The University of Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey team took on The Wisconsin Badgers this weekend in Madison. It was the 3000th game in the program’s history since 1921. The first intercollegiate hockey game was played in 1895 at the University of Minnesota, but the program gained varsity status in 1921.
Minnesota would sweep Wisconsin this past weekend. On Saturday, 15,359 fans watched Minnesota get the sweep, with a 7-1 win at the Kohl Center. Glad to see so many fans pack the Kohl to see Minnesota play #3000. It was also senior night for the Badgers.
Minnesota first played Wisconsin in 1922; Michigan in 1923; Notre Dame in 1925 and the rivalry with North Dakota started in 1930.
One of the perks to being self-employed in Alaska, is that we can blame suppliers for being late, when we just want to head out into the woods… or streams… or lakes…
We’ve had a little bit of everything this week, as far as weather goes. Warm temps, freezing rain, followed by a nice dumping of very wet snow. A solid eight inches at my cabin. I could have wrapped up the job, but there was no rush, as I’m already ahead of schedule, and the only thing remaining was replacing a special order light fixture. Besides, it was obvious that the snowshoes were being neglected.
I laced up the mukluks, and strapped on the Faber snowshoes, and headed out into the back four hundred for an afternoon in the fresh snow.
The only sound I heard came from the crunching of my steps. When I stopped moving, silence hung in the air. Not a brooding silence, but a peaceful, all is right in the world kind of silence, as long as one leaves the TV off.
There is very little to report on my romp. No people, no dog teams, and only one moose. A young one has been clinging to the cabin area, and I have yet to see the mother. It’s a small moose, probably one of last year’s calves. Which is highly unusual to not see signs of the cow, but even the small hoof prints on the trail are missing any adult moose tracks alongside. With this latest snowfall, the calf’s legs are not long enough to keep its belly out of the snow, when it goes off trail. I could tell, by the way it was staring, that the moose was jealous of my snowshoes.
I spent the day chasing material ghosts, as I attempted to work up a bid for a job I want. No matter how I approached the job, the materials simply were not in town. Two weeks was the mantra I heard from every supplier. It’ll be two weeks.
I gave up around 3pm, laced up my mukluks, and went outside to bring in firewood. The thermometer read -7F.
After the wood bin was full, I went on my afternoon walk. Already, I can see the gain in daylight since the solstice.
A moose had been by since the day before, it’s tracks under the willows plain to see. A musher came up from behind almost in silence. Two of her three dogs gave my gloved hand a light nip as they ran by. The musher apologized as she sped by me. I took the nibbles to mean the dogs were enjoying being out today as much as I was, but she was already out of range by the time my chilled lips spit out the words: “No worries”.
Dusk was settling in as I returned to the cabin, and the thermometer now read -13F. My eyelashes had iced up a bit, but other than that, life was good. Perfection lies somewhere between zero and minus twenty when you live in a winter wonderland such as this.
Camera: Kodak 66; Film: TMax-100
Best wishes to all of you for 2018
“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
The wood frog
Alaska has two native frogs: The Wood Frog and the Columbia Spotted Frog. The wood frog is the only amphibian found north of the Arctic Circle. This amazing little creature will have 65% of the water in its body freeze solid during our harsh winter months. The frog’s heartbeat and breathing will completely stop. Yet, the frog will survive.
When autumn comes, the wood frog starts to build up a glucose in its cells. Its blood turns into a syrup-like substance, a natural glycol, if you will.
In the spring, the frog will thaw along with its surroundings, and then hop along on its way.