Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Waiting for Spring

Here are some pictures that we didn't have room to put in today's email update. Spring finally seems to be here--we are enjoying a nice Southeast Alaska drizzle today.

We are at about 25 feet of snow for the winter. Breaking news--we just had our first sighting of Trumpeter Swans--seven of them just flew by in front of the lodge. I guess spring really is here! It's been two days since the last "real" snowfall. We've got three sprinklers running full speed to try to melt snow as fast as we can.

The morning sun on the point in front of the lodge.
The view from the deck between snowstorms. We had
a nine-day stretch with snow every day!

Snowshoeing over to check on some of the guest cabins.

Clearing snow after a 12" snowfall.
Sometimes it's hard to get the snowblower
up the stairs to the deck.....
but we always seem to make it!
This is our friend John shoveling the stairs
at one of the cabins at Baranof.
He has to shovel the stairs so he can get
up to the deck to clear the snow there.

John heads to the next cabin.
The Willow Ptarmigan is Alaska's state bird. They are common
in the interior but it's unusual to see them here in Southeast
Alaska. This guy walked by right in front of the window.

The commuter in one of his favorite perches.
Feral checking in on Jo--one of the younger deer who have
been hanging around the lodge lately. The heavy snow is
covering their feed, so the deer are concentrated now on
the beaches and intertidal zone where the tide melts the snow.
Feral, the snow cat
Looking for deer.
Feral finds a soft spot in the snow in front of the deck.
That's funny.....

I walked across here......


Random shots around the lodge

Here are some random shots that Jen has taken recently around the lodge.

Here's a photo of the lodge after cleaning up a snowfall. You
may have seen it before, but I think it's a great shot!
I have been trying to melt snow around the sides of the shop
to allow the roof to shed. The lows overnight turned out to be
below the forecast, so we ended up with a lot of ice instead of
clearing snow.
Icicles formed from overspray while trying to melt snow.

Checking out the hydro intake. This is about a 30-minute
showshoe from the lodge and we have to climb some pretty
steep, icy slopes to get here. Sometimes an avalanche will
cover the intake and we have to climb up to clear it with an
ice axe. It's a beautiful hike--following snow covered Sadie Creek.

These are some of the crew cabins used by the guides and
other staff who work at the lodge in the summer.

Jen liked the geometrical patterns of the ice as it broke up
during a recent cold spell. Our neighbor John has a very
colorful skiff!

Here is Jen shooting through the house from the front deck
while I am snowblowing behind the lodge. Then there is
the reflection of the bay and mountains behind her in the
window just to give the photo another dimension.

Critter Shots

Here are some wildlife shots Jen has taken around the lodge recently.

We call this eagle "The commuter" because we see him flying past
the lodge towards the waterfall everyday and in the late afternoon
he goes back the opposite way,
This sequence happened after we cleaned some rockfish and
had some carcasses we threw on the beach off the deck. He
actually waited until the tide came in to take advantage of a
free meal.

This is a female common merganser working the water out in front of the lodge.

This river otter has been roaming around the lodge--we see
his tracks and slide marks in the snow. He actually slides
down the hills and seems to have a great time doing it!
He evidentally saw Jen stand up inside when she took these photos
through the window.
The "Commuter" waiting for something to move.....

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sailing in Alaska Slideshow

Here is a slideshow from some of our Alaskan Sailing Trips in Southeast Alaska aboard Sailboat Bob. I'd suggest starting the slideshow, then pause it for a minute. This will let the buffering get ahead of the playing so it doesn't start and stop.

There are more photos on our webpage at

Photos from Baranof

Here are a few photos taken recently from our winter at
the Baranof Wilderness Lodge. They aren't really in any
organized order. This first photo is just of the main lodge
from the dock after another snow storm. As of today, we
are over 21 feet of snow for the winter.
Here are some of the crew cabins back behind the main
lodge. All the guides and other lodge staff get their own
cabin. Each has a wood stove and electricity.

Approaching Baranof after shoveling out the skiff. There is
a 250 foot dock for boats and a floatplane dock that gives
access to the great hiