Cloud show

Is there a meteorologist in the house? I find the behavior of thunderstorms in south central Alaska puzzling. It’s as if they are adapted to a northern climate, just like the animals. I grew up in New Jersey, and have spent time in many other parts of the lower 48, where thunderstorms occur. And they occur when it is hot. Like 85 or 90 or 100 degrees hot. Now around here, if a thunderstorm was waiting around for those temperatures, it would be waiting a long time. Apparently realizing this, they go ahead and happen at 60 or 70, figuring that’s as close as they are ever going to get. We had one today – thunder, lightning, hail, the whole works. Maximum recorded temperature: 72. If any of you reading this live in the southlands, when was the last time you got up in the morning, saw that is was heading to be over 70 degrees, and thought “Oh Boy, we’re in for a thunderstorm this afternoon”?

Also we never used to get thunderstorms. Ever. Even as recently as 20 years ago, there just weren’t any. Now we get them on a somewhat regular basis. I know this is due to climate change, but it still isn’t getting THAT warm. They must be adapting.

This afternoon, THE mountain was hidden by clouds, but the sky put on quite a show to compensate.

Even Denali is dwarfed by these cloudmountains.

Birches turning their silver side in a rush of wind. It's coming!

The sky at slow boil over the airport.




Solstice. Already?

Every year it’s like this. Solstice comes WAY too soon. It’s a very significant thing around here, because it means now the days are getting shorter. But, But…summer just started, for crapsake! It reminds of the time I was in grade school: First day of summer vacation! Yeehaw! Endless summer stretching to infinity. I went with my friend’s family to a mall for a shopping trip. Not that I cared a bit for was just exciting to go someplace, and have it not be school. On a weekday! I will never forget ( it’s been 50 years) pulling in to the parking lot of the store and seeing the enormous banner over the entrance –


I hope there is a special place in hell for those people.

So here we are, just getting warmed up, things are finally green and blooming and flowing and singing …and the days are getting shorter.

Northern sky at midnight, crossing the bridge. Let the midnight special...

For some more information on solstices and daylight, visit my much-neglected other site:?

Here is my view of the walkway at 12:15 A.M. While the waters aren’t exactly troubled, they are very high, fast and cold, with entire trees floating by as if they have decided to find a new home and are in a hurry about it. It is another one of those simple pleasures to have a fine bridge to get across.

First part of the "road" home, crossing the Talkeetna River.


I doubt this is unique to Alaska, but it sure is common here: Four wheelers, snowmachines, and dogsleds with broken plastic parts sewn together with wire, zipties, rope, rivets, caulk, shoo-goo, and of course duct tape. In fact it’s rare to see a machine that doesn’t have some of these, unless it is brand new.

My wheeler is no exception…

Four wheeler fender repaired with zip-ties and caulk

Battle scar worn proudly


Four wheeler fender repaired with zip-ties and caulk


A rare treat – summer moon

I usually don’t expect to see the moon from April to August, since it doesn’t get dark. Oh I might catch a glimpse of it, the way one does in the daytime, but never actual moonlight. I generally lose track of the current phase in the summer, while I am acutely aware of it in winter.

But the other night, circumstances had me running the dogs in to the cabin, arriving at 3 A.M. Still not actually dark, never used the headlight on the wheeler, but just dusky enough to see a little bit of moonlight on the river. Felt like a big treat!