Posts Tagged ‘alaska’

Protected: A poem I’ve been writing for eighteen months

November 20, 2013  |  poetry  |  Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

The end of the great northern road trip (aka the end of last month in photos)

August 27, 2013  |  journal entries  |  3 Comments

This week in pictures
The last thing we packed up: Mom’s rhubarb-raspberry crumble.


The ferry; our early morning departure from Juneau.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
After sleeping on the ferry, we get on the road. Moonscape + roads near Skagway.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Then we got to the Yukon, and got a flat tire. Camped for the night and headed on to the junction the next morning … | Where we got the tire patched. Nothing around for miles.

This week in pictures
Stopped for some of the sights. This is the signpost forest in mid-BC

This week in pictures
Saw some herds of bison!

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Baby bison! | Scenery. Seriously. The road just went on and on and on.

This week in pictures
Just … beautiful.

This week in pictures
Oh BC.

This week in pictures
Camped at Laird Hot Springs.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
The path to the hot springs | hot springs!

This week in pictures
QUINTESSENTIAL ROAD TRIP PHOTO (it’s a smushed bug, for the record, not bird poop. An epicly big bug.)

This week in pictures This week in pictures
The driving-to-Alaska bible, aka The Milepost | Mile by mile

This week in pictures
Yellow

This week in pictures
Train

This week in pictures
Women/men? Rest stop bathroom in southern British Columbia, Canada

This week in pictures
I took this just to show you, to make that random reference in My Father’s Son make more sense.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
breakfast. every. day.

This week in pictures
We didn’t miss the entire berry season! The boy was sooo happy.

This week in pictures This week in pictures This week in pictures
blueberries (by the handful!) | blackberries | loganberries

This week in pictures This week in pictures This week in pictures
nom nom blueberries | “ohh I don’t feel so good.” | blueberry tummyache!

This week in pictures
Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park

This week in pictures
Olympic National Park campsite in Heart O’the Hills, my favorite campsite on the trip. The trees were so huge.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Hammocks are the best | Gourmet camp cooking

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Old growth, so beautiful | “Four legged frolic” came up as a word in dirty pictionary (also called Pervartistry). I mean who calls it a four-legged frolic? Well, shit, I’m going to now, that’s for sure. Also, note rife’s drawing skills.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Best breakfast ever! With my good buddy Dr. G in Sequim before we got on the road to Oregon | Arriving in our Oregon hotel, first thing I did was unpack the toys. A real bed! Luxury!

This week in pictures
Tree in Oregon farmland

This week in pictures This week in pictures This week in pictures
us, somewhere | wine tasting in about four different Oregon vineyards

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Sunset while arriving in the Bay Area | Realizing this was the first time I’ve driven after dark in more than six weeks

The biggest holiday (and the last few days) in Juneau (aka last week in pictures part one)

July 12, 2013  |  journal entries  |  1 Comment

I’ve got way too many photos from this last week, and not enough time online to upload them and show them off to you. So I’m letting the “likes” be my guide this time, and any with more than 6 likes on Instagram are included.

Here’s some of the most favorite shots from my last week in Juneau. Follow me on Instagram for many more, and will post the rest of last week’s road trip soon.


After weeks of near-perfect weather, it poured for two days. It is a temperate rain forest, after all. AND: Instagram now does video! I never quite got into Vine, but I am pretty excited about Instagram’s video capabilities.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Salmonberries | Fresh rhubarb from my mom’s garden

This week in pictures
the dog. in a box.

This week in pictures This week in pictures This week in pictures
Douglas mountain … I think this one is Thunder? | Last Frontier Reindeer Sausages | Sunset on the walk home

This week in pictures

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Freshest fish at Twisted Fish restaurant


Little golden waterfall in the forest near the Brotherhood Trail. Love the rainforest sounds.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Forest near the glacier, Brotherhood Trail | Twisted fallen-down tree

This week in pictures
Montage of color & texture from the Brotherhood Trail walk

This week in pictures
The folks who march for peace and the Pride folks joined forces and marched with equality banners and origami paper cranes

The Fourth is the biggest holiday in Juneau, with the entire town coming out to watch the fireworks at midnight on the 3rd of July (because it doesn’t get dark enough until after midnight) and the parade on the 4th.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Rife had a sandcastle planned for the Sandy Beach sandcastle 4th of July contest before we even arrived in Juneau—lucky for him, we saw about four different porcupines before the 4th, so he was eagerly ready to design this one. The sad part was that the contest was cancelled, but we went down to the beach to build it anyway and there were a dozen or so others there, too. | If I’d been judging, this one would have been first place.

This week in pictures
Treadwell Mine ruins

This week in pictures
Detail of skunk cabbage

On the ferry, as it pulled out of Juneau at 7am, on the way to Skagway to begin the drive through British Columbia again.

