Thursday, June 14, 2007


1-800-how's my driving

Saw this after dropping Rena off Tuesday afternoon and it cracked Jessie and I up pretty good:

Somebody's got a rad little kid.


First Nome Trip of the Year

Well, took a new person out to Nome with me this year. Larry's freshest grad student, Rena, and I went out. The trip was 100% rocking. Saw a ton of animals but thought I'd get things started with a couple work pictures. I'm especially excited about this one: It's a picture with my underwater camera like Emily & Luke's. That's a pressure transducer in its native habitat measuring river level. I could go either way on the install but I totally dig all those lead weights attached to it. The next picture is just a few minutes later when I discovered we didn't have any good D cell batteries. No problem, a bit o' change and some inner shielding from some sensor cable worked well in a pinch:
So the day before we got out flying. We had to get out to the Kigluaiks to get that site working again. The Anemometer had been blown to pieces and the air temperature wasn't working. It was great. Totally different from the trip with Jessie the year before when it was freezing cold up there and the pilot remembered how cold it was. This time I was cooking but we got a bit of extra sightseeing in after finishing the site. Took another route south through the mountains and saw the highest peak on the Seward Peninsula, Mt. Osborn. This picture here is one of the things I enjoy but is hard to describe. We're sliding around the edge of a mountain in the helicopter and watching as the neighboring valley opens up. Gorgeous.

Here's just some neat patterned ground and the wet ground near Pilgrim hot springs.Saw a ton of animals. Here's where we got on the board, a couple reindeer just outside Nome. Checked them out for a bit and were pleasantly close before heading out for an afternoon in Council.
Council was awesome like regular. The river was high so we couldn't walk across but we hitched a ride with two different boats. So that was cool. Our friend from last fall gave us a ride back across. Along with a new puppy (a by-product of shenanigans at a football game last fall) so it was a fun quick trip. On the way back it was rad. We saw these three musk ox among other things. The two dudes were fighting for the hand of the lady. They were cracking heads and we were close enough I could hear the snap crackle pop of the collisions. Totally awesome.

There were tons of bunnies out there and I really dig the bunnies you know so here's one of them, too:We came back kind of late in the day and this sunset was incredible at Safety, last checkpoint on the iditarod I believe. Just sweet.
So the next day we headed out to Kougarok. Had some serious trouble with my four-wheeler out there and eventually ditched it for a long walk to a station. Didn't realize till the next day but I must have been pretty darn close to this musk ox:

We were mutually surprised Monday when I took the ATV past it. All I could see was a massive amount of blondey-brown fur until it stood up. A relief to see it wasn't a bear but then you know they're so tame I had to go back and grab a few pictures. If this guy looks a little grouchy it's because I totally ruined his beauty sleep.
Tuesday we were to fly back. So, we left Kougarok in the morning and about the time I wondered aloud where all the reindeer were we happened across this heard of perhaps a couple thousand. That was awesome.
It was cool though, they let me get reasonably close (within a hundred yards or so was plenty close) and so here you can see some of the chubby babies. They were cracking me up.
Thought I'd wrap things up with a couple pictures from the macro lens I traded from Hagen. The color out there at Kougarok is just incredible in the evenings. Here's the sunlight around 11pm. The cotton grass is out early we learned this night from one of the locals. In this picture here I haven't really played with the color at all it's pretty much straight from the camera. Pretty cool.Here's the cotton grass all up close and personal. It was fun shooting it but with the wind made for some tricky pictures some of the time. Finally, passing back through Nome we saw a herd of birders. Couldn't see there point of interest but I think this picture sums them all up pretty well. Check out all that hardware. Who knows how many thousands of dollars of camera gear is visible in this picture here. Their car was parked in the middle of the road to complete the package.

Lastly, on our walk to the airport we saw the octopus gold boat I saw last year but check out the pseudo post office truck. If you zoom in you can see there's something not quite right about the logo and on the front it says 'U.S. Male'. Them miners sure are a crackup.
So, that's pretty much it for Nome. We'll be back to the Seward Peninsula in July for another once in a lifetime trip. We're going to be checking out the soil composition on the northern part of the peninsula so helicopter city.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Weekend up the Steese

Last night Luke and I ran up the Steese. It's finally summer and so it's time to get out camping. Jessie's back later tonight so now I'm back but we met up with Rob at our old favorite camping spot, 12 mile summit. Some decent back country gourmet to get us going:

The bacon, sausage, green pepper w/ sour cream and cheddar, zucchinni slices, and onion all found themselves at one time or another stuck with sour cream to a tortilla. Pretty tasty vittles!

Luke whipped up some chile something or other things for breakfast that were pretty sweet, too. First you saute up some onion then turn corn tortillas into chips. Finally dump in salsa to the chips and warm, drop the onions in, too. Pretty delightful when topped with sour cream and a mexican cheese. Not that we were all that hungry this morning so I guess it was more the principle of the thing.

Matilda finally realized a several month dream and got to meet Mr. Whiskers, Rob's cat who she met back in March. The meeting was fairly civil although the cat totally didn't care for her. She was just so pleased to finally meet the kitty though. Matilda hopped into the car as soon as the door was opened to say hi. She was even more transfixed than Midge has been.

It's so awesome up there that even the view from the gravel removal pond is sweet:

The dogs are awesomely tuckered out hopefully for the next several day...

Finally, back in Fox, Luke pointed out a couple must see items that he's been passing while out biking. Check it out, first up, a junkyard house:

The 2D picture really doesn't do the 3D trash going on and on and on depth justice but still pretty awesome.

Second, another gravel pit. Hello booze cruise. Or something. Anyway, perhaps worth wasting your time on if you're checking out Fairbanks.

Well, next week is back to Nome time and the summer visitors start trickling in after that with my parents first up in two weeks time.

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