Eagle River Weather

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Yurt Christmas

We had a wonderful and cold Christmas this year. We ate a lot of food, took naps, and talked to family members on the phone. Here is a picture of our Christmas tree.

Nicki and I got to go skiing with some friends while the grandparents took care of Leo.

We might hit the negative 20's in the next couple of days. Yikes! The places with open water on the river are closing up with those dropping temperatures. Here is a picture of that happening. I'm calling it agate ice. (for all those geology nerds like me)

You can already tell there is more sunlight streaming into the valley. Since solstice we have already gained an hour of daylight. The constant twilight makes for some really cool alpenglow on the mountains.

Our friend, Jason, did the triple black diamond on his belly. He's crazy, and here is a picture of the after math.

We hope you all had a great Christmas and have a wonderful new year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Full Moon, skiing, and Oma and Opa

Clear skies and a full moon lent itself to some fun late night skiing and picture taking. Here is a picture of the Eagle River Nature Center at about 11:00

The shadows in this picture are being made by the moon. Since it was so bright with the moon reflecting off the snow, I didn't have to use my headlamp to see or a flash for the camera.

A tree that over hangs the frozen river.

That same tree during the day. Notice the sunshine on the mountains in the background. We are pretty excited about solstice and getting that sun back.

Oma and Opa Pressman are up for a visit and ans you can see, Leo is really wearing everyone out.

Here is is, the triple black diamond down the septic field. Yes, Ben does have a lot of time on his hands.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cold Temps, Frozen Ski Trips, Snowcaves

We finally hit negative temperatures here at the yurt. I added some extra insulation to our skylight to prevent heat loss through its relatively thin plastic. As you can see it was pretty cold by early evening, but we were warm and dry inside. (Hopefully, this will hold true when the teperature dips down into the double digit negatives.)

What to do when the temperature drops this far? Go skiing and check out all the frozen stuff. Here are the dogs pulling me on my skis. We are headed out to the frozen Eagle River to check out some frozen rapids.

This is where the Eagle River valley narrows considerably. This is looking up river towards the rapids.

The water freezing on the surface of the river would push up the layers of ice on top. This created some pretty fantastic terraced ice, and some unstable conditions. You had to cross the river a few times over ice bridges made from constantly shifting ice. Yikes!

Lot's of great chandelier ice.

We did about 10 miles of skiing and skijouring in single digit weather, and this is what you look like after you are done. Notice the ice on the eyelashes.

The latest projects at home have been building stuff in the snow, building shelving for Leo's toys, and getting ready for Christmas. Here is a picture of Leo in a snow cave out by the shed.

Coming up in a future post - the triple black diamond ski run down the septic field.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Snow, Birthdays, and Thanksgiving

The snow has been falling fairly steadily here. Lot's of play time out in the snow for every one.
Here is a picture of skiing along the frozen Eagle River

Playing outside with the dogs. Notice the icicles dripping down the side of the yurt.

Snowy Yurt.

No two snowflakes are the same.

Leo and and his second birthday.

Thanksgiving Settlers of Catan.

I've been boarding down the driveway lately. Pretty Fun!

Friday, November 21, 2008

3 Blinding Sun Bursts

I just wanted to show this short video. It's a time lapse of the sun moving across the sky in the Eagle River Valley. On November 18th, we got 3 glimpses of the sun, one 10 minute showing and 2 twenty minute ones, about 50 minutes of direct sunlight. By Thanksgiving there won't be any sunlight and we won't see it again until some time at the end of January. Anyway, here is the video from 10:00 to 1:00, photos taken every two minutes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bear Tracks, Light, and Cabins

With fresh snow in the area, it is a lot easier to see what critters have been around and where they are going. Here are some grizzly bear tracks on a frozen tributary of the Eagle River.

The low light conditions have really been contributing to some dramatic landscapes. This picture was taken around 11:00 AM.

Nicki had a 5 day weekend and we took full advantage of it by skiing/skijouring out to a one room public use cabin on Eklutna lake, just north of us. We had a fast ski in on a well packed trail. Then, about 8 inches of snow fell over night. Here are Nicki and Leo enjoying the sunrise from the warmth of the cabin.

Here is a picture of the sunrise from down by the lake where Ben was enjoying the sunrise in the freezing cold. Click on it for a larger view.

The way out was not nearly as fast with all of the new snow. I didn't see my skis for most of the trip out. Here is a picture of the dogs who are pulling Nicki, who is pulling Leo with my sled attached to the chariot.

My sled kept flipping and really slowing us down so Nicki agreed to add it to her load. What an amazing woman. On the way home we stopped for hot cocoa and pizza. A truly amazing combination.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween and Ice

A demon enjoying a raging fire? No, it is just Leo in his Halloween costume. Can you guess what he is? Same thing as last year except funnier because he is walking and talking. This picture was taken at the Alaska Zoo, where we went trick or treating. He had to wear full snow gear beneath his costume so he even waddled a bit like Yoda.

Leo was also very into this whole Jack o' Lantern idea and even named each pumpkin after a member of his family. Try to guess who is who.

We have had clear skies and very cold temperatures for the past few weeks, and while skiing has gone down hill (ha ha), the ice has been amazing. Here is a picture of some hoar frost (feathery ice crystals) that have been forming outside of the yurt.

