Author Archives: icefogger

About icefogger

Just a basic, down to Earth, laid back type of guy here, who loves the outdoors, the indoors, jazz on the turntable, a fire in the woodstove, the northern lights blazing across the sky, and the company of good friends.

Pond Hockey: Alaska Style

Trail Lake, Moose Pass, Alaska; Photo credit: Alaska Public Media/Bruce Jaffa

John Gaule started to plow open hockey rinks and skating trails on Trail Lake back in the 1980’s. The community rink near Moose Pass has grown considerably since then. One thing that hasn’t changed is that the trails and rinks on Trail Lake are 100% volunteer driven.

Today the rink is plowed with a pickup truck, rather than a 4-wheeler, and there are now loaner skates and hockey sticks available for anyone to use, but the feel of the community hub is still the driving force. There can be as many as 50 people skating at any given time, and the skating trails can be a mile long. These days, Gaule even has a skate sharpener, which he charges $5/ pair, with the money going into rink maintenance.

The snow plowing begins when there is 6 inches of ice, and the ice is usually thick enough for skating to run through most of March.

This coming weekend will have both the hockey rink and skating trails open to anyone who wants to lace up a pair.


The Lost Bruins

The Far Side by Gary Larson

“The Trapper”

“The Trapper” by Rockwell Kent, 1921

The songbirds are singing…


T-Rex in Aniakchak

A T-Rex track found in Aniakchak National Monument

Aniakchak National Monument is the least visited location with the National Park System, but back in the day, Aniakchak had one rough resident.

A footprint recently found is the first evidence that Tyrannosaurus rex once roamed in the area that is now part of Katmai National Park.

Park Rangers asked, “If you had seen this while exploring Aniakchak, would you have recognized it as a print?” Going by the photo, I would have to say “Not likely”, but I’ll remain optimistic.

The Aniakchak Caldera; Photo credit: NPS

The Monument surrounds the Aniakchak Volcano, which had a devastating eruption 3400 years ago. The Aniakchak caldera is 10 miles across and averages 500 meters deep. Within the crater is Surprise Lake, which is the source of the Aniakchak River.

Besides the lake, Vent Mountain is the other prominent feature within the crater. Vent Mountain is the source of the most recent eruption from Aniakchak, which took place in 1931.

Aniakchak received monument status in 1978.


First Bird Flu case in U.S. bear

A black bear cub in SE Alaska, although not the cub in question.

A bear cub recently tested positive for Avian Flu. The cub was seen struggling to keep up with its mother and siblings and Alaska Fish & Game officials euthanized the bear cub. Tests came back positive for a highly contagious strain known as “high-path AI.”

The bear cub, found in Bartlett Cove, within Glacier Bay National Park, would have died within hours if it had not been put down, according to wildlife officials. Since the virus does not jump from bear to bear, it is believed the cub scavenged a sick or dead bird.

One female black bear in Quebec had previously been diagnosed with Avian Influenza. In Alaska, two foxes, have tested positive.


Comic by Reynolds


Ethel LeCount Photo Album

Photos by Ethel LeCount:

A black bear peers into the Erie Mine Bunkhouse, Kennecott Mines, circa late 1930’s

Ethel LeCount was a nurse at the Kennecott Hospital at the Kennecott Mill Town in 1937-1938. LeCount shot many rolls of film during her stay out at the old copper mine. The National Park Service has posted some of them online, under the banner: “Ethel LeCount Historical Photo”s on the Wrangell-St-Elias website.

Kennecott by Moonlight

A link to the album is below:

https://www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery.htm?pg=858465&id=3CD7A309-1DD8-B71C-0718429D9FBE52EB


Soldotna Break In

The break in point

There was a break in at a Soldotna, Alaska residence recently. The culprit broke a basement window to gain entry.

An area youth was caught red-hoofed at the scene. Witness accounts varied. One neighbor woman claimed the youth fell into the window well, and couldn’t get back out, so the youth broke the window. “What else was the poor thing to do? Bellow endlessly into the night air? Who knows what that could have brought in from the shadows…”

Another neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution, would have none of that argument. “Don’t let those doe-eyes fool you,” he stated. “The very same hoodlum was seen eating pumpkins right from that front porch there just a few weeks ago. I think the intruder smelled the fresh baked pie that was inside, and there was no holding the scoundrel back. These brutes think they own the woods around here; it was just a matter of time. No sooner do I clear the snow from the walk, and they are using my walkway like it is their own personal trail. They leave these huge piles of pellets behind, and when they freeze and the snowblower hits them, it’s like grape shot flying out the chute. These are rough times.”

Soldotna firefighters and U.S. Fish & Wildlife officers responded to the scene and escorted the intruder out of the residence. By all accounts, the alleged trespasser offered little to no resistance to law enforcement.

According to a Fish & Wildlife spokesperson, the youth was released to the backyard, when the homeowner refused to press charges. When asked how the homeowner was dealing with the stressful situation, the spokesperson responded, “The homeowners are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, although they are both a bit miffed that they have to bake another pumpkin pie this close to Thanksgiving.”

Photos credit: Soldotna Fire Department


“Aurora Chaser”

This is a brilliant, short film by Vincent Ledvina of the Aurora Borealis in Churchill, Manitoba. He has some incredible footage on his youtube channel of the Aurora in Alaska, as well.

I recently came across his photography, because of the above time lapse video, and I thought I’d share his work here on Circle to Circle.

Even after all the years I’ve spent in the North, the Northern Lights never fail to stop me in my tracks. Looking at these images, I think it’s pretty easy to see why.

Don’t forget to look up.