Monday, September 22, 2008

Winter in the Pass

Winter's coming folks.

Faster than I like too.

We wanted to get one last hike in before the snow falls, but unfortunately that just wasn't the cards. I've been in a lot of pain this last week and just could not see myself putting on the pack and the shoulder holster and slogging though the mud. Everything hurts, but especially my neck and shoulder. It's been inflamed for a week now, but it's getting better. Nothing particularly unusual for me, the damp and cold always cause me problems. Regardless, the scenery is spectacular this time of year, and we wanted to get out and enjoy it while we can.

So, this Saturday we settled for driving up to one of our favorite places, Hatcher's Pass, to let the dog and the boy play in the snow. Besides, my truck has heated seats and that's almost has good as a heating pad on my back. The road to the pass is still open, but it won't be for much longer, the snow is already down to the three thousand foot mark.

This is a panorama shot looking down from the pass at Government Peak. As always, you can click on the picture and get a higher resolution shot from my Picasa album.

From Stonekettle Station

I put the truck into 4-wheel drive and we bounced through the mud and slush up to the actual pass itself and looked down on Summit Lake. The lake is at about the 4000 foot elevation mark and it was about 35F out. The lake is pretty deep and hasn't cooled down enough yet to freeze over, but it won't be much longer before the ice starts to form.

From Stonekettle Station

On the way back down from the summit, I stopped to take a few pictures and my son climbed up the hill to pick a few late season wild blueberries.

From Stonekettle Station
The hills here are covered in wild low-bush blueberries and a lot of folks come up here with hand sweeps to pick them by the bucket full. Unfortunately this summer we've had torrential rain and very little sunshine. The berries need a lot of sunlight to develop a high sugar content, and this year is just didn't happen, so they're bitter and not that good tasting - or said my wife and son, me personally I don't care much for blueberries and didn't bother trying them.

While my son was roaming the hillside the clouds parted and a shaft of sunlight illuminated the valley floor and I was able to get a nice series of shots:

From Stonekettle Station

Yesterday I was feeling a bit better and was able to wear the shoulder holster for a while. So we took a nice hike through the yellowing foliage along some of our neighborhood trails. Didn't see any bears or moose, though they're about. I also didn't get any pictures, so you'll just have to imagine the deep Alaskan woods in your mind.

Today the pain is better, though I can't turn my head very far. I've got a pile of work in the shop that needs to be done and a couple of errands to run. More later.

So, what did you do with your weekend? I mean besides Jaunt off to Florida and such.


  1. Lovely picture!

    We drove the Hancock MD to do the grandmother exchange, and the trade off was at Hepburns, so I got four different kinds of fresh apples.

    Apple pies here I come!

  2. ...the damp and cold always cause me problems.

    Which is why he lives in Alaska.


    Nice scenery, though.

  3. The pluses of living here outweigh the negatives, Janiece.

    Scenery is just one of the many perks. :)

  4. By the way, I like your new Avatar, Janiece

  5. Hmmm... on Saturday I rested. Sunday I worked. This is because I'm doing the night guard gig again tonight and tomorrow night, and I need to somehow fit in the usual 40 hours of my dayjob this week also. Wednesday I plan to collapse. ;)

  6. We spent the weekend acclimating our new kitty to our home and resident cats.

    Why do we need a third cat, you may ask? We don't. But he needed a home, and we are soft.

    He's a sweetie, though.

  7. Cindi, you have a new kitty, and I have to read about it on Jim's Blog?

    Clearly a sign of your disregard for my feelings...

  8. Those are great pictures! I miss *seasons* - even if fall and spring are blink-and-you-miss-it brief in AK.

    What did I do this weekend? The story is on my blog. I'm actually kind of glad you weren't on the bus with me, because I'm assuming it wouldn't have been pretty.

  9. I studied for a class that I may or may not have this week (stooopid strike). i spent time with the kiddies...and well..pretty much nothing.
    The photos are lovely..and it make this winter lover very happy to see snow..even as i know it is still a month or so away.

  10. Ouch, pain sucks, hope you get to feeling better (as I get ready to head into my 40's, I want to go back and smack my old drill sergeants for that whole "pain is weakness leaving the body thing"). We did manage to TD the next section of the well we are drilling though, which always makes the client happy. Mostly I just spent the weekend wanting my jeep, as it sat in the shop. Oh ya, it only got up to 102 this weekend.

  11. Great pictures.

    I worked and then cleaned up from last week's flood. Went over to my brother's for my nephew's birthday. I asked my nephew how school's going and he told me he's getting two Fs. I told him that's not good. He said "Well at least I'm being honest."

    Sunday, more clean up and watched the Bears lose in overtime. :(

  12. I sweated my ass off. IT'S HOT here!
    OK I drove here, parked here, am looking for work here but for craps sake it's September and if feels like July.

  13. Beastly, you whine if it's cold, you whine if it's hot...

    Really, there's no pleasing those Navy Chiefs.

  14. The weekend? Eh. Trying to leave it behind (Sunday just sucked all around).

    But very pretty pictures, Jim! Thank you for sharing.

  15. thanks for sharing

    Yeah, I'm just selfless that way


  16. I love watching winter come down the mountains. I live on the lower hillside in Anchorage and can see the Chugach. We can time our remaining season by how heaving the clouds are on top the mountains.

    American by birth, Alaskan by choice.

    ...well OK, I'm also ALaskan by birth...but I still choose to stay. ;)

  17. Basil, I've got some feedback for you. Should have an email to you later today.

    Quick summary though, excellent.

  18. Thank you sir...I'll look forward to your imput.


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