Category: Weather, Tides & Geography

Zooming in on the View

By , July 28, 2019

A few days ago I finished my chores early. I didn’t need to start dinner right away, so instead, I sat down at the veranda with a pair of binoculars and a camera to enjoy the view. Before long, I used the binoculars and the camera’s zoom to poke around the cirques and peaks of the Coast Range across Lynn Canal.

close up of Alaska's Coast Range

The “L” on “LC Mountain” up close (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

These mountains aren’t inaccessible by any means. In fact, the man who built our homestead skiffed across the fjord one afternoon and scaled The Pickets, a steep set of peaks in the middle of the view. But, he’s a better man than I; I much prefer doing my exploring from the comfort of the homestead, with the help of optics.

Close up of Alaska's Coast Range

“The Pickets” on the left, this cirque is one of my favorite spots to “visit” (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

My method proves far better for casually skipping from mountain to mountain, peaking into crevices, perusing pocket glaciers, sliding up and down waterfalls at the exact moment that the afternoon sun lights up this feature, or shades that. One day, before I grow too old and settled, to go hike some of these places. I know I won’t get to some of the locations, which would require too much climbing skill. Many of them, being at the bottom of avalanche shoots, would likely be too dangerous to visit for any length of time—certainly I couldn’t safely explore them as thoroughly as I’d like.

Close up of Alaska's Coast Range

A closer view of the cirque (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Waterfall in Alaska's Coast Range

This waterfall flows well even in dry years, like this one (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

For more views like this, see Sunny Cirque.

We’re Melting!

By , July 18, 2019

Our temperatures have cooled, and most or all of the wild fire smoke has dissipated (see A Red Sun Rises). But, we’re still seeing the effects of the Alaskan heat wave.

Meade Glacier sits at the head of the short Katzehin River across Lynn Canal and somewhat north of our homestead. The river influences our life here in many ways. Most importantly, the glacial silt that flows out across the fjord waters effects how we fish and collect fire wood.

Fresh water, being less dense than salt water, tends to lie on top of the ocean at the outflow, often in a layer that’s about a foot deep. We commonly look out and announce “The river’s coming!” as the silty, fresh water flows to our shore. If we needed to (and don’t mind the silt) we could dip drinking water off the surface.

The silt also makes a translucent layer that shields the sensitive eyes of our game fish, allowing them to stay near the surface on sunny days, rather than diving deep. That improves my fishing.

But, I digress.

fallen tree floating

This specimen cruised by our beach the other day (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Continue reading 'We’re Melting!'»

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