Tag Archives: photo

Klondike or Bust

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SS Excelsior – 28 July 1897

 


Truly, One of a Kind

Flashback Film Friday:


Walter Harper Day

Walter Harper

Today, 7 June, is the first Walter Harper Day. Harper, whom I have written about on here before, is one of my favorite historical Alaskans.

It was on this day in 1913, when Harper became the first known person to stand on the summit of Denali.

Harper tragically died at the age of 25, along with his young bride, Frances Wells Harper, with the sinking of the Princess Sophia in 1918.


Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument

Smokenado

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Photo credit: National Weather Service – Fairbanks

A smokenado rose up from a wildfire near Fairbanks.  Over the weekend, 23 new wildfires were started by lightning in Alaska.  The sheer number of strikes was impressive: there were 1860 recorded lightning strikes on Saturday, and an additional 2900 by 8pm on Sunday.

Wildfires are the last thing that is needed right now, on top of everything else going on, but the month of May has been dry across much of Alaska, so the scent of wildfires was not a surprise.


Private


The Beaver Cam

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I recently pulled the SD card from the trail camera that I have looking out over the beaver lodge.  It had 747 images on it.

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741 of the images were of ducks.  Sometimes in pairs, sometimes solo, sometimes the ducks had a large party and ignored all social distancing.  I have ducks swimming, ducks scratching an itch (like above), ducks taking off in flight, and ducks preening for the camera.

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There are four images that contain at least one duck and one beaver.  The beavers are quite active, but have not been overwhelmed by the urge to cut down any trees.  They seem to continue to eat on the supply they cut down late last summer and early autumn.

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There are only two images of a beaver without the photobombing ducks.  Personally, I think the Beaver Cam has gone to the beavers’ heads.  Now they just slap their tail in order to get attention.  Once you start to ignore their swimming about, the aggrieved beaver fires off a tail slap.  Who knew beavers to be such prima donnas?

The big male seems to have grown quite a bit since he last showed himself.  The female remains in shape; she’s quite svelte in appearance.  There is at least one kit, that I have seen.  There certainly could be two, but only one has shown itself at a time.


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Fort Richardson National Cemetery; Anchorage, AK


Fairbanks Roundup

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Lots of sun, no sign of ice, but plenty of beaver sign

Summer.  The residents of Interior Alaska live for Alaskan summers.  The difference from winter to summer is extreme.

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Aurora Forecast; Map credit Climatologist Brian Brettschneider

The Aurora viewing season officially came to an end on Sunday.  We have too much daylight, and will not have a chance to see the Northern Lights for 91 days.

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Credit: National Weather Service – Fairbanks

On May 15th, Fairbanks went into our summer period of civil twilight.  We have enough natural light to partake in outdoor activities 24/7.

May 18th is the average date for the final freeze of the spring months in Fairbanks.

From May 29th, until July 14th, the sun will set after midnight.

The Summer Solstice, Fairbanks’ favorite day, is on June 20th.

Night in Fairbanks will turn dark again on September 4th.  A sad day indeed.


Rest in Peace, Senior

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Larry Ball Sr; Induction into the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame; Photo credit: The Curator

Larry Ball Sr, the father of a good friend of mine, passed away from Covid-19 complications over the weekend.

I spent several months in Iowa in 2007-08, and was lucky enough to get to know Senior, or LBS, as he was known to many of us.  I worked, i.e. volunteered, as a glorified bouncer on the Second Floor of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame during races.  LBS and his family had a suite above, and I would wander up to see them at some point during every race, and Senior was always a most gracious host.  In 2008, LBS was inducted into the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame, as the successful car owner of Ball Racing.

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Photo credit: Ball Racing, Inc; Jeff Tuttle in #3, 1994

The last time I saw LBS in Des Moines, he and Saint Donna, his wife, put me up for a night as I spent some time in DSM.  Senior kept me up half the night arguing a point that was desperately important to him.  The best part of that conversation, was that we were debating something that we were in total agreement on. To this day, I’m not sure if he was hammering the point home because I wasn’t a convincing accomplice, or because he expected me to come up with a plan of attack, because he had already done the hard part by detailing the problem.  It’s a night that I look back on fondly.

LBS was a frequent visitor here between The Circles.  I remember hearing from him one February, because my posts had been very infrequent, and he wanted to know what was up.  When I told him it was February in Fairbanks, and there wasn’t much going on to write about, he was unconvinced and told me to try harder.

Over the course of the years, I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, and the great surprise and reward of travel is not the locations, but the people I have met by chance.  A random hockey game in Fairbanks brought Des Moines back into my orbit, which in turn, brought me into the orbit of Larry Ball, Sr.  What a rewarding hockey game that turned out to be.

Rest in peace, Larry.  You will be missed by many, and East Des Moines will never be the same.