Tag Archives: Alaska

“The Trapper”

“The Trapper” by Rockwell Kent, 1921

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.


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.


Happy National Bison Day

Running the Bison Gauntlet; Alaska Highway, British Columbia

It’s National Bison Day in the U.S., and the shaggy beasts are worthy of celebration, but they don’t like hugs. I’m talking to you Yellowstone Visitors…

A friendly chart from the National Park Service on the best parts of a wild bison to pet. #keepwildlifewild

A day in the life…

Life aboard the US Revenue Cutter Bear, as it patrolled Alaskan waters, circa 1910.

Photo from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks Archives


Horner Motor Sled

Lower 48 Tested; Not Alaska Approved:

Appeared in: Scientific American – 22 January 1922

Designed in Ruby, Alaska by Frank Horner, the motorized “dog sled” was powered by rear wheels that drove a cleated belt. The sled was tested in the Lower 48, but never traveled through Alaska powder.


Fairbanks Weather Almanac

Fairbanks had 5″ of snow in October, which is trending downward for the month. Between 1981 and 2010, October saw an average of more than 10″. Fairbanks has not seen an October with significantly above average snowfall in 18 years. Not that I’m complaining about that statistic. I’m in the “delay the snowfall for as long as possible” camp.

Sunday morning saw our first below zero temp of the season. It was -10F at the cabin. That is two days later than the average first dip into the negatives.

The Tanana River is at flood stage near Fairbanks due to an ice dam. We often think of ice dams causing trouble at break up, but they can cause havoc in the autumn too.

The length of day on Halloween in Fairbanks was 7 hours and 58 minutes. All Saints Day will be 6 minutes and 45 seconds shorter.

The record low on Halloween is -30F. The record high for the day is 46F. The average is +5 and +20 respectively. 2022 was slightly cooler than average.

Graphics credit: ACCAP/@AlaskaWX and NOAA