Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Waiting For Spring

Hoonah Cold Storage Dock
The Alaskan Bush People boat - Integrity
Elephant Mountain
Frozen Mud Flats at the Airport
Airport Stream

    After weeks of hiding behind both rain and snow clouds, the sun finally decided to make an appearance yesterday. As often happens in Southeast Alaska, the burst of sunshine immediately lifts one's spirits. I was like a new born bunny yesterday when I saw the sun, ready to go out and prance around the woods. Unfortunately, although the sun was indeed out, the heat was missing, so any prancing on the frozen ground would have rendered me with a twisted back or knee. I opted to go take a few pictures instead. Around here, especially at this time of year, when the sun comes out, you want to capture it on film, just in case you don't see it again for another extended period of time and you start to believe that you  had perhaps imagined it.  I dropped down to the downtown float and got a picture of the cold storage. The float is empty, no boats tied up waiting to sell. All the insulated totes that hold fish during the season are scrubbed and stacked on the dock, waiting for the first delivery. The diesel engines that run the compressors that freeze the fish are silent; there's no fork lifts scurrying up and down the runway. There's not a person to be seen in the office. It's dark and silent. Much like winter in the woods, it's cold and quiet. I dropped down to the harbor. Except for a few skiffs that brave the elements in their search for an elusive king salmon or perhaps a few Dungeness crabs, most of the commercial boats are tied up for the winter. It costs more for fuel than you can make fishing around here this time of year, even though the price of salmon is good. The weather is always questionable now too. It can be nice in the morning and blow up a gale in the afternoon. I got a picture of The Integrity, the big grey boat on the end of the float. That's the Brown family's  boat- you know, the Alaskan Bush People? Oh Lordy, what a joke. It's winter, and they're nowhere to be found. Not surprising. I know that for some unknown reason, a lot of people think the show is real, but I don't know why. Ol' Billy Brown and a couple of the boys had to go before a judge and explain why they were collecting Alaska Permanent Fund checks. The fact is, they aren't residents. I can't recall what the judgement was, but I believe they had to repay the state. Funny how you can call yourself an Alaskan, and yet not qualify for the Permanent Fund. It seems odd too that you can consider yourself a real outdoorsman, but when winter comes, you disappear.Oh well, people believe what they want to believe. I really think they should change the name of the boat to something more appropriate though, unless integrity means something other than what I always thought it meant.  I ran on out to the airport to see if I could get a shot of the mountains while the sun was setting. I couldn't get the shot I wanted in particular, and while I was waiting outside for something better, I was freezing my buns off. I had driven by the school and looked at the temperature display on the way out. It said it was 38 degrees. No way! The ice on the roads were as solid as bone and there was still frost on the trees. As I was heading back home, I noticed the little stream that runs near the airport. I think it always runs, no matter how cold it gets. In any event, I know the water was frigid. I started wondering about the animals, if they drink out of that stream. Do animals get brain freeze from drinking icy cold water? Can you imagine ol' Bob the buck taking a nice long drink only to have his head feel like someone smacked him with a hammer?The ol' ice cream headache syndrome. I think that when it comes to anxious thoughts of spring, I'm probably not alone.


  1. We've had a dreary,unseasonably warm (for us) winter so far, although the cold caught up with us two days ago when we woke up to -14 and it never broke 0. Same today, but the sun is out, so I hope we go above 0. Had to laugh about the Bush people - a friend of my mom's watches the show and believes it all to be true. Don't know if my mom has shattered her bubble of illusion yet....Stay Warm!

  2. Hi Jill, I'm sorry to hear that it's so cold there. It's hard to turn up the heat enough when it's that cold. We normally don't get it that bad, but it does get below zero on occasion. Usually the wind decides to blow then so it's extra miserable. About the Brown family- there are mixed feelings here about them. Many people are just disgusted with the whole phony appearance. If it weren't for outside help, they all would have frozen, drowned or been attacked by wildlife. They are the most incompetent group of people I've ever seen in the bush, and that includes those of us who moved to the farm years ago right from the city. Frankly, I'd be emberassed to be filmed in all my stupidity, but I guess if the pay is good enough, pride goes out the window.

  3. We've barely had winter too. I think I've shoveled the driveway maybe five or six times... Not that I'm complaining...

  4. Hi Todd- yeah, it's been kind of nice on the one hand, but I'm pretty tired of the rain pattern that we're experiencing this winter. The ground is drenched again. There doesn't appear to be any happy medium.