Friday, May 1, 2009

Heat Wave in Juneau?

Well spring has definitely sprung here in Juneau. It's been in the 60s and lower 70s most of the week with barely a cloud in the sky. Spring can be very wet with all the fast melting snow causing lots of flooding with large holes over the creeks, rivers and lakes. It's kind of weird to ski on a frozen lake near a glacier one day and then see the float pond near the airport loaded with planes taking people to and from the bush again.

Wildlife are out and about everywhere. In the beginning it was deer and goats that were dying of starvation but as the snow melts the more the hope for survival increases as new vegetation is exposed almost daily giving a chance for sustenance and regeneration after the third tough winter in a row. Looking out the window from the office we can see the occasional mountain goat or black bear feeding on young plants in the avalanche shoots.

This week seems to have helped melt snow fast with temperatures in the 60s and 70s and bright sunshine most of the week. It's a pretty cool transition from a fun winter wonderland to a few weeks of nasty rain and unfomfortable temperatures which lead to spring fever the minute the weather improves. I've seen lots of people in shorts and even one person in a bikini down town today. That's a rare sight in Juneau on any day of the year much less the first of May!

As I drove out the road I saw miles of snow covered mountains with dozens of boats with fisherman all in search of the same thing-King Salmon! The diehard fisherman are out there despite the fact that it takes over 120 rod ours(in some cases) for each fish caught this time of year. Even though there aren't as many fish this time of year the salmon are in the best condition before they enter the rivers and "turn". Once the hormones kick in the fish will darken and the meat while start to decay even as they continue their last journey in life to spawn and die.

Now everyone becomes more alert while walking the dogs or else they risk running into a bear or a porcupine which are both common in southeast Alaska. Up near Anchorage they even had a wolf come after a dog just a week ago while it's owner was running with it. It's interesting to watch the news and hear the stories of people expecting the government to take care of the "nuisance" animals. In some ways I can't blame them except that they choose to live in a wild place like Alaska. What would you expect when you move the state with the highest brown and black bear populations in the U.S.?

Field season is about to begin and I'm looking forward to it even though there's an overwhelming amount of preparation with maps to make, float planes and boats to schedule, and all the other logisitics to consider. Soon there will be deer pellets to count, whales to navigate around, sea lions attempting to steal fish from lines and of course bears to watch and visitors to manage. That's all for now I'll try to update again when I can but as things get busier it's tough to update nearly as often as I'd like. I still appreciate all the comments I've gotten from people across the globe! Happy May everyone!


Caitlin said...

Good to hear a little more detail about your adventures!

Lally said...

Ditto. And happy Mayday to all.

irene said...

Great writing, as usual Carl.