Sunday, October 26, 2008

Winter comes to Kodiak

It is the last week of October and the temperatures have started to drop into the 30's on a regular basis. We had our first snowfall of about 1 inch this past week. Fortunately, the temperatures increased enough to melt most of it within a day or two.  Last nights cold front brought winds of at least 50 mph but only snow flurries. The seas were "angry".  We went out to Spruce Cape where the winds made it difficult to walk.  We kept Raton, our 10# dog, on a leash to avoid having her washed out to sea.

At times we actually see surfers in the waters around Kodiak.  The water temperature was a warm 44 degrees today but we expect it to decrease to 32-34 by the end of the year.  The waves were up to 15 feet high about 1/2 mile from the shore. The were still about 6 feet high when they crashed at the beach. It was a spectacular show of nature.  Unfortunately, it means that Carlos had to store the kayaks for the winter. 

I have learned in the past week how to operate of wood stove. With the costs of heating oil rising along with gasoline prices, we decided to purchase 5 cords of wood.  This wouldn't be enough if we were here all winter, but should cover the 3-4 months we will need it.  It manages to keep the house a comfortable 58-60 degrees during the day.  

Snow now covers the mountains surrounding Kodiak. There is not enough for skiing yet, but it shouldn't be long.  Their elevations are only 1500-2500 feet around the city.  We are still seeing small streams with runoff along side the roads.  Pretty soon that will all freeze and we'll have some spectacular icicles covering the hillsides.  

Carlos is waiting for the first ice storm.  He knows when winter truly arrives that there will be plenty of broken bones from falls on the ice.  We have to put ice cleats on our shoes when we go outside. The temperatures stay so close to freezing that walkways and streets might have a layer of ice covering them at any time.  The snow melts quickly, but usually the following day there is a sheet of ice to we have to deal with.  We had to change the tires this week to studded tires for driving on ice.  We will keep them on the car until about mid-April.  Crazy people like Carlos will put studded tires even on their bicycles.

The last of the salmon are finally coming upstream.  And in the bays fishermen are now allowed to "snag" the fish instead of only catching them in the mouth since their end will be the same anyway.  Carlos is hoping to catch his first fish this way.

Come January it will be time to go ice fishing on the lakes.  What is now our municipal float plane airport will become a completely frozen lake.  There will be an ice skating rink set up in the city park for the public.  It is still possible to hike in the parks during the winter but you have to have your ice cleats for stability. 

The bears are starting to go into hibernation now but the ones out and about are still hungry.  They are, also, not as respectful of people as they were before.  Now is the time to carry your 44 magnum at your side.  Here it is legal to carry your weapons in plain sight.  It is not unusual to meet a hiker with one and occasionally you see someone wearing one into a store.  
We'll be traveling to the south a couple of times in the next few months.  That way the short days and cold temperatures don't get us down.

For some photos of our coming winter in Kodiak, go to: 


gail said...

Spectacular photos! Thanks for sharing your life up north!!

Yvonne Kizerian said...

I was inspired by your house being in the high 50s and low 60s so I decided since it was about 50 outside I would throw open the back door and cool down the house a bit. I think the thermostat got down to 72 and I had to shut the door. My toes were frEEEEEEzing!!!! Kudos to y'all for staying warm in cold places.

Cadence and Nephi loooooved it, though!!! I love how animals get all spazzy when it's cool outside.