24 March 2014

Sun and Ice

Yesterday afternoon was beautiful! Blazing sun, snow melting all over the place, 47 degrees above zero... It would have been such a shame to stay inside.

We made the most of it. After Little Bear's nap and a quick lunch, we ran out to the last checkpoint before the finish on the final heat of the Open North American. One of my dad's friends was racing, more for the fun of it than to win, and we kept hearing about him on the radio coverage as we drove. Traffic lights were against us, unfortunately; we did manage to watch the last several teams go through, but from inside the car while they crossed the street in front of us, so Little Bear couldn't see well. 

I was bummed about missing most of the teams, and Little Bear was antsy because he was bundled in snow gear and we'd promised to take him somewhere fun. Matt decided that, since we were out, we should visit the ice park. Regular admission prices are highway robbery! It's been so long since I've gone as an adult not part of a "school group" with the homeschoolers, I'd forgotten. No dates for us in April... but we all had so much fun, it was worth it.

The ice park, Ice Alaska I guess is the official name, is divided in two parts: the kids ice park, and the competition single-block and multi-block sculptures. We spent the better part of an hour running around the kids park with Little Bear; he loved the slides, even the big ones, and bounced up shouting "Again! Again!" with a huge grin on his face every time he got to the bottom. The maze was fun too: I went one way and Matt and Little Bear went the other, and the walls were just low enough that from his perch on Matt's shoulders, Little Bear could see me. He was laughing and shouting and tugging Matt's hair to get him to run toward me.

We didn't get a chance to look at many of the actual sculptures, because we were getting uncomfortably warm and Squirrel decided that I needed to be nauseous again...thank you, baby...but we did walk down one aisle on our way to the exit. They were all so incredibly detailed! Some of our favorites:

Poseidon riding a sea horse

Ballet... Look at the delicate spiraling!

I think this was called Aurora Dreams? Definitely our favorite; it's so realistic, so intricately textured! It was carved by a three-person team from China (we knew it couldn't be by Alaskans, because those are deer; very well-done, lifesize deer, but still...no deer live by Mt McKinley!) But despite that technicality, the detail on this one just blew us away. There are ice rocks in the river. The tree branches look like there is actually snow sitting on them. The texturing on the mountain, the northern lights, the contrast between the river and the "snowy" ground... amazing.

I am so, so glad we went... what a perfect afternoon outside together!