There’s much more from the next few days, but I’ll save that for a part two of this post, since my internet connection is slow and precarious and I have plenty more.

Protected: The fields of wildflowers were stunning. (aka This week in photos part two)

June 30, 2013  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Mostly? The beach (aka this week in pictures)

June 30, 2013  |  journal entries  |  No Comments

This week in pictures
Gold Rush Days! The loggers and miners competition

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Kids playing in the dirt pile | Log rolling competition

This week in pictures
It’s been gorgeous here. For weeks.

This week in pictures
There isn’t a pride parade, but we did attend the Southeast Alaska Gay & Lesbian Association (SEAGLA) pride picnic!

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Treadwell mine ruins in Douglas

This week in pictures
Sandy beach, near the mine ruins

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Rife’s hands are small, but the leaves here are sometimes gargantuan. They seem prehistoric. This is a cow parsnip leaf, they are wild and overgrown everywhere (and cause rashes when exposed to the sap inside the stalks). | Happy 62nd birthday to my mom!

This week in pictures
Supermoon. I couldn’t capture it with my iphone camera, but it was a stunning sight down the channel from the bridge, just over the Taku mountains, so bright and yellow and looking even more huge because of the moon illusion

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Old growth forest on the walk to Outer Point | Younger forest from the beach

This week in pictures
Outer point on Douglas, the northern most tip of the island

This week in pictures  This week in pictures
The boy | & the dog are loving it here

This week in pictures
Alaskan brewing company beer cap with the beach rocks

This week in pictures
There was a thunderstorm after we came back in from Outer Point—this is the storm moving in, it’s only about 6pm so the sun won’t set for four or five more hours, but the dark clouds overhead made the sun far away look so dramatic. Thunderstorms are very rare here! All this gorgeous weather, and that kind of sky … global warming is real, man.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
And then, OH YEAH, Prop 8 was thrown out of the SCOTUS, and the 3rd part of DOMA was repealed! Nbd … !! We went out to one of the bars to meet a high school friend of mine to borrow her xtra tufs where she was celebrating the DOMA news with a handfull of friends. Kimberly + Marguerite made the “equalipussy” (shown here) and hung it, we did shots and talked about marriage and laws and other gay things. | Here’s the xtra tufs I borrowed (thanks V!) to go on a 3.4-mile hike into a cabin on Point Bridget, which is pretty much the northern most point that Juneau’s road extends.

I took SO many photos on the Blue Mussel cabin camping trip, most of which are still unprocessed on my iphone, that I think I’m going to do a round 2 of This Week In Photos … it’s been a beautiful, outdoorsy, adventurous week.

Follow me on Instagram, mrsexsmith

Little hometown adventures: Hiking, whale watching, beer tasting (aka this week in pictures)

June 23, 2013  |  journal entries  |  4 Comments

This week in pictures
From last week—false outer point beach in Douglas. My phone was dead, so this shot is what rife took. My favorite beach.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Downtown Juneau evening walk. “Welcome to Juneau” sign on the cruise ship docks | 10:30pm dinner at the Warf (that’s mint ice cream “grasshopper” pie)

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Perseverence Trail up the Silver Bow Basin, where the first mine in Juneau was constructed. It was warm! | Using the water filter for glacial run off. Probably not necessary, but it wouldn’t hurt. Also, it was delicious.

This week in pictures This week in pictures This week in pictures
Us (bugs love hair product so I have mostly gone naked …) | Waterfall at the end of the trail | Shale

This week in pictures

The view down the basin from a rock slide

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Mica in the rocks | The pool above Ebner Falls

This week in pictures
End of the trail (the bridge was out)

This week in pictures This week in pictures
View from my mom’s house of downtown Juneau | Rearranging the kitchen! Our big home project this week

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Whale Watching! The day was grey but still beautiful | Out on the water

This week in pictures
We saw some amazing things, the whales were so playful and we saw them bubble net feeding, tail lobbing, and even two breaching whales right next to our boat! Unfortunately this is the best photo I snapped, but I was looking with my eye more than photographing anything.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
The different flukes of the whales commonly seen in Juneau | Post whale watching beer tasting & tour at the Alaskan Beer Company

This week in pictures
Bedtime writing. We’ve been reading some of my childhood picture books as bedtime books too, so far we’ve read Space Case and Fog.

Follow me on Instagram, mrsexsmith

The first week in Juneau and the Northern Exposure kink conference in Anchorage (aka this week in pictures)

June 18, 2013  |  journal entries  |  1 Comment

I’m behind on the pictures post this week evacuee the Northern Exposure conference took up all of my weekend, and then their after party of adventures around Anchorage took up all of yesterday. I’m on a plane right now heading back to Juneau, so here’s the photo essay version of this art week.

