Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Beautifully Brutal Day in Seward

The day was -9f, that's -24c, when I left Anchorage with my longtime friends Betty and Jean. Betty did the driving for the 125 mile long journey. We were well south of Anchorage when the day started to brighten up.
As I stated at the end of the last post, a European vagrant called a Redwing had been seen in Seward for the last four days. We wanted to see it for ourselves.
We passed Turnagain Arm, and were heading into the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula when the rising sun touched the mountaintops. The winter sunshine holds no warmth at all. It can't even melt the frost off of windshields.
Beautiful, but mercilessly cold.
It's completely silly of me, but I always feel pity for the birds and mammals that have to endure the winter weather. When you observe them, most of the time they go about their daily activities with an exuberant indifference to the cold.  Do they consciously even notice the cold?
I also fear the thought of breaking down in a remote place. People do die of exposure who are stranded for too long.
For reasons I dont really understand, some of the local lakes freeze over so solidly that you can drive across them. Other nearby lakes like this one, dont freeze at all. You can't see the open water because of the mist rising from it.
At last we arrived in the funky, coastal town of Seward, pronounced Sue-word. It survives off tourism and fishing. The place is a near ghost town during the winter, but it's a complete madhouse in the summer.
The quaint, little town is predominated by it's fishing boat marina.
As a teenager, I spent a great deal of time hanging out around the Santa Barbara Marina,( I had several friends whose parents owned boats). So I get a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever I'm around a marina. Seward's marina is the best.
It's the best because it's a good place to see great birds like these Barrow's Goldeneyes.
And some more of them.
And lots of loons, like this non-breeding Pacific Loon.
Stay tuned for more to come from our long day in Seward.


tess stieben said...

I think if I were to see the North I would definitely travel spring-summer or early fall as I am a wuss; though these winter shots are beautiful. Hugs!

john said...

I suspect that where you live gets every bit as cold as here,(if not colder). The last half of May, and the month of June are the best times to come to Alaska. The place is crowdwd with tourists then, but it's tolerable.