Jan 20, 2012 Baranof

17° SNOW, 15° SNOW  COLD, CLOUDY   6” SNOW

The snow began to fall in the early morning.  Our first glimpse of the bay revealed that much of the ice in our inner bay had either dispersed or melted due to the warming temps.  The only remaining ice patch surrounded Privateer, a solid sheet extending from dock to shore.  Once we checked the status of the hydro intake and determined that our dam was in need of fortification, the next task was to obtain gas from the lodge, about a quarter mile away around a bend in the bay.  With a forecast of extensive snowfall in the coming days and dwindling gas reserves for the snow blower, we could afford to wait no longer.  Since ice, perhaps impenetrable, still crowded the outer bay, our only option was an overland snowshoe expedition using a summertime trail that crosses two log bridges.  We thought about ways to transport the jerry cans and considered using John’s external frame pack but opted to carry them.  First we slung the empty jerry cans over our backs with a stick, hobo style, but decided it was just easier to carry them.  Returning with full cans might be a challenge, but in these desperate times we’d channel some inner strength for the task.  After a steep climb up to the trail head, we were in a beautiful forest with snowy, towering trees and had occasional views of the bay along the cliff’s edge.  Snow blew all around us.  We noted deer prints and followed an animal trail through the forest.  In less than 20 minutes, we had arrived at the lodge.  What a pleasant way to travel!  The trail dumped us out amongst the outlying cabins and old-growth forest behind the lodge and I felt like we were on a stealth operation, invading a rival camp.  But, no, these were our friends and there was only goodwill here.  A heaping plate of cookies sat on the table and Dave & Anke offered coffee and warm company. Unfortunately, there was a problem siphoning the gas and, five hours later, we turned toward home empty-handed.  We had hoped to spend much of the day at the hydro intake working on our dam, but now only a few hours remained before dark.  To increase the dam’s effectiveness we used tarps to help slow the flow.  This created some areas of dead water as intended.

Down at the dock, I shook the boat cover free of snow.  This can be quite a time-consuming process depending on the snow load.  After I shovel off the starboard tie I crawl under the claustrophobic boat cover to lightly punch off the port side load.  There were many inches of snow down on the boardwalk by late afternoon.  They’re calling this new bout of snow part of a major winter storm” and we should expect a real dump over the next three days.  As projected, this storm is a product of that formative Yukon cold front battling warm air from the Gulf of Alaska.

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