Monthly Archives: August 2012

Autumn has arrived in the Interior

The leaves have already started to turn, the Sandhill Cranes are laying over as they fly down from the tundra further north, and it was 30 degs this morning when I loaded up the truck. The puddles in the drive had ice around the edges, which depressed the hell out of me. I hate to see that when we are still in the month of August.

Autumn is here.

And they say The Rover is slow…

Celebrating the “Trail of ’42”

A convoy of over 80 WWII era military vehicles made the trip up the Alaska Highway to commemorate the building of the road 70 years ago. They averaged 35mph when behind the wheel, and traveled 200 miles a day.

I was told they carried a lot of spare parts.
I completely understood.

Griz Attack in Denali

For the first time in its 95 year history, Denali National Park had a hiker fatally mauled by a bear on Friday. A San Diego man solo hiking near the Toklat River was killed by a large male grizzly. It seems that the hiker had been taking photos of the bear over a period of 8 minutes with the bear getting closer in each. The pictures show no aggressive behavior on the part of the bear, but that obviously changed.
The grizzly was shot by park rangers on Saturday as it protected the kill site, and a necropsy confirmed that it was the guilty bear. Or, at least it confirmed that this bear had partaken in the hiker. A dozen grizzlies have been roaming this area of the Toklat all summer. The area has now been closed to hiking.

Over the 8 minute time span that the backpacker was taking photos of the 600 pound grizzly, the bear closed from 50 yards to possibly 50 feet. There were 26 pictures taken of the bear, the bear does not appear to know of the hiker’s presence until the final five, when the bear is looking directly into the camera and moving towards the hiker. At one point, it seems that the hiker may have moved his position to get a better angle of the bear. It is hard to say what set off the bear, whether the hiker ran when his presence became known to the bear, or if this was just an aggressive male grizzly that showed its predator nature.

The Eagle Has Landed

Rest in peace Neil Armstrong

Cheechako Makes Arrival

I was going to call this “Turistas Cuatro”, but I think we actually have a new resident instead. My apologies for automatically thinking this was a tourist.

Whittier, Alaska
A man drove off the MV Kennicott of the Alaska Marine Highway system upon docking in Whittier. For some reason, he felt the overwhelming need to use his GPS… in Whittier… population 200. It would seem that the GPS unit told the man to make an immediate right, which took him down the small boat ramp, and into the harbor at high tide. The Subaru was submerged to the antenna. A former Marine, witnessing the event, jumped into the water, broke a window with a needle-nosed pliers, and rescued the man and his two dogs. Unfortunately, the cat did not make it out of the car.

Whittier is… quirky. In fact, it has been called “The strangest town in Alaska”, which is really saying a lot. Almost the entire population of the town lives in a single, WWII era “high-rise” built by the U.S. Army.
For the longest time, the only way into Whittier was from Prince William Sound, or by the Alaska Railroad which has a spur rail line running through a 2-1/2 mile tunnel under the mountain. A road now runs alongside the track for the tourists to explore the town, which takes roughly ten minutes. Although the setting is absolutely beautiful. There is no doubt about that.

The Cheechako is to be stationed at Elmendorf/Ft Richardson in Anchorage.

Other Continents

The Transfagarasan is a winding, 91 km, mountain road between Transylvania and Wallachia. As the second highest road in Romania, it climbs to an altitude of 2034 m. It would be a blast to drive. Plus, I know someone in Transylvania.

The Carpathians, Romania
The Old World

Turistas Tres

“Can you tell me where the glacier is? I saw several Exit Glacier signs, but I couldn’t find the Entrance Glacier sign.”
— Seward Tourist

The name of the glacier is Exit Glacier.

“Just two things are necessary for success in this life: One is a sense of purpose and the other is a touch of madness.”

—John Harricharan

If Ships Could Talk

The USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship, set sail under its own power for the first time since 1997 yesterday. Old Ironsides’ sailing was in commemoration of her victory over the HMS Guerriere in the War of 1812.

That would have been a cool sight to see; there is just something about a tall ship under sail.