Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where's my snow??

We added to our snowfall by about an inch last week. This puts us at about 20.5 inches for this season. As of right now, we are at the second lowest total snowfall ever for a season. Boston has had three times as much as we have had! Although the ceremonial start to the Iditarod will be held here in Anchorage on March 1st, the actual race has been moved to Fairbanks due to the lack of snow. This is only the second time in the history of the race that the start had to be moved to Fairbanks. Our temps have been way above normal. The roads are clear and parking lots are slushy during the day but refreeze at night.
 We set a record high yesterday at 44 degrees!
 That was the official high but several areas around town warmed up to near 50.

 I got out a bit today and took some photos of Northwood Park.

The ducks actually had water to swim in instead of just resting on the snow.

You can actually see grass under some trees around Lake Spenard.

The lake still looked solid and frozen.

If it continues to warm up, the floatplanes can land on water soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Finally, some fresh snow!

After several weeks, we finally saw snow again this Thursday and Friday. We probably got about 4 inches downtown by the time the little burst of snow was over. This is not even close to their forecast of up to 13 inches! Still, this was enough to make the landscape light and brighten things up a bit.
We are now back to over 7 hours of daylight a day and adding around 5 minutes of light each day to that.
 We decided to get out today and enjoy our new membership to the Alaska Botanical Garden that we received as a Christmas gift.
Thanks Scarbrough Family!

We took an unplanned sightseeing tour when we missed the turnoff for the garden.
There were a lot of people out in the nearby park enjoying the new snow.

We finally made our way back to the garden and walked around a bit.
But as the temp was below 0, we didn't stay out too long!

 The bitter cold is supposed to stick for several more days. Brrr.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

First Week Back

We enjoyed a few weeks in Tennessee with family and friends. Probably ate enough good Southern food to last me until my next trip down there in March. Temps varied anywhere from upper 30s to the mid 60s on our trip in TN. Once we got back here, we were met with our coldest weather of the season. It got down as low as 1 degree a few nights. There is still very little snow, we are probably around 2 feet below our average snowfall for the season. We have only had around 16 inches of snow so far, and little of that remains on the ground.
Today we went down to watch the ice sculptors create their art.

These artists are really amazing,
 especially to put so much work and effort into creating something so beautiful
 that is so temporary.

It is really hard to pick your favorite.

Very hard to decide!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

McNeil River Day 2

We head back to Tennessee in a few nights. We are looking forward to having Christmas with family and friends there. So here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. To finish out the blog for the year, here is another day from Greg's summer bear adventure. 
We left for the falls about 9:30 a.m. Today only 4 of our group, plus the guide, made the trip. The morning was a lot cooler which made it much more pleasant. My missing bag arrived last night so today I was armed with my sunscreen, video camera, and other essentials. 
We still split into groups when we arrived at the falls. With 2 of us going to the lower viewing area and the other 2 remaining on the upper viewing area with the guide. On the bottom, where I was, a folding chair on either side of us served as a barrier to the bears. 
Again today the longer we stayed, the more bears arrived at the falls. Trying to film them proved to be more difficult than I had counted on. As there was something going on all around me. It was hard to concentrate on just one spot.
This being the case, I mostly just snapped away with the digital camera.
 By the time we left, there were 26 bears at the falls at one time. 
 The day was also filled with very close encounters. One bear, after catching a salmon, ran up to within 4-5 feet of me before noticing that I was there. Upon seeing me, he quickly veered off and took another route.
 Watching these bears was so exciting and spellbinding, that before I knew it, the time was 8 p.m. and time to head back to camp. We were lucky again to have the high tide on our side and the boat picked us up after our 2+ mile walk and took us back to camp.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our long Thanksgiving weekend

We both have enjoyed our 4 day Thanksgiving weekend! Greg started a new job with BLM as a land law examiner!  He was able to take the Friday after Thanksgiving off for the first time in several years. We had a great Thanksgiving with our friends, Doris and Wes. They treated us to a fantastic dinner and then we spent the rest of the evening playing games and having a good time. We didn't do much at all on Friday.
Saturday morning, we woke up to new snow for the first time in several weeks.
We probably got around 3 inches of fresh snow and the ground was fresh and white as it should be at the end of November.
The temperatures have been pretty nice as far as it goes.
Our highs have been in the mid 20s and low 30s. Saturday afternoon we got out to enjoy a walk in the beautiful snow.
 I got out to shop for Small Business Saturday and met a friend for a quick snack and chat.

Walking back home after dark, I did notice how much brighter the snow makes everything appear at night. That's about it for now. More summer bear pictures soon.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Greg's Summer Bear Adventure End of Day 1 McNeil River

This first afternoon at the falls, turned off very warm.

 Greg ended up with a pretty bad sunburn. The bag containing his sunscreen and other important items was accidentally loaded back on the float plane when it left last night.
Even the bears seemed to take notice and when they weren't actually fishing,
 many of them just laid in the cool waters of McNeil River.
 The later and later it got, the more bears arrived at the falls. By the time we left around 8 p.m., there were 29 bears gathered at the falls.
It was truly unbelievable.
 I can only imagine how awed they must have all been when their record of 74 bears at one time was set a few years ago.
Our trip to and from the falls was tide dependent. Tonight, however, we only had to hike about halfway back as the high tide allowed a boat to pick us up and return us to camp. It was quite an amazing day!