Jan 14, 2012 Baranof

24° COLD, CLEARING W/CLOUDS   3” SNOW

Pete was up 5am, not yet morning (at least to me) this time of year.  I like to rouse when there’s at least a hint of daybreak.  We’re gaining around five minutes of daylight each day, shedding the cover of seasonal darkness rather quickly.  Easing into the day, we tuned into Sitka’s Raven Radio for news and a weather report for the other side of this big island.  As part of our daily morning routine, we walked down to the hydro shed to check the power levels.  A creamy half moon hung over the waterfall, radiating warmth against the muted morning sky of grayish blues and purples.  

Snow removal was in order, as we had a fresh 3” dusting of snow on the boardwalks.  The mail plane did not come today as projected.  In the afternoon, we gave our new snowshoes a test run, and they out-performed our expectations.  They are just the thing for the Alaskan bush, especially for excursions into the mountains.  Going uphill is a breeze with the flip of a bar under our heels.  It totally reduces any calf strain. Even on steep terrain, we felt like we were walking on level ground.  The straps on these snowshoes seem to stay secure, making the sport a real treat.  We love that with snowshoes we’re able to cover territory not possible in the summertime due to rough terrain, forest undergrowth, water, and general vegetation.  We headed up to the knob, an elevated spot with generous views of both Chatham Strait and Baranof Lake, and watched spindrifts carry snow off the mountain ridges.  This was the perfect, pristine winter wonderland we’d wished for.  No sign of man here apart from our tracks.  We headed to the hot spring grotto, a world-class spot with pools nestled in the forest, next to the raging Baranof River.  Pete is a bit averse to the fungaloids,” the slimy fungi that are thick in the pools, but I am at peace with them.  I prefer the grotto.  There are clearer, fungaloid-free hot springing options down in town to suit Pete.

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