Tag Archives: history

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 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.


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


Cranes

—Aldo Leopold



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.


The Killer


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