Sunday, May 31, 2009

Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier, ice bergs

One picture is of downtown Juneau with a ship coming in to visit. We have had 3 to 5 ships per day this past week. That means lots of tourists around. The picture was taken up the hill by lots of housing. I hear driving up and down these hills with the snow and ice is exciting. We have a lot of dented up cars in Juneau - winter ice victims.

Mendenhall Glacier today had a lot of ice bergs floating away from the glacier. The wind blows them into the lake and eventually down the river. There are some big chunks of ice. The light blue areas are where they had been. I skied out to them just about a 5 or 6 weeks ago. It seems like it was such a short time ago now. It was at least 70 degrees today - beautiful!!!!!!!! I did 2 hikes. I at Mendenhall in the morning and Perseverence. I tried to hike up Mt. Juneau but the snow stopped me - that is straight up hill by the way. My legs are now telling me how stupid I was to try that up hill stunt.

I LEAVE ONE WEEK FROM TODAY! As I write this, 8:30 PM, on Sunday; a week from now, I will be in line to get on the ferry to Prince Rupert, BC. That is about a 2 day ferry trip. I will then drive 1200 miles through BC and then to Seattle and Portland. I have lots of work to do this week and then pack, etc. Makes me tired just thinking about it. I am excited to be on the road though. I am driving 'the beast,' a 99 Chev 3/4 ton truck. It only has 37,000 miles on it. It also has a crane - such a deal. if you have a large load of groceries - I have the crane to help lift them up. I am writing more because - video takes a log time to load onto the blog. As I am waiting for the video to upload - I am writing and writing more because it is still rendering.
It finished rendering - bye.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

More Perseverence, leaving next Sunday

I have booked the slow boat out of Juneau. I take off Sunday 5/7/09 in the evening. I will get on a ferry and travel for about 2 days to Canada. I will get off and then drive around Canada a bit and then go to Northern Washington State to visit folks and head towards Portland, OR. I went for a hike this AM and it is a bit weird knowing that I am leaving Juneau. I drove for 10 min to get to my hike, can't do that in many places. I am excited to get on the road. I will miss a lot here.

Weather: 3 days of rain but they say we have 75 to 80 degree days starting Monday. My School has many outdoor activities so we are pleased to see good weather. We had Kindergarten Classes go to the beach, Outer Point, for Sea Week yesterday and it rained all day. The kids had a great time but they got soaked. The fifth graders hiked into Mendenhall Glacier and the 5th graders put lipstick on and kiss the glacier. They got rained on too. Kissing a glacier is a tradition for 5th graders.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Emmonak flooded, raining in Juneau, Bear

Emmonak: It flooded pretty bad. The two Emo stores were closed and water was even up to the school. A parent had to take his kids to school in a boat. The road to the airport is under water. The runway did not flood. All this means that my old apartment was flooded out. My apartment was one of the lowest places in Emo. Bad news: The sewage lagoon must have flooded as well because it is just behind the school. The dump is swamped as well because it at the same elevation as the road to the airport. They are worried that the road to the airport got washed away with the flooding. Palin surprised everyone by asking for disaster assistance for the villages.

In juneau,it started raining on Memorial day and has not stopped. I watched 3 ships leave yesterday when the rain was pounding and the wind was blowing. A lady a few days ago was saying that the ship was being blown by the winds and causing people to get sick.
She said throw up bags were being used a lot. Sounds like a fun vacation to me.

These pictures are of the top of a waterfall on Perseverence Trail. it is so quiet and peaceful there. I think Mountain Goats hang out at this spot during the winter, there are lots of pellets on the ground. It is a good watering hole and they could hide away from the massive amounts of snow on top of Mt. Juneau.

BLACK BEAR AT MENDENHALL: I pulled up and the bear was on the walkway by the visitor's center. Buses, with tourists, were just arriving and Forest Service personnel were yelling at the bear telling it to leave now. The bear went into the bushes growling and barking as he went. My camera was in the truck or I could have had some good pictures. The bear felt he was being mistreated.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mendenhall Glacier - Global Warming

I was talking to a person who's family has lived here for many years. I was told 7 years ago that the big rock on the right was covered with glacial ice and not seen.

20 years ago, about 1/4 of mendenhall lake was glacial ice. That is quite a change, glad I got to see the glacier now and not 15 years down the road.

