A path to be traveled

A few more images from my time exploring Fort Niagara.

Camera: Leica M3; Film: Kodak 35mm, Tri-X400


More Alaska Humor

Comic: Nuggets, by Jamie Smith


Pineapple Express

There was a time when I really enjoyed hearing terms like “Pineapple Express” and looked forward to a warm “Chinook” wind blowing through the area.

Now they comes with such frequency, that the deep freeze has replaced them as the rare events in the state.

A Pineapple Express came through Alaska over the weekend. Fairbanks saw rain and temps in the 40’sF. Our dusting of snow took a beating. The ice on The Pond has reverted back to slush.

Bethel on the western coast saw 53F on Sunday morning. The second highest temperature recorded this late in the year.

King Salmon reached 60F on Sunday, breaking their record for the warmest temperature this late in the year.

Not to be left out, McGrath in the Interior hit 50F, which tied their record set 7 years ago.

Utqiagvik on the Arctic Coast will see 38F on Monday, which will do absolutely nothing to help our utter lack of sea ice.

The times, they are a changing…


Frozen till spring


Porte des Cinq Nations

The French named this gate “Gate of the Five Nations” in honor of the Iroquois Confederacy

Fort Niagara’s main gate.

Camera: Leica M3; Film: Kodak 35, Tri-X400


Cat tails


Methane Pocket

Walking blindly across ponds in the Interior of Alaska can lead to wet feet, and sometimes much worse.

Methane being released from the pond bottom, causes the ice to thin directly above the pocket of methane. With no snow to speak of right now, the pockets are easy to find. This one has caused a perfect hole to form in the ice.


Sun streaks and beaver dams

Looking across at a new beaver dam

I went for a nice long hike through the Back 400 over the weekend. The dusting of snow that we had earlier, is now long gone. The muskeg is a varied shade of brown these days.

Each step brought a crunch up from the frozen earth. The snap of twigs is amplified in the chilly air. I came across a duck carcass on one frozen puddle. A raven was picking through the feathers that were scattered across the ice. Had the duck been caught in the quickly freezing puddle, or had it been caught by a predator, and the raven only recently found the remains? The scene was a mess of feathers, and I wasn’t confident enough in the ice thickness to venture that far out. Besides, the raven was not looking for my company anyway. Our rabbit population is quite high at the moment, which explains the number of fox in the neighborhood. We have had lynx here in the past as well, but I have not seen any sign of them… yet.

At the creek, I was amused by a pair of beaver. They had been quite busy, building a new dam across the now, slow moving water. It is amazing how many birch and aspen they can cut down in such a short period of time. I pushed my luck as I tried to quietly reach the creek bank. A crunch of tundra caused a double tail slap to come from the creek. These two are more wary of me than the pair in The Pond. Once my presence was known, they kept out of view, and eventually I wandered deeper down the bank to see what else was new in the ever-changing neighborhood.


Happy Alaska Day

Sitka is the place to be on Alaska Day. On this date in 1867, the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States took place.

The transfer went down in the town of Sitka, which was the territory’s capital at the time.

Cheers!


Father Millet Cross

In the winter of 1687, the men stationed at Fort Niagara were overwhelmed by disease and starvation. Of the 100 men stationed at the garrison, only 12 would survive that brutal winter.

Father Pierre Millet, a Jesuit missionary, was a member of the rescue party that arrived at the fort in the spring of 1688. Father Millet erected an 18 foot wooden cross in honor of the men who perished.

In 1825, President Calvin Coolidge named the 18 square foot section surrounding the cross a national monument. It was the smallest national monument ever named in the U.S.. At the monument dedication, the original wooden cross was replaced by a bronze version, which still stands in its place.

In 1949, monument status was abolished by Congress, and the memorial was transferred to the State of New York, to be a part of Fort Niagara State Park.

Camera: Leica M3; Film: Kodak 35mm, Tri-X400