It has also been cold enough for Eagle River to freeze over. Once the ice gets thicker and we get some more snow you can actually ski and snowmobile on the river all the way up to Eagle Glacier at the head of the valley. The hoar frost on the river was a couple of inches tall which is big. Here is a panorama of the frozen river. Click on it for a larger picture.

Last but not least, the reason for all this cold. No sun. We have about 3.5 hours of it now. I did a time lapse of the sun moving across the sky. Unfortunately, I didn't think about doing it until after the sun rose and right before we are starting to cloud over again. So here is a time lapse of about a half hour after sunrise, 11:00, and until sunset, 2:00. If I can I'll post a better one later.

Get out and vote!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sledding, Hurt Dogs, and Getting Colder

We took Leo on his first sledding trip. A nice grassy slope in Eagle River (he is scared of going down our driveway) was all we needed to let him go for it. He even got to ride down by himself once.

He ended up getting a little bored of that so we started training him for some biathlon (skiing and shooting) competition. This is for next winter of course and only squirt bottles for now. But, look at the intensity in that kid's face!

In sadder news, I almost cut Georgie's leg off with a pair of metal edged skies. We were making some backcountry turns when she ran in front of me and decided to stop. I ran right over her and the result was a 2 inch gash that exposed muscle, tendon, ligament, and all that. (Sorry about the graphic stufff, Dad.) The vet got her all stitched and bandaged up and she seems to be feeling fine. No ball throwing for 3 weeks though.

It just keeps getting colder and colder. Here is what our thermometer read earlier this evening.

S0, we are keeping warm but we still have 2 months until solstice. The Sun comes up behind the mountains about 10:30 right now and sets again around 3:00, although it's light out from about 9:00 to 7:00. The temperature on the shady side of the yurt hasn't been above freezing in a couple of weeks and we are dealing with some pretty major ice build up. (Pictures of ice and icicles later.) Nicki and I spent a short sunny afternoon breaking it up with shovels and hammers and trying to get some vitamin D. I hope you all are warm cozy right now. I am. I'm in the yurt.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SNOW, 100 mile per hour winds, and a new dog

Snow has definitely come to Eagle River and the yurt. We haven't had any huge dumps yet but here is a picture of the yurt after a 4 in snow fall.

And, here is a picture of it later in the day after it cleared up a bit and some of the snow melted.

A couple days after this snow the valley really warmed up and we ended up having 80-100 mile per hour winds rip through. The yurt held structurally but we almost lost our dome skylight and a piece of the outside wall fabric came loose. The fabric was flapping like crazy during the wind and was incredibly loud. We lost power for about 6 hours and telephone for about 12. Talking to some of the long time locals around here it sounds like that storm was as bad as it gets, thankfully. With a little bit more tightening down I think we will be in much better shape for the next time this happens. Sorry, no pictures I was too busy keeping my home in one piece.

Leo has taken a big liking to the snow. (surprise surprise) It turns out that our driveway is an excellent sledding hill. Here is a picture of Leo throwing snow on his poor dad.

It was decided that Georgie needed a companion so here we are introducing Major. (We are working on changing his name to Ranger) He is a sweet.... large dog. He has a bit of refining to do in terms of commands but he is calm and good with Leo. Georgie isn't exactly thrilled about sharing the house but she'll get there. Here is a picture of Nicki with Georgie (left) and Major.

Finally, a picture of the Eagle River Valley just beginning its snow covered winter.

Nicki and I have each gone out skiing and hopefully we will soon have enough snow to start pulling Leo around on the sled too. Winter fun here we come!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Snow, Moose, and Phonelines

The snow line has been dropping nearly everyday and is currently about 2000 feet above the yurt. Ski time!! I told a friend recently that I was thinking of hiking up and skiing something. He said, "Dude, winter lasts 7 months up here. No need to rush." He's probably right. I'll just let the snow come to me. New winter project: Splitboarding. Here is a picture of the snow across the valley from our yurt.

This morning we were visited by a family of moose. I never knew they traveled in herds, but a herd of them (5) walked behind our shed this morning. You can see two of them here. It might be a bit like playing I spy.

You see that white line running across the ground behind these two bull moose in the next picture. Yeah that is my temporary phone line, and when they decided to leave they both got tangled up in it (one with it's horns) and snapped it in two places. I was so enthralled with the imminent demise of my phone line I forgot to take a video. It was pretty funny......until I had no phone service.

Here is one of my splices. And yes the phone is working once again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wildlife and a Yurt Tour

There has been a lot of wildlife around the yurt lately. Looking across the valley with binoculars I've spotted a bunch of Dall Sheep and some black bears. Below is a picture of the mountains across the valley. In this picture there are at least 4 black bears and a herd of 20 sheep. The red circles are where the black bears are and the blue circle is where the herd of sheep is.

Here is a close up of part of that blue circle and pat of the herd of sheep.

Today we also had a flock of about 100 crane/stork like birds fly over the yurt. We think they are sandhill cranes but are not entirely sure.

I put together a quick yurt tour. Careful, it might take a bit to down load and I might have swung the camera around too fast a few times so don't get dizzy. But, here it is.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fall Colors and Berries

Here are a few fall photos.

An aspen leaf that fell near the yurt

The yurt (in the center) with changing colors

Lia and Will on top of Mt. Eklutna looking toward the Cook Inlet

Berry Picking on Mt. Magnificent

And finally, Leo double fisting it with corn.