Category Archives: Alaska

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.


Ice Safety

Now that the ice has formed on area lakes, and the rivers have at least some ice forming along the banks, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish & Game have released their annual ice thickness chart.


Bright Lights

NOAA’s Aurora Forecast

Weather permitting, we are looking at some phenomenal aurora viewing over the next few nights. Halloween weekend also looks to be quite good for viewing.

Image credit: UAF’s Geophysical Institute


Happy Alaska Day


September

Denali National Park to start the month

September has always been my favorite month in Interior Alaska. What a great start to the month.


Record gourd

That’s a lot of pumpkin

The Alaska State Fair saw the state’s record broken for the largest pumpkin grown in the state. 2147 pounds worth.


Code Red

The fireweed is the first to go.

There is a tint of gold to the hills these days, and the fireweed is bright red. We are venturing towards the Dark Side.


The last snow pile

August snow breakup

Department of Transportation employees were out breaking up the last mound of snow that they hauled this past winter. I think they took it personally, that last year’s snow was going to still be there when they started to haul in this coming season’s snow.

The mound above was broken up and spread out to get it to melt. No word on whether overtime pay was involved.


Water meets Gravity

The disappearance of Harry Potter Lake:

Harry Potter Lake and Judy Kayaak Creek in 2018; Photo credit: Chris Arp

An arctic lake, with the amusing name of Harry Potter Lake, undertook a disappearing act this summer. The lake was large enough that someone standing on one shore, could not see across it. Running within 30 yards of the lake, and ten feet below it in elevation was Judy Kayaak Creek. Scientists were working in the area because oil companies were interested in developing it, and they noticed that the dam was about to break.

Setting up trail cameras and watching via satellite, the lake did not disappoint. Once the strip of tundra between the lake and creek was breached, gravity and the power of water took over. Within 24 hours, most of Harry Potter Lake was rushing towards the Arctic Ocean.

At the height of the rush, Judy Kayaak Creek had an estimated 100 times its normal volume. The village of Nuiqsut had been warned of the potential flooding, but no ensuing damage was reported.

Harry Potter Lake and Judy Kayaak Creek after the breach; photo credit: Allen Bondurant

Sources: UAF Geophysical Institute/Ned Rozell


North Cerebus

Semisopochnoi goes Orange; Photo credit Matt Loewen

The North Cerebus crater at Semisopochnoi Island released a large ash plume on Sunday. It was the first confirmed emission since June 12.

Semisopochnoi has no native land mammals, but it is home to over 1 million sea birds.