Call it sunrise or sunset, whatever you want, but the sun has officially shown up in Prudhoe Bay (the photo was taken the 21st of January). From November 24th to January 17th it doesn’t break the horizon but on the 18th it’s just above the horizon for about an hour. During those two months it’s not pitch black all day but instead it’s varying degrees of twilight for a couple of hours each day. On the 19th of January it’s up for an hour and a half, 30 minutes more than the day before, and each day more and more light is gained, though the gain slows down to about 12 minutes a day by the end of January. So people who live and work up there notice a drastic increase in light over this time. At the beginning of February the length of day is about 5 hours and by the end of February it’s about 9.5 hours! At March 21st the length of day is about 12.5 hours and by the 15th of May the sun never sets! This is all according to the website http://www.timeanddate.com (and corroborated by Jack 😉 ).
Happy Fourth of July! Here are some photos from Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. Cliff dwellings are always fun to see and this is one of the best places to experience them. There’s more info on the captions and in order to see them and the photos at original size, click on the first photo and scroll to the right. Be careful with those fireworks!
Looking down into the canyon where the Native American cliff dwellings are.
Diorama of some of the dwellings that were not attached to the cliff.
“Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities.” (nps.gov)
This diorama shows how the dwellings were attached to the cliff and connected to the alcoves.
“The Ancestral Pueblo people lived here from approximately 1150 CE to 1550 CE. They built homes carved from the volcanic tuff and planted crops in mesatop fields.” (nps.gov)
The actual cliff wall.
If you look closely there appears to be some holes in the cliff wall.
The first ruins you come to, a circular building that was a religious gathering place.
The circular diorama in the visitor center was of these ruins which were made up of many individular dwellings, some of which were at least 2 stories high.
The holes next to the square entrances were for posts that supported man-built dwellings that stuck out from the side of the cliff.
Jack, showing the size of the entrance.
Inside the alcove.
Looking back toward the visitor center.
“By 1550, the Ancestral Pueblo people had moved from this area to pueblos along the Rio Grande. After over 400 years the land here could no longer support the people and a severe drought added to what were already becoming difficult times.” (nps.gov)
Judy, climbing a ladder to check out an alcove.
These steps were put in by the park service, as were the ladders.
Looking down on the circular ruins, some of which were at least 2 stories high.
Inside an alcove where the soot built up from years of fires.
Imagine dwellings made of rock standing high enough to cover those cave entrances.
“Corn, beans, and squash were central to their diet, supplemented by native plants and meat from deer, rabbit, and squirrel. Domesticated turkeys were used for both their feathers and meat while dogs assisted in hunting and provided companionship. ” (nps.gov)
Post holes for supporting the rock buildings that leaned against the cliff wall. (The engraving may be vandalism.)
The artwork to the right has been covered with plexiglass for safe-keeping.
What a great day.
Leaving the visitor center and other buildings of Bandelier National Monument. Thanks for looking!
Jack bought a new pick up truck! We picked it up in Amarillo, Texas and drove through Palo Duro Canyon State Park before heading on to New Mexico. Click on the first one and scroll to the right if you are interested!
Jack and his new truck!
Look at those huge ears on that jackrabbit!
An adorable prairie dog family (and could that be a burrowing owl in the background?).
Very different soils from what we are used to in Alaska.
Windmills and jack pumps everywhere!
Amazing dips and depressions in these brick roads, not all that different from what we deal with!
On The High Road to Taos (highway 518 in New Mexico) Jack and I ran into a pretty powerful hail storm. Even Jack felt the need to pull over at this point. At the very beginning of the below video you can see a little bit of lightning and later the road was totally white, it looked like snow. There are photos below it.
Hail on Jack’s truck after the storm mostly passed.
It looks like snow!
But it is clearly small balls of ice.
Deciding to head out.
Not sure if it melted right away seeing as it was pretty cool up in the mountains.
It was still on the truck when we stopped at a gas station about an hour later!
The day before we were enjoying the beautiful (but cool) weather of Taos.
In June, Jack and I went south on the Alaska Highway to camp and came across this construction site with a new culvert going in. More info on the photos. Click on the first one and scroll to the right.
This is the culvert that’s going in, about 6 feet in diameter and maybe 80 (?) feet long.
Jack says this is the stream water being diverted while the construction is going on.
Water is being sprayed to keep the dust down.
