Tuesday, December 28, 2010

anchorage coastal wildlife refuge...a favorite..

still sleeping more than usual, could be partly winter itself. always seems so easy when it's cold and dark to sleep for hours on end and then take a nap. in the summer you can't seem to stop with so much light out there. i've been to the wildlife refuge a few times now and it's becoming a favorite. always seem to get spectacular photo's when i'm out there. you can't go out here in the summer. the tide changes are drastic and the flats are mud which are easy to get stuck in. very boggy around that. in the winter all is frozen. the walk takes you out as far as you want/dare to go. i suspect the ice the sun is reflecting on above was from the high tide, refrozen. not sure though. maybe nobody cruises out there.
the trail is really just what is created by those who frequent the area. years and years going to the same place makes the trail quite similar each year. it's not a real trail per se. appears that this is a great place for cross country skiing. there are always tracks everywhere.
this fallen tree seems to be stuck in it's current location. i suspect many of the dead looking trees are actually dead. the '64 quake had an impact on the water levels and the salt water had an impact on the tree's it covered, even these many years later.
want to get to bed early tonight as i have volunteered yet again to help with otter necropsies. i think they plan on doing at least 3 previously frozen otters. not as intricate of an necropsy as the ones that are fresh i gather. should be interesting. not sure about photography in the lab. may have to volunteer a few times and hope for the best on that one. not sure many people really want to see photo's of dead sea otters. i asked for an on call tomorrow night. i'm working wed-thur-fri, not looking good for me on that one. they have a sick baby and they are talking about sledd. i wouldn't say i'm the best sledd nurse, especially with little ones, but i'm knowledgable and that seems to be enough. always very stressful and i'm hoping they don't do it....but suspecting they will. in that case i'll be working...
loved all the reflections off the sea ice. so cool! i really need to get myself out there more often this winter as i suspect it changes daily.
rio stayed home today. content in this chilly weather to hang out on the couch. it was a bit below 5 F. heard on the news last night that prudhoe bay was minus 45 with a wind chill that brought the actual temperature to minus 73. that is cold. makes 5 feel pretty warm. it is always funny though, i have the chuck it for blossom and i find i can't hold that slimy tennis ball in that thing very long before they freeze together. i must re-throw it within a minute.
i'm guessing this is a trail of ice left behind when the tide left and the remnants refroze.
looks like our senatorial election may soon be certified. miller hasn't conceeded and i'm begining to doubt he ever will. more and more he's looking like a nut job. he seems to really have convinced himself this whole court battle is to benefit "the people". i think "the people" would just like him to drop it all. can't imagine the guy has any sort of political career left up in alaska. for me, the longer he drags out his court cases, the more crazy he seems.
still coughing, and the occasionally coughing spasm, but i really believe i'm finally starting to kick this thing. slept through the night last night, no cough medicine. there is hope.
todays paper, in the sports section for some reason, discussed how various animals adapt to the cold up here. chickadees are tiny birds and it said they eat about 10% of their weight each day in a short time frame and then cram themselves in birch trees to wait out the rest of the day. article said they each find thier own place to hole up. not sure if they use the same one over and over all winter or not. a biologist has found tiny transmitters to put on the birds and is learning a great deal. crazy what those biologists can do.
picture above is out of order....it's from yesterdays monday walk. just liked the look of the sky out there.
there is a great sledding hill at the refuge. i haven't tested it out yet, but i may have to encourage some friends to go with me and try it. you go off course, you'll land in some brush but overall looks pretty safe...as safe and sledding can be. besides, look at that beautiful view. can't beat that, eh? lots of great sledding spots in anchorage. i don't know that many, but every so often the paper will print something about it.
got my kicksled out of the shed and it's loaded in the car. i was planning on stopping by cuddy park and going for a spin after i did some shopping, but opted to just return home. was getting hungry and tired.
here is blossom at the base of the sledding hill, which is also where you go to catch the "trail" to the refuge.
more adaptations...moose and caribou apparently have some sort of adaption that warms the blood in thier legs to keep them warmer in all that deep snow. our only frog freezes each winter and musk ox don't move much at all. they store up lots of fat and use that to live off of for much of the winter. i think the moose and caribou do this as well, though musk ox are much fatter so probably more efficient.
i know moose munch on bark through much of the winter. not much in wood. the article also said they have smaller areas they rummage in, slow thier metabolic rate and have hollow hair. keeps em warm. caribou do the same.
crazy they said the chickadees gain the equivilant of 15 pounds each day and lose that each night. i wouldn't mind losing 15 pounds..and i'd even be willing to spread it out over a few months. i'm probably losing a bit now. want to get back to swimming. tried it the one day, but i'm trying to let myself just recover. besides, the dressing room isn't quite remodeled and that other dressing room is a bother....and there is no steam room.
the wood frogs have always amazed me...that they can freeze solid and then re-animate in spring. i'm sure they are researched a great deal...it's possible if they can do it right? they make glucose and replace the water in thier cells with glucose...beyond that i have no idea what makes it all work. i've seen them in my yard from time to time, probably wandered off from the bog.
hopefully, i don't bore everyone to tears with my photo's....just when it's so beautiful i click away with both of my camera's.
it is so often like that up here. it's so easy to wander around each day and find wonderful things. no matter how long i live up here i am never bored with my surroundings. they change so frequently. winters each have thier own uniqueness.
just not many places as beautiful or spectacular....well actually there probably are. i find anyplace you go you can find the beauty and the cycles. there are many places on this earth that i haven't gone to. we can't all possibly see all that this earth has to show us. that is why i love meandering blogs and watching movies from foreign lands and seeing nature shows such as the planet earth series. it transports you places you can't possible get to. even if you got there, you'd only be there for a brief time and not experience the minute changes.
took these pictures of blossom and then went to look for my tiny tripod. i'm sure it's in my little pack, but it was getting chilly and i gave it up...would have been a great place for a self portrait. probably enough pictures of me in the world already though.
mug shot..
loved how the fresh ice ran into the old ice that had been snowed on.
nature never ceases to amaze...today was no exception.
the paper also had an article about porcupines. apparently, jessy coltrane (our current anchorage area biologist) has studied lots about them. she sees them and has captured many in bicentennial park. all the years i've been in there, i've never even seen one. of course, the paper said they hang out in the tree's. guess it never occured to me that they climbed trees. perhaps i should be looking up more. did spy that pine marten. that was a first for me out there as well.
i'm still loving these pictures and i've already seen them repeatedly.
maybe i should have brought the kicksled out there...though the tide may come back in and that would be bad.
have had a netflix movie for a week or so, finally got around to watching it last night. it was called, "elizabethtown". it was a romance of sorts. entertaining. the girl called herself a substitution. i could relate to that a bit. i often find that i'm not the first person people call to chill with. it's not that i'm not liked, just that when friend A isn't available, you call friend B or C . it seems like when it comes to groups of people who hang out, i always hang with a person or two from the group, but i'm never really in the group. so when said group does stuff, i'm not included. can be a bummer at times.
i do think being single can hinder the social life at times. people just don't think of the single folks out there, they think in terms of what couples should we invite. working night shift no doubt hampers my social life even more.
overall, i'm pretty cool chilling along. not that i don't like social interaction. i started the monday walks to socialize more. it's worked out great for me. hasn't really worked into other invitations, but i think friendships form just spending time and i generally do better in smallish groups than big parties anyway.
wasn't too much into christmas this year, working and being sick definitely put a damper on my festive mood. great to go to that party sunday. nice way to make merry, even though i nearly choked myself into a huge asthma attack.
above you look across to mt susitna or sleeping lady as it's mostly called.
these two pictures are probably some of my favorites of the day.

