Friday, May 31, 2013

Mother Nature is killing us - and pissing me off! May 31, 2013

Mother Nature and I have not gotten along well this year at all and it just seems to keep getting worse. I experience the coldest winter in Arizona in 60 years and then the latest spring in Alaska in well over 40 years and now above average warm temperatures with snow and ice melting with a vengeance and now we have flooding....Two weeks ago we still had ice on the river and freezing temperatures every day, the past two weeks it has been bright blue skies and sunshine and 70 plus degrees!

We had to move the Fur Trapping display from the river camp down to the dog camp because the river is over the banks and for a while was threatening the only "Fort Relief" the porta potties are under water and we can't make our guests wade through 3 feet of water to get to the cabin so we moved everything...

The only good news is now the river is so high we will be able to do some exploring in the airboat tomorrow, but it will be difficult to see how the river will be running when the water goes down, but it looks like we will be running the boats in a day or so, once all the logs and debris and remaining ice gets out of the way.

I took a few picture today so you can see what we are dealing with...

The road into the river camp!

The River Camp

The river...

Needless to say the river is ripping...still quite a bit of debris washing down and some huge chunks of ice occasionally. However we are better off than some whole towns along the Yukon are flooded and they expect more flooding downstream and if you look in the mountains there is still quite a bit f snow to come down...we will have plenty of water for quite a while!

Stay Tuned the excitement continues to build...

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30th 2013 - First Visit to Denali National Park

Had yesterday and today off, yesterday was housework and cleaning chores, myself included, but today I headed North for a little photography and recreation...also picked a couple needed items at the local market.

It was a beautiful day and I went to the visitor center at Denali and inquired about the bus tours and when spring really hits and the wildflowers start to bloom and things get green around here, I intend to take one of the bus tours, you can't drive past mile 15 in the park, you are required to take a bus....not my favorite, but oh well....

Anyway, I managed a few shots in and out of the park....

So on with the Pictures!

This is a 5 shot panorama in the park....

A couple fun signs just outside of the park...

Along the Nenanna River I managed to get a few shots at the rapids of some brave souls on the river!!

On the way back to Cantwell, I stumbled on this scene...a favorite!

A little further down the road, was Mrs. Bullwinkle!!

Stay tuned in for more adventures....the summer is just beginning!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Finally the ice is beginning to move!! May 28th, 2013

Some changes are finally starting to happen on the river...the river by our camp cleared out a couple days ago and the water is starting to rise with the snow melt, but there are several very large ice jams above our camp and we are patiently waiting for them to break up...the nearest one finally let loose today and we did a fly over of the others and they should begin to break up in the next day or is almost 80 degrees here today with bright sunshine, so warm in fact I have a fan on in the trailer, so things are melting quickly....we hope to put the air boat in the water in a couple days and go do some exploring...

Took a few pics today!

Another one of the Beaver Dam - you guys may get sick of this....

Getting ARTSY!!

Panorama Mountain!

Some caribou!!

Stay tuned for more adventures hopefully on the River!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Update May 26, 2013 - Cantwell, Alaska

Time for an update, sorry I have been remiss, have been busy since my 3 days off and return from Anchorage. Did quite a bit of shopping down there and stocked up on supplies which should hold me for the next 45 days or so...I will eat well anyway!

Drive back was uneventful, Denali was shrouded in clouds and they were not even pretty clouds to get a decent picture, so just made the drive with no real stops.

Since returning, spring has sprung with a vengeance...bright clear blue sky warm days and ice and snow disapperaing rapidly. This is a good thing, the river at the river camp is nearly clear and we hope to get the air boat in the water this week to do some exploring, we are waiting for some ice to break up in a canyon up river from us, we hope to see some big chunks of ice coming down the river any time now, which will indicate it is breaking up, once that happens we will hopefully be good to go. Just need to see how much damage to the river was done during last falls big flood, hopefully it opened up some shallow areas...we should know this week, I am anxious to get running.

On the way to the river camp the other morning, I saw this nice big Cow Moose beside the highway.

Took a few pics today at the river camp....

All in all things are going very well, weather is amazing and beautiful scenery everywhere you look!

Stay tuned the big adventure on the river will be soon!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mount McKinley - Denali in all it's Magnificance May 21, 2013

Have a couple days off, since no boat tours due to ice, so I packed up the car and made the drive from Cantwell to Anchorage, with the wonderful clear skies and weather it was the perfect time to stop along the way and catch an unobstructed view of Mount McKinley!! This is a fairly rare occurrence since it is usually shrouded in clouds, so the trip was worthwhile for that alone.

