Tuesday, January 18, 2011

enjoying the ice while it's here....

always dangerous for me to load pictures while i am watching an episode of "bones". probably have loaded too many as usual. so many pictures can be taken in one day though and i like several of them. it's tough to just prune it down. had heard of one photographer years ago who limited himself to one photograph a day. he had to plan his whole day for that one shot. obviously, a different time. now that we have gone digital, can't see anyone limiting themselves ever again. does that take away the art? i mean anyone can click away and if you take enough you eventually get a few good shots. i've seen others pictures so i suspect there is a little something else to it. some people have an eye for the picture. i like to think i'm one of those people. you can stand beside 5 people taking pictures of the same thing, but some pictures will just come out more pleasing.
had a beautiful drive down to girdwood to meet maureen for an ice skate. there was some snow coming down between anchorage and girdwood and i wasn't sure what the days weather would do. it did seem to have warmed to just above zero so much more comfortable. it can get really windy on turnigan arm, but we got lucky.
was happy to get my kicksled out. always fun to get out on the ice and putter around. maureen had been to this place previously. it's just off the main road right before 20 mile river. she is a member of an outdoor activity group (i guess i am now as well) so another member of that group joined us as well since she'd posted it. his name was wil. he had a dog, moses. a very nice dog, but moses became quite enamored with poor blossom and wouldn't stop humping on her. blossom is pretty chill about such things, but it was getting a bit silly.
blossom rarely actually pulls me on my kicksled, but i still hold out hope that one day she'll just get it. had maureen take a few pictures of us attempting the pull.
overall the ice was very smoothe in parts. a few rough patches. several big cracks that have refrozen over and some thin bits in the grassy parts. luckily, there were no instances besides the dog humping today.
guess moses is not neutered. not sure why men feel dogs would miss thier nuts, but female dogs won't miss thier uterus's. it's a dog, neuter it. long ago figured out i can't change the world or how it thinks....no matter how much i know i'm right.
all in all wil and his dog were welcome companions on todays outing. great to have a group in case things go wrong. in alaska that is always a possibility. i was happy to stay on all the ponds that lay out in this area for miles and even happier to avoid area's where the water runs, creeks and rivers just seem like more of a risk. i'm a chicken at heart. hoped i didn't prevent the others from exploring area's they were interested in.
the kicksled was easier to manage in the grassy areas. i'm happy i had the kicksled and not ice skates. haven't been on actual skates much since i got the kicksled. it's more stable and i can play with blossom. besides, they are fun. i never got up to speed today, but they really can get moving pretty fast.
the drive to and from portage area was relaxing and beautiful. as i came towards girdwood the tide could be seen leaving the arm. as i headed back to anchorage the tide was coming back in. all that ice just stacks up between tides. was surprised at how fast the flow was, but how quiet. sat there and just watched it a bit on the way home. could watch entire sheets of ice pass by me quite rapidly.
here we are back at the ponds. to get there you cross the railroad tracks. the ice is so cool. actually, this place is a place i always want to stop at in the summer as there are all these old dead trees there. looks cool. the tide must have come up and over it's usual with the tsunami of 1964 and these are remnants of that event.
maureen and wil put on thier skates. this "rink" is nothing like the ones i went to growing up in california. no benches, no snack bar, no piped in music.
the scenery is outstanding.
could have wandered around there with my camera for hours. was hoping my lens would come in today, but i suspect MLK day put it behind schedule. i'm okay with waiting on behalf of MLK day. that one day all will be judged "not by the colour of thier skin, but by the content of thier character". sadly, there are many of all colours who lack character these days. one wonders what his speech would be like today if he were still alive. what would be the message he would bring to bear.
loved the trees in the ice. the ice was sometimes hazy white and other times you could see right through it. there were bubbles and little tornado looking air pockets. quite artistic. nature has it's way of bringing beauty to the unexpected. you don't have to seek, you will find. beauty is everywhere if you are only willing to stop and look. not sure how one would go about taking pictures through the ice though. would be beautiful though.
the sun was shining and we were not cold. always welcome, especially after the week of negative numbers we've had. oddly though, when the temperature comes over 0 again after a cold snap you feel warm, though you know that 2 degrees isn't exactly warm.
as you can see the ice was wonderful in some area's. perfect skating.
you had to get through various patches of plant matter to get between ponds though.
maureen is always happy to be out in nature. we can totally relate to each other in this way. some people live here and never take advantage of the beauty that surrounds them, others, never cease to be amazed by it.
blossom is pretty much oblivious to it all i'm guessing. animals don't seem to sense beauty per se. mostly i think they just wander through the world and take what comes thier way without judging or complaining or whining. rio stayed home today. she's had several long walks in cold weather over these past few days. i felt a break was in order. she didn't seem to mind, though i know she hates being left along and is a bit clinging upon my return.
lots of cracks in the ice. more treacherous for the skates than the kicksled i think. they looked cool though. happy to know there isn't a river of running water underneath there.
we are expecting snow in the next few days, which also should mean warmer weather. it will probably happen when i'm back on my stretch.
got my first 4 hours of computer class in. will post a few pictures in a few days. i'm happy i split it into 4 classes. some are doing 8 hours. i just think it will be better for me, retention wise, to split it up. i just knew i'd go stir crazy if i sat there for 8 hours at a computer. i think margauritte and i were the only ones just doing the 4...we happily left at 1am. she seems quite anxious about the computer charting. she's been a nurse for more years than i've been alive. she could have retired years ago. gotta love her. she is still totally on her game. i joked that the other girls she went to nursing school with all those years ago would be totally shocked at what she is doing. the work must have changed in so many ways in all those years of nursing. the stories that she must hold inside.
there were a few super deep/wide cracks. you could tell they were re-frozen, but those were split a good 1-2 inches.
but....what a day!! i live for this stuff!!
loved this picture of blossom, the cracks and maureen. i never tire of blossom in her harness...just so dang cute!!
a bit of a treacherous passing for maureen, but she never fell over.
it's nearly an hour drive to this skating area, not that there aren't plenty of places to skate closer in. i'll have to cruise over to potters marsh and do some skating there if the ice lasts. otherwise, i'll be back playing in the snow.
winter gives you ample opportunities for play if you are willing to bundle up and get out there. i did do my monday walk alone this week. i guess not many were willing to bundle up and get out there in the sub zero temperatures. it wasn't bad out there, but i think blossom missed her buddies. they do get used to things. andrea says her dog knows it's monday and gets hyped up waiting for the walk. monday's walk was pretty uneventful. i did see the usual diehard trail folks that i always see out there. gil and the guy with the two ridgebacks. never have gotten his name though i've seen him out there for years and we always chat.
more frost...no camera lens....yeah, i'm excited.
loved this sillouhette shot of the ice skaters, maureen and wil...and moses.