Perseverence, variety

There are many things to see on Perseverence Trail- great variety. I heard the baby bear about a mile from the video. The trail is changing so much each week. It is now light at about 4:30 AM and gets dark about 10:00 PM. We have had a lot of sun which makes the plants grow so fast. The snow is melting unbelievably fast. I have been hiking up to the snow line the past 3 weeks and this week, I went about a mile beyond where I was last week. I am going to Perseverence because Mendenhall Glacier is loaded with people. It is like Southern CA, ant like with people everywhere at Mendenhall. After a quiet winter of just locals, masses of people still takes getting used to. Perseverence is just quieter and less crowded. It is also only about 10 minutes from my house. It is uphill in so it is a good workout as well. I feel the need to be ready to bike or hike this summer, so I need to be in ok shape.

The Rock: There is a rock cropping on the stream where people pile rocks up and make designs. It is very close to where people pan for gold. I saw this writing on this stone and wonder if it was a real person. The caretakers of the museum see lots of beautiful designs.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I heard a baby bear crying for mom

I hiked Perseverence twice today and I heard a baby bear. I know there are at least 3 bears in the area, I saw them playing in s snowfield a week or so ago. I hiked past the mining museum, where 2 bears were seen last week, and went up the trail. On this trail last week, I had heard something moving in the bushes and making a lot of noise. I kept on moving. This week I was on the trail and down below was a whimper cry sound. I think it was a baby bear. It was down a gully and I was up on the trail so I felt totally safe.

70 degrees today - beautiful.

Emmonak Flooded Yesterday

But the focus late Saturday was on downriver villages of Emmonak and Alakanuk. Water rose rapidly in both communities Friday night, and villagers were bracing for more high water today. Emmonak has more than 700 residents, and Alakanuk has just over 600. State emergency management officials are monitoring the situation closely.

Many houses in the villages had several feet of river water around them Saturday night, but the water appeared to be going down, residents reported. Flooding is common in the region this time of year as the river breaks up, and many dwellings sit on pilings several feet above the tundra.

Utilities in Emmonak were still functioning, though earlier in the day water rose within 6 inches of the power plant, said city manager Martin B. Moore, Sr.

No one from either community had been evacuated, and the water levels were within the norm for spring flood conditions, said Ben Balk, a Weather Service hydrologist in Anchorage who was tracking the river's breakup. Moore said Emmonak opened a school building as a shelter in case the flooding worsened. As of 8 p.m. Saturday, only one family was using it.

The road to the Emmonak airport was underwater much of the day, but the runway, which is on higher ground, was clear. Passengers were being ferried by boat. In the rest of the village, people were still able to travel by truck or four-wheeler, Moore said.

Emmonak sits in the midst of a fan-shaped delta about 10 miles from the sea. Many residents spent the day watching the river, where ice chunks the size of houses floated by. Children canoed through the streets. People get a charge out of break-up, Moore explained. They were busy checking their boats and thinking about summer.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Emmonak update - Ice Broke

Emmonak: the river ice broke yesterday afternoon and they are now having moderate to major flooding. I spoke to my friend in Emmonak and she said that water was all the way up to her house which is behind the school. The Emmonak stores are closed. She wasn’t sure if anyone had to evacuate from the low lying houses.

If water is behind the school, the water is probably in my old apartment. The houses that are behind the school are higher than where I used to live. Both stores are elevated so unless ice chunks cause problems, they might be ok. The sewage lagoon is behind the school, I hope water did not get into it.

Perseverence, snow and the museum

Here is more Perseverence. It shows the end of the trail and there was still snow last weekend. The trains are part of the Mining Museum up on Perseverence. Perseverence was also where the first road in Alaska happened to be. It was made to get to the gold which was found back in the hills. I stop at the snow because I was wearing tennis shoes. Many of the hikes around here have snow on them as you go up or along the trail.

This is the beginning of a 3 day weekend! I really feel that I needed the extra day to recharge my batteries. The job is tiring this time of year. 9 more days and my summer begins. I have nothing arranged for next year. I want to rest and think through the 09/10 year. I am back to maybe for Juneau. Living in the lower 48 has some big advantages. I will leave Juneau without a firm plan - that much I know.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Russian mission flooding - ice problems

Russian Mission has ice blocks destroying parts of the town tonight. The runway is flooded so no traffic. I heard on the local news that about 10 houses are flooded. A fuel tank for Russian Village is floating on the water. They closed it off so no fuel is leaking and tied it down. People in low areas have been moved to high areas until the mess is over. The town is running out of fuel oil and limited purchases to 5 gallons. Russion Village is upriver from my old village of Emmonak. In Emo, they have flown women near the end of pregnancy out of town because the Village could be isolated soon. I think planes are still flying in and out but that could change quickly. The airport and road to the airport are right next to the Yukon River.

