Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday, January 29

It has been cold here! The temps haven't even gotten above zero in the last few days. We decided to venture out anyway on Saturday afternoon. It was about -7 at the time. Greg had been seeing waxwings feeding on berries in the Federal Building courtyard. He was able to get very close to some of these birds. So we headed over there to try to snap a few closeup pictures. Alas, that afternoon they were nowhere to be found. We headed on down to check the mail at our post office box. It was so cold, we had to detour inside the mall just to warm up. We finally got feeling in our fingers again and walked on to the post office. By the time we returned to the apartment, Greg had ice crystals in his eyelashes! That didn't deter us from getting back out in the cold that night. We drove over to watch a movie thinking that the extreme cold weather would keep most people inside. We were wrong. The place was packed. In fact, in the new Sherlock Holmes movie we saw, the only seats that weren't taken were right in front of the screen. By the time we made it home Saturday night, the temps had dipped to -13. I worked on school assignments all day today. We decided to get out again and support a local business, The Alaska Experience Theater. During tourist season this theater shows Alaska related movies. They are probably best known for showing a movie with footage from the 1964 earthquake. You get an idea of what it felt like in the safequake replication room. During the winter months they offer other types of movies on Thursday nights through Monday nights. Tonight we walked over to the theater and were treated to Alfred Hitchcock's classic "Vertigo" starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. For five dollars apiece, it was a great night of cheap entertainment.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday, January 22nd

Over this weekend, we have finally gotten into double digit temperatures for a change! In the past week 3 above zero has been the highest daily temperature and the nightly lows have been around 15 to 17 below zero. This afternoon during a burst of snowfall, Greg and I decided to get out and take a few pictures. We walked over to the nearby Memorial Garden to look for moose. There has been much more moose activity this year due to the deep snow. We have gotten around 92 inches so far this season. Twice this week at school we have had moose activity announcements. Two moose were on the back grounds of the school. We had to reroute children as they walked home in the afternoon. Today, alas, we spotted moose evidence but no actual moose sightings. Greg was able to manage to find several bohemian waxwings in a tree enjoying a Sunday lunch of berries. These beautiful birds have such smooth and soft plumage. You wish you could just pet one! They are definitely hardy to be able to tolerate such extreme weather. I walked atop several feet of packed snow in my quest for moose. If you step off the established packed snow, you find yourself up to your waist in soft snow! The snow continued and it was much wetter and colder than we were prepared for, so we cut the walk a little short.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday, January 16th

Remember to click on the pictures to make them larger.

It snowed quite a bit last Thursday. The temps stayed below freezing for the most part and we ended up with about 8 inches of new snow by Thursday night. This new snowfall put us over 90 inches of snow for the season. This still isn't too bad compared to our neighbors to the east, Cordova and Valdez. I'll take just the almost 8 feet of our snow over their 24 feet of snow any day! Once the snow stopped, the temperatures have taken a real dive. It has been struggling to get above 0 for the last few days. It is 12 below 0 right now. Brrr. Still, we did venture out in subzero temps on Friday night to grab a burger and a few groceries. We got out again today and walked down to Town Square to view the inspiring art created by winter sculptors who work with ice. As we walked along the snow-covered streets, you notice the orange markers are up for the many snow plows to know their boundaries. The square looked beautiful with all the twinkling lights in the trees. The trees were flocked with the recent snow and really added to the winter wonderland created by these artists. There were quite a few interesting sculptures. The creations ranged from cars and trucks to iguanas and seals. I think the peacocks were perhaps my favorite. Greg thought the one featuring a dance motif was quite striking. It would really be hard to choose a favorite among all these beautiful creations. We stayed for a bit until Greg lost feeling in his hands and couldn't take any more pictures. Leaving the square, we walked back toward the mall. We stopped in a most charming shop, Beyond Beads, located near the mall on 6th Avenue. There are so many unique items in the shop and I have my eye on a new string of beads. This is not just a bead shop, they have all kinds of jewelry and accessories, some trinkets for the home, and even candies on the counter! Delightful. We grabbed take-out at the mall and hurried home before our meals could freeze!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 10, 2012

As I write this, I am watching a tow truck pull 2 cars out of a snowbank across the street! Wow! We have had quite a bit of snow lately. Fortunately, we haven't had as much snow as some of our neighbors. Our only highway leaving town going south was closed today and will be closed tomorrow because of avalanches. The Whittier Tunnel is also closed. The apartment parking lot had been plowed Friday night. Look how much snow fell during the night. I hope this SUV's owner has a good snow broom! It has snowed another eight inches since we took this picture. The snow plow pushed up the snow from a small parking lot of about 20 parking spaces and it was as tall as the trash dumpster! The temps are expected to be warmer tomorrow, maybe even into the mid 30s. That will really mess things up and cause some of this to melt. Yuck. Give me snow any day over ice.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Monday, January 2nd

We arrived back in Anchorage about 10:30 pm on Friday, December 30th. When we left Tennessee the temps were in the mid 60s. We landed in snow and below 0 temps here! Spent the weekend just settling back in. Saturday we did get out for a few hours to pick up a few groceries and a new teapot for me. We did manage to get a glimpse of the New Year's Eve fireworks from the balcony. It does seem strange here that the fireworks show happens about 4 hours before the new year begins. On New Year's Day we did enjoy the traditional meal of chicken and dumplings prepared by Greg. Today we did get out for a quick walk and managed to get a few pictures of a cold January day. I think the highest it got here was about 1 degree! Brrrr. Back to work tomorrow for both of us.