Thursday, April 10, 2014

a ride and a walk...part one

 it was a beautiful day.  yesterday wasn't the best weather so i had opted out of taking a 5 hour drive all the way down to Homer.  so today i hit the potter to mchugh trail.  then i headed to the Alaska Conservation Center...always a good time. it was bear feeding time 4pm so the local bald eagle population was in force to get scraps.  loved this one...he looked quite annoyed.  bald eagles can really give you a look sometimes.
 not too many signs of spring out there yet.  the trails along Turnigan seem to get spring first.  these trees had some signs of life.
 no signs of bears either, which i was okay with.
 both dogs went with.  i always forget how tough this easy seeming trail can be for Rio Catalina.  being blind she is forever battling the roots that lie across the trail.  there were also some icy bits out there still.  no falling though.
 still thinking of the walrus on Round Island.  did get a response from the friends of Mcneil.  this was helpful.  they had a meeting just last night regarding Round Island and a host of other wildlife habitats that are currently at risk.  he spoke of closed door sessions that our governor is having and attempts being made to reorganize and attempt to change the status of many of these protected areas in order to welcome business from the lower 48...especially in the areas of natural resources.
 why can't politics stay away from my animals!!
 saw an old article in the anchorage daily news, which just got bought out by Alaska Dispatch (an online news source), anyway.  i wrote to the writer of this article in hopes of spurring further research.
 his article was about a pair of guys from Togiak who had just gotten sentenced to less than 2 years for poaching on Round Island back in 2011.  the game folks were on the island at the time and were able to identify the boat and the boat was intercepted as it came back to Togiak.
this moose was our turn around point today.  Rio could smell it even though it was down in the gully but it was up and seemed to be headed towards the trail, not away from it.  seemed easier to just turn around than risk going further and then having to deal with this moose on the trail on the return.
 anyway, these guys boated over to the island, drunk, and then were able to start firing their weapon.  one walrus was killed, a few others injured i believe. the one they killed they just hacked off the tusks and left.
 this is exactly the thing i fear will happen more often if the island is left unoccupied.
 it brings to mind buffalo on the prairies with just their tongues cut out, or rhino's with their horn sawed off...or entire families of elephants slaughtered and only their ivory tusks removed.
 WWF sent a form letter response stating the email had been forwarded to the proper place...we shall see.
 always love these musk oxen.  they were hanging pretty close and i had a few minutes before the feeding began so i watched them for a bit.
 a young one, just has tiny horn.
 they are shedding, sure sign of spring.  that undercoat is called quivet ( i think i spelled that wrong) but it is super soft and makes for some spendy yarn.
 it was pretty chilly out today really. wind. Turnigan can get some wind.
 you can see it in the musk ox above and also in the bald eagle below.
 the eagles were kind of more fun to watch than the bears today.  there were several of them and they were flying all over.  they would swoop down and steal the salmon that was tossed to the bears.  they have no fear...everyone is no doubt a bit hungry this time of year.
 the brown bears have been up for nearly a month and had also popped out for a bit in January this year since winter was so warm (relatively).  the black bears are still sleeping.
 another stabbing at a school in the lower 48 and up here a mother stabbed her 3 year old...still think everyone should be a mother?  clearly she will not be receiving mother of the year.  why do these people have kids?  i'll never know.
 my computer is still good for a was windows xp i think.  they are stopping the updates and service for that program.  i have windows 7...right now i'm reading the updates on this program will continue through 2020.
 the coffee group monday was thinking we should buy land in the middle of nowhere and build little individual cabins...then us old ladies could just become a commune.  we'd isolate ourselves and not have to deal with all the wacko people that the news seems to always be finding.
 tonight i said we should just call our community Chernobyl.  i'd watched a tedtalks and after the whole nuclear disaster thing so many miles around the site were told to leave their homes...there were several older women who just refused to go.  they were old anyway and they had lived in this place their entire lives.  they have slowly died of old age, not really all that impacted by being exposed to large amounts of radiation.  a socialologist was suggesting that the stress of moving home had been more stressful than the impact of the radiation on those who stayed.