Last year, Emmonak had a pretty good HS basketball team but got whipped bad by Russian Missioe. Emmonak was hoping to go to state - Russian Mission did.

Perseverence Trail 2

More Perseverence - Notice: Under the wooden trail is the flume with water that was seen in yesterdays post. Tht is water under the walkway - kind of old fashioned. I might also mention that this Perseverence trail is also a trail where Sarah Palin has been seen. (Not by me) There are actually many miles of trails that go into old mining areas and you can to to the top of Mt Juneau where the Mountain Goats hang out. Perseverence is only minutes up the hill from downtown Juneau. Bears hang out here also too. I almost went up to Perseverence after school but I dropped by the store and had to get stuff back to the refrigerator. This has been a tiring week at work! Is it Friday Yet?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Perseverence Trail

This is Perseverence Trail, which is just up the hill from downtown Juneau. It is an old mining area. I saw bears up here recently, they were playing in the snow. There are also Mountain Goats on top of the mountains here. You can hike up Mt. Juneau when the snow melts. Snow stopped me last week actually. There is a wood walkway which is about a mile and a half long - quite unique.

The water is the Juneau drinking water, thus the sign for dog owners. It is a beautiful area with a lot of great hiking. There is also a mining museum up the road a bit.

We had 70 degrees today. It was very hot and I was stuck inside.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Emmonak - flooding?

I have been told that teachers were told to get out of Emmonak because record flooding and ice pack damage may well cause lots of problems. School got out last Friday and only a couple of teachers are left in Emo. They were told to clear out of their houses and move to the school because of fear of flooding, ice pack damage. Upriver in Eagle, the water raised 4 feet in the matter of an hour. FYI: My apartment last year was about at bank level, one of the lowest places in town. I was right on the Yukon River. My old apartment was not lifted much. It was about a foot off the ground. The school is 5 feet off the ground and many community buildings are 3 feet off the ground.

In Eagle: The damage is severe. The same could happen to Emmonak. The people in the villages are worried. Gov Palin is more concerned about the CA Miss American pageant gal who spoke against same sex marriage. Palin is much less vocal about the villages and their flooding issues or starvation issues during the winter months.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mendenhall Glacier - ice is gone!

The ice is gone. The bears are out and seen daily at Mendenhall. Bus loads of tourists are traveling to the Glacier. People who live around the Governor's mansion are upset because buses swarm around the governors mansion now. Before she ran for VP, it was not a popular attraction but everyone wants to see it now. The governor says she would like to put a sign up welcoming them. I will also note that she is NEVER there so she is not really impacted. In Juneau float planes are taking off a lot and Helicopters are all over the glacier too. Busy place. Juneau has narrow streets that go straight up hills, so buses are a big inconvenience in the downtown area.

Having massive amounts of tourists around takes some getting used to. It used to be so quiet around here. When the cruise ships come in, Juneau changes a lot and fast.

Homer, Alaska Story: The trumpeter swans are now in Homer. A family who live on a lake invited people over for breakfast to see the trumpeter swans as the people ate breakfast. It was a yearly tradition. This year, as they ate and watched, an eagle swooped down and killed a swan and ate it in front of the breakfast gatherers. The remaining swans took off and flew in a circle above just watching their bird friend being eaten. The people were not happy. Historical Note: In Homer: There was a lady who fed the eagles for 50 years. The eagles had easy access to food. The lady died last fall and it is now illegal to feed eagles in Homer. The eagles now have to search for food. This is the first year of the new law.
(There was a big fire ripping through rural Homer this past week. We have not had a lot of rain and vegetation dried out. A burn barrel got a fire going and the wind spread the fire. 700 acre fire that blew through containment lines. It is settling down now that the wind is subsiding.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Juneau, next year

I was told by another teacher that she saw 2 big bears up trees recently.
Mendenhall Glacier is melting, which is to be expected. The Glacier itself looks far away when I stand at the shore and look at it. Quite different than in the wintertime when I oould ski in to it.

I am thinking about coming back to Juneau next year now. A lot of people have been encouraging me to come back and I was told I could have flexibility with my year. I know the kids, parents, staff and like the school. I also like the winter with easy access to the mountain. I told a couple of people that I was thinking about staying.
I will think it over this weekend as I am out looking for the bears in the trees that everyone is telling me about.

downtown Juneau, bears seen

Sunny again but rain is on the way. We are getting 3 cruise ships every day. Lots of float planes, lots of tour buses and lots of people walking in downtown Juneau. Such a change from 2 weeks ago. The last of the snow in the yard is melting. There is still a big patch of snow in the backyard: 20 feet long and 2 feet high. The grass is turning green fast.

