Monday, April 15, 2013

Chasing Aurora and Clamming

Well April 12th weekend, we and other states had strong predictions for Northern Lights. Homer is pretty south so we tend to not get them as well as Fairbanks. But my hopes were high. On Friday night, I prepared for my nite out because I am in town and facing south I can't see them from my window. I made hot tea, brought my headlamp and HW to read, music, water, granola bar, and of course camera and my new wired remote device to help with taking nite pix. At midnight I set out to an overlook 2 miles out of town. Wow what a difference. I saw so many stars and a waning crescent moon.

I tested my night camera ability with the moon, but not having a tripod makes it impossible to get a good clear shot. After 10 mins in 17 degree weather, I went back into my little old truck to warm up. I then realized my camera batter died. Even though at home it said full, I should have charged it up to be sure. I also realized my truck windows were wicked dirty, so I tried to clean it up with water and a rag.

I was getting cold, so I drove to a new location to turn the heat on and get to a darker spot. I went up the hill about 15 mins and about 1,000 ft up. Found a good safe spot to park and chill. I read, listened to music through my ipod touch and portable speaker which was awesome because the truck could be off and it was a good solution because my radio does not work. I kept turning my headlamp off to look up. At about 1:30 I saw a shooting star, which was quick but caught my attention and made me smile.
It's kinda boring doing this solo but I kept busy. I thought about wild animals coming to my truck and what I would do. If I was in the populated L48 I knew I would be worried about some strange psycho attacking me, but not here. I had merino wool long johns, snow boarding pants, thick wool sweater, long puffy down coat, smart wool socks and my warm black boots. This is my usual attire when I go to the beach too. So weird! My toes managed to hurt still and I don't like the idea of idling for heat. I waited 30 more mins till 2am and called it in. I was getting hungry even after my midnight granola bar snack. I still had a chance the next night.

Next day I went clamming with a fun group of peeps. Windy but lots of sunlight and clams! Later that night, my friend had an awesome goddess girl dinner and clothing exchange party. She was near my northern lights spot I was parked in last night. I thought I would go for a bit then go home for a nap till 3am and venture off again. But long story short, I stayed the night. Every hour looking out the window till 4am when I gave in as I was so tired. So no lights for me, but still had an awesome dinner party, clamming day and next day skiing in the sun. Great living here. I hope to see the lights next winter, another reason to stay another winter :)  Pix click here. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Springing Forward

I am hopeful that this summer will be warmer than last. And I do not mean literally in higher temps and less rain, but more so mentally speaking. Spending a full winter and soon to be year in AK as of May 9th, I have come to understand the space a bit better.

Not that Homer winters are super cold compared to Northern Alaska and this last winter was pretty mild. But coming from lots of darkness to now seeing the sun quickly making its presence known to us again with comforting warmth, I can feel life coming back to be. That sun proudly standing high above than before. The angle is so high you can truly feel its heat. I can see the extremes shouting out at as us.  Truly amazing time warp. It now gets dark after 9pm!

Last summer, I recall being amazed at how quickly things grow here in a matter of months and bursts before your eyes. But coming from winter, it's more dramatic and extreme. Seeing more of the whole than a fraction. Makes ya think and appreciate, be amazed and wonder. It will also be interesting to see this small town transition to a tourist hot spots, lots of fishing and summer jobs with summer seasoned people to be had. It's gonna be weird coming from that side and now seeing it from the town side.

I've been happy with my deicison to stay a winter and not puss out before the cold got colder. As we all know, I despise cold and my hands/feet don't handle it so well. Experiencing the locals and day to day life, without the many summer distractions, has been rewarding and still winter keeps u busy here. I will see summer in a new way: from the change in weather to seeing the tourists pour in. Such a different energy and extrreme transformations to witness.

Thank you to all my friends in Alaska that has helped me make it through the year providing me with warm clothes and gear, house to stay when i was in between housing, to jobs, to home grown food to listening to my craziness when I did not know what to do last fall. I also had a super fun nice Easter dinner with a group of 20 something year olds. Lots of food and chatter.

Click here for March pictures.