Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Long Shadows

The evening sun is casting its shadows over the mountains across the bay. At 9pm the shadows are long, by 10 pm the colors will start to melt across the mountain peaks as they meet with the dark blue of the evening sky. By midnight the sky will be black and the snowy mountain peaks across the bay will be outlined in the darkness. 
Tonight the Geophysical Institute is forecasting an aurora display that could be visible across most of Alaska. Homer is nestled into the hills on the North side of Kachemak Bay, and a view of the aurora to the North will be to be hard to see.

Now just past 9:30 and only the taller peaks are seeing the sun. 
The town is starting to show signs of summer with the small tents and campers showing up on the spit.  I am patiently waiting for some of my favorite stops to open, Coal Point Coffee and the Boardwalk Bakery come to mind.  Many afternoons I found myself on a cookie run to the Boardwalk and have never been disappointed.  And the Coal Point Coffee shop is just a nice place to have a cup of coffee before the planes come in after the bear trips and my work begins for the evening.
 Its officially Sunset here tonight at 9:44pm.  Beluga Lake is still locked up except for the edge along the roadway.  Officially a seaplane base along side the Homer Airport, Beluga Lake is home to Steller Air, a small air charter company that specializes in great float plane trips. I've gone with them to some of the the glaciers, and a bear trip to Brooks Falls.
Almost 11pm and the lights on the spit are reflecting off the bay. Just a bit over 15 hours of sunlight now in late April.  Homer is gaining daylight at a rate of about 5 minutes day. 
Got an email from a fellow blogger today, asking me if I have been with the witness protection program .. yeah I've kind of fell of the radar here for awhile.  My winter in Minnesota was a hard to take this year.  I normally look forward to a season of skiing and snow.  The snow never happened.  My only outings were a cross country skiing weekend in Northern Wisconsin on the Rock Lake Trails near Cable, and an afternoon on the Birke trails where an odd fall left me with a hamstring injury.  three weeks later I tried a down hill ski adventure at Welsh Village where I had one of the hardest falls I can remember.  My shoulder is still on the mend from that one.  My weekend on the Rock Lake Trails were great as they always are, but if I could have avoided some injuries this winter, things might have been different.
11:30pm .. walked outside to check on the northern sky.  Nothing yet.  Can still see the sunlight outlining the horizon.
12:10am .. Ah well, I guess it just isnt gonna happen here.  G'night.   

Friday, April 13, 2012

April in Homer

April in Homer and lots of snow still up on the hill. Winter breakup here is hard on the gravel roads, well mud roads now.  The Jeep is pretty much covered bumper to bumper in mud.  In town the snow is still hanging around in the shady areas and parking lots where the snow plows left the piles.  Beluga Lake is still froze over solid, so the float planes are still tucked away in hangers or up on the beach, many pilots will take the floats off and put the wheels on for the winter months.
I like this peaceful time here in Homer, before the cruise ships start coming in, and making a left turn coming out of the Safeway parking lot becomes next to impossible.  But Summer will come, and I am looking forward to it.

I've plenty to do getting the planes ready for another season of bear viewing, but with the fantastic weather we've had all week, its been hard to stay on task.  The bike I picked up on Craigslist has been a blast .. those big fat tires roll over just about anything!  An afternoon riding around the beach at low tide left me pretty much wore out, but only two times did I have to get off and push through a pile of rocks, or up a steep area with loose sand.  I found the thing will motor right along in about a foot of water.  I need to experiment a bit with dropping the air pressure down in the tires, and the loose sand may be a little easier.  At any rate, the bike is a good work out, and a lot of fun.

Here is an image of Yukon Island across the bay, I'm looking forward to getting out in the kayak and do some more exploring this year.  Tom Pogson with the Alaska Kayak School has some great programs every year.  I think one is coming up soon in May .. this summer I need to take advantage of the opportunities with these folks. 

Oh .. and my comment on making a left turn out of the Safeway parking lot.  Last November when I was sitting in traffic on a six lane freeway in Minneapolis, and hadn't moved for 10 or 15 minutes, I sent my friend Dee a text (sitting in traffic ..not driving) and I made her a promise that I would never ever again complain about traffic in Homer.  She thought it was pretty funny.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bike Ride

Great day for a bike ride .. last year I had my old Trek with the skinny tires, and I tried to do some riding on the beach.  Well, at any rate, the results were predictable.  I left the Trek with my son Dustin so he would have some transportation for the Summer.  Being 16 and without wheels is a tough thing indeed.  This gave me the opportunity to actually "need" to find a new bike, and a quick look on Craigslist found me a well used, but very well maintained Salsa Mukluk.  The deal was made and we will be doing some playing on the trails as well as the beaches. 

Much has happened since the last post on Liard Hot Springs .. in fact, I have had the opportunity to visit those very hot springs again last week .. more on that later.  Right now I need to get settled into another Summer in Alaska.