Friday, July 5, 2013

day three nome...musk ox

 the musk ox were not down any of the roads i drove, they were in town.  i had heard this before...that they hang closer to town.  i got the tip from my waitress that morning at airport pizza, anvil mountain road.  it took me a few tries of little winding roads to figure out which road was the road up.
 got some nice views of nome in the mean  time.  that is the anvil rock formations that give anvil mountain the name.
 the day started a bit cloudy.  i was getting into a routine....breakfast at airport pizza then off to drive and explore.  look at photo's sometime in the late evening and then off to the beach late at night.  occasionally i actually got a second meal, mostly i just snacked through the day.  car was packed and ready to play.
 this was how i first saw them.  this was my second attempt and i had found anvil mountain road, which sounded promising.  was dirt, looked to go uphill a bit, but i was determined by the afternoon to find these guys
 i walked slowly around the herd trying to work my way closer.  i picked up rather stinky musk ox hair along the way.  actually i picked up chunks of quiviut and put them in my pocket.  i had no idea at the time how stinky and potent this odor was and that i would have a difficult time getting it out of my hands no matter how much hand sanitizer i used or how often i washed my hands.
 i kept getting a whiff of it thinking, it smells like, it smells like..finally it occurred to me it smelled musky...big surprise there, right. yet another blond moment in my life.
 the group was about 30 in number.  they didn't spook with me but they did slowly wander in the opposite direction of where ever i was headed.  i was having a hell of a time getting very close.  i didn't want to spook them, but was hoping to get in for some better viewing.
 they kept an eye on me though.  no sneaking around the herd here.  it was quite windy out too so i was hoping i was getting a few decent pictures.  between the wind and them being a bit further off than hoped i really didn't think any of these pictures were coming out at all.
 loved watching the wind in that long hair of theirs.
 they really are cool animals.
 with the wind blowing their hair all directions they reminded me of guinea pigs, big ones, with horns.  at times the horns were the only way you could tell the front of the animal from the back for all the fur flying
 they were in various stages of shedding, which looked pretty cool.
 some go to nome to see the iditarod, others for gold, me, i went for the scenery and wildlife.
 i had put it in black and white for a bit and as i often to, i forgot to flip the camera back to colour.  oh well.  i got plenty of pictures and musk ox look pretty cool in black and white.
 you can really see the huge clumps of hair coming off this guy. wish i could have collected more and brought back a suitcase full of quiviut to make enough yarn for someone to knit me something.  i'll be happy with my findings though.  will have to get better directions from quinton or katie as to how descent the stuff.  or i could look up scouring on the internet.
 several babies out there...tiny puffballs of fluffy fur.  so cute!
 front/back who knows!  ok, i know that is the back.
 found some huge clumps as i worked my way around the group.
 a few nights of work behind me.  all good, families very nice, almost overly attentive.  lots of questions.  helpful co-workers so the night went quite well.  i started out with an oncoming migraine so the first half of the shift i was trying to get that under control.  i hadn't slept much since it was coming on through the day with this sinus stuff i've been feeling.  by about 11 it dissipated and i felt great. not sure if it was the excedrins, the cherry dr pepper or the bonger but i was back to normal and the rest of the night was headache free.
 need to get out in the yard and pick up dog poop and mow again.  did rain a bit the other day. thinking dinner with flo, groceries, then mow.  days are starting to get shorter, we lose about 5 minutes of light per day now.  where does summer go...?
 big daddy!
 it had been pretty hot up there in nome.  amazing they hadn't gotten rid of all this winter coat yet. love all the leftovers on them though...looks so cool!
 on the move...i think there was actually a person walking their dogs up by the old military installments, so not me spooking them.  i guess they have been known to go after a few dogs that annoyed them. i'm guessing they could do some damage.
 they look pretty slow and passive, but any animal if pushed, will use all they have to defend themselves and their young.
 great to watch them in motion..but bummer that yet again they were moving away from me.
 they were fully aware of my presence at all times.  they seemed more befuddled over me than concerned.
 the herd with a few of the old cold war remnants.  these were some sort of communications towers.  called white alice i think.  they are non functioning at this point.
 texting my friend in north carolina, she suggested i get some cilantro fries at bear tooth...i think i shall.  debating a growler of rootbeer as well. have some gift cards that need to be purchased as well as thanks yous for my lovely dog care team.
 beautiful drive home from work this morning. the clouds were stunning this morning.  it's a short drive home, but you can get some views some days
 chatted with my brother joel as well, he's going to come in for a few days while my other brother tom and his family are here. the place may be a bit crowded, but we are a large family and crowded is how we always were as kids. it will be like the old days at grandpa's beachhouse.  the older boys sometimes just slept on the deck chairs out back if i recall correctly.  we would line up in sleeping bags in the living room if we were in the upstairs part or pack into the beds in the illegally converted garage.
 there were a few challenges in the group.  males play fighting by locking horns.
 everyone there seemed to keep it light.
 a little frolic here and the one musk ox picture from the last post. i love wildlife in action
 as i mentioned the original musk ox disappeared at some point around the early 1900's. in the old days of minimal red tape and regulations a group was just dropped out there with little discussion. now the poor wood bison continue to wait for their release into the wild as now there is much more discussion and planning and mucking about before any sort of decisions are ever made.
 i'm sure there are those in nome with a love/hate relationship with the musk ox.  we wander around anchorage with these big moose, but it would be a bit different having 30 animals make their way through town.
 a few sweet pictures of mama with baby.

 gotta love these guys.

 getting close to time for me to head out to meet my friend.  i am getting hungry.  life is much better these days. have been trying to more different things with a variety of people.  it's all good.  there are so many wonderful people out there,why limit yourself.
 some days i walk alone, but i am part of some herd somewhere.

 not this herd though, they seemed to have little interest in making me part of their group.  maybe it was my lack of fur, or lack of horns or they just had no idea how i would be able to stand up to the wind in that silly jacket.  animals always seem to look befuddled around us humans. we are freaks of nature.

 lunch time for this little guy
  was really happy to run into the group finally.  would have been bummed if i missed them.
 it is funny that they hang so close to town and i was driving all those roads hoping to run into them.

 hoping my schedule has been changed for next week.  guess i have the email with the okay so if i just print that out i should be covered.  haven't taken the steps to check on kaktovik yet.  not's probably too late this year.  some other year maybe.  or i'll  see what i can do on monday.  if it works out then it was meant to be, if not, then it wasn't.

off to eat, have a good day, will post more musk ox pictures tomorrow probably.

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