Fairbanks saw its first substantial snowfall of the season this week. Between 6-8 inches fell over two days, across the borough. We easily set a record for the latest date to have at least an inch of snow on the ground.
The temp this morning was a brisk -4F at the cabin.
I spent much of Friday afternoon up on The Ridge. I closed a few things down for the winter, then went walking the trails. As one can see, we still have just a dusting on the ground here in Interior Alaska. Today, snow was finally in the air. I was covered with the white stuff, when I made it back to the truck, but very little accumulated on the ground.
We have set a record for the latest date for having at least an inch of snow on the ground. Rumor has it that the streak will end this weekend, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Still, I wasn’t complaining that I could do today’s hike without snowshoes.
I am back in The ‘Banks in time for All Hallows Eve. The cabin wood bin is full, the weasel still resides in the wood shed outside, and we received just a dusting of snow on Sunday. That does make life better for the rabbits, as they had already turned white and really stood out on the brown earth.
The 2-4″ in the forecast, tuned out to be .4″ in reality. We will avoid a brown Halloween only on a technicality. We have had just one brown Halloween since record keeping began in Fairbanks. The year was 1938, when a Chinook wind blew in, and melted what snow there was on the ground in the latter half of October.
We are still on pace in 2018 to rewrite some records, however. 1938 set the record for the latest date Fairbanks had an inch of snow on the ground. November 6, to be exact. As of this writing, we have no precipitation in the forecast for the next 10 days.
The Pond has just enough ice to support the dusting of snow
Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park
Another year, another wonderful day, and another hike up to Exit Glacier. According to the park ranger I spoke to, the glacier had receded 70 meters, or roughly 200 feet since we had last visited Exit in August of 2017.
The view from 2010
The signpost marks where the toe of Exit Glacier was just eight years ago. Due to the sunny weather, the trail was a busy place to be, and the glacier’s toe was an ice fall hazard zone.
Exit Creek rushes out from under the glacier, on its journey to Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska.
I have a soft spot for the tamarack tree. It’s a tough, ornery, slow growing tree, that can be found in the low, boggy areas of Interior Alaska. Our population is distinct, in that it is 430 miles from the closet neighboring tamarack grove in the Yukon.
Tamarack is the Algonquian name for “wood used for snowshoes”, which makes it even more endearing. It is a pioneer tree in the north. Often the first to take hold in a swamp or bog, or after a fire ravages through a lowland area.
In the autumn, the tamarack turns a brilliant gold, often long after the birch and aspen have lost their leaves entirely.
Comic credit: Jamie Smith, “Nuggets”