It is wise to never limit any one of your senses when hiking in Alaska.
This comic reminds me of a time I went for a walk with my dog after a miserable day at work. I was not far from town, but my mind was focused on the terrible day I had, and not on the trail.
My dog and I came around a corner, and spooked a large bull moose. It should never have happened, there was plenty of opportunity for me to spot the moose long before I did, but I wasn’t paying attention. The moose lowered his massive rack, and charged directly at me. I was within mere feet of that mighty bull, when my yellow lab charged the moose, barking up a storm. The bull turned his charge, and my dog sauntered over to a bush to lay down his scent. His job was done, disaster adverted, it was time for more important things.
The entire event lasted only seconds. The bull stood by the forest edge, giving me the stink-eye. My heart was pounding through my jacket, and my Labrador wanted to know why we were flushing moose and not grouse.
It was a lesson I never forgot. If you can’t keep your mind on the trail, stay home and burn your dinner instead.
Comic credit: Nuggets by Jamie Smith
While working on a job a while back, I suddenly was aware of the sound of running water. Almost like the sound of a fountain. Interior Alaska had a lot of snow over the winter, so there was standing water everywhere, but moving water had me curious, so I went off towards the sound.
I came to a water hole that only fills up after break up. By the end of June it would probably be dried up. But now, it was full, and in the middle of the large puddle, was a water fountain. Initially, the stream of water went up 3-4 feet above the surface of the puddle. By the time I decided to hike back to my truck to get my phone, it had dropped down to 5-6 inches. From the time I heard the water, to the time the puddle stopped percolating, was a good 90 minutes.
A pocket of methane below the service had suddenly found a way up to sunlight, and the release put on a good show. These pockets are being released all across the Arctic, and I live in a hot bed of that activity.
I spent more time in the Lower 48 than expected, and still I wasn’t able to do several things that I wanted to. Not all was lost, by any means, and I hope I made a difference on a couple of fronts. I did get a gentle warning from a very good friend; he mentioned that it is about time that I get back to my previous, selfish lifestyle. I said I would take the comment under advisement.
At any rate, after what appears to be a long breakup here in the Far North, I’m ready to attack the J.O.B. situation, and restock the coffers.
I stopped by one of my regular customers this morning, and found myself eyeball to eyeball with this little Boreal Owl. I had walked right by it, and only noticed it after I rang the door bell, and was waiting to be let in.
I’m pretty sure it’s a Boreal, and a small one at that. The Alaska DNR says that they can grow to 10″ long, with this one being in the 7-8″ range, by guestimate.
Around six inches of snow fell overnight, and the wind finally started to blow, knocking the snow off the tree limbs in small avalanches. No doubt, the little owl found the covered walkway to be well protected from the wind and falling snow.
The owl’s head would turn as I walked back and forth from my truck to the house and back again, but for the most part, it paid me only marginal interest. When I left, it was still perched on the carving that hangs on the wall.
Taking a few steps back, gives you an idea how small the owl is. Unfortunately, the only camera I had with me was my cell phone.
Sometimes you open a can of worms and find a nest of snakes. That’s how my Monday went.
September was named Bourbon Heritage Month by Act of Congress in 2007. That action, was in addition to the Act of Congress of 1964, which proclaimed bourbon “America’s Native Spirit”. When it comes to alcohol, Congress gets it done.
2014 data tells us that 95% of bourbon produced comes from the state of Kentucky. At any given time, there are 5.3 million barrels of bourbon aging within the state. A number, that exceeds the state’s population.
After two very long days in the seat of a skid-steer, I think I’ve earned the right to celebrate our Nation’s heritage.
Part of the 5% not produced in the state of Kentucky. This particular bourbon was chosen strictly for our readers in San Antonio.
I had a new job supervisor hanging out at the site. A raven sat up there on the extended stump, squawking for quite a while. I couldn’t figure out what it had to complain about: The weather was beautiful, and the job was humming along.
Everyone is a critic; even the wildlife.
Eventually, the vocal Corvus flew off to judge someone else’s work.