looking towards turnigan arm. looked a bit cloudy out there. was cloudy out when i glanced a bit ago as well. snow soon again maybe...gotta love that.
you can see some of the skiers tracks out there.
blossom, as usual, unconcerned about scenery and only focused on tennis balls and various smells of the area.
was a bit obsessed with this old log...

not much else out there though.

the trees are worthy of obsession as well. as you walk you start out in brush, then hit the spindly trees, then some old bits of logs and then ice.

all around you is beauty. i guess the creatures use this area often to skirt around anchorage. lynx, bears and moose have been spotted out there.
none by me though. would love to see a lynx and a wolverine...those have remained illusive to me.

back to the sledding hill.
and lastly, a few pictures from this weeks monday walk. andrea and nash came as always. it was again pretty cold so he got pretty bundled up. this was right after the walk, she uncovered him so we could see him in all his cuteness.
my friend tiffany brought her boyfriends new mastiff puppy. i think it's english mastiff, but i do get confused. he's 5 months and 50 pounds i believe already. will outgrow my rio, but he seemed to really like her. he was a bit nervous in the parking lot with all those big dogs, but soon was romping with them all like he was a big dog too.
this one is at the end of the walk...he was looking a bit wiped out. i think he had fun though.
my walking mates, andrea, kelly, karen and tiffany. tiffany also brought her friend, jennifer. i think she had fun as well. 6 dogs, 6 adults, one baby.
nash slept much of the walk. swaddled in such warmth, who wouldn't. i held him for her while she loaded up her dogs and he was all stiff from all the layers....like that kid in "a christmas story". have to delayer him for the coffee house, he gets way too hot.
sleepy boy
rio and kenai decked out in thier matching red coats and booties.
everyone is happy despite the cold weather.
i love seeing mastiff puppies since i never saw that part of rio's life. she was already 2 when i adopted her. i bet she was an adorable puppy.
this last picture was taken by karen...she tagged me. i don't get many monday walk pictures of myself. kelly and i both are wearing skhoops...arse jackets. they are the rage in anchorage...! good night...