 anyway, i figured if we call  it chernobyl we won't be bothered.  we can just have a site with a sign that says drop off all deliveries here and then we could walk out in hazmat suits to pick up stuff...that would further prevent intrusion.  the world just seems to get uglier and uglier.
 speaking of ugliness.  the genocide in Rwanda was 20 years ago.  how do these things happen.  what makes neighbors turn against neighbor.  they interviewed a family, or what was left of them, who now live in Germany someplace...though i must say if you'd been through a genocide i'm not sure i'd select Germany to move has it's genocide history as well.
 anyway, these people will be haunted their entire lives.  the woman had returned many times trying to locate her loved ones bodies and give them proper burials. apparently bodies were often dropped into latrines. she finally found one man who had been a part of the genocide who did help her find her sisters body.  he went so far as to also help her retrieve and bury her sister.  she said there is talk of forgiving and she said she could forgive this man as he asked for forgiveness and showed remorse and tried to help in this way...the others she said she could not forgive.
 she had thought her husband had been shot as she had heard the shot, but it was someone else.  her husband was with a group of others.  those committing the genocide were tired and wanted to rest but they didn't want these captured men to escape while they rested so they had cut off their feet to keep them from running.  the poor men bled through the night and were shot the next day if they had survived.  such ugliness in the world.  i think i would find these things unforgivable as well.  you have to move on from it, but i think it's fair to not forgive these horrible humans.
 she said it was hard to learn to trust again, but you have to or you can never find any happiness.
 the animals kill but only to eat or in defense.  humans seem to often feel superior to animals, more's hard to imagine us being more evolved when you read about horrific things like Rwanda.
 watched a documentary on the puppeteer who has been elmo.  i think his friends got together and got it made after someone accused him of some sexual assault.  i believe the guy was probably trying to extort money or get revenge.  people can be horrible to each other.
 who knows what happened and none of us are perfect but it is amazing how no matter how much good you do in your life, it can all be wiped out by one event like this.  the guy went above and beyond to spread happiness through his puppetry.  i enjoyed the documentary.   a strange job choice but he saw his first puppets as a little kid and he was hooked.
 you can see the salmon in this guys talons.  they got several pieces.
 saw what i think was a coyote while driving home.  picture in the next installment i think.  guess it could have been a wolf too.  i had a clear view of it but was unable to pull over to get a picture right away so i only got it as it went back into the brush. kinda cool though.  can't say as i've ever seen that while out driving.  Q, you will have to help me id it once i post it.
 they have 3 bears there and it is always cool to check them out.  the bears have 18 acres to wander around  in which i think is one of the larges bear habitats out there.  they seem pretty happy.  in the summer they have a pond to play in.  food arrives is good!!
 their nose and claws
 the ravens and magpies were also hanging out hoping for some free food.
 didn't seem like all that much fish for those big bears.  they probably rotate what and how much depending on what has been donated.  this time of year folks probably start bringing them the stuff that is leftover in their freezers from last summers fishing and hunting.
 the bears also get roadkill moose from time to time.
 bear tracks in the snow...haven't seen this outside of the conservation center.  in my opinion the wild guys can sleep in.
 the willows are bursting out
 just a few of the wood bison today...was getting chilled out watching the bears and eagles.
 the two lynx were both sitting side by side enjoying the sunshine.  they looked pretty happy.
 love their bushy faces and ears.
 and of course the big paws.
 their enclosure stinks of tomcat though...smelly!!
 i enjoyed the sunshine as well.
 aside from the coyote/wolf the drive home was uneventful.  well i did stop by this little place with small waterfalls that were still lovely and iced over.  worth the stop.
good night...grateful fors 1...people and places that are dedicated to aiding the animals.  it's no small undertaking and requires a great deal of dedication.  i am grateful for those people who take the time, effort and money to care for these animals and educate the public 2...the health and ability to get out walking nearly every day  3...also for the gift of being able to take decent photos and share them in various ways..hopefully brightening a day or decreasing stress for someone out there.

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