Monthly Archives: May 2013

desert rover

Galena vs. The Yukon

Galena AK 2 Galena Alaska

A 30 mile ice dam on the Yukon River has the little village of Galena under siege.  Most of the 500 residents have been forced to evacuate, as flood waters submerge buildings and lift homes off their foundations.

After several days of 80 degree weather, the front of the massive ice dam has begun to show signs of churning.  Once it releases, Koyukuk, which lies downriver, will be the next village at risk of flooding.

Photos courtesy of the National Weather Service

High Water

High Chena Full Slough

Back out at the river job.  The Chena has risen a good three feet over the weekend, if not more.  The slough was full, to the point that it was 2 feet over the road at the low point.  The river is at its bank along the property, but it’ll have to rise another couple of feet to cause any wet boots for me.  That’s a lot of water flowing by, and it’s in a hurry to get to the Tanana and then the Yukon.  Tonight the river is at 8.41 feet, which is a jump of a foot & a half in the past 12 hours looking at the NOAA chart.  I’m sure the past two days of 80+ degs has helped give that a boost.  Flood stage is at 12 feet, but at 12′ I’ll be looking for another project to work on for a while.

A Good Break Up Should Be Messy

Alaska Style

Overflow Drained

It’s been an odd year so far regarding break up.  The late warming has ice hanging on much longer than usual.  The creek above had backed up, probably due to an ice dam downstream.  Yet, in one day, much of it had drained after the dam broke loose.  The time lapse between the two photos is almost exactly 24 hours.

Fort Yukon, on the mighty Yukon River, was being threatened by ice upstream.  That has broken up and moved on, but I hear the threat from an ice dam downstream on the river is still very real.

Our pond lost it’s ice today, after two days of 78-80 degree weather.  The ground however, is still loaded with ice, and the surface right now is a goopy, shoe grabbing mess of slime & muck.  Rubber knee boots, always in fashion in Alaska, have become less a statement and more of a necessity over the last week.

With 80 degs on the schedule for the entire coming week, I wouldn’t be surprised to see wildfire smoke by Friday.

Life in the North.


I was reminded by Our Sponsor that I hadn’t given the Nenana Ice Classic results.

The Tanana River ice broke up on 20 May at 2:41 pm AST.  It should be noted that the Ice Classic does not acknowledge Daylight Savings Time.  This year was the latest recording of the ice going out.  I believe a couple, appropriately named Snow, won the $318,500 prize.


You can tell I’m back in construction mode:  “Damn” looked completely normal to me.  I’ve since edited, and have removed the damn “n”.  Several times.

NY Snow

NY Snowfall

It was 78 degs here in Fairbanks on Sunday.  Upstate New York received over 3 feet of snow.

I hate to say it, but it’s hard for me not to be amused by that.

On the plus side, at least they have a long weekend to hit the slopes.

Brooklyn Bridge Turns 130

Walking the bridge 1930

When the Brooklyn Bridge opened on 24 May 1883, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world with a main span of 1595.5 feet, and its towers, built of granite and limestone, were the tallest manmade structures in North America rising 270 feet above the water.  27 workers died while building the first bridge to span the East River connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Pavlof from Space

Pavlof from ISS

Here is a great picture of the erupting Pavlof Volcano taken from the International Space Station.  Pavlof Sister is clearly visible in this shot: it’s the snow covered peak to the right of the ornery Pavlof.

Photo courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory

Bonnie & Clyde

Bonnie-Clyde Barrow Posse 1934 Bonnie+Clyde's-34 Ford

23 May 1934

Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were ambushed by a six man posse near Bienville Parish, Louisiana on this date.  The posse of four Texas officers and two from Louisiana, were led by former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer.  Armed with Browning Automatic Rifles (BAR), shotguns, and automatic handguns, the posse waited for the outlaws along a rural road.  At around 9:15am, with the officers almost ready to give up on their trap, Barrow’s stolen ’34 Ford V8 Coupe Deluxe was heard coming down the road.  LA Deputy Prentiss Oakley fired first, then the remaining officers opened fire.  Official reports had over 130 rounds being fired at the fugitives, although there are reports of 167 bullet holes in the Ford.  Barrow was killed instantly with a shot to the head, Parker ended up with 26 (official) bullet wounds, any number of which would have been fatal.  Barrow was shot, officially, 17 times.  There were so many bullet holes, that the undertaker C.F. Bailey would have trouble embalming the bodies, because they couldn’t contain the embalming fluid.

“Each of us six officers had a shotgun and an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with the BAR’s. They were emptied before the car got even with us. Then we used shotguns … There was smoke coming from the car, and it looked like it was on fire. After shooting the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car, which had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards on down the road. It almost turned over. We kept shooting at the car even after it stopped. We weren’t taking any chances.”  ————Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn  quoted in the Dallas Dispatch 5/24/34

Montana Campsite

Deadman's Basin

Here’s a shot from Deadman’s Basin as the sun set.  The camera did a good job of actually catching the deep blue of Montana’s sky that night.

SoDak in B&W

Route 12

Grand River