Wednesday, April 13, 2011

summers past...strolls down memory lane.

only a few pictures tonight from mcneil. have more but will post later. most of my stuff is going to my shutterfly, well all will probably just be loaded there. that is the hope anyway. not sure how much memory it holds or which site is better or worse. just feels like a good idea to post pictures on the vast computer bank out there. always have worried the house would burn down and you'd lose all of those photo's that you cherish so much. the computer has given us all an opportunity to save those memories.
mom and cub wander out to mcneil. i'm trying to type with a cat in my lap. pogi remains a bit needy despite the kitten addition. she is curled up with the dog. she seems to be part dog and relates better to them. of course, i suspect pogi has become hand obsessed and feels that any hand he see's should be petting him.
so great observing the bears out there at mcneil. it is always funny how you get new and better film equipment and then you wish to return to places you've been in the past with new gear. there was someone out at mcneil with a nice digital when i was out there. the damp weather did cause it to cease working for a time. so there are flaws with all equipment. the old camera's used actual batteries so that was better on these remote treks. it's a challenge figuring out how to deal with rechargable batteries when there is no place to recharge said battery. first off, i try to never waste batteries checking pictures taken. instead of wasting batteries deleting pictures you have to just bring extra little cards. also keep the camera as warm and dry as possible. the cold will suck the energy out of the battery.
this is my friend scott and his dad on the harriman fjord kayak trip. great weather, great trip...
of course, that great sunny weather led to a frightening moment out there on the water when the entire face came crashing down. we had to deal with the huge waves that came off of that. very scarey!! shook for several hours once i was on land again. the calving was awesome once i felt safe on more solid ground. of course, that isn't always safe either. huge calvings have been known to cause waves that have caused deaths. must always have respect for the nature that we enjoy.
it is spectacular out there though. we all got a bit sunburned from the sun reflecting off the water. the sun is out for hours and hours as well.
i think this was our camp out near surprise glacier. it was a beautiful location, but loaded with mosquito's. apparently, it has a reputation for that.
kelly and nancy take in the beauty over thier morning coffee.
harriman fjord is in prince william sound. for us in anchorage, we drive from anchorage through the tunnel to whittier and then get water taxied out there and dropped at a beach. i think it's about an hour drive to the tunnel without stopping. the tunnel runs 2 miles through the mountain. it's only one lane so you pay and wait. there are little emergency rooms through the tunnel. i remember hearing some tourist comment that those were little elevators that took you to safety on the top of the mountain. tourists...funny creatures. not sure how she thought there would be mulitple elevators placed straight up in the mountain, that would be quite the engineering feat, not only that, survival at the top of the mountain could be a bit rough. you may want to take your chances inside the mountain. i always think of that absurd tourist when i go through the tunnel.
took the dogs to prospect heights. didn't want to make rio walk to far in the slush, but it was a bit less slushy up there. she does seem a bit sore today. bears are out more and more so i also didn't want to do to involved a hike alone. rio has to stay home for those. not much to photograph. the views were lovely though. denali was out, which is always great.
this bird is an oyster catcher. these guys are commonly seen by the shore. they can be noisy and unamused birds. love to fake injuries to lure you from thier young.
these next pictures are from kayak island again. we flew to cordova then hired a smaller plane to take us the 60 miles to this island. it's a beautiful place. you stay in the boathouse of old. there is a lighthouse there. st elias lighthouse. it is still functioning and maintained by the coast gaurd. the buildings are maintained by a lighthouse association in cordova. our pilot was in that group. not many people come out here as tourists. i think it may be as few as 5 groups a summer. easy to find an open weekend. we went pretty early in the year. april. not sure what i was thinking. the good part of going that early is that the winter storms will bring treasures to the island. it's a common place to find interesting floatsam and the tidepools are great too. we found maybe 7 glass floats out there as a group among other things. containers fall off barges around the globe and the stuff that is released is often used by biologists to track currents and such.
just a beautiful place though.
scott enjoys the day. it was about a 2 mile walk from where the planes dropped us off on a sandy beach to the lighthouse. that sounds like no biggie, but the day we were dropped the winds were blowing something fierce. we must have had gusts over 75 mph. when we later asked the pilot (once we were safe in cordova again), he just grinned. there is alot of crap on the beach, rocks, old tree's, old buoys, old ropes....

i remember you'd pick up a foot to take a step and the wind would about knock you over. carrying a pack with over 50 pounds didn't help. of course, you are thinking 2 miles, no big deal, load the packs up.
out beyond the pinnacle the sea lions haul out. that was a nice surprise. i had no idea of that when i planned the trip. there are also a few brown bears on the island. maybe because we went early, we never saw any sign of them.
another benefit to us going early was the grey whale migration. i think that was it. the pilot told us every grey whale must pass this point. these two whales were closer in, but one day we saw many spouts off in the distance.
looking back at the lighthouse, boathouse and main house of the lighthouse complex. you can explore all the buildings. the old house is very weathered. there is an old pool table in there. we played a game as best we could. i think a few balls were missing. my friend started to brush down the table, which i asked her not to. the dust is probably loaded with old lead based paint. a container of sports balls had obviously gone off a barge at some point, we collected many balls and put them in one of the rooms with a sign.
great tidepooling out there. we had a great day exploring all the little pools. love the big sun stars.
there are crazy rock formations out there on that island. obvious signs of past volcanic activities. you can see the rocks lined up in rows on the beach. very odd.
that is the pinnacle. the sea lions are to the left of it.
you stay in teh boathouse, which is that first building, then the main house is to the left and obviously the lighthouse.
on our exploration on this side of the beach we found whale bones. too bad we couldn't trek those out. our packs were full and the plane has a weight limit as well. cool bones though.
you can see the rocks lined up in rows in this shot better i think.
people collect stuff and leave it in the boathouse. people also find buoys on the beach, sign them and then hang them up. ours are in there. i took pictures, but that roll of film was accidently destroyed on the hike back. the joys of film, eh?
there are several martins on the island. saw this guy as we hiked in. guess they can be a nuisance with the buildings, getting in and trashing stuff. just nature returning stuff to a natural state i guess.
sea lions haul out, enjoy hte waves crashing over them.
quite a few sea lions out there. lots of cormorants as well.
i believe these are st paul. this fox was wandering through the fur seals.
sandy beach on st paul island.
lots of little shorebirds.
and a duck like looking thing.
amazing how few people are out there to mar the landscape. no fur seals on this beach though we did see several in the water.
july means loads of wildflowers. gotta love the variety and colours.
fur seals on another beach in st paul.
several months back i was in california visiting family and friends. we went to huntington beach and there were surfers in the waves. the picture actually looks similar except these surfers are fur seals. kinda funny.
this wood planking had been set up by area biologists so they could do counts and studies. life was much more controlled for us as tourists on st paul vs st george.
thought this guy looked quite handsome. they called these beaches bachelor beaches as mostly it was males without harems to attend to.
more of the scaffolding for study.
cute bird with a cool call. it may be a grey crowned rosy finch. just looked in a book.
we saw all sorts of auklets. i suspect these are least auklets. i also have pictures of parakeet, whiskered and crested auklets. they are all alcids i guess.
we are back on st george for these pictures. we took an evening walk after dinner. of course, i called it a shoot and toot. my friends roll thier eyes at me often it seems. we ran into this old plane wreck out there.
as i said, st george island is beautiful. they have amazing landscapes, shorelines, cliffs. tons of birds too if you enjoy birds. more of these red legged kittiwakes than anywhere i guess. the folks on st george were very proud of the red legged kittiwakes. cormorants and red faced cormorants abounded as did murres. of course, auklets, and puffins as well. birds are pretty, and cool to watch. teh murres always sounded like they were laughing and we would all start laughing at them laughing.
st george from the cliffs .
with my digital that i have now i could get cool pictures of puffins in flight. they are extremely fast fliers. this was as good as i got.
another cormorant.
waves crash on the beach on st george island
those cliffs in the distance are loaded with birds. we took a walk out there the next day i believe. still a bit foggy at times, but amazing. lots of fox sightings. they creep down and steal birds eggs.
got my laps in today. had to share the lane with this woman. she had all sorts of gear and i feared being batted by her plastic hand things. i'm pretty basic. some people seem to have to take everything to the next level. i just don't have that much of a competitive drive. seems a waste of time to go so nuts over stuff, there is always going to be someone or something better than you. it's the rare person who can say they are the best at anything, even olympiads records get broken eventually. sometimes i worry that i jsut don't try at many things in life, knowing failure is just around the corner.
more amazing rocks, these out on st george.
took many pictures that evening stroll, but it was beautiful.
another cormorant.
another day we walked across the island to a beautiful beach. we ran into this herd of caribou on the way. they were pretty easily spooked so we didn't get very close before they bolted. the biologists would like to see their numbers decreased. they were placed here and tend to destroy the habitat. too much bother for the local community to hunt them down it seems.
that is how they first looked when we came across them, in the fog it was a bit tough to see what they were.
not too excited to return to work. the manager stepped down. that always leaves a hole and one worries what sort of management will be put in her place. nobody worked harder than margaret. she never asked of any of us anything she wouldn't do. she did run a tight ship, but the patients got good care i think under her. the turnover in that unit is high and that is never good.
this guy is probably a bunting of some sort.
think these wildflowers are called ladies slippers or something like that. thought i hadn't seen them but i got these pictures..probably jsut didn't know what i was looking at.
st george in the background from up on the hills as we crossed over to the other side of the island.
lupine on the hillside.
more of the cemetary, in colour today.
here are those urchins i was so excited about. those things are huge! obviously,not alot of beachcombers amongst the 100 folks that live out there.
just another view of thier church.
little bird.

more wildflowers.
a fox out on the beach. they warned us about the fox. if you set down a backpack they will try and snag it. they break into buildings in the village. not as pretty as the red fox, but still fun to watch in action.
guess this time of year they like the birds eggs, but will also try and snag the placenta's and stuff from the fur seal births.

sue and tanya in front of our "hotel". great place, by the way.
the church in colour. i, of course, loved the green.
our little pen air plane. they warned us not to drink any coffee before the flight as it generally is a long flight with no bathroom on board. we did stop in dillingham as it turned out for more fuel in case we had to turn around and not land in st george. luckily we got in no problem. fog is a big issue in the pribilofs and aleutians in the summers. people have been known to have stayed for weeks due to fog.
these last pictures must have been taken in kincaid park several years back.
this is my old boy baby huey, gone to the rainbow bridge for many years now. he was a great pup though.
mom and baby moose in the woods out in kincaid. a common sight out there.
well, again time for me to turn in, curl up with a book and call it a night. accomplished little and care less!!

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