Sunday, April 20, 2014

spring/break up means sloppy trails..

 today i went to jodphur trailhead for my sloppy trail hike.  mixed slush, ice, mud and puddles. blossom enjoyed the puddles.  i really liked this shot above.  wide angle and black and white...my favorites...well for tonight anyway.
 i took the coastal route back which is always a bit anxiety inducing with Rio.  blindness on thin trails with a drop off...not the best.
 spent some time on the computer today.  started to set up a web page.  it will be a bit more time consuming than i figured.  blogs much easier to set up. got started but decided i need some more study time about walrus and the issues in order to better design my web page. i have the name selected though so i hope it's an okay name...pretty much came to me in the shower.
Walrus Advocates of Round Island Sanctuary (WARIS)  this kinda sounds like walrus and walrus and round island are searchable. i figured friends of round island...doubtful it would hit the search engines very often.  so i took  a break from working out the web page and set up a facebook group page instead.  i'm pretty green at this project so i know it will take some time
 i think there was some study group on the dunes...looked funny them all lined up as i walked past on the trails below.
 did get my we ain't got no funds letter from the office of the Govenor.  at least i'm writing letters and getting responses.  not sure they do much especially when i fear i'm one of only a few writing these letters.  less than 50 people visit the place every year and even less are willing to write letters...doesn't bode well for making it a place that gets a lot of attention.  it's a start though. wrote a few notes back to others who i know care about the island...at least we are talking a bit.
 over 80 young women from a boarding school in Nigeria were kidnapped this week.  the kidnappers came in dressed in military uniforms and told the head mistress that they needed to evacuate...they helped get the poor girls loaded on buses and then turned the guns on the staff i guess...sounds like a group of girls were able to escape but that staff must feel terrible being tricked like that.  just another sad tale in this big world of ours.  i'm always surprised at how people here complain about their lives...really?
 Rio is tired, but she is in great shape, considering.  she may outlive us all...haha.
 another sad story in the paper today was that at least 13 sherpa's are dead after an avalanche took them out on Everest.  the sherpa's do all the heavy lifting, carrying gear, setting ropes...all for $125 per run up the mountain.  it seems to me that having someone carry your load and prepped your route up means your success on a climb is tainted.  at least in my mind.  carry your own shit and then bring it back down yourself too.
 driving around i pass places that remind me of Lesley.  Long Branch Saloon with it's burgers and the place where she and Larry were married.  i was at the pet store yesterday when a song from Mamma Mia came on.  she had gotten her older daughter hooked on the music and took her to the play when it came to town...her young daughter was too having too much fun at the play and they were asked to leave...man was she ticked off.  haha. the promo's had encouraged you to sing and dance along, guess they weren't really serious.  i know she's like that i'm attempted to help the walrus.  being from South Africa originally she would post things on facebook about the rhino's and the poaching that was happening, it angered her to no end.  she was a spitfire, had opinons..i love people with opinions.  so much more interesting and fun to talk to.
 these are the dunes...of course, i always think about what a terrible place this would be to be at if the  big quake were to happen.  it would be like quicksand and they'd never find you, you'd just get sucked under.
 cruised out to Potters Marsh just to see if there was any activity.  not much.  a few geese but this place will be going nuts in a week or so, birds will be flying in from as far away as Antarctica.  it's crazy!!
 many villages in Alaska have no police force available to them, instead they have unarmed village safety officers and police are on call to fly/boat in if weather allows.  a bill just passed that will allow these safety officers to be armed after some training.  one was recently killed and had no means to defend himself due to current rules
 i walked the boardwalk though as it was a nice day...best to enjoy the great weather.
 redoubt in the distance..from the coastal trail in kincaid.

 did read a blip that Japan plans to reinstate it's "whale research".  so annoying.  they have whale meat stockpiled as most of their citizens no longer prefer it anyway.  just a total waste!!
 a few shore birds have arrived.  nice to hear the different sounds of birds returning.  there was a rumor of sandhill cranes being sited. if they were it may have been on the other side of the highway.  i didn't hear any though. they are usually pretty loud.  saw a few canadian geese, but they flew off.
 i also cruised past the bear tree, she's not out yet...always someone there waiting and hoping they get the first sightings.
 catching up on the papers. haven't been as focused this past few weeks on the news.  it's mostly bad anyway.
 moose prints in the snow...
 watched this early bird get the worm...or small fish as it were.
 when i was in the bog the other day the magpies were doing their usual squawking..i suspect they try to establish their territories before all these migrating birds come up and set up their nests.  the bog will fill up soon with birds as well.

