken one of the trips in the hopes of catching sight of Denali Peak.  But, it was completely overcast the entire time we were at Talkeetna (we camped there).  We had no opportunities to see Denali Peak.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dawn at Rocky Lake

Dawn comes around 3 AM in July in Alaska.  The light is wonderful for that night time stroll to the outhouse.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rocky Lake near Wasilla, AK

Rocky Lake was our chosen campsite on account of reports that landlocked Silver Salmon are in this lake.  We were not the only ones fishing!  No luck, though.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Gold Panning on Hatcher Pass

 The guidebook indicated any one could legally pan for gold in the public lands off the Hatcher Pass Road.  We followed a little rutty trail to a creek, where we got out the gold pans.  We didn't work too hard at it, and had no real success.  Good pictures, though.  The clouds were right down upon us.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hatcher Pass, Alaska in the Clouds

 After visiting Independence Mine we continued on up the road to Hatcher Pass.  This gravel road took us high into the clouds.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Independence Mine - Alaska State Park

 We so enjoyed the opportunity to roam freely about the abandoned mine and former town that is now a state park.  We happened to visit on a day when the visitor center was closed (can't remember why - maybe it was the weekend?)
 Love these decaying railroad tracks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Independence Mine, Alaska

Getting back on track with the blog posts about our big Alaska - Canada Roadtrip July 2015.  We traveled 8000 miles in 30 days.  The trip to Independence Mine is a bit of an adventure....steep gravel road and it is most interesting.  The mine has been taken over by the state as a State Park.  What they have done is unusual.  Rather than preserve or restore the mine - things have been left in the state of decay, with trails all around to see the entire place.  We had a chilly gloomy day for our visit.  Not many others visiting that day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Other Thing....

This is the other thing that has been distracting me from my usual routines (making art and keeping up the blog)............We had our roof replaced beginning in September.  (it took two full months to complete the roof installation due to the fact that the roof is a tile roof in Montana where few people have tile roofs - and there were many issues, setbacks, etc.)

We had many areas inside the house where water leaks damaged ceilings and walls.  Right after Thanksgiving, we moved everything out of our two living areas and brought in a worker to replace, repair and restore.  Ultimately, he stripped off all the "popcorn texture" from this ceiling (600 square feet), replaced some of the damaged sheet rock and then re-textured the whole thing.  That meant the ceiling had to be primed and painted, as well as the walls in this room and another room (my daughter Michelle and I did all the painting).  Whew!  Such a big project.  We went through two full months of drywall mud dust everywhere and no place to sit.

Here is a picture of the roofers setting up last September.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Happy Kids at Creative Arts Workshop!

 This project began as a scribble exercise.  After filling the large paper with scribbles, the kids were asked to look for hidden images on the page and to outline them with marker. 
Then, they colored in with watercolor pencils and added water to convert the watercolor pencil work into a painted surface.  They all really loved this activity.  I was amazed that even the 3 year old was engaged and on task for the entire hour!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Creative Arts Workshop Soft Opening!

 Introducing "CREATIVE ARTS WORKSHOP"  - an arts and crafts school for children (after school hours).  Adult classes will be added later on.  This is another project that has taken over my life the past few months.  I decided to convert one of the suites in my office building into an art classroom.  We have not really done much in the way of publicity - instead just opened our doors to family and friends. 
 This has been great fun for the children and also for myself and my daughter who is helping me with the teaching.

Two weeks under our belts and we are elated by the way things are going so far!

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Second Studio

This is one reason I have not been keeping up with my daily blog posts.  I have been working daily for the past two and a half months on this commercial office building I co-own with my mother.  Due to a lengthy series of mishaps with property managers - my daughter and I are taking over the management of this 29 suite, 3 level building.  My daughter has had an office in the building for six years.  I decided I need a workspace in the building, as well.  This space was left trashed by the previous tenant.  I have taken on the task of creating a working studio / office in this space.  So much to do!  It has taken over every moment of my life - awake and most nights, as well.
I shopped around for affordable ways to create custom work space and ultimately decided I could build a sturdy work table base out of 2x4's.  I am planning to add a 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood or MDF or maybe melamine coated particle board on the top of this base.  It will serve as a work table, as well as a meeting place.  It is counter height and I will be adding counter height bar stools (as shown).  I am contemplating doing some small group classes out of this space, thus the dual purpose work surface.  The work surface I have at home has cabinets underneath all the way around.  It is not possible to sit anywhere.  Standing all day really does not work for me, as I have chronic foot pain.  I am really excited about this new work table.  Notice the wheels! 
This smaller attached office measures about 12 x 9 - with a good sized dormer type space.  I think this will be suitable for a sewing room.  I believe I can custom build (out of 2 x 4's) a sewing table and a large ironing table / design surface. I am planning to build the supports right into the walls by screwing the horizontal pieces right into the wall studs.  It will make for a very sturdy work surface, I believe.   Stay tuned!