Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hot Times...

From NOAA's Statewide 2017 Year in Review: Spring and summer temperatures in the Arctic were cooler in 2017 than they have been earlier this decade, but the annual average surface temperature was still the second highest on record.
Here's the annual temperature chart from the Alaska Climate Research Center for 2017 for Fairbanks, Alaska.

In other news, it's warmed up to near thirty above this week after temps near thirty below last week.

This warm weather makes for some pretty hot doggies, especially when they're used to running when it's below zero.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

January Sunset...

Hit the triple crown today: while out working on the dog trails, there was a beautiful sunset, it was above zero, warm enough to enjoy it, and I remembered the camera. Almost inconceivable!
Just after turning for home, passed a clearing that gave the first good view of the sunset.
A couple of miles further on, the colors had deepened a bit.

Finally getting to where the trail crosses a big clearing, the colors had maxed out. Seldom get to see such a fine sunset and having it near twenty above in January made it way better. Sometimes it's the little things that make life interesting.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

December Weather Summary...

The ever popular NWS monthly summary:
Weather summary for December for Fairbanks Alaska...
A remarkably warm December in Fairbanks due to a persistent upper level ridge over the west coast of North America. This produced multiple long duration warm chinook events that pushed the temperatures in Fairbanks into a record December.  It was the warmest of the last century and the second warmest December on record which date back 113 years.
Mean monthly temperature was 8.9°F, which was 13.0°F above normal. The observed maximum temperature was 41.0°F on the 13rd of the month. The minimum temperature was -26.0°F on the 29th of the month. The total monthly precipitation was 0.3°F, which was 0.3" below normal. Snowfall  was 7.0 inches, which was 5.1 inches below normal.
Looking forward to January, the average temperature drops from 7 below on the 1st, bottoms out at 8.7 below on the 16th, and then climbs back to 6 below on the 31st for an average of 8 below for the month. Temperatures in January have ranged from 52 above in 2009 to 66 below in 1934.
The average snowfall in January is 10.3 inches, but has ranged from 66 inches in January of 1937 to trace amounts some years. Possible sunshine increases in January with 4 hours and 2 minutes of possible sunshine on the 1st increasing by an average of 5 minutes per day to 6 hours and 52 minutes by the 31st. 
The outlook for Fairbanks for January from the Climate Prediction Center calls for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
Chart is from the Alaska Climate Research Center (http://climate.gi.alaska.edu)

Friday, January 5, 2018

January Dog Runs...

Been out with the dogs a few times since New Years. While it was pretty warm the first run, near thirty, it's cooled off a bit and been near zero the last couple. Still, it's pretty warm for Jan.
The sun is starting to appear again at the top of the ridge, it won't be too long before we'll see the sunlight down here on the trail.
Been running Jabba in single lead, since none of the others are good at passing other teams. Hopefully they'll all pick it up soon, since we'll be running into more teams as the distance of the runs increase. Don't want the locals madder at me than usual for tangling up a pass!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Years...

Spent yesterday and today breaking out new trail. The first day was spent mainly crossing the clearing that state forestry put in a while back (Sunny Daze 2/17/17). Of course I got stuck a few times in the drifts, but finally made to the main trail on the other side and who should come by with his daughter and grand kids is a neighbor hadn't seen in years. So talked to him for a bit until the kids were going into hypothermia, then went on our separate ways. The rest of the time was spent connecting existing trails to form a loop and then head home. Figured the next day'd be easy since all that was needed was to pull the groomer over the new trail and brush some overhanging trees.
All that went fine, but didn't appreciate that the temperature inversion, that was absent yesterday, had returned, so the valley was about 15° colder than at the house. Wearing the same light gear, got a big surprise when heading down into the valley and it quickly got nippy. Could have turned back, but hey I'm tough right? So stupidity ruled. About five miles out, realized that this was a bad idea, since my hands were pretty cold by then. The hot grips that would have helped, burned out years ago when the voltage regulator went bad, and never replaced them. Then the trip, which had been non stop, became a stop every mile or so, to either brush some trees or lacking any work, just running in place and swinging my arms until the circulation came back. Too much fun. But now I'm home with all my fingers and toes, so alls well that ends well, I suppose.
Stopped at the turn for home where the trail faces south and got this photo. There was a great sunset all the way back, but my hands were too cold by then to mess with the camera. Thinking it might be time to fix those hot grips.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Winter Solstice...