The fabric is Typar that was laid down under the road years ago and there’s also some rigid foam insulation showing on the right. All of this is an attempt to keep the dirt under the road frozen in order to prevent frost heaves.
The next two photos are pretty self explanatory. Collapsed culverts are very common in interior Alaska.
This was Jack’s first heavy haul load. He wasn’t actually part of the a heavy haul division yet but obviously it was a landmark load for him.
You can see the partially melted snow and the dry road. We are almost to that point in the year right now, and you can probably believe that it is an exciting time for us Alaskans who have snow 8 or 9 months of the year!
Flying into Fairbanks one day in 2008 the airplane took an unusual route. Instead of coming in from the southwest it came in from the southeast, flying over Harding Lake and Salcha and circling over Farmers Loop across north of town into the airport. Maybe this direction of landing is normal, I don’t know, I have never experienced it before, but this day happened to be beautifully clear and I captured some great photos of the Tanana River and various Fairbanks landmarks.
Click on the first one and then scroll to the right for an overhead, raven’s eye, tour of Fairbanks.
This is Hardling Lake with the Richardson Highway at the top of the photo (looking south).
Harding Lake with the Tanana River and Richardson Highway running in between.
This is the Salcha River flowing into the Tanana River, surrounded by the community of Salcha with the Richardson Highway running through it.
The Tanana River
The Tanana River
Now we are looking northwest toward Fairbanks with the Tanana River flowing westward.
A closer view of Fairbanks with Fairbanks International Airport in the upper left, above the Tanana River. The Parks Highway runs next to the airport from the northwest then turns east (Mitchell Expressway). You can see almost all of Fairbanks here including the hillside residential areas to the north and west. The bodies of water in between Fairbanks and the Tanana RIver are the gravel pits around Lakeview Terrace and farther away, the South Cushman ponds.
The intersection of the Richardson Highway and Badger Road is on the right. The road that parallels the Richardson on the left is called Saddle Avenue; we think this is the dike that protects Fairbanks from Tanana River flooding. Fort Wainwright is on the right.
The middle rectangle spans south Fairbanks from the airport to Fort Wainwright. The University of Alaska is in the upper right hand corner and below it is part of downtown.
Now we are on the other side of Fort Wainwright looking southwest. Bottom right is Birch Hill Recreation Area and downhill ski runs and Jack says the circular cleared area is the Fort Wainwright landfill. On the right side middle you can see Johansen Expressway with the big box stores along it, though it’s more developed now with large commercial buildings on both sides of the road instead of just one. The Chena River winds westward from Fort Wainwright.
We’re flying north of town now looking south toward Fairbanks with the intersection of Farmers Loop and the Steese Highway in the upper left corner and McGrath and Farmers Loop closer to the middle.
Someone’s personal junkyard, one of many in Fairbanks. Normally you can just see an edge but here you can see one in all its glory!
This interestingly shaped pond is either an oxbow lake, which is formed where a river or slough used to run, or a thawed area of permafrost.
This is north Fairbanks where the industrial area of Aurora Drive and the residential areas north of it meet. Carlile Transportation is kind of in the upper middle, just on this side of the Johansen Expressway. Danby intersects Johansen in the upper left corner and on the other side of the expressway is the railroad industrial area. There have been a lot of changes since these were taken 6-7 years ago.
We are farther west, looking southeast, with Johansen Expressway running horizontally. The large buildings in the upper left (not near the middle of the photo, that’s the Aurora Drive industrial area) are Randy Smith Middle School and the car dealerships of Danby Road. Next to the red roof in the foreground is the partially constructed foundation of the Carlile shop that now services Jack’s truck.
Here we see the Chena River meandering through Fairbanks and the intersection of Johansen and Peger Road on the left. The Carlson Center is the large green building in the upper left. One of the newest and most expensive neighborhoods of Fairbanks is Doyon Estates which is on the right, inside one of the the loops of the Chena River.
The intersection of Peger Road and Phillips Field Road is near the middle and here is where the railroad industrial area and the residential neighborhoods meet.
This is Riverview Drive running between the neighborhood pond and the Chena River, with an active gravel pit on the right bank of the Chena. This residential neighborhood is called Taku or Westgate. You can see the new intersection of Airport Way and Washington Drive in the upper right corner. The large building at the corner of that intersection has been shuttered since K-Mart closed, and next to it is Sears.
And finally, we land at the Fairbanks International Airport with the float ponds next to the runway.