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Pulse! The annual Body Electric advanced women’s retreat is coming up at the end of July, and I’ve been working on it a lot this past week | Rand Leather wrist cuff (review to come)

This week in pictures
cruise ships in downtown Juneau

This week in pictures This week in pictures
sunset looking toward the valley. We watched four bald eagles fishing in the harbor while also watching the sun set around 10pm | the boy mowed the lawn (we’re doing a lot of house chores to earn our keep)

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Mendenhall Glacier | Mendenhall lake and icebergs

This week in pictures
the boy on the sandbar

This week in pictures This week in pictures
rainforest | Devil’s club forest

This week in pictures
Lupine in the meadow on the Boy Scout Camp hike

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Friends walked out to the sandbar as the tide was going out | the boy carved an otter

This week in pictures
From the plane flying into Anchorage … Chugak mountains, I think? On the way to Northern Exposure!

This week in pictures This week in pictures This week in pictures
Welcome to Northern Exposure! | ha ha | Cleis Press’s contribution to the Northern Exposure vendor room

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Epic brunch at Gwennie’s | the Northern Exposure afterparty! We all piled into cars after brunch and took a drive down one of the “most beautiful drives in the US”, Turnagain Arm. This is Beluga point

This week in pictures This week in pictures
Beluga Point

This week in pictures
Beluga point

This week in pictures This week in pictures
the Big Game Wildlife Refuge at the end of the Turnagain Arm drive
Baby musk ox | brown bears

This week in pictures
the Big Game Wildlife Refuge musk ox

Follow me on Instagram, mrsexsmith

Northern Exposure Kink Conference in Anchorage, AK! And: Judging the International Ms. Leather Contest

June 12, 2013  |  journal entries  |  1 Comment

NE2013I’m catching a plane tomorrow for Anchorage, where the third annual Northern Exposure kink conference will be taking place.

NE is run by Sarha, who was just sashed International Ms. Leather 2013 at the IMsL weekend and contest in April in San Francisco. I was on the judging panel for this year’s IMsL contest, and while I promise I didn’t play favorites (Alaska rules!), I’m thrilled that my home state is representing the leather community this year, and I’m really excited to participate in the conference she produces.

The lineup looks pretty incredible. Though NE is remote, Sarha has attracted an incredible group of presenters who are teaching on a wide array of advanced topics. I’m particularly interested in the many M/s workshops that are offered, and I suspect I’ll be sitting in on as many of those as I can, taking copious notes. That’s a recent study subject of mine that I am really enjoying delving deeper into. I’m also really excited that Midori is presenting! I have been in classes of hers before, but it’s been many years, and I’m looking forward to learning from her. Lee Harrington is also going to be teaching!

Northern Exposure happens to coincide with Pride fest, so Sarha hooked me up with the folks over there, and I’m going to be teaching Writing Dirty, my skills for writing about sex class, on Thursday night (tomorrow!). I’m up against Drag Queen Bingo, so I suspect it might be a small class, but I hope we’ll have some good discussions and write some interesting sentences. I LOVE teaching writing classes, and often the ideal class number is something like 7-12, so I will be very happy with a small class.

The boy is coming with me. We’ve met at leather conferences before, but aside from IMsL in April, we haven’t actually come and gone from one together. And at IMsL, we didn’t get to play much (you know, just once or twice a day for short scenes, no big epic gang bang like at Winter Fire, no long, elaborate scene like at last year’s IMsL. I’m glad he’ll be there with me. I’m only teaching one class, Cock Confidence, aside from the writing class for Alaska Pride, so I should have some really nice time to play.

(Hopefully I’ll come back with some good stories to tell y’all.)

And, speaking of IMsL.

Winnersdsc_0603

International Ms. Leather 2013 Sarha and International Ms. Bootblack 2013 bella join the IMsL and IMsBB alumni on stage at this year’s contest and leather weekend

I’d never judged a leather contest before. I attended IMsL the year before, but I’m not particularly familiar with leather contests. I’ve been more and more involved with the leather scene in the past few years, attending more leather conferences, events, and happy hours, and participating in more conversations online about leather and reading up on leather history and culture, but I’ve only recently really come to understand the difference between BDSM, kink, and leather, which, though related, are slightly different.

I’ve been kinky since as long as I can remember, adding sensation play and power dynamics to my friendships, playtimes, and interactions since my first adolescent sexual experimentations, and probably even a bit before that. I’ve considered myself part of the BDSM communities since … well, at least formally since about 1999 when I got my official membership to the SPCC, the Sex Positive Community Center (now the Center for Sex Positive Culture) in Seattle. But I’d only ever really gone to classes or events to gain a particular skill to take back to my bedroom—I never really stuck around in the leather community.

