Thursday, March 23, 2017

Nugget of a trip...

Years ago Andy and I tried to get to a state parks cabin in the Chena Recreation Area. We never made it in, a combination of encountering overflow on the river and then following the wrong trail. So getting to the cabin became something of a quest. After checking out the the river crossing and confirming the route (Circuitous ramblings on pi day 3/15/17), finally made it to the cabin with my friend Bill.

Heading down the trail. Straight stretches like this were rare.

The dogs parked at the cabin. It was only 7 miles in (about 11 km to the French), so they were still ready for more.


The elusive Nugget Creek Cabin (photo courtesy of Alaska Div. of Parks, since I forgot to take one). It was kind of anti-climatic after waiting all these years to finally get there. It's just an old, kind of run down trappers cabin that the state appropriated, made a few improvements, and then rents it as a  "cozy log cabin with 3 platform bunks on the banks of the South Fork Chena River". The trail in is quite circuitous and could use some realignment(s), but we made it in and out with no serious crashes and the dogs ran great, so like they say,  it just don't get much better than that.
Information on the Chena Recreation Area at:  http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/cabins/north

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Circuitous Ramblings on Pi Day

Yesterday was pi day, no not apple, cherry or strawberry rhubarb, but the number pi, 3.1417. Surprised not more was made of it, since it matched our calendar date out to four places this year. But maybe the math nerds are too busy with computer games and/or hacking Facebook, whatever.
Andy and I went out to the park (Last Ride?...10/1/16) to check out some of the trails for a sled dog trip. We've had problems there in the past running into overflow and open water at the river crossings, so we decided to ski in to check it out before bringing the dogs. Back in the day, we did a lot of cross country skiing, winter camping and the like, but hadn't done that in years. When we got into running sled dogs, the skis just languished in the tool shed.

All geared up for the big adventure.


These older wooden skis require waxing. Unfortunately I guessed wrong on the wax, so had lots of grip but no glide. At least I never fell down, likely was stuck fast to the trail, so that's something


Monday, March 6, 2017

February Summary...

Here's the ever popular NWS summary for February:

February 2017 was warm and very snowy with 23.3 inches of snow falling at the Fairbanks airport. The 23.3 inches of snow that fell was 15.2 inches above the normal snowfall of 8.1 inches and ranked as the 6th snowiest February of 106 years of record. Season to date snowfall now totals 78.4 inches as of the 1st of March and is 22.1 inches above the normal season to date snowfall of 56.3 inches. Only 9 other winter seasons have had more snow through the end of February. Snow depth at the Fairbanks airport peaked at 34 inches on the 26th before settling to 32 inches. This is the greatest snow depth at Fairbanks since April of 1993.

The average temperature was 0.7 degrees which was 2.0 degrees above the normal average temperature of 1.3 degrees below and ranked as the 50th warmest of 109 years of record. The warmest temperature during the month of February was 35 degrees above on the 14th and the lowest temperature was 41 below which occurred on the 12th. 

Looking forward to March the temperature climbs sharply as the sun angle and length of day increases. The average daily maximum temperature increases from 18 degrees above on the 1st to 34 degrees on the 31st. The average daily minimum temperature increases from 9 below on the 1st to 8 above on the 31st.

March is on average the driest month in Fairbanks. Normal precipitation is 0.25 inches while normal snowfall is 4.9 inches. In some years the snow pack begins to melt out by late March.

Possible sunshine increases by nearly 7 minutes per day during March,  from 10 hours and 11 minutes on the 1st to 13 hours and 33 minutes on the 31st.


Here's the temperature chart for the winter so far:


What's interesting, to me at least, is the almost cyclical temperature variability this winter. It seems like every ten days to two weeks there's a major shift from warm to cold and then back again. And every warm spell from Decembers on, we got a pretty decent dump of snow. Not a big weather guru, but it seems we haven't had a weather pattern like this since 1990-91 when we set the all time record for snowfall at over 148 in (that's almost four meters to the French).

Another sun dog screen shot from the UAF/GI climate site. If it looks cold, it's cause it is. Been down to thirty below most nights this past week. Where's spring when ya need it!