Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

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!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Day 1 from Greg's Adventure at McNeil River

By about midday several of the bears, full of fish, picked out a good spot to relax. While they rested, several more bears made their way to the falls and took over their fishing spots.
 This bear decided to take a break from the action.
 And again, another big male stepped in to claim his fishing spot.
 There were about as many different fishing techniques as there were bears. Some stood and waited in the same spot sometimes for up to half an hour before getting a meal. Others were much more active and chased  the fish they spotted in the river. This bear was more of a diver!
 Some preferred to stand in the currents and swat away!
 This big fella had eaten all he wanted for a bit and had to take a nap. As you can tell, he had his fishing technique down to an art. Judging by his size, well over 1,000 pounds, I don't think he missed many opportunities.
 All throughout the day, more and more new bears made their way to the falls.
 Big bears, like these, claimed some of the prime salmon spots in the river.
 This chocolate bear was one of the most prolific salmon catchers! During the whole four day adventure, he kept up the pace. Each day I could see him catching many fish in his chosen spot at the big rocks down from the falls.
 I don't know if this bear was puzzled or just enjoying a cool bath on this warm day.
More and more of the first bears in the waters that morning, the successful ones anyway, found a quiet place to rest.
More bear pictures later.
For now, we had our first snowfall of the season. Last Sunday night, October 19th, we got about three inches of snow downtown. Others on the hillside reported getting over 9 inches of fresh snow. Thank goodness the studded snow tires were put on the car this week!