Actually, the next day or so, but since the sun angle and day length only change a few seconds per day at this time of year, well who's to say what's the shortest day?
Here's a shot from the bottom of the valley behind our place looking south at the afternoon sun. It won't clear the ridge again for another few weeks.
Here's a view of the ridge on the other side of the valley. The sun hits the ridge part way up and it's a real treat running the dogs when the trail gets us up to the sunny side of the valley.
Here comes the sun! Coming down that ridge on the trail there's a gap in the trees where the sun just clears the ridge top to the south. Pretty nice view. While the days are short and it's usually cold out, there's still lots to see when you get outside.
If you want to see the real solstice, there's a time lapse series of photos at the Alaska Climate Center:
http://akclimate.org/sites/Default/files/webcam-timelapse/2017_12_21-TLaps.gif
(copy and paste into your browser)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas...

Off to the neighbors for Christmas dinner after a fine breakfast and opening gifts. And now our so called president seems to think Obama banned Christmas and he just brought it back. I guess I missed that version of reality: https://www.yahoo.com/news/tv-ad-thanks-trump-ending-203029715.html
Anyway have a Merry Christmas. Here's a group I'd like to hear sometime; maybe that's one thing we can all agree on, or not .

Thursday, December 21, 2017

First dog run...

Well actually the second since I forgot the camera on the first one, like always. The dogs ran great, except for a short stop out the dog yard when Tambo didn't realize he was a sled dog. The rest of the run was fine, as was the second, once we got him going, no real problems.

It's hard to get good pics with the low angle sun. The lower valley won't get direct sunlight until mid-January when the sun clears the ridge top again.

When we got  back, there were some seriously tired doggies. Like they say, a good sled dog is one that's just finished a hard run.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Dog Hauler (part 2)...

The first two boxes are mounted on the truck. The slide rail system seems to work, but may have to use bigger channel next year to strengthen the mounts. There's another box that could be installed to haul ten dogs, but since we only have five running, with two dogs retired, probably just go with the shorter setup and have the rear of the bed available to haul other stuff.
In other events, been out on the Ski Doo putting in the dog trail. There were a few trees down but all are cleared now and will run dogs tomorrow. Should be a good test for the new knee.
We're down to about four hours of sunshine now, so it doesn't give a lot daylight to get things done. With the low angle of the sun, it only gets about two degrees above the horizon, you do get periods of what's called civil twilight. According to Wikipedia, morning civil twilight begins when the sun is 6° below the horizon and ends at sunrise. Evening civil twilight begins at sunset and ends when the sun is 6° below the horizon. So altogether we get over six hours when it's light enough to see outside reasonably well.
Here's the sun starting to set around 2pm. It won't be dark for about another two hours with the extended civil twilight.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dog Hauler (part 1)...

So like I was saying last post, been putting dog boxes (or dog haulers as they're called up here) on the more or less new pickup. Well the first problem was I'd figured it all out using 2 1/2 in aluminum channel. Well they don't have that up here, so did I get 3 in, no of course not, I got 2 in. Which of course was too narrow, so when I drilled the first hole, it went between the bed and the fender. Uh oh, so had to move the holes further toward the bed, which made it too narrow to fit the boxes. So to make a short story long, had to finagle it to get it wide enough to fit the the boxes on the bed. So now the channels are fitted to the sides of the bed and just need to to get the rest of boxes fitted. Too much fun. But it's been in the 30's above all week so at least it's warm enough to work without gloves. That's something for this time of year.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

November Weather Summary...

Here's the ever popular monthly weather summary, this time courtesy of the Alaska Climate Research Center (http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/node/1377):
Fairbanks Weather Summary for November 2017
Mean monthly temperature was 4.8°F, which was 2.2°F above normal. The observed maximum temperature was 33.0°F on the 3rd of the month, the minimum temperature was -27.0°F on the 26th of the month. The total monthly precipitation was 1.3", which was 0.7" above normal.
(Normal values refer to the period 1981 to 2010)

The big project for the month (so far) is putting the dog boxes on the new pickup using an external mounting system (angle aluminum) so Andy doesn't have to crawl underneath and wrench while I install the bolts. We'll add photos if and when it's done.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Still snowing...

The snow just keeps on a' coming; we've gotten about two feet so far this month and expecting more.  Still rehabbing the knee, so other than plowing the road and driveway, haven't been outside too much. So here's some stuff from back in the day.


When I was working for one of the "alphabet agencies", I would sometimes use our dog team to do resource surveys out in the White Mtns. On one trip, one of the guys with me shot this brief video of the dogs (thanks Craig) as we left the cabin one morning.  (Click on lower right corner for full screen image)