Wednesday, June 26, 2013

nome, second installment!

 there was still a bit of sea ice left over from the spring thaw.  by the end of my days there i didn't see any of it.  kinda cool to see the ice in the water and on the shore.  this chunk of ice looked like a duck to me.
 rio kept me busy today. she didn't approve of the first meal i concocted for her, so i had to cook her some hamburger and mix it with steamed rice.  she actually came for tonights meal so that is a good sign.  poor dog.  i think she's on the mend though.
 i just fell in love with these long stretches of beaches in the nome area.  these must go on for miles and miles...i could walk these beaches every day and i did while i was there. something about walking on the shore with the sounds of the waves and sea's just totally relaxing.
 lots of crab bits along with dead birds, a dead seal...some other dead carcass. that stuff stays there.
 the only upsetting thing of the week was that the last full day there i heard there was that walrus carcass down on the beach with it's head cut off.  guess is that the 2000 pound animal was also flipped over and had it's oosik or os penis removed as well. just like the rhino's being killed in africa for it's horn, the walrus are killed for their skull, ivory tusks and the oosik.  humans suck sometimes.
 it will probably never even be investigated and the people who did this will go unpunished.  so frustrating.
 before i left i was listening to npr and they were talking about this case where several walrus were found up north shot and killed and not harvested.  subsistence hunting is allowed, especially for natives,but they are supposed to utilize the animal they kill.
 a forensic guy who specialized in animal cases was specifically hired to go up there and do the investigation. they crashed a plane, got a truck stuck in the muck and went through many trials and errors trying to figure out how to get their equipment to work on these huge animals.  all the while they were being watched from afar.  eventually, they were able to ascertain that is was young native males who had done the deed. they went the elders, who said they had known this all along and were just seeing if the researchers could figure it out.  they spoke of being disappointed at how things were happening to their culture.  they had a meeting with the young males and things quieted down for a time, but it's getting back to what it was becoming. young people not respecting their own culture and the animals they share the land with.  really quite sad.  easy money gets tough to turn down, especially when money is tight.
 sea gulls.  there are all sorts of them, but i only know them as sea gulls.
 there were a few places that had lists of what had been seen where. of course, the one at the hotel i didn't notice until my last day there.  really it was pretty much birds...for the various birders who come through.  the walrus without the head was on there and i added the musk ox sightings.  so maybe it was best if i just hadn't seen the list.
 nome is a birder paradise.  not sure i added to my bird lists.  i love to listen to birds and i'm sure i've seen some cool speices over the years. i've never been very good with details.  much better at identifying big mammals.
 they have all this cool red sand there, not sure what that comes from.  i did collect some and put it at the bottom of the vase where i put all my sea urchins.
 this seaweed held tons of my little sea urchins.  lots of clams and some scallops as well.   i do know my intertidal zone species.  didn't see any rocks for tidepools.  i'm sure some exist out there somewhere.  miles of beach in alaska...surely there will be some rocky areas.  saw some sea stars.  picked up a few small, dried up stars.  those are also cool to find.  would be so cool to be able to boat out to some of those totally remote beaches and see what cool stuff has settled onto the beaches.
 amazing to think that this whole area was frozen solid a few months back.
 i only saw bits of leftover ice. in the winter apparently the shore ice can extend out quite a ways.  you can walk out there, the iditarod mushers run dogs on it.  they can cut holes in it and go fishing or drop crab pots in the winter.  beyond the shore ice is pack ice which moves with the currents more.
 due to the shore ice, i suspect all beach combing is curtailed until the break up.
 bought a little book at the visitor center.  it was helpful as to stuff on the roads.  seemed to focus on the birder aspect of the area. i'm sure that is the bulk of their visitors who come up in the summer. that or people fishing i guess.  i didn't fish, bird or look for gold, so a bit of an off beat tourist.  have been to some of the great birder places though.  pribilofs, round island.
 one of many empty fish drying racks.
 i suspect they are filling up now.
 ice rocks on the beach.
 we don't get much wave action in anchorage.  we have the mud flats.  people have been taking to doing a hike across the mud flats from kincaid to fire island.  a guy died this past week on his attempt.  the water rolls in very fast and if you are not to the other side you can get swamped.  it can be done, of course, but it's really not advisable and the city and state have spent money and effort just trying to keep people from even attempting it.  some guy wrote an article which inferred that perhaps we should stop trying to stop people from going and make it more clear how one can more safely get across i guess.
 i dropped a comment as it always bugs me that there are hike group leaders that take people across.  in my opinion this is irresponsible.  they apparently have been known to take teenage groups across as well.  the issue is that there is no place to put someone who gets injured or has a heart attack or for whatever reason can't carry on.  if you are having a heart attack you will have to just keep walking.  even on denali if you must stop you can be settled in someplace to await rescue.  the tides come in so fast around anchorage that you totally can't stash someone and go get help.
 sad that yet another person has died out there doing something that has been repeatedly put forward as a bad idea.  the fact that these groups are crossing just has opened the door as this being a good idea.  this is exactly what i predicted would happen when i first read and heard about these group hikes across.  the guy who died was in his early 40's, military guy.  just sad.
 tern...i think arctic.  they travel from antarctica.
 i'm behind on my news coverage.  the papers all sit unread.  eventually i will catch up.
 chatted with my brother for a bit.  chatted with my sister yesterday.  always good to catch up with family.  hit the store to restock on a few items.  started to get a bag together for my nephews bag.
 there were sleds around all over utilized as decor...clearly a iditarod-nome flavor.  i did enjoy seeing all the cool sleds used at the various places.  there were dogs all over.  was actually surprised at the variety of breeds of dogs out in this small place.  there wasn't just the regular sled dogs.
 fish camp and it looks like another sled in the foreground.
 a few from the flight out to nome.  this looks to be big lake or the valley anyway.
 had some lovely views of denali on the way out.
 u could see the various glaciers coming down from the mountain range in the area.
 nome is "OME' i guess.  it was cloudy coming in so i didn't get any air shots and on the way out there was a kid in my seat by the window so i just sat in the aisle. i knew they were getting off in kotzebue.
 always have to get my airport shot with the name of the town.
 stuffed dog from the old diptheria days i think. i wandered through the museum on my first day in town briefly.
 front street.  not really that impressive.
 a few statues here and there, this one was for the alaska national gaurd.  ww2 i think.
 eventually i made it out the road and stopped in at the safety roadhouse.  it's the last checkpoint before nome in the iditarod.  it was actually open when i was there the first time.  it's really a bar and a gathering place in the back room.  there was an older guy looking after the place so we chatted a bit.  he says the back room is kept closed in the winter as it costs too much to heat it.  not much there really. fun to see though considering it's role in the iditarod.
will take me awhile to get these pictures in...hope it's enjoyed.  i had a great time out there and learned a lot about the area in the short time i was there.  so much more that i'm sure i missed and didn't see.  til next time.

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