didn't let blossom off leash as i'd never been here before and feared she'd go through the ice somewhere.
hanging back in the trees.
blossom is cool as a cucumber.
i never worried about falling in. it was strange at one point having a clear view down like 3 feet.
as we returned back close to the cars i wandered around in my cleats and let maureen give the kicksled a try. i think she had fun.
she really didn't push it on the thing, i thought she'd take off. it is fun. perhaps i should have given her a demo of what it is capable of. it's easy to figure out.so i played with the trees.

and the sunshine.
and the ice....
as we were going to cross back over the tracks there were several small vehicles on the rails. this bus looked odd coming down the tracks. school bus, not sure how it was powered up to ride the rails. strange..
i took a little drive down to portage, but had been warned that the sun would be down in that area.
was pretty, but pictures would have been better with the sun more prominent. more frost and the river looked cool as it was open in parts and what sun there was reflected off a bit.
the glaciers are harder to see as they are covered in fresh snow for the season.
the river coming off portage lake, from portage glacier.
i stopped often coming back from portage. just hit the incoming tide and the sunset. always a beautiful combination. i see why people like the commute from anchorage to girdwood for the beauty of it. girdwood is great in some ways. a bit dark for me as the mountains take away much of the light. also i don't like that there is just that one road in/out. we met at this bakery on the main highway,but the little shopping area was all shut down as there was a power outage. bummer. was looking forward to some baked goods.
the ice on the arm gets shifted about with the tides, freeze/refreeze. pretty reflections.
kinda a mess to look at, though when you really stopped and gazed, you would see it was actually moving. i tried to get video, but when i thought i was actually filming i had turned off the video. obviously, not my forte.
i watched that sheet of ice out there quite rapidly move up through the arm. only took a matter of minutes.
the rails always make for interesting photos.
and the mountain goats are frequently seen along the highway, especially at windy point, where these guys were.
was surprised when an actual train came through. it was pretty long and had a variety of cars and items loaded. you get used to this track being used in the summers to shuttle tourists from anchorage to seward and vice versa for thier cruise ship tours.
got really lucky and caught the brilliant sunset. great spot. i kept pulling over to take more pictures.
the ice, the rails, the tide, the sunset....aaahhh....
not much else to say about that.
a friend was off to find my coastal refuge...hope they got there in time for the sunset as that would have been a beautiful place to view it!
sunsets are fleeting and one must be at the right place at the right time. i think i did okay.
the colours were extraordinary!
one last picture taken by the guy, wil watson, who was with us. he posted it on the group page so i'm reposting it here...i don't get many pictures of me, the kicksled and blossom. it is tons of fun...another day off..unless acc has my schedule messed up again. i believe it got corrected. i'm sure i'll be a little anxious tomorrow night around 7. did get my swim in yesterday so maybe i can avoid the anxiety by just being at the pool tomorrow.
goodnight and sweet dreams...

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