Bears: I am told that a momma bear and two cubs are out and about. They are on the mountain behind my apartment. Another momma bear and cubs are by Auke Bay. One teacher was saying that she saw a big bear up a tree sleeping.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Float Planes, Cruise Ships and GREEN

Must be spring in Juneau. We had 2 days with 3 cruise ships which means lots of float plane activity. It is also getting green. Trees are starting to leaf out and the snow is melting. I did a hike this weekend which took me up to snow and had to turn back because I just had tennis shoes.

Spring has sprung. The ice dams which are flooding towns on the mid Yukon River are making a mess. Check out Anonymous Bloggers blog or Mudflats, for more information.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! Lots of mothers go on cruise ships for Mother's Day! We had 3 Ships in Juneau today and it was sunny! Downtown Juneau was packed with tourists - weird. It is so strange to see the sleepy town turn into a Disney type location. It is 7:30 PM and the ships are still here. They usually leave about 5 or 6 PM. The tourist stores were still open at 7 PM, when I drove by to check it out.

I read where one ship in AK had a swine flu case but they let the people off the ships so it was not one of these ships or they feel the case was contained on board. The eagles have left it seems. I went to where the eagles were last week but they were gone. I wonder if they do not like all the people. I drove out to the glacier and bus loads of people were checking out Mendenhall Glacier - weird.

I got used to having things quiet and not many people during the winter months.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sping at Mendenhall

Every day it seems more and more like spring. Mendenhall Lake is getting water on it and the ice is not totally solid anymore. It seems like a long time ago that I was able to ski up to the glacier. The Glacier is looking like a tourist spot now. We now have buses of people checking the glacier out. After a winter of just locals, having tourists wandering around is different, even weird. Juneau just seems quite different when cruise ships show up.

Grass is turning green and trees are starting to leaf out - spring is here. It is light until 10 PM. The warm weather is causing problems for towns along the Yukon River. Quick melting has caused the break up of ice which has gone into a village or two and ripped apart villages.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mendenhall Glacier

I know a person who skied into Mendenhall Glacier last weekend. I might try it but not go on the lake. I just missed the duck that was on the water. Just imagine a duck washing himself there in the water.
Raining in Juneau since the Cruise Ships started coming into Juneau. Steady drizzle for 4 days.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The ships are in

We are getting 1 cruise ship a day now. It is kind of interesting. The tourist shops open as the ship is docking. Saturday, a ship came in at 11:00 AM and the shops opened at 10:45 AM. Yesterday, the ship came in at 8:00 AM and the shops were opening at 7:45 AM. Yesterday's ship left at 3:00 PM and many of the shops were closed at 4:00 PM when I checked it out. Weather - As soon as the ships came in this week, the rain started. It is unreal considering we had such nice weather for over a week before the daily ships started.

Rainy day here in Juneau, how many ships will drop by today?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tiring Week

The last two weeks have been tiring. I even took a day off sick. I think I have allergies instead of a cold. Allergy medicine takes care of the symptoms but I still feel like less than good. My students have been a bit crazy the past week too. I have had staff out which made things weird as well. The sun is shining but I am too tired to enjoy it. I am doing the end of year scramble, like all teachers. Today, my students were finally settling down somewhat. It could be a hard end if the kids are wired up all the way to the end.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rain but 60 degrees

The snow in my yard is almost gone. A neighbor with more mountain shade has 3 feet left. He is shoveling snow into the street to get rid of it. This sunny weather followed by rain melted 2 feet of snow in the front year. There is still 2 feet of snow in parts of the back yard though.

What amazing weather we had last week. The eagles in the video are a bit small. I think they are young ones. The like to fly around together and hang out in certain trees.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

74 degrees

Juneau set a record of 74 degrees yesterday. I went cross country skiing up at the ski area - beautiful. The picture of snow is at the end of the road, about 30 miles out of Juneau. They plowed the road 2 weeks ago but at the end, there is still snow.
There are people who want to make the road go to Skagway. The road would go by a mine and the miners want the road. The road would be under constant avalanche danger and falling rocks is what I was told. We now have ferries that take people to Skagway.

There are people with bumper stickers which read, More Roads? MOVE SOUTH!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spring is here!

I will be able to get signs of spring this weekend. With the 60+ weather, plants are popping through the ground and buds are showing on the trees. Spring is here. The snow on the mountains is melting fast.

Juneau is beautiful on sunny days.