 a few ducks...but really i saw very few birds out there today.  still always a nice place to stop by...good idea to stop by these places more this time of year...all those birds are great fun to watch and photograph.  some times you get lucky.
 a few more from my wide angle out there.  always love the trees in certain parts of this trail.
 thankfully this park has a lot of advocates, but all the natural area's get inched in on anytime those politicians can sink their teeth into them.  they can't be trusted.
 one day i'll be dead and the walrus will be gone and what will it all matter...that seems to be the mentality, that these things don't matter.
 we are all related though and how we treat the plants and animals we share this earth with is a reflection of who we are.  i tend to think if some one person created this earth and the animals in it, that creator invested a great deal of time in all the details and i suspect that creator is not going to look to kindly on those who seemed hell bent to destroy rather than protect.  i'm just one voice though.

every so often the earth speaks up, a big quake, a mudslide, a tornado or some other disaster, just to remind us we aren't as in charge as we seem to think we are.
thankful for...1.  a sun that is feeling more warm than cold, i'm ready for the change 2...the opportunity to help a place i love, even if i only help a tiny bit.  3.. the return of the migrating birds..welcome back!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

break up, losses, walrus...

 that's what's been on my mind a lot this week.  really liked the shot above.  this evening i went to the campbell creek coastal refuge.  it's a newer little oasis in Anchorage.  short loop with lovely views.  no dogs allowed, but there were 2 off leash dogs there when i was there of course....rules only apply to all those other people, right?  i love my dogs but i can also understand that it is nice for some people to go somewhere and not have to deal with other peoples less than well trained dogs. it's also a place for birders more than dogs so i get that.
 lots of little pieces of paper.  i really need to organize my life better than that.  still a few calls to make regarding Ketchikan details.  brain has been a bit consumed i think.  rumination and worry.  after many months in the ICU in Texas my friends condition worsened and she was removed from life support.  i find i keep checking facebook expecting to see a note from her husband saying she's rallied again.
 i worked in the Renal care unit and the messages were seeming like things were not going well.  when i came home i fell asleep knowing she may pass while i slept.  i don't generally remember many details of my dreams but i do know that while i slept i had a dream of some kind of funeral, in the dream it wasn't clear who had died, but i was very upset and crying a great deal. when i woke up and checked facebook, she had passed.
 the other walk pictures are from a loop out rovers run, the bog and meanderings in north bivouac.
 in some ways i'm just still befuddled about how this could happen to my friend.  i take care of many post open hearts and it's so rare to have complication upon complication like she did and especially rare in someone as young as her. it's just so very sad.  she was too young and then this also dragged on for way longer than any person should have to endure.  it sickens me to think of all the emotions and turmoil that must have been going on for her family, especially her husband.  she was a good person, seems like this kind of long hospitalization shouldn't happen to kind, good people.
 i'll miss my friend.  oddly, i have very few photo's of her.  she never really was into the hiking or kayaking and such.  mostly we spoke or texted or messaged. when she lived here we saw each other at work, a few social outings and mostly we would catch a bite and catch up.  analyze and solve the worlds problems.  we also laughed.  she was one of those rare people who could actually listen.  really listen.  that is a rare gift.
 even the few folks i spoke to about my friends death this week at work seemed to jump right into a need to tell their story. sometimes we all just want to be heard, with her i knew i was heard and understood.  she saw things i saw in so many ways.  often i feel like i see people for who they really are and i'm baffled why the other folks around me don't seem to see the big picture.  i knew Lesley would see those same things.  she had that great accent (originally from south africa) and she was a great laugher.
she leaves behind her husband and her 2 girls.  this has been a tough one.  rest in peace my dear friend and may your family find peace as well.
i'm sure i'll have more to say at some other time, but for now i still feel too raw about the loss.  i do remember that one of the first things that came to my mind that day when i heard she had passed was about rhino's.  she was a fighter and one thing that really angered her was what has happened with the rhino's and poaching.  it occurred to me that those poachers had better be on alert as i suspect she could raise some holy hell with them from heaven. i also thought heaven had better watch out as she will not be shy about telling them what they need to repair in the process. she fought for the underdogs of this world.
