Northern lights & Davidson Ditch

Here are more photos of our late summer camping trip up the Steese Highway.  Chilly, but hardly a cloud in the sky…

You’ll see Davidson Ditch, a water pipe built in 1920s, that runs 90 miles along the Steese Highway.  It used to bring  about 180,000 gallons of water per day to the gold dredges in Fox, Alaska from the Chatanika River.

(Click on the first one and scroll to the right.)

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Jack’s first grayling

You’d think that someone would start small and work up to a 75 pound salmon but Jack does it the opposite way.  When coming to Alaska years ago he caught the huge salmon first and then is working down and crossing the small fish off his list as he goes.

This summer he got his first Arctic Grayling.  Six to be exact.  We kept the first few and cooked them for dinner, but they were a bit mushy and muddy tasting, at least compared to the beautiful trout we’ve been getting.  From now on we’ll catch and release grayling.

Arctic Grayling are actually endangered in the lower 48.  In Alaska though they are quite abundant.

Here are some photos from our late summer Steese Highway camping trip and Jack’s first grayling.  Click on the first one and scroll to the right for the best viewing.  Hope you all had a great summer.

 

 

Current interior Alaska wildfires

In case anyone is interested, here is an image showing how many wildfires are burning in interior and south central Alaska.  The two down by Anchorage are wreaking havoc and there are a bunch around Delta.  Here is the website where you can get up to date info about this:  http://smoke.arsc.edu/current_fires.html

Wildfires in Alaska as of June 19 2015

 

Smoke & Heat in Fairbanks, Alaska

It’s been an interesting summer so far in interior Alaska.  First we had snow and low temperatures until mid-May, and then we had about 3 weeks of 80 and 90 degree weather.  When you live somewhere that is cold and dry for 8 or 9 months of the year any heat you can get is like charging some inner battery.  So let’s just say we have adequately charged our batteries…life was great…until the smoke rolled in!  Right now we have well over a hundred fires burning throughout Alaska, some small and some large, some being fought near towns and some being left alone to burn.

Forest Fires in Alaska - July 1, 2013The University of Alaska has a sensational website showing where fires are burning in Alaska. Here is a screen shot from it taken July 1st.  The website, UAFSMOKE: Wildfire Smoke Prediction for Alaska, is in it’s experimental phase but when finished should be able to tell us when smoke is going to reach a given area around Fairbanks.  This is when Jack and I shut all our windows and turn on the air filters, so we’d love to know ahead of time.  (Sometimes though, like the other day, its 80 degrees out and our house is baking with us trapped inside.)

One of the fires that is plaguing us is Skinny’s Road fire, the yellow dot that is close to the upper right of the word Alaska on the map.  It’s about 20 miles away from us and on the other side of the Parks Highway.  But any of the ones in that general area could be causing the our smoke problems right now.  The crazy thing is, you can go to bed with a heavy smokey haze outside and wake up to a bright clear day because wind patterns are changing so much.  So Jack and I are constantly sniffing the air to decide when to close or open the windows.

The smoke affects certain people more than others and Jack is not greatly affected.  He even went out and chainsawed some logs last weekend with the mosquitoes and haze surrounding him.  A day off is a day off and you have to get something done.  But I have to stay inside because I feel a heaviness in my chest when the smoke gets bad, and if I breathe it in too long my sinuses and allergies act up too.  People with asthma and respiratory problems like COPD are in big trouble if they don’t get into a safer environment.  Just about everyone gets a headache if out in it for too long.

All in all, here at our house Jack and I have had only about 48 hours of dense dangerous smoke, so we are beyond thankful for that, considering how many are burning around us as you can see from the map.  Below is a photo from June 21st, 2010, late in the evening under the midnight sun during Solstice, looking southward down from a turnout on the Parks Highway onto the Tanana Valley where a fire smolders (on the left in the photo) and sends its wispy smoke westward (to the right). Click it for a larger image.

Forest fire in the Tanana Valley

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July!

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