Jan 16, 2012 Baranof

10° COLD!  5° CLEAR, BLOWING SNOW

An early morning call from Christine alerted us to alarmingly low power levels.  The first step was to assess the situation, so we snowshoed up to the hydro intake at first light.  The north wind was blowing hard and the air a bitter 10 degrees.  To save ourselves from multiple trips, we hiked a few tools up the line.  Lopping off branches covering the hydro pipe, we now had a clearer view of the pipe run.  At the intake, the water level was indeed getting dangerously low.  We returned with waders and rubber gloves on loan from Dave & Anke.  It seemed completely insane to get into the river under such weather conditions (even with waders on), but the critical situation called for immediate action.  We were at risk of losing power if the intake was not more fully submerged.  Our attempts to lower the pipe were foiled by a rock underneath that just wouldn’t budge.  We opted to raise the water level instead by building a rock dam with the resources at hand.  Body heat generated by lifting rocks made being in frigid waters tolerable.  My boots quickly filled with water and though the neoprene booties attached to the waders kept my feet dry, they didn’t necessarily keep them warm.  Pete was better able to plunge himself into the water with rubber halibut gloves pulled ¾ the way up his arms.  Even with gloves this tall, he was still topping them with water!  He resembled some kind of swamp monster.  My standard pair of rubber gloves limited my scouting depth and I stayed near the river’s shore.  Our work was not in vain; the dam building project had blocked flow and brought the water level up a bit.  It will suffice for now, but we know we’ll be back to continue the fight against falling water levels in the coming days, with no rain or snow in the forecast.  Back in the cabin, we made a fire which was the only thinkable thing to do after being submerged in an icy river.  Even with the diesel heater on, the house sits a little below 50 degrees during this the cold snap, so the wood heat brings the house up to a comfortable temperature.  We enjoyed the fire and a warming dinner of potato latkes and cinnamon applesauce.

One Response to “Jan 16, 2012 Baranof”

  1. Vicky Says:

    This does not look like a fun job! 🙂

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