Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Emerald Isle and Peak Green

Sunday at the top of the run in a whiteout

I am still skiing after work - barely.  On Pyramid there is about a week left for the ski season, and then it will be time to move on to mountain biking and hiking.  There will still be skiing in the high country, but convenient and quick 'after work skiing' will be done.

I took the first three photos below about 10 days ago (June 8th), and if you look at the bottom 4 taken yesterday (June 18th) you see how dramatically Kodiak has greened up.  There is a reason they call Kodiak the 'Emerald Isle'.  But 'peak green' does not last all that long - only for a month or so.  By late July the Pushki is blooming and starting to yellow and die, and then the fireweed explodes.  The hillsides lose the super saturated green of late June and early July.  In August the hillsides are a sort of dusty green at best.

So when the sun comes out - enjoy the peak green!


Finishing a run in the blooming swamp violets

I took this one over a week ago, and since then everything has grown about a foot taller!

Campare this picture to the ones above from a week and a half ago

It has gotten GREEN down low in the last week

Yesterday at the top of the run

Only about 3-400 vertical patch of unbroken snow left

Monday, June 18, 2018

Karluk Lake Recon

Motoring around the lake

On my trip to Karluk Lake last week I was checking on the condition of the archaeological sites around the lake and helping the land owner come up with a plan on how best to study and protect them. We motored around the lake and stopped at all the area I had surveyed back in the day.  Then I would show my companions the sites and check on their condition.  It was very interesting to see how things had changed or not.

The weather was brilliant sunshine.  Not a cloud in the sky and no wind type weather.  Sun blasted days.  I was amazed by the green and lush vegetation.  We always did our surveys earlier in the year so that the sites are not obscured by the growing plants.  So I have never been to the lake when it was so green - wearing her summer clothes.  Patrick

Documenting site damage

Caught taking a nap by a drone!

Thumb Creek

Homeward Bound

Sunday, June 17, 2018

More Wildlife

I took a lot of good wildlife photos during my trip to Karluk Lake - too many to put on just one post (or even 2 for that matter).  I posted the best ones a couple of days ago, and these are the 'B roll'.  I kind of like the fox pictures the best and that is why I included so many of them.  What kills me is that the fox was playing with the cubs and I had a bear cub doing a 'downward dog' nose to nose with the fox - and it was out of focus.  Picture of the year (for me anyway) ruined.  Patrick

Swimming Dogs

Recently I got all three dogs to swim for sticks.  Until a couple of weeks ago only Tank would willingly go into the water and swim.  Sheba and Brewster would wade out and stop once the water touched their bellies and wait for Tank to return with a stick.  Then Brewster would generally take it away from him.  I figured that was just the way it was - I had sort of given up on teaching Sheba and Brewster how to swim.  After all, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

All that changed a couple of weeks ago when all three dogs started to swim for sticks.  There was someone else at the lake throwing a stick for her puppy and maybe my dogs wanted to show off or something.  Because suddenly not just Brewster (who as a pretty pure breed lab SHOULD like to swim), but also Sheba both started to swim out for sticks.  All three dogs were swimming at once.  I went back the next day and they did it again!

Whooo hooo I got swimmers!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Afternoon hikes, Christmas Cards, and Wild flowers

Last week before I went to Karluk Lake, the kids continued what I hope will become the summer pattern of afternoon hikes.  I'd work in the morning and then we would walk the dogs, or, on one day, go canoeing.

On Tuesday our hike was on Near Island and the wildflowers were in full bloom.  The dogs zipped here and there, and I decided we should try and do Christmas Card pictures.  We would prop the camera on a rock and set the timer.  Inevitably the dogs would run at us and get into the picture.  We ended up with lots of dog butts.  By the end, Stuey was calling the dogs just as we sat down for the photos.  It was pretty funny - and we did not get any useable Christmas card pictures.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Karluk Lake Wildlife

I spent the last 2 days at Karluk Lake checking on the archaeological sites I surveyed between 2009 and 2012.  It was pretty cool to go back to sites I last visited 10 years ago, and I even carried the original field note book so I could compare how they looked then versus today.

I also saw a lot of wildlife.  One of the highlights was a sow and 2 cubs who showed up on the lawn of the lodge where I was staying and proceeded to play in front of us for an hour.  The fox would chase the bears and the bears would chase the fox.

Another cool phenomena was the arrival of the salmon.  There were only a few in the lake when we arrived, but by the time we left they had arrived en masse.  As we flew out we could see big black balls of fish off of the mouths of all the tributaries into the lake.  The early run red salmon spawn in the tributaries.  The fish that arrive later in the fall spawn along the lake shore.

What's cool is that most of the archaeological sites are situated near where the late run fish spawn.  This is a good indication that the Alutiiq did most of their lake fishing in the fall.  Patrick

This fawn is safe from me when it hides in a pushki plant

The salmon literally arrived en masse in the 2 days I was there

The fox played with the bears for a 1/2 hour or so

Nora and Stuey?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sharatin with Stuey and Dale

A short but HOT hike up to the snow

On Sunday it was Stuey's turn to go skiing.  And rather than go the long way up through the spruce forest we opted for the quick and steeper hike up through the meadows and brush to the alpine.  It was much hotter!  But it was also a lot more quick.

On this trip my friend Dale N accompanied us.  I used to ski with him and his daughter when she was 12.  So there was a reciprocal element to the day.  Both dale and I agree that on these sorts of trips it helps a lot to have a third adult who is not family.

We got up on the snow and into a big bowl and Stuey decided to take a nap and watch Dale and I as we made multiple runs on the steep slopes above.  Then Stuey decided he wanted to go higher too.  He wanted to get as high as Nora did the day before.  So we skinned on up, and got to the same elevation as we did the day before with Nora.  Then Stuey ran on a little higher so that he could say he got even a little higher than Nora (but still the same within the margin of error - sorry Stuey!).

Then came the ski down.  It was not as long a run out as the day before, but it was a lot steeper.  and even a little scary in places.  Before we knew it we were at the bottom of the snow and filling our water bottles with the sweet tasting snow melt - better tasting than any other water.  And then down into the bugs and the green -  back to the car and home.  Patrick

Look Goats!

It's a steep skin up the mountain

Dale and Stuey

On the Summit ridge

Stuey begins his descent

It gets pretty steep!

It's green down there