i know she would tell me to form the group ( friends of round island walrus sanctuary).  walrus ivory, rhino's horns...not much difference.
 blossom is very excited to have the puddles return. life moves on no matter what goes on in our individual lives.  the seasons change and the sun comes up and goes down.  hard to know and understand what the big picture is, so most of the time i don't try.  i just try to enjoy each day and be grateful for this life and this earth.
 more and more i think i may need to start up a friends of round island group.  no idea where one really begins with that.  do i find a good web page designer, do i need to get non-profit status.  just seems like these walrus and this amazing place called round island is underappreciated, mostly because it's more unknown. it's also so remote.  the vast percentage of those making decisions for it have never been anywhere near it.
 i think i need to start with a file folder to begin to collect information.  have had some return notes from some of my previous correspondences.  blah, blah, blah..no funds. from what i've heard repeatedly it costs just shy of $100,000 to run round island for the summer. in the grand scheme of things that doesn't seem an impossible sum to get to.  which makes me want to start the group and page and go on a letter writing campaign to try and find those funds.
 one of the biologists that was there when we were there a few summers back wrote me today.  the Anchorage Daily News printed a story about it by Terry Johnson, our captain.  i wrote a note to him thanking him for writing it and i mentioned this group idea.  he does seem to believe it's a good idea.  not sure he thinks we can reverse this but at least we may be able to prevent further damage and highlight ongoing issues and make sure those damn politicians know that the walruses have a friend  or two. his article was well written and to the point.  i'm sure he got a similar canned response from the wildlife division director, doug vincent-lang.
 round island is a place that few visitors will ever visit.  that in no way means it has no value and shouldn't be monitored.   as humans we have a responsibility to the natural world we live in. we have a terrible history of selfishness when it comes to  this earth.  we take what we want without regard for the plants and the animals who share our earth.
 round island will never become the mecca that mcneil river is.  that in no way lessens it's value.  the challenge of getting there for me almost made the being there all the sweeter.  it's not a place everyone gets to but one worthy of the work it takes.
 it's easy too to disregard an island of large somewhat smelly beasts.  ocean creatures are more difficult to protect.  they travel thousands of miles sometimes and can't be easily watched.  if you kill an elephant or a rhino it's tough to hide the evidence of the poaching.  walrus that have their heads cut off and oosiks removed can be lost to us forever, an entire plane full of people has never been seen again,  a few ton walrus can be lost as well.  it's harder for people to care for walrus than something more cuddly like a bear...how can i make people see their value?
 today was a trip to the vet for annual exams and some vaccines.  the cats were less than pleased with the trip...everyone but rio catalina were deemed obese!!  horrors!! blossom was very nervous...she always is a baby about vet visits. it's pretty funny actually.
 i took them to pet co after..i had a coupon.
 met with a friend for dinner and then off to the refuge.
 interesting Alaska news...a man attempted to do the crow pass hike with his two kids in a days time...they were not prepared for a hike of that magnitude at all, i think it's 26 miles.  really good to have layers and some survival basics when on hikes, especially longer ones.
 a chihuahua is safe after being carried off from it's yard by a large owl.  this poor chihuahua's day got worse as when the owl was attempting to eat it's meal a truck ran over both owl and dog.  both animals were rescued, the dog survived the owl did not.
 it really is a pretty little spot out there.
 great just listening to the water and mud.  not much ice left on this side of town.
 got put on call my middle night.  called  back in at 1 am.  was just a sitter.  not a bad gig this night i must say.  it is fun to chat with these folks who have lived in Alaska for so many years...always some good stories.
 last night no on call and another night in RCU.  right before i left work this morning i figured out that i'd gotten overtime all night due to good friday.  :-)
 the sunset didn't work out as expected but still beautiful

 i am tired...will have to zip through these and sleep...not that i don't have much, much more to say...just too sleepy

 a few from stumphenge today
 watched, "bully" the other day. sad what some kids must endure each day at school.  tonight i watched, "moonrise kingdom" strange but not bad at all.
 and back to the refuge.
 a few in black and white...
thankful for's...1.  getting all the animals to/from the vets safely.  2...each day...you just never know when it could all be over.  3...that so many people on this earth work so hard to protect and preserve lands like these. ( maybe i'll be one of those people myself some day.)