Jan 23, 2012 Baranof

33° SNOW, 32° SNOW   10” SNOW

The loud thud of snow landing heavy on the boardwalk below jolted me awake throughout the night.  I slept on edge.  Snow sloughing off the metal roof means that temps are on the rise!  There was a fresh 6” on the ground this morning and a snowy sky.  We found ourselves getting buried, the snow closing in on the cabin!  A mini-avalanche had nearly taken out the thermometer, and we had to dig it out of the snow to record numbers for our weather log.

It was a wet day, one that required woolens underneath heavy-duty rubber rain gear.  Despite the weather, we had no choice but to find our way over to the lodge to fetch our re-supply of gasoline.  Dave had the siphoning system up and working again and had kindly filled our jerry cans.  We decided that an overland expedition to the lodge was unwise with all the fresh snow that would require us to pack a new trail, and the real possibility of an avalanche overhead.  The VHF announced an avalanche advisory” for Sitka and the surrounding area today.  Trinka, our dinghy, was called to expedition duty and had one of her most exciting adventures to date.  We channeled the spirit of Ernest Shackleton as we broke through an ice sheet in order to reach the lodge.  We’re sure that few people have ever rowed around the bay in these conditions and we felt like quite the explorers!  Chatham Strait was eerily dark with snow and we plied through thick snowfall in the bay.  We stayed close to the shoreline in order to more easily forge our way through the looser bits that had been broken off with the motion of the tide.  Today claims the highest and lowest tide of the year!  Pete rowed slow and steady, looking for openings where the ice would more easily give.  He felt like he was slugging through slush pudding.  We fell just short of the dock, and triumphantly arrived at the rocks at low tide and tied the dinghy off, knowing that we’d have to keep an eye on the rising tide.  Dave & Anke, not expecting us in the midst of this weather event, greeted us at the front door.  Anke had spotted us as she filled the bird feeder on the front deck.  We enjoyed a warming cup of coffee and a quick email check.  With no time to waste as the snow continued to pile, we were off with our gas, laundry, sprouting seeds and turkey broth courtesy of Anke.  The snow cleared on our way back and we arrived back at camp ready to shovel.  In the afternoon it snowed 1” in an hour, a bit disheartening.  I liked the aftermath, though, a clear, pastel colored sky.  The boat cover is taking on heavy loads these days and it is a real chore to remove all the snow!  On the upshot, this is the first day Privateer is free of ice on the waterline.

A long hot tub was in order to soothe the muscles.  I do enjoy all the physical activity, as long as I can avoid injury.  At the onset of the shoveling, I frequently woke up in the morning in a panic, my hands asleep.  This lasted for a good five days.  Now that muscles have emerged in places where there were none, the condition has abated.

We were downright exhausted and headed early to bed.  Pleased with our work, we congratulated ourselves on keeping camp damage-free and looking sharp.  More snow is in the forecast for the whole week, so we’ll need to replenish our energy reserves before morning.  This is shaping up to be an epic snowfall and we’ve got our work cut out for us.

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