With a few inches of new snow above 3,000 feet, my annual autumn climb up Gunsight Mountain on Sept. 20 quickly became more of a winter climb, as I paused to take some photos of Dall sheep that browsed on grass just below the snowline. I’ve seen them at nearly the same location on other hikes and in typical fashion, they grew nervous by my presence and made a quick disappearing act into Glacier Fan Creek Canyon.
Not long ago, I wrote a short poem about a bird and emailed it to Tom Sexton, a recognized Alaskan poet. He replied with his own poem, also about a bird, that he’d written a day earlier.
When we average current male and female expected lifespans in the U.S, 78 years is roughly how long we can expect to live. That gives us 28,470 days, which on the face of it seems quite ample.
Watching the garbage truck’s mechanized arms grab and raise my fully loaded plastic garbage can off the street, hungrily ingesting its contents, I thought about a winter long ago when I was a “swamper” on the back of one of those trucks — a job that like so many jobs in today’s automated world is now obsolete.
After thatching and raking, with a glorious summer of sunshine and repeated rounds of fertilizer, lime and water, with special application of “Weed-Be-Gone” to eliminate invasive culprits, plus frequent mowing and trimming, my lawn still doesn’t look as good as some of my neighbors. But I keep trying.
They’re round and blue, juicy and rather tart — and they’re back — our blueberries that we’ve missed for more than two years!
Quietly, without much fanfare, about four dozen Eagle River area folks are devoting part of their lives to improving the lives of others — not only here in Eagle River — but in far-flung areas across the world.
I used to think that cockroaches and furniture hawker Ted Sadler would be the only creatures left alive after a nuclear holocaust or horrible natural disaster. But I’m beginning to think dogs, those canine friends of ours, might claim that distinction.
Hopping over the gray, weather-rounded boulders and cobbles down to the sandy shore of Portage Lake, we were following an important route of miners and much earlier, Alaska Natives and Russian fur traders. But looking out at the lake and the hulking face of Portage Glacier on its far shore, we knew our view was much different than that of those early pioneers. Instead of a three-mile-long lake, a fjord, the glacier was right in their face — a towering cliff of ice that filled a good portion of the valley to a depth of several hundred feet.