I went in search of beauty. Jeep filled up with gas, headed out toward Pigniq… I thought the old hangar looked particularly nice. I thought I saw the entrance to the old runway and turned to get there. Only what I thought was the access point wasn’t. Thanks flat light and blowing snow. My mistake was immediately apparent but then I knew I better not stop and tried to make the runway. Embarrassingly, I ended up mired in soft snow/gravel just feet away. Two of my bank customers found me and went to go get a tow cable. Meanwhile, I …
Yesterday a fellow photographer and I went for a drive. We saw an arctic fox, a polar bear, and polar bear tracks. But one of the things I thought was particularly beautiful and interesting were the snow drifts at the cemetery. So I’m sharing one of those.
On the 18th the sun went down for the last time until it comes back up again on January 24, but that doesn’t mean that it is completely dark all the time. We still get some lovely colors in the late morning and early afternoon. This was the first pretty day (if a little blustery) after the final set of the sun so I went out to the edge of Freshwater Lake Road to watch the snow blowing across the tundra.
Back to life in the Arctic. I find sea ice fascinating. I went for a walk this week to see how it was coming along. I found the water covered, but it was still just sheets of pancakes slowly moving by. I sat there listening to the sound of the ice as it moved with the current.
Last weekend I took my visitors out as far north as the road would take us. Honestly, I didn’t think we’d get much further than the old airfield, but the the snow actually improved driving conditions beautifully and we made it all the way out to the end of the road to Point Barrow (Nuvuk). We beachcombmed for sea glass and in the process I found this wonderful piece of driftwood in the snow.
Every October the snowy owls seem to invade town. This year is no different. Some friends from Anchorage and beyond came up for a quick visit hoping to see polar bears. While we weren’t treated to one of those, they did get treated to the yearly owl spectacle. I caught this beauty just as it was taking off. I hope they had as much fun visiting as I had showing off our avian wildlife!
This weekend I had the pleasure of helping to entertain visiting best-selling author Dana Stabenow. We went in search of snowy owls on the outskirts of town. While we didn’t find any owls, we did find some interesting things along the way. Here are my favorites.
Earlier this week we had 4.4 inches of snow. Before it had accumulated that much I went outside during a break in the weather. I loved how the whale vertebra on the ground outside looked. The wet, clumped snow mimics the natural texture of the inside of the bone and it just seemed to be a perfect summation of the day. Summer and beach combing for whale bones are just about over and everything looks fresh and interesting under a blanket of snow.
With the return of the sun, it seems like life is starting to wake up again in the arctic. Maybe this is just my perception after holing up in the house during the two months of darkness, but people are out hunting and (to me) anyway it seems that spirits have lifted as each day brings more light and with it beautiful colors. It’s almost like the new year in the arctic should begin on the first day the sun comes up. We’ve also been blessed with some warm weather, which has made getting outside and enjoying it that much …
So living in the arctic is something of an adventure and you learn to expect what most would consider unexpected. One day of snow in August… eh, it’s the arctic. It happens. Two days in a row of snow with some on the ground… reality seeps in and countdown to depression in 3…. 2…… 1………