Husky House

Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Sunday with Sweet Pea

Yesterday was one of those incredibly beautiful winter days when I just had to ride no matter how late I got started, sunset was about 6pm and I didn’t start until about 4pm.  I began riding at Pioneer Park and rode the bike bath into town, stopping to photograph Sweet Pea by two blocks of  beautiful Fairbanks ice waiting to be carved into art.  The Ice Alaska world ice art championships begin this week.  Closer to town, I stopped to photograph a bunch of crazy ducks that are overwintering on the Chena River in an area where warm water from the power plant prevents the river from freezing.  Many people have spoiled the ducks by feeding them, which has wildlife biologists in somewhat of a tizzy, because generation after generation of these ducks will overwinter here rather than do the normal thing which is to migrate.   You shouldn’t mess with mother nature.  I’m not getting into this argument, but couldn’t these ducks be the advanced beddown contingent?

Once in town, I crossed over the William Ransom Wood Centennial Bridge and descended onto the Chena River, where the Tired Iron Snowmachine races were wrapping up.  I had hoped the river would be good for riding, but the snowmachines had churned up the snow and it was too soft to ride without way too much effort to be fun.  So after about a mile I abandoned that idea, met with Bill who had come to join me, and we decided to ride on Fort Wainwright since we were on that side of town.  The riding on Ft Wainwright was on both a trail and the road, and was much more enjoyable than struggling through the soft snow on the river.

Sweet Pea leaning on two blocks of beautiful Fairbanks ice that are waiting to be carved into art

Crazy ducks; why would you overwinter in Fairbanks when you could just fly south?

The tired iron staging area on the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks

Bill on the Ft Wainwright bike path

Chena River on Ft Wainwright

Along the end of the runway on Ft Wainwright looking toward the ski area

 

More photos of winter in Fairbanks

Running in Denali

On Sunday I had an irresistible urge to run with the boys in Denali.  This is always one of those things where, after about 15 minutes on the road with the redheads going crazy fighting for a front row seat, we look at each other and ask “whose idea was this?”  I drove down, figuring Bill could handle dog control duties, and knowing (or at least hoping) that they would be calmer by the return trip.  “They” refers to the redheads, Clem and ET always settle quickly.  When we left Fairbanks it was sunny, but as we approached Denali clouds were rolling in, and by the time we started running it was snowing and blowing.  But any day in the park is a good day.  Road crews had started spring road opening on March 16, and by March 21 the Park Road was open to the public to the Mountain Vista trailhead at mile 13.  We parked by the trailhead and ran to the Savage River checkpoint at mile 15.  Although there were a couple cars parked by the trailhead, once we started running behind the barricade, we didn’t see another person, the park was ours.  It was so good to be back in the park after a long winter away, and I could feel myself beginning to revitalize.  We saw and heard a lot of ptarmigan and there was wolf scat on the road around mile 13.5, all of which had the boys in overdrive.

We started running from where the road was closed at the Savage River campground

Looking toward the park entrance from west of the Savage River checkpoint at mile 15. The truck brought in some of the heavy equipment used to clear the road.

The McKinley Chalet boarded up for the winter, there is nothing open in the park during winter.

Pelly (aka Curious George) on duty, he takes this responsibility very seriously.

More photos coming to the gallery soon!





COWABUNGA!

We finally had a respectable snowfall, and by that I mean about 21 inches at our house; the lower 48 has been stealing our snowfall this year.  This amount (at one time) is unusual for Fairbanks, we normally get our snowfall several inches at a time.  Well, with snow comes shoveling, and in this case, lots of it, we even called the snowblower into action.  Fortunately our snow is light and fluffy, not that heavy, wet, concrete-like east coast stuff.  It started snowing on Sunday, and I shoveled the driveway twice, removing about 3 inches each time, and by Monday morning we had another 15 inches on the driveway.  The boys were ecstatic, when I opened the garage door Monday morning to take them for their walk, they stared at the drift in front of the door looking for a way around it, then jumped right in.  Despite their joy over romping in the new snow, the boys were terrified to discover that it had desecrated their sacred pooping grounds.

Bill operating the snow blower

It took us about 3 hours to shovel the driveway and deck, and then shovel a path to the satellite antennas and shovel the snow from in front of them.  The antennas are just below the deck, and when we push snow off the deck, it falls in front of them; there must have been at least 5 feet of snow blocking the antennas.  After that, we were ready for a break, but it was not to be.  As soon as we got in the house, our neighbor called.  Her husband, Paul, had decided to drive his snowmachine to the shop and got stuck in a drift on the Tanana River, and asked if we would take our snowmachines and help him out (Paul has a heart condition).  The wind was gusting and the river was a virtual whiteout, it was no surprise that he was stuck.   There is never hesitation to help a friend in need, especially under these conditions, so we set about digging out our machines.  My machine would not start, so I stayed behind.  Just as Bill was getting ready to go, I looked up from trying to start my machine, and I saw four Siberian Huskies running full speed up the driveway, going for a romp.  The garage door was up and the wind blew open the door from the garage to the house.  So, while Bill went to help Paul, I went to round up the huskies.

After I returned with the boys, I went back to work on trying to start my Arctic Cat, and after about half an hour I was tired and quit.  I was  walking back to the house when Bill called my cell:  he, too, was stuck!  He had turned toward a small island to avoid overflow and got stuck on some dead trees that washed up during previous breakups.  He walked off the river to a nearby house and called me to pick him up.  He never made it to Paul.  Luckily a couple snowmachiners had stopped to help Paul.  They got him out, he went about  50 feet and got stuck again.  The guys had already taken off, so Paul started walking through the deep snow towards the Chena River, and another rider came along and offered to help, giving Paul a ride up the river to his son’s house.  Both machines remained on the river overnight.  We dug out Bill’s machine on Tuesday, and Paul had a friend help him extricate his.  Bill got stuck one more time on his way home, as he was coming up over a snow berm from the trail to our road.  I have never been happier that my machine would not start!

Digging out Bill's machine on the Tanana River; it is stuck between two washed up trees.

Bill's machine stuck in the snow berm coming onto our road.

There are more photos in my Mobile Me gallery

Skiing the Tanana River

Super Bowl Sunday,what better day for a girl to grab her skis and head off down the Tanana River.  It was sunny, peaceful, beautiful and quiet.  On a normal Sunday, the parking area at the river launch is crowded with vehicles and snowmachine trailers, but this was Super Bowl Sunday, and all the testosterone was lounging in front of a TV somewhere.  Beautiful!  It was an interesting outing, and although most of what little traffic I encountered on the river was female, it was varied.  There were a couple other skiers, several skijorers, two bikers with a dog running along, two snowmachines and a dog team.

When they are running, dog teams are quiet, and they can sneak up on you.  I was merrily skiing along when all of a sudden I heard a dog panting behind me, and by the time I turned to look, the lead dogs of a dog team where at my side.  This is the closest I have been to a dog team running full speed, and the closest I have been to being run over by a team.  I yelled “sorry!” to the guy, thinking I had somehow been in his way, but as I watched him zip off down the river, I thought, “what was he thinking?”  As you can see in the photos, the river is wide and there was ample room for him to pass me at a safe distance.  I didn’t even have the opportunity to take a photo!

Skiing on the Tanana River on a beautiful day

Just another beautiful day in paradise

At the end of my shadow is a skijorer

This looks like fun!