This is the view we had of the Volcano on the way to Anchorage. Tom had a dental appointment and it took some maneuvering to get a flight in time for visit. It would have taken another 6 months to reschedule. The dentist was great and rearranged his schedule when he heard we would be late due to the eruption. We are lucky the ash cloud was low that day. Travel has been interrupted almost every day since the eruptions started. The eruptions have been steady too. We had horrible turbulence on the way home due to a blizzard that magnified the regular cook inlet bumps.
The Annual Science Fair was held at the District Office on March 17 & 18th. I took advantage of the opportunity to test out some new geology experiments with live students. It was fun to play test out the stream table. The kids have a lot of experience with erosion and streams so they were able to recognize a lot of features and tell me stories about spring floods.
It was great to see their projects too. Three teams were selected to go on to our state science fair in Anchorage. They had a brief interlude in Bethel as they waited for the Volcano to settle down long enough to fly in. But they made it to Anchorage. I hope to hear about their weekend tomorrow.
Tom went two weekends ago to pull his traps and on his last line, he had a fox. Its a beautiful fur and is already dried and ready to tan. Foxes are very plentiful in this part of the delta.
We all got to try lettuce grown in Alaska in February and March. Sweet green treats from the heat of the rocks.
I had a wonderful salad for dinner at Chena. I was wondering how they could serve such fresh Butter Crunch lettuce when I remembered the greenhouses. They are heated by the geothermal water from the hot spings. This lettuce just melted in my mouth.
On Saturday Morning we got a tour of these greenhouses with Kenji and his family. Kenji was up showing Harada the Hot Springs before he returned to Japan. Kenji is also the water quality tester for the resort so we got the insiders’ tour of the steam heated operation. There are 2 greenhouses that feed the restaurant and 65 year round residents.
Soaking at Chena Hot Springs is becoming a March ritual for us. After Tom was done with his training we drove up to Chena an evening soak. We spent the night at the lodge and enjoyed a morning soak too. You get a feeling a imperviousness when you soak in warm water when it is below freezing. Your eyelashes freeze and your lungs feel the bite of cold air as your legs and arms turn red from the heat.
Fairbanks is home to the International Ice Sculpting contest. Artists from around the world compete in the single ice block challenge or the multiple ice block contest. It was “cool” to see the artist at work on the multiple block displays. The single blocks and the kids’ park was complete and we enjoyed glowing slides and glowing creatures.
This is fantasia in the arctic. Please feel free to view the entire album at my flickr set link.
The longer days are a sign the spring may be near. It is wonderful to be able to go out and play in the snow after work. We have light until 7pm. We are gaining at 5 1/2 minutes a day. Then we will get daylight savings and add an extra hour to our after work wanderings.
On this day we took a snow shoe trail through the University of Alaska – Fairbanks trail system. We thought we would go for a short snow shoe and ended up doing 4 miles. There were fresh moose tracks everywhere. We saw moose downtown, but not on the trail. It was great evening.
This is the closest I will come to the top of Mt Denali. Alaskan’s are trying to change the name of Mt Mckinly to Denali, the native name for the mountain. Flying from Anchorage to Fairbanks gives you a great view of this mountain range.
Alright, I got a little camera happy when I saw the jet coming in. The jet is scheduled to come into Bethel 3 times a day. But theses flights have been canceled a lot due to weather. Many of the folks on this plane flew to Bethel last night and when it started to snow hard the jet turned around. They were only 10 miles from Bethel, bummer. The airport (hangar) was standing room only as they packed all of the passengers in Bethel past security. Many of the folks in Bethel had been trying to get out last night too. When the last flight comes in, they pack up the passengers and “turn and burn” back to Anchorage. We were lucky to schedule a flight on a good day.
So we are off to Fairbanks for my spring break. Tom is completing manager training at Fort Wainright. It will be good to get out for a while together.