Saturday, April 30, 2011

Deadhorse Alaska Updater

The temperatures are ranging from around 15 below to 15 above right now. If the wind isn’t blowing, it’s a surprisingly pleasant walk from camp to my truck and back.

We have about 17-1/2 hours between sunrise and sunset already; that translates to about 19 hours of daylight. We have rainbows, sometimes, that encircle the sun. It reminds me of Saturn, but with a multi-colored ring. This morning I had another of those verbal “WOW” moments. The sun not only had a rainbow, but a column of rainbow that went straight up from the top. It was really fantastic to see.

The roads are almost completely clear of snow and ice and the gravel is flying everywhere when a bigger vehicle passes you on the road. Last week I had a perfect windshield. Today I have a half dozen pits and a crack to see the world through, and all from oncoming vehicles.

With the warmer weather we may get more snow and wind. When I came up for the first time last May, the roads were covered with snow and ice. There was new snow almost every morning and blowing/drifting snow sometimes made roads impassable. I don’t know if that will happen again this year, or if we are having an early spring and all that is done. Every morning there is a light dusting of snow on my truck. A couple of mornings ago, it was very foggy, or so it seemed. It was really ultra fine snow. The only way you can tell is that it accumulates. When the snow is that fine, sometimes there will be sun shining or light from somewhere, and it make the snow look like glitter in the air.

We are beginning to see animals more regularly; but only the ones that are here year-round. They are moving about more, and of course, it’s daylight. There are the several solo caribou that hang out all year and lots of foxes. I had to come to a full stop this morning for a pair of Arctic Fox that were galloping down the middle of the road as though they were late for an appointment. I loved it. They looked very happy.

The last two mornings and yesterday evening I saw Ptarmigan. They are like giant quail, but solid white. Very pretty, too. These are the first ones I have seen, even though they are always here. In the next few weeks they will change color and will be almost impossible to see on the tundra. I wouldn’t have seen them now, except there is so much dust on the snow from the gravel, they looked like clean clumps in the gray. It would have been hard to miss them.

Deadhorse Connie

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