Until recently. Really it was Dark Odyssey that started me on that path in a significant way. I thought I was familiar with leather culture and the kink/BDSM worlds, but when I started teaching more at leather events, I experienced how different it really was, and realized how I’d longed for leather community even without knowing it. I was on the board of the Lesbian Sex Mafia in New York City around that time, too—clearly seeking some more kinky community, not just to support my own kinky efforts but also to immerse myself in and learn new, different things.

I found a lot of what I was seeking at Dark Odyssey, and I found a lot of people who really felt like my people in a new way. (I’m kind of sad to be missing Fusion, which is next week! But it was either Fusion or Northern Exposure, and I’m so glad to be in Alaska right now. I don’t know if I’ll make it to Summer Camp in Maryland in September, but I would really like to. I’ve been two years in a row and I’ll miss it if I’m not there.)

So when I ran into Glenda Ryder, who runs IMsL, at Summer Camp last summer, I was thrilled to consider the possibility of being a judge for IMsL 2013. I knew very little about the history of leather contests, what it pertains, what a judge would do (aside from the obvious, duh), but I’d attended once (and watched almost exactly 20 minutes of the contest) and was interested in being more involved with leather culture, so I said yes.

IMG_1735 IMG_1971
The judges judging | The judges brief moment in the spotlight, onstage, when they introduced us

I spent more time with the judges panel than anyone else that weekend, and they were lovely people I’m thrilled to know. (One of my favorite activities was passing dirty fairy tale stories back and forth with Tillie during the contest.) It was great to spend some time with KD Diamond, and Sarah Vibes, both of whom I know from New York, and to meet Woody, the current International Mr. Leather, and hear more about the traditions of leather, fundraising, queerness, and history.

#fullofwomen

#fullofwomen

I spent so much time at the contest part of the conference itself that weekend in April that I barely had time to do much else—I didn’t attend any of the workshops, though I wish I had. I did send my boy to attend a power exchange relationships class called “Exploring and Deepening M/s, D/s and PowerExchange Relationships” taught by Liza and Jody, which was excellent, from what he relayed, and he took many interesting notes and gathered some concepts we still discuss. I also participated in a author’s meet and greet with Mollena, Laura Antoniou, and Tillie King (one of my fellow judges), hosted by Mr. and Ms. SF Leather, where we read some snippets of our work (and got to see many of the literarily-inclined folks at the conference congregate in one place, which totally got me hard).

Oh! And, here’s a quick sidenote: Laura Antoniou read from her most recent book, The Killer Wore Leather, which is a murder mystery set at a leather contest conference weekend. I picked up the audiobook on Audible.com for the long 5-day drive through Canada to Alaska, and Rife and I have been listening to it and really enjoying it. The reader is excellent, and the story is really fun. It’s kind of amazing to see our community through an outsider’s lens, and it’s also a very tight insider’s satire. If you want to know more about leather community, this book is definitely a fun place to start. Full review to come when we finally finish the book.

three judges [me, Tillie, Sarah Lashes] and Glenda

three judges [me, Tillie, Sarah Lashes] and Glenda with our serious judge faces on


I also taught a Flirting & Foreplay class, for which Rife designed a little IMsL flirting bingo card, which was a fantastic hit. I want to do that again, and I think all leather conferences should have a flirting bingo card in their conference bags.

I don’t have tons to say about the actual contest itself, aside from that it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed being behind the scenes but still in an important role as a judge, as someone described it to me that weekend. I don’t always want to have attention on me, but I do like to be important, somehow, so that felt good. I thought the contestants were incredibly well spoken, all had very impressive resumes (and formal leather), and had both new young spunkiness and wise experience from many years of serving and guiding and participating in these communities. I learned a lot.

I’d prefer to go to more classes, and I’m looking forward to being more of a participant at Northern Exposure this coming weekend than I will be working. I hope to have some fun, learn some things, and have lots of conversations about what it’s like to be kinky in Alaska.

I’ve got lots more things to say about Sarha and how she won (she won!) on an excellent platform about outreach to leather in little towns and not just big cities, how she excited (and kinda scared) everyone with her black bear fur lined chaps (where do you think leather comes from, folks?) and how it felt to have my Alaskan identity coming together with my queer and kink identities, too. I could talk about the MC and how unimpressed I was with her racist jokes (just because you “make fun of everybody” does not exclude you from racism). I could talk about the beautiful redhead who had a pet girl on a leash with her all weekend, and a new friendship and relationship that has bloomed from a distance. But this post is already 1600 words long, and it’s time to go to bed, even though it’s 10:44pm and the sky is still light.

It’s going to be even lighter in Anchorage. I’m really looking forward to soaking up all the midnight sun I possibly can.

(Official conference photos by Rich Trove, thanks Rich!, except for the instagram ones taken by me.)

Protected: Camping through BC & the arrival in Alaska (aka This Week In Pictures)

June 9, 2013  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: My Dad, 1951-2012

March 7, 2012  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below: