Sunday, June 30, 2013

nome from day 2!! Kougarok road

 the start of the longest day of the year, solstice june 21st, 2013!! after breakfast i headed to drive the kougarok road.  it's the middle road. it was a bit confusing as this is the local name for the road that is officially known as the nome-taylor highway.  it never really makes it out to taylor unless you have a 4 wheeler and are willing to drive those last miles on smallish, bumpy roads i guess.  i never made it back to the stopping point.  it was going uphill and the road was already becoming more rough in patches that got larger and larger.  i was good, had seen some incredible scenery
this is an old bus i saw as i was just starting to head out of nome.  so this old bus isn't like "the bus" from into the wild that i hear more people had to be rescued from again this past week.  no rescues required from this's right in town.
 the pictures will be mixed up a bit...just how it is since i'm a mixed up sort of girl anyway.  above is the sight i saw anytime i drove back and forth in town.  the various dredge operations out on the water trying to get their gold.
 never made it inside the fancy new hospital in nome. just opened within the past year.  looked pretty sweet.
 old buildings no matter which direction you head.  the most was on the council road though.
 some kind of ducks.
 it actually rained a wee bit, lightly, those first few miles...okay more like it sprinkled a bit.   will be lots more wildflowers
 salmon lake in the distance.  it gets more and more beautiful the further back you go.
 there is a campground out there.  the road was getting sketchy so i turned around rather than get stuck out there.
 beautiful lake though and surprising how much ice was still out there.
 the road goes through the kigluaik range of mountains.  beautiful.  i think i really just had no idea that there were mountains over here.  i know, i'm an idiot.  no idea why i figured the rest of alaska up north would be so flat.
 another lovely camp site.  looks like it's been there for decades, frozen in time.
 a friend messaged me with another possible trip.  it's one i've wanted to go on but would be spendy.  will have to start by seeing if i can change days i work that week to accomadate it. then see how much crazy money i will have to spend.  they are offering a deal that may be too sweet to pass up!!  i love polar bears and we all visited the polar bears of canada together years ago. could be totally cool! the hotel will be even more spendy than nome and even less nice.  texting with another friend about it and she was looking it up.  there are actual toilets and sinks there so that sounds like the ritz compared to what it could be. is too short to pass up amazing opportunities.
 sledge island in the distance.  it's 7 miles off the coast.  i got lucky and saw it several times.  never saw king island which i guess can be seen at times as well.
 sledge island later from a beach walk. took a few beach walks this day.  one was more in town, which i found beach glass and then later i headed out council road to beach comb at midnight...just to say i did.
 work is done for a few days.  i survived night one with rio  but the next night rio let loose in the house.  there was a little note from the kid next door saying a dog had an accident.  he, thankfully, picked up the bulk of it, but there were some walls that needed cleaning. days like that you wish you owned a pomeranian or chihuahua.  haha.
 she seems to be good now.  eating real dog food again.  today i have been totally lazy.  no walk.  been cloudy the last few days so cooler and i've enjoyed the cool down.  there are loads of fires up north so the whole state could use a bit of rain.
 more dredge activities. i also saw folks on the beach digging in sand and going through it looking for gold.  guess they don't have the money for a boat?  or maybe it's like beach combing and is just kind of a relaxing hobby...that sometimes brings in cash.
 i drove around town a bit later in the day.  i took full advantage of the light and great weather.
 there was a hill near the cemetary with loads of dogs and kennels.
 berkowitz, the musher whose dog attacked that kid, is still waiting to see the fate of his dog wizard.  due to the severity of the attack it was decided the dog should probably be put down.  that or the dog will have to live out it's like in a totally enclosed cage.  not sure. anyway, it sounds like he's trying to just get the animal control department to allow him to take the dog to his regular vet to be put to sleep.  it's all pretty sad.  lots of blame going around on both sides of the issue.  what was the mother doing having kids running around a kennel of dogs?  who is responsible? should the dog be put down?  there are no winners in these situations.  i feel badly for all involved.  have no idea really what was up with that dog, that day.  i tend to lean toward putting a dog to sleep if it's prone to an attack like this.  plenty of dogs out there who are sweet and in need of good homes. rather give one of those a chance.
 probably wasn't the smartest thing having kids running around in a kennel though.  not horrible parenting, just  not a great idea.  sometimes shit just happens and nobody really is responsible or needs to be made responsible.  it's too bad our society can't just accept that accidents happen, that we can't control all that happens in this big world we live in.  dogs are dogs and sometimes no matter how much you train them, they will behave like dogs can.
 always love seeing communities attempt to harvest wind or find other ways besides petro to get energy...especially in these more remote areas.
 the crab pots were out by the dog kennels.
 cute puppies!!
 i also drove out the teller road just like 15 miles as it was pretty and i wanted to check out "house rock" in the nice weather, just in case it was never nice again.  cool rock formation.
 there are supposedly these reindeer herds out there.  this is an old corral not used anymore.  caribou are the same basically as reindeer, the reindeer are just captive or owned i guess. caribou are just the wild least that is the way i understand it.  never saw either in my various drives around and about nome.  just reading this...they are different. reindeer and caribou are both in the deer family.  reindeer are semi-domestic...i always see myself as semi-domestic as well. haha. the reindeer were originally brought over from siberia.
 man i was busy that day.  these are out at the local harbor.  always love a harbor and i always try to get a boat with the community that i am in's name on it.  i did get one eventually, but this is a boat out of unalakleet.

 there are different names for stuff that from a distance looks the same as it would in the lower 48.  tundra ponds/meadows. the clumps of grass are called tussocks. they do look quite walkable in the distance, but they are these uneven clumps often with water or wetness between tussocks.  very spongy and very mosquito friendly.  higher up on the mountains you have dwarf tundra.  much drier, tiny flowers . whatever can grow on top of the permafrost in the winds and other weather changes.
 above is a building by the docks, below was on the drive back to the hotel from beach at maybe 1am.
 just liked the light and the reflections
 random bird house out there.
 more dusk reflections

 gas was a bit spendy out there.
 fishing....5 species of salmon, it can be confusing as they can be called different things.
CHINOOK-  also called king, tyee or blackmouth.  i've only heard chinook or king though
CHUM- dog fish, keta or calico.
SOCKEYES- can be called reds
COHOS- silver
 more houses in town.
 me on the higher altitude tundra.
 i lingered several times out on the tundra taking photos of flowers and stuff. there as so many and by walking a few feet you can run into several more you may have missed if you didn't walk a bit.
 was a bit stressed at work one morning when i discovered stuff that wasn't being done that was pretty basic.   the patients condition improved after i helped out and it didn't change the ultimate outcome, but still sad and frustrating to see that new nurses can often be left without someone to give them guidance.  felt badly for the nurse, but have to remind myself that it is also the new nurses responsibility to ask questions sooner than later if something isn't familiar to them.  i'm still a bit sick over it.
 there is a big difference between working in the icu level of nursing and working on the floor.  i don't in any way want to belittle floor nurses, it's just that there is a different expectation when you work in an icu.  you have to learn to think at a different level. you have a different level of responsibility.  it can be hard to transition and learn what your new role is exactly.   your nurse and the training of that nurse can make a huge difference in your outcome or the outcome of a loved one.
 loved all these purple flowers with the scenery.  so pretty!!
 another self portrait out at  salmon lake.
 i suppose i could have done a cheaper trip by camping out here or on the beaches if i had gotten pre-permitted to do so.
 just some shots from the road.  the skies opened up, the sprinkles stopped and it was really quite beautiful.  i really had great weather out there.
 don't think i'll be up too late tonight.  may pop a movie in and chill.
 this week was adults, pediatrics and then back to adults...all in the icu's.  my last night i kept fairly a patient at 3am from the rapid response team.  helped get her all lined up, intubated and off to surgery. the docs are great there. the daughter of the patient was a bit of a nut...mostly i think she was frustrated and freaked out.  poor ciji got the bulk of it. i ran into the family on the way out this morning and they kept thanking me and giving me hugs and apologizing for the behaviour that got taken out on ciji, one of my co-workers.  my co-workers were totally great and helped out cool of them!
 tomorrow will probably be more flowers!  maybe i'll even bring my wildflower book down and see if i can identify any.
well, i guess i shall go! enjoy your day.

Friday, June 28, 2013

last of day one, nome!

 i'm in between shifts.  it's cloudy out for first time in forever it seems.  we have long ago surpassed the record for number of days over 70 degrees in a row.  the same seemed to be true up north.  reports from locals of temperatures over 100 degrees in some places.  kids jumping in lakes, ocean, rivers to cool off.
above is the local church in the city square.  most of my pictures of it would load in here sideways but this one worked.  taken with the wide angle about midnight i think.
 as i said i got a bit obsessed that first day with all these old buildings so i'm sure repeats abound.  i could have taken hundreds more so i totally controlled myself
 i think the musk ox and mosquito shots that  come later have been my most popular on facebook.
 was worried rio would leave me a big surprise when i got home this morning...nope...yippee!!  she is for sure looking to be on the mend.  vet bill adds to the vacation costs, but better safe than sorry when it comes to pets and kids, right.  lets you know too, that she was in the right hands.
 flying is stressful to me, me being away is stressful for the pets.  it always takes them 24-48 hours to resettle after i go out of town.  for me, i get back to work and that is it for vacay.  back to the real world.
 flying back i was getting myself a bit anxious.  i think it was because i hadn't really mentally prepared myself for that extra hop to kotzebue.  i had in my head until that morning that it was just this little hop from nome back to anchorage, and then i had to figure in an extra leg.  it's only a 35 minute flight from nome to kotzebue though.
i felt myself getting more and more anxious.  finally i realized in my head that having some sort of mid flight anxiety attack wasn't going to make any difference as to the safety or non safety of said flight. i got the ipad out, hooked up the headphones and returned to anchorage i song at a time. anxiety is silly,but it's hard to convince your brain of that some days.
 i got anxious to a few days into the trip driving to teller.  not sure if it was a height thing on those roads heading there with some steep drop offs or if it was more related to being out in the middle of nowhere.  it was almost like being at sea with no land sightings.  you look in every direction and all you see is barren land as far as you can see.  it's almost disorienting.  on the return trip i found that my anxiety was centered around the miles in the 40's and 50's so maybe more of the height thing that the open space thing.  i drove back 10 miles at a time in my head.  probably being alone means you have nobody to distract you when your brain starts to freak itself out.
 my flights and drives were really quite routine as far as safety goes.  there wasn't ever anything to fear.  we had some turbulence here and there, nothing unusual though.  did occur to me on that drive to teller that the maintenence of the car may not be up to date and that there quite possibly wasn't even a spare tire.  there was a mental debate as to whether i should stop and check this fact out.  in the end i decided that unless i had an actual flat tire it wasn't going to benefit me to discover that i had no spare tire.  there was one by the way.
 not sure exactly why the houses are often build up on stilts in these parts.  i've heard a few things.  coastal so flooding is always possible and also the land up there is permafrost.  that means that down a few feet it really never thaws.  if you build a house right on the permafrost you will heat up that area, thawing the permafrost and then the house settles.
 much isn't said about this permafrost and global warming issues and what it will mean when more and more of the permafrost actually thaws in the summers.  this summer i'm guessing it is thawing down a bit further.  i was impressed at how dry the tundra was.  usually it is moist and boggy.  also very lumpy so there isn't really a simple walk even though as you look at this photo's it looks like a big lawn out there easy to traverse.
 outhouse open and facing the road.
 old things remain where they are when they have outlived their usefulness.  new things or new old things are brought in.
 there is talk of building a road from the fairbanks area to nome.  would be spendy and i'm not sure it will ever happen.  could be like that train to nowhere.  it may get started and then be given up long before it's built.  the dalton highway got built because of the oil.  so unless gold strikes become big enough for another major gold rush in nome i doubt it will happen.  i may be wrong though.  i'm a fan of a road trip though.  i'd drive it if it were there.
 those icu rooms look so big when they are empty, but they quickly shrink when all the icu stuff gets added to the room.  moved a long term patient to a larger room last night....great idea nelly!!  i was for sure doing some bad yoga moves attempting to do my work in that tiny room.
 woke up with a headache from sore muscles.  my patient slept great after the move and her daughter was able to sleep in the room with her so i'm sure that helped.  more and more families are sleeping in.  mostly i'm cool with that. i like when they are people who actual help with cares rather than just act like they are running the show.  this family was great though.
 a few more from the safety roadhouse or iditarod checkpoint.  i'm sure it seems more of a dramatic place when it's hopping during the iditarod.  it all looks so much grander on tv.
 i was the only person there this day.
 may want to return to nome for the winter iditarod festivities, but i'm good for a bit.  may be more fun to hit rainy pass or some other check point along the way.
 you have the history of the diptheria vaccine run but you also have the history of this sled dog race in this town.  the dog race has been run since the 1970's.  the vaccine run occured around 1925. amazing how much has changed in the world in less than 100 years.
 for sure things change slower out here, but still all the modern stuff seeps in as well.
 along these beaches you can see remnants of life in the early 1900's but also remnants of life a few thousand years ago.
 several of my brothers are basketball obsessed as are the people in the villages of alaska.  loved this random hoop out in the middle of nowhere.  big gatherings occur centered around basketball.  gotta love that kids are so simple in their entertainment needs.  there are the usual computer games, but i did see loads of people out enjoying the sunshine.  biking, walking, swimming in the ocean.  love seeing that in a remote community.
 kids seem to be left to entertain themselves more.  everyone knows everyone, just like the old days.  everyone is keeping an eye on what is going on with the kids.  it gives them more freedom to be, it can also give them more freedom to get in trouble i guess, but i do tend to feel badly for many city kids whose lives are so directed and protected.  they are rarely without any sort of adult supervision.  needs to be a happy medium i suppose, but it is nice to see kids being kids and following their curiosity.
 driftwood....seems you will never run out of wood despite the lack of live trees.
 i had great skies that first day.  expansive and beautiful. i love clouds.  would have been a bit bummed if it had just been totally blue skies without cloud cover.
 drove this road a lot, never as far as that first day, but it had the best beach access so it seemed no matter where i went during the day hours i ended up back on this road at night to find a remote beach to walk.

 a last shot of the train to nowhere.
 that first night i enjoyed watching the last remnants of the sea ice crashing onto shore.
 by the time i left i didn't see any more ice out there.  some had just moved on i suppose, but it was melting fast.
 there was still quite a bit of snow tucked here and there along the road systems.
 waves crashing on sea ice...who wouldn't love that!
 you could walk forever on these beaches.  it was so relaxing.  any stress i may have in my life just washed off of me with every step i took in the sand.

guess i shall head off for a second nap.  blogged, ate and feeling lazy.  poor blossom. she's gonna get screwed out of walk today.  just university lake yesterday and a neighborhood walk the day before.  will have to pack in a few big hikes again before the next little adventure to lost lake.  will have to see if shell can watch rio for that.  she may not want to after what rio put her through this time.  no way i'm taking rio backpacking though.