Had a wonderful dinner and a cocktail or two at Outback last night and will shop dry goods today and a few items I need to repair the brakes on the trailer...then frozen and fresh/refrigerated food in the morning before driving back to Cantwell.

May check out a few sights around Anchorage today and take a couple more pics.... but here is what I got of Denali!

Stay tuned for updates later today or tomorrow....

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 19th - What a difference a Day Makes!

The song was written for today...about midnight last night the wind layed down and the sky cleared up and you could feel it was going to be a much better day, and it was! We had crystal blue skies, no clouds, bright sun, light winds and much warmer temperatures.

First thing this morning we made sure the tour companies knew we were up and operating while many of the tours in Denali were still being canceled due to snow plows and road problems, but not us...we shoveled a path to the River Lodge and to the Dog Sled Tent and made a fine day of it....still light loads, not many people but enough to put on our show.

I took the camera with me this afternoon and made sure I took a couple pictures worthy of the beauty around me.

On to the pics...

This shot was taken from our River Camp near where we tie up the boats when there is no ice....

This shot is up river where we normally run...still covered with ice and low water!

I promise to take more in the coming days and weeks...everywhere you look is a photo!

Stay Tuned!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Winter Weather Advisory!! May 18th, 2013 - Shit!

So, I spend the winter in Arizona and they experience the coldest winter in 60 years and then I head to Alaska and we are experiencing the coldest and snowiest Spring in over 60 years. What have I done wrong.

Today is is blowing about 30 knots and snowing and the temperature is about 22 degrees, with a wind chill of near zero! We had 4 tours booked for today, but we canceled due to the road conditions and projected comfort level in the River Lodge and at the Dog Sled Camp, hard to get a stove hot enough to heat either one, with the tent of course being nearly impossible to heat in this wind.

So I am sitting in the trailer with my heat on high and listening to the wind rattle the windows and move the blinds when it blows real hard. Not a pretty picture. The trailer is warm but the wind whistling through the windows makes me plan to have thermopane windows on the next RV and has me thinking about a nice casserole to fix for dinner, the oven will help keep the trailer toasty

Since we can't put the boats on the river due to ice we have been doing a split presentation, the guests stop at the River Lodge for the Fur and Trapping presentation and some hot cocoa and fry bread, then they get back on the bus and head down to the Dog Camp for a quick ride with the dog team then a presentation down there. It has been working great until this winter storm decided to pass through. Weather reports say much warmer next week, so we are hopeful this is the last Arctic Blast until September!

Some Pics...

Scott one of the other Captains doing the Fur and Trapping presentation!

Leaving yesterday afternoon and me with only my small camera we saw a nice herd of Caribou across the river from the camp. Not the best pic with that little camera, I am NOT leaving my big camera at camp anymore!


The pussy willow tree outside my Camper!

More of some of the view around here!

Yesterday with the snowy and cold weather I decided to get out for a short drive and took my camera. Found some caribou along side the road and shot a couple was more to "get out of the house" than a photo safari!

But here they are!

Stay Tuned more as the season progresses!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 13, 2013 - Going to the dogs!

The spring is coming late this year to Cantwell, we still have 4 feet of snow everywhere the plows haven't been and the river is starting to open a little but we are probably 10 days away from open water to begin the boat tours.

The tour companies have people who will begin to arrive on the 15th, so we need to get something going and the quickest and easiest was to get the dog camp built and ready for guests, so today we took a day off from working on the boats and headed over to the dog camp area and proceeded to set up camp.

The big project for the day was to set up a huge tent for the presentation area and a place where the guests can get in out of the weather and look at some dog mushing paraphernalia! Then watch the dogs get hooked up and go for a little 1 mile ride on the dog cart! It would be a cold and windy day to wrestle the tent up!

The tent is brand new which is nice, however it was measured and purchased to fit the old frame of TWO tents. So the first project was to break out the poles and try and make sense of the pile of poles. Once we got that sorted out it was put together a huge tinker-toy frame, then man-handle the new tent over the frame and hoist it up. It actually went much smoother than any of us thought it would and in no time we had the tent up.

The Frame!

The tent!

A Better Picture of my boat!

Some pics of the Neighborhood!

Things are going well, if only the weather would cooperate a little and we had open water on the river we could start running tourists who are already booked on the 15th!

Hope for Sun! Stay Tuned for more updates!!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest