Eagle River Weather

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas at the Yurt

We had a great Christmas this year with Leo being aware of things like presents, Santa, and decorations. We were also lucky enough to share it with 2 of our Seattle friends and former Nature Center volunteers Steve ad Eve. Here they are with our friend Lia skiing up the Eagle River Rapids.

Eve is the speck on the left. Lia is in blue in the middle. And, Steve is the orange topped one on the right.
Here is Georgie cuddled up by the tree.

We had a similar shot of her last year with the tree in a different spot.
Steve and Eve forgot to bring their stockings, so here is Eve with our newly named "Alaskan Stocking." A mud boot. Steve got one too.

The most popular toy of the year.....A cork gun.

Once you become really good at it you earn your cape a goggles.

(Superhero outfit brought to you by S and E Ltd.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holy Snowfall Batman

The biggest snow fall of our yurt stay just ended last night. We got 2 feet in 4 days. It's been cold to so it is nice fluffy skiable powder. I have been cross country skiing a bunch lately, but hopefully we'll be able to make some turns this weekend. So here are some recent snowy pictures.
We started out like this on Monday.

And, on Friday we look like this.

This photo was taken on Wednesday during a momentary break in the storm, and we got another 8 inches more afterwards. The snow started toppling off the railings before the full load could be taken.

Snowy yurt.

Snowy nature center cabins.

Snowy moose.

Snowy viewing decks after the weather finally broke.

In a non-snowy note, here is the cutest pregnant woman ever.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Trees, Fata Morgana, Fog and Movies

Like all kiddos this time of year, Leo is a little bit Christmas crazy. He has been wanting to decorate his yurt ever since he saw the decorations go up at Fred Meyer. Here he is with his masterpiece tree.

Don't worry folks that's not my camera he is holding. Whoa there cowboy!
The weather in the Anchorage area has been inverted and foggy. While these conditions are a bit of an annoyance they also create some really cool effects. One of those effects is called Fata Morgana, or mirage. During an inversion, warm air on top traps cold air beneath. When light passes through that shift in air temperature it refracts light and acts as a lens. On a recent ski trip we looked over the Knik arm and saw a mirage looking band going across the mountains. It kind of looks like the middle of the mountains have been stretched out vertically. Right where that band is located is where the temperature is shifting from cooler to warmer. Click on the photo below for a better look at this.

Another fun thing about fog it that, when the temperature is in the single digits, you get some awesome frost. Here are some Eagle River trees.

Ans some frost on our railing.

And, here's more frost on our railing.

Those crystals were approaching an inch long. It is snowing again here today which is covering and collapsing many of those crystals.
We have been feeling a bit under the weather here at the yurt. Not much outside play, but lots of movies! Here is Leo getting comfortable in his self made movie throne.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Playing in the Snow

Leo and I had an excellent birthday with a sledding adventure at Arctic Valley and a potluck at the yurt. We had enough people packed into the yurt that we probably went over its maximum occupancy. It was a great day! Thanks to everybody who made it so.
Here is a recent picture taken while skiing up just outside the Alpenglow ski area.

If you have never skied here it is a great place to go: family friendly, close to Eagle River and Anchorage, and is volunteer run.
We got the pregnant lady out for a few ski trips. Here we are out by the nature center.

Leo and I enjoyed a couple hours of playing in the snow around the yurt today. It has been snowing all day and we went sledding, skiing, and snow man making. Here is Leo Jumping off of the bottom layer of the snow man.

And, here is the finished skiing snowman.

Leo has been begging to make a snowman since the first snow fall, but it has been too cold and the snow too dry to make that happen. He was pretty excited when he woke up to perfect conditions. Here is another snowman that showed up at our back door.

We wrapped up snow play for the day by roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.

The snow is building up on everything. Here is a picture of our railing with trees caked with snow in the background.

Everything includes power lines, and the lights have been flickering on and off every so often today. Being close to the end of the line has it's good points and bad points.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The River is ALMOST Frozen and the Yurt is Decending into Wintery Darkness

Today was our first day of the year that was entirely sub-zero temperatures. So, of course, it was time to get the skis on and go take pictures. Here is a picture taken from one of the bridges off of the lower Albert Loop.

The hoar frost (white flecks on the ice) is amazing on the river before the ice gets covered up with snow. Sections of the river are still not so frozen over. Here is a photo of one of those sections making a nice set of ice rapids.

Be careful out there if you decide to go. There is a lot of overflow going on and a few narrow ice bridges between flowing water to cross. In another week and a little more snow it should be awesome!
Here is the view of the mountains off of the big viewing deck.

Georgie with her ice goatee after a few miles of subzero romping.

Today was possibly the last clear day before we lose the sun completely, so I took a time lapse of the sun flitting behind the mountains. You may remember one from last year withe the yurt in the foreground. This one is from today, is the view off the yurt deck, and goes from 10:00 to 1:00.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nicki Takes a Baby Up a Mountain and a Snowy Yurt

Nicki had a few days off last week so we dumped Leo at child care and took off hiking. Lazy Mountain near Palmer was the destination and what a beautiful hike it was. Here is Nicki showing off her newest project half way up the mountain.

And here she is at the top looking back towards Eagle River.

Things have been cooling off and darkening around here. It hasn't been above freezing much in the last few weeks and we only have 2 weeks left before the sun disappears for the year. Here is a picture of some fractalish ice on the Eagle River (for all you former SOWers).

Last night we had about 6 inches of snow fall. I couldn't sleep with the sound of the snow sloughing off the roof so I went out and started taking pictures. Here is the yurt at 6 AM.

And a picture of the yurt a few hours later, after sun"rise."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Flowers, Snow, Fake Smiles, and Halloween

After a very warm ans sunny fall, the Anchorage area is finally getting cold and a little snowy. We are down to about 3 1/2 hours of direct sunlight on the yurt, down into the teens at night, and the river is starting to freeze over. However, we have been amazed at the color that is still hanging on. The wild flowers we planted around here are truly the hearty Alaskan variety. Here is one from just a few days ago.

We had our first snow on the yurt recently.

And, you'd have expected that snow to take out the flowers. But, no.

We have still been getting out and about but are really yearning for enough snow to start skiing. On a recent hike to the river, Leo began practicing his father's fake smile.

For Halloween, Leo was a ladybug-butterfly-thing, and we once again went to the zoo and visited mom who was working at the hospital. The poor kid is much more aware of things this year, and some of the skeletons and spiders really freaked him out, but he collected a small fortune in candy and got the obligatory sugar high on the way home. Hear is a photo of this year's pumpkins.

Notice the fourth, tiny one for baby sister. 3 months to go until we meet her!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oma, Opa, and a worn out kid

We had a great visit from Nicki's parents, Bev and Scott, this past week. They lucked out with breaks of beautiful weather between the typical fall rain. Here is a picture of Leo with his Oma and Opa out at Kincaid park.

Bev and Scott are big into projects and staying busy so we cleared the property of downed timber and let it burn. Here is a picture of the small fire.

Also on the agenda was putting the shed up on blocks, digging ditches to improve drainage on the driveway, installing a lamp post, spreading rock to even out the lower road, and getting a giant dump truck unstuck from the mud on the lower road. (We needed a second dump truck to come pull it out. ) Even though we worked hard we also played hard. A trip up a windy Harp Mountain, down to Hanging Valley Lake, and end of year blueberry picking on the way out (those berries are still out there) was an excellent break. Here are a few photos of Scott hiking up Harp.

Leo of course had a great time with the grandparents. He was so worn out he didn't even make it to his bed to sleep.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yurts on a Square Base

Most yurt companies will tell you that it is impossible to erect a yurt on a square base, and this is absolutely true. However, the circular base needed for the yurt can be attached to a square platform. Here is a brief outline of how we were able to accomplish this.
The first thing you need is a square base. Our square base came in the form of a garage but could also be a deck, cement platform, or other foundation. Our garage roof has a slight slope to it, about one inch, to allow drainage. The top of the garage is covered with tar paper. (A tar paper deck, classy I know.) If you live in a warmer climate and use tar paper you will may want to cover the tar paper not under the yurt. This will keep it from melting in the hot sun.
The first step we took was to attach wooden anchors to the top of the deck. This allowed us to have something to tie our circular yurt deck to. This picture shows these anchors.

If I remember correctly these are pressure treated 1x4's. We put a layer of tar around the bottom perimeter of the board, kind of like a tar sandwhich, to seal them up, and then screwed them down into place. In addition to the parallel beams you see we also made a ring of beams on the outside perimeter. The next photo will illustrate that a little better. We also put giant screws through the perimeter 1x4 anchors and through the roof, all the way down into the garage, and anchored into some free floating boards below. Hard to visualize? Let me know if you need more info. We used this extra bit of anchoring because of the high winds we get around here. We didn't want the whole deck, yurt with it, blowing away.
In the next picture you can see how we laid out the 2x6's to get ready for the floor boards.

Lastly, is this picture you can see the completed yurt deck.

We put down insulation between the joyces and completed the wiring before we put the floorboards down. We also made sure the bottom edge of our drip edge was sealed up with the garage roof as much as possible. We wanted as little water seeping under the yurt as we could manage. We sealed it up with expanding spray foam and silicon caulking.
If I had it all to do over again there are a few things I would do differently.
  • Have a surface other than tar paper.
  • Get bottom side of the drip edge closer to the top of the garage so it was easier to seal it.
  • Level the deck. It has a one inch slope to it, the same as the garage roof. This was great for roof drainage and made construction of the yurt deck easier, but it made hanging doors and putting up shelving inside the yurt really tricky
I apologize about the lack of clarity in the photos. I didn't think I was going to be writing about this or helping other people do it when we were putting it together and taking these photos. I hope you find this useful and good luck with your decks.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Last Days of Fall

Fall is coming to a close here as the leaves are dropping and a snow line is forming in the mountains. Here is a picture of Nicki and Leo on our last tundra walk of the year.

Can you find Leo in the picture below? (You might have to click on it.)

Snowline is down to 2000 feet and is supposed to be lower tonight. Snow on the yurt?

We had ice on our freshly weatherproofed railing. Got that sealant on just in time.

And finally, here is Leo enjoying his first snowballs of the year up at Hatcher Pass.