We spent the past three days pushing rock and mud with a small dozer. As usual, it rained much of the time, but we managed to only get the dozer stuck once, when we pushed our luck and broke through the stable muck and into the quickmuck. The quickmuck it is what swallowed up the mammoths, so the Deere was lucky to escape with its life. Sadly, I had to sacrifice a few recently acquired birch logs to save the metal beast.
Monthly Archives: July 2012
This morning while at the jobsite, my attention was diverted from the 20′ roof rafters to a pair of juvenile seagulls. They were squawking so loud, that I heard them over the generator. Judging from the birds’ noise, and the clumsy flight over the river, I’m fairly certain that it was their first (successful) flight. Two mature gulls were circling high overhead, and the two chicks were all over the air above the Chena. At times they seemed to have this flight thing licked, then suddenly the dirt colored gulls would free fall towards the water, and at the last possible second regain the use of their wings to climb unsteadily upward. Twice one of the gulls seemed to try to save face and simply plopped into the water, as if to say: “I meant to land here, I’m a seagull afterall”, but then the river’s current would take it downstream & away from the other gulls & the intense, panic squawking would start up again. Then all the birds would suddenly be screeching. I did take some pictures, but it was so dark today with heavily overcast skies, that I’m sure they are not worth uploading.
At one point today, I was fighting a particularly wet 20′ rafter up to the second floor, when I noticed a moose on the other side of the river. It’s ears were straight up in the air, and it’s eyes were obviously fixated on me. I guess the young moose had never heard words like that before.
This is my current jobsite along the Chena River. For seven to eight hours a day, I get to hammer boards together, while I think about fishing for salmon to the sounds of river boats flying up and down the river.
I opened the door last night to find a young moose calf just off my deck looking up at me. It then quickly ran off towards its mother, who was munching down some fireweed. The calf stood in the stand of fireweed for a while peering over the blossoms at me. The mother moose didn’t pay me any attention at all, which eased the calf’s nerves a bit, and allowed me to go back inside for the camera. The calf didn’t want to hang around too much longer, so mom grudgingly left the tasty fireweed and followed the calf into the trees.
The picture was taken at midnight, which explains why it is so dark. I hate it when we turn the corner & start losing daylight.
Every Fourth of July since 1915, the small, sea town of Seward, Alaska holds a race from its downtown to the summit of Mount Marathon and back. It’s a grueling run up to the 3022 foot summit, which at times has the entrants using their hands as much as their feet to climb the steep slope. Downhill is another story: It’s a mad, free for all at insane speed down the rocky, mountain side. Most racers cross the finish line covered in mud & blood. The record time was set in 1981 by Bill Spencer in an amazing 43 mins 21 secs.
Alaskans truly love this race and it shows with the populace of Seward growing from 3000 to as many as 40000 for the July 4th celebrations.
This year, a 66 year old participant from Anchorage has vanished from the mountain. He was last seen by race volunteers 200 feet from the summit. There has been no trace of him since. Alaska State Troopers have called off their search, but the Seward Fire Department and other volunteers continue to search Mount Marathon.
Tragically, in another accident, an elite racing veteran lost his footing on descent near the base of the mountain and suffered a broken skull, broken leg and other injuries. “To bound downhill, just on the edge of out-of-control, is what elite racers shoot for. We make these decisions, to run as fast as we can. To choose that mountain race. To go fast on the downhill. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we’re rewarded for it.” — Alaska Mountain Runners president Brad Precosky
As of today, Michael LeMaitre is still missing and Matthew Kenney is still in a coma.