Tuesday, May 30, 2006



We finished. Pretty awesome trip and we're hoping to rustle up a few more folks and do it again later in the summer. Probably not much more from me until next week when I'm back from Nome unless Emily and Luke remind me about some important detail that I've left off etc.


Wrapping it up

Well, I'm beat so here's a taste of some more stuff we saw:

Some mountain across the valley from the squirrel:

The sweet view from my tent sans rain fly after the second day of biking. A bit of sun burn peaking through, too.

Actually we all camped out without flies, just a great all around day:


Squirrels, Birds and Porkypines

We saw a respectable amount of animals on the trip, mainly on the second day of biking although on the third day this redneck swore he'd seen a white moose. Color us very very skeptical but if you see it on the news we've seen the actual video. Looked like it was probably light gray or light brown but in the bright sunlight they mistook it for white. My favorite two were this porcupine that I saw as I was shuttling the truck on the second day of riding. Saw the tree move and hit the brakes. Poor little dude didn't know what to do so eventually climbed down but pretty good show in the mean time.

When we had lunch this young little squirrel came a knocking. He was a lot more skittish when it was just me and the truck. I followed him around a bit but he stayed in his holes. Once the food came out though it was time to strut his stuff. Such a cutie (to most folks except Emily who's anti-rodent).

Finally saw this little tweety bird at our camp that night. Back in the trees camped out around mile 104 or so the birds were pretty vocal all night long. So, that was pretty nice in the evening once we were just hanging out.

Monday, May 29, 2006


The day two chronicles

Pretty fun. I picked up some bike shorts just before heading out (never knew they existed but they at least made pedaling manageable. Anyway, here's Luke and I after biking to the highest part of the highway. The three of us are on their camera and I won't have those pictures till later.

And really, you can't complain about how fast or slow you're going when the surroundings are nice like in the Susitna river valley:

It's the end of the day, we did like 45ish I think through who knows how many vertical feet and stuff and everybody's still a little on the cheerful side:

Finished the day on a high note with salmon fettucini and some nice yellow sunlight for catching plants and the camp looking cool:


Paging 'Denny Gotchalks'

I've heard of Gravel Beds but this is ridiculous:

From our first full day of riding near mile 35 maybe.


Day One: Chilling in the Tangle Lakes

Well, we headed down Friday in the afternoon. My secret camp site on the Tangle lakes side was inaccessible due to still melting snow drifts so we continued on until finding a camp around some trail, Landmark Gap trail I think. Camp looked decent, so, I got ready to clear a spot for my tent. Lots of TP laying around... should have been a clue. So, there's this pile of rocks right where I wanted to drop my tent. Turns out somebody... earlier in the day I'm pretty sure... had dropped a couple of brown trout and covered them with rocks. What a way to start the trip.

On the off off chance this person is reading, perhaps it would be in your interest to be a little more liberal with the TP next time, for the sake of your friends if not yourself (not much TP under the rock). So, time to head down the ATV trail for some mountain biking before the road crawl across the Denali Highway. There was a truck on the trails already. He said it was mucky. No joke! I kept sinking in over my wheels (like 3 - 4 inches):

How cool is that. It got pretty bad. I only made it 1 mile down the trail before giving up, I was doing more pushing than riding. Here's my tire. This wasn't the worst of it. Looks like I should be making a bike commercial:

So, on the return tried to pick a new path. Apparently I wasn't going fast enough to ride through this snow drift. That cracked me up:

The icing on the cake was the rednecks who showed up around 10:30 and camped pretty much in our camping spot. But, before hitting the hay they headed out on a four-wheeler to the lake (we told them it was probably still frozen but of course they had to see for themselves). They'd been here last year of course and it was fine then. So, the wife / girlfriend of one of these dudes kept pacing until sometime after midnight when they finally returned hopefully so covered in mud that their night was miserable but who knows.


Quality Memorial Day weekend

Well, ended up having a great time biking from the Tangle Lakes to Cantwell (~110 miles) with Emily and Luke. The weather was perfect aside from winds blowing now and then in the wrong direction. A little sunburned on my south facing leg (left) but otherwise life is pretty good. It was a super fun trip. I'll be posting a series of pictures and posts in the next hour or so and maybe finish up tomorrow if I get tired tonight.
Here's a rough night coming to a close after our second day of biking. I have a hike near here in my GPS that I plan to come back to.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006



I was looking for some old pictures today for something else and came across these ones from a few years ago that still crack me up.

Another typical day at GW here with Emily and somebody else, Julie maybe. I'm up on the ladder.

A few years back I house-sat for about six months out in North Pole. Eventually I moved out but John and I went back to check on the house mid-winter and were absolutely shocked at the scene. Apparently the water pipe upstairs (where the teeny toilet and shower were located) burst and the well pump was still turned on so it merrily pumped water up to the upstairs where it rained down on the lower level for who knows how long. The scene was top notch bizarre when we first opened the door because huge clouds of steam came billowing out and you couldn't see anything in there. Well, managed to turn off the pump and then we left immediately to regroup and eat some food (always good to do when things get crazy). Surveying the damage later this was a classic picture of just how wrong things had gone.

I know this one's out on the website someplace but I've been retelling this story recently so I figured I'd put the picture up again. So, the scene is late in the afternoon some early March. Mike and I are headed to Shaw Creek to do some late in the day sampling and visit our sites. I'm driving (first or second time pulling a trailer) and all of a sudden the back left wheel on the trailer pops off and comes rolling along side of us before hightailing for the edge of the highway. It was straight of the cartoons. I pretty much had my eyes on the trailer the whole way down so I saw the wheel pop off and immediately hit the brakes. So, the wheel saunters up to outside the window. As it turned out this was just the start of the day. We raced down to Delta in the truck and after striking out at one place we got to Napa just as they were closing the doors. Ended up getting some replacement studs for the axle and so, five hours later, continued on for Shaw Creek where we pulled an overnighter working on our stations. Ahhh, memories.

I never heard where this person was going but just loved the setup. Definitely a styling houseboat leaving the harbor in Cordova.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Classically done bottoming out

Yeah, check it, out showing Horacio's newish grad student how to gage a stream, set up a station etc. anyway, hit a wash out in CPCRW. Tried just driving through it in the suburban... didn't really do the leave only foot prints take only pictures deal, took some gravel, too:

Any guesses about what went down here:

Maybe I should work my connections harder and score a cool ride like the much esteemed Commander in Chief:

So, here's me stream gaging. Sorry for the wash out, I think the camera's broken so that's a minus what with the Seward Peninsula trip just a week or two away. Great move here, trying to show the grad student how to take care of business out in the field stream gaging I grabbed the metric wading rod and the english units flow meter and then followed up that mish mash by counting 10 centimeter blocks as 5 centimeter blocks... had to redo a few measurements but we had a good chat about doing things the right way rather than the wrong way.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Furniture... the sequel

Okay, so you might remember, I was gifted with a bunch of cool furniture from my uncle a few months back.

Well, the furniture came in a couple of lift trucks. One of these we sledded down to my house and the other stayed and Johnson's house. Tonight we finally decided to move the box down the road to my house. Let the good times roll.

Here we are loading it up:

You've got to love the junky camera phone for stuff like this (the helmet makes a reappearance):

How hill billie-ish can we get. A bit of proof from the drive:

Finally... we've made it and dropped the box of in its new home where I'll use it mostly as a place to keep my bike dry in the summer time (probably until it tips over, who knows).

Friday, May 12, 2006


Have a sleepy Friday

Well, probably not Cute Overload quality but Midge's still pretty sweet sleeping the night away on the couch:

Later she tried without success to annoy Bergey:

(The camera phone seems to be having some white balance troubles this evening)

Thursday, May 11, 2006



Cool AP story here on a polar bear and grizzly bear cross shot in Canada:
News-Miner Web page

The last sentence cracked me up a bit:

"Polar bear and grizzly territories also overlap in the Western Arctic around the Beaufort Sea, where the occasional grizzly is known to head onto the sea ice looking for food after emerging from hibernation. Some grizzly bears make it over the ice all the way to Banks Island and Victoria Island, where they have been spotted and shot.

That might explain how a grizzly got to the region, but few can explain how it managed to get along with a polar bear long enough to mate."

Sunday, May 07, 2006



Well, we're finally back. That's cool. The dogs are pretty happy as you might expect. The second half of the trip was crazy. I'm pretty sure we nearly had a crash but yay, we didn't. These little numbers cracked me up:

They were in my room. I didn't find them until a day before I left. I peeked my head out the window Friday to check the weather (24 hour daylight and all the blinds have been closed the whole time). Anyway, looks like somebody forgot about their midnight snacks. How old? Probably very old. I won't tell you how much mold but the calendar on the wall still said January. So, that cracked me up a bit.

Ken posted some of his pictures from the trip so here's a few more from our snowmachine trip:

... and the ANWR helicopter stuff:

How's this for a nice core. Ken got it in a nice soft patch of snow:

Here he is working his magic on some super slabby (really dense and hard) snow. This site took well over an hour compared to normal sites that are around 20 minutes.


Bike to Work Month

From Sen. Murkowski I learned that this month is national bike to work month. That's pretty cool and I'm glad to hear she's started riding to work. However, this picture cracks me up. I'm sure it's completely real but doesn't the angle this picture's taken at make it almost look like they badly photoshopped her head onto somebody else riding a bike?

The caption is:
With the warmer weather of Spring, I have parked my car and started commuting to work on my bicycle. It saves gas, helps me get exercise, and it's fun too.

I really hope that was written by an out of state staffer. I mean isn't the weather around DC nice pretty much year round compared to up here, except for the occasional snow storm?

Friday, May 05, 2006


Revenge of the Ground Squirrel

Well, this second phase of the trip... not much to say just crazy as the dickens. We got a new pilot who's been pretty entertaining. Learned his thoughts about the transgender helicopter pilot who's evidently flying around the state, the darkest worries of evergreen helicopters about brokeback helicopter, all kinds of other odds and ends. He's real talkative and I seem to have been designated ambassador so I'm the main one who chats it up with him. It's okay, as you might imagine he's a real crack-up. Anyway, spend a couple days verifying that lots of lakes are frozen to the bottom (the lakes people read a paper wrong and so instead of looking for lakes with water under the ice we went looking for all the shallow ones frozen solid). It would be funny if it weren't so sad (cue the melancholy trumpet). Yesterday's highlight included punching through two ground squirrel holes under the snow when doing the density measurements with the snow tube. That cracked me up. The tube was like the energizer bunny going into the ground. Well, plenty more I'm sure once we get back to Fairbanks this weekend...

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