Monday, August 22, 2011

Why we live here

Yesterday we showed you what sports people get to do here.

But, if you area a couch potato, you too might ask,
"Why would anyone want to be live so far away from the comforts of life?"

Maybe its the water, and how they reflect the sunrise.
Or maybe its the clouds
putting on their psychodelic show,

without the need for drugs,
or even a TV to numb your mind.

Anyway, this place gives fine reasons

for getting out of bed

and watching what's around you,

like these pics at 6AM,
August 11, 2011
in Kodiak, Alaska

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The end of summer came quite early

What is this a picture of?

A very sad moment, indeed.

It's the kayaks being stored in the house's crawl space, during the first week of August.

No, it's not because the weather is bad. It has been the sunniest we have seen Kodiak.

And September is just around the corner, darned!
That's when the luminescent algae bloom in the bays.
Every stroke of the paddle gives a light show as you travel down away form the city lights at night.

No, not for us this year.

And, as you might have noticed, not many "action" pictures this Summer.

That's because yours truly got a little too brave and tried to see just how steep the canyon of the Snake River was at Yellowstone. A slip on those darned dry pebbles and down I went.

The camera did well, but not the shoulder.

That has meant lots of limitation in physical activity.
And, soon it'll be time to go "under the knife".

So, for 6 weeks or so, we'll be out of all activity.

Maybe we'll put up a few pictures form the past; but no new hikes for a while.

The time has come to say, "Adios" for now.

So, our advise to you has changed a little:

Still, we say, ....

"Get out and do something....
...............but watch where you place your feet!"

Hasta la vista, explorers!

So... why come to AK, anyway?

Enough of sitting in a car and driving to Alaska.

What is there to do once you get here?

For some, there is this:
biking from the windmills down to sea level.

It's a lot like riding in New Mexico...but no cactus to cut your legs.....
and an ocean to view, as you go down to
Dead Man's Curve on the road system.

Here's a ride from , taken in the Spring,
before our island turned emerald green.

If you are a biker, I'm sure you'll like it.

Just click on the link.

If that doesn't work, just copy and paste it.
It'll be worth it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Going Shopping

We hope you liked our pics of the wildlife on the way up to Alaska,
and the things to do and see on our isolated island.
(By the way, none are photoshopped or changed;
that was the color of the sunrise on yesterday's blog)

But being isolated on an island in the north Pacific has its price.
You can't just go to the store and get what your recipe calls for.
In fact, when the weather is bad and the barge has not arrive,
those are times when the produce department is almost empty.

So once in a while we make a shopping trip to the mainland and Anchorage.

But, its not easy: :
a 12 hour ferry boat ride, followed by a 5 hour car drive
just to reach a Costco or a Sam's club.

So, you plan for weeks, you make your list, and you check it twice.
And then you take off in your expedition.

Just take a gander at what this trip brought:

Imagine the planning to pack this car so tightly..
and not buy so much that some might have to be left behind.

And when you drive back for 5 and ride the boat for 12 more hours....

you divi it all up, making sure each family gets what they bought.

And drive home with your acquisitions.....
until it is time to for the next expedition to be planned!

You guys in civilization take so much for granted!

Up the Yukon, the end of our trip

So, we are coming to a close on our trip up the AlCan.
6,000 miles ftotal rom South Texas, 4,500 if we had gone straight.

Many ask us about the road conditions.
Aside from the rains washing out the roads, in British Columbia they had been as good as in the US.

But, as we enter the Yukon territories, things start to deteriorate.
And that is understandable.

Yukon has 186,000 miles, with only 34,000 people.
And 24,000 or more of those live in its capital city of Whitehorse.

Compare that to British Columbia:
346,000 square miles with 4.5 million people supporting those roads.

So as we approach Teslin, Yukon (population: 123) we lose the smoothness..... they try to fix the wear and tear of the permafrost.

.......and it costs a lot to fix roads so far from "nowhere".

So, this what the it looks like for the last part of our Canadian trip;

35 to 40 miles per hour is our top speed.....

You'd better put on shocks before you hit this road!

But, as we approach the AK border.....
...the roads improve!

And finally...... we are home!

Where the roads are again as smooth as glass....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stone's Sheep of Northern Canada

When you think of sheep in the northern territories, I bet you think of those pretty white Dall's sheep, like this stuffed one in Tok, AK.

Well, here is a new sheep for you animal lovers.

Bet you thought it was a mountain goat, didn't you?
No. It is its own species of sheep. It is the Stone's sheep we saw on our trip up the AlCan.

But what about those short horns? The locals warned me that those close to the road were young and had short horns; many confuse them with some sort of mountain goat.

So, what's the difference? Goats tail point up, sheep's are always down. Goats have beards, sheep do not. And their fur? Goats are hair-like, sheep are supposed to have soft fluffy wool . That doesn't seem to quite fit these guys.

But, check out our pics and you'll see that Stone sheep's look like grey hair in the summer and fluffy wool in the winter. Here are 2 of the 4 we saw. One, still moulting, looks woolly and brown. The other has its summer short grey hair.

And, if you get close, check out their face.

Doesn't that jaw look like an acromegallic (one with too much growth hormone from a pituitary tumor as an adult, causing the jaw to appear larger than you'd expect) ? Well that is just the way these guys look, I guess. At least, most looked that way to me. Cool, isn't it?

As far as being hunted for food, that is apparently not real popular with the locals: it is real hard to spot them and chase them up the mountains. Then, if you succeed, the amount of meat just doesn't seem worth the effort. Better go for a caribou if you see one.

Still, if you are so inclined, this is what you'd be looking for:
something grey against the rocks.

So, pack your rifles (or cameras), and head out for a small area between British Columbia and the Yukon border,' cause that's where they live.

Good luck. And send pictures of your hunt.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Buffaloes along the road

On our trip we saw 9 black bears, one brown bear, 4 stone sheep, uncountable number of elk, 2 caribou, 2 moose and innumerable buffaloes.

Here is one.

And quite a few moms and babes were by the side of the road.

Quite a few just crossed the road in front of us if we just weren't there.

But this local Canadian must have had things to do, places to go.

So.... he presses his horn. Loud and long!

Meanwhile, a slow rumble begins right around us.

And then it turns into a full stampede.

With more than 50 buffaloes run right around us,

good thing we were inside the van, instead of taking pics outside!

Finally, they come to a stop.

Meanwhile, a bike rider had been about 2 blocks north of the herd as they started their run towards us.

This is his face when it was all over and we drove up to where he was.
"What have I gotten myself into?" is probably what was on his mind.

Don't you think?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

4th Day Through Canada

Sorry if the pics of the trip up the AlCan are coming on the blog quite slow.

But we are in Kodiak, and when it is summertime,
there are a lot of things to do besides load pics on the blog.
That's just the way it is.

But here are some pics of the day after the rain delays.

Through dirty window we see a lake:

As we approach, it gets prettier and prettier.
We make a stop, and this is what we see:
reflections everywhere!

Looking to the left, its a mirror of the mountain,

....looking like a painting of a fish, wouldn't you say?
And a bird flies by,
.... making it look like 2 dancers in perfect harmony.

Look right, and there's our road at the water's edge,

while the gull flies by, to give a show.

} catch(e) {}" href="">
Does that not lower yesterday's blood pressure?

But, the wind comes up,destroys our mirage
and reminds us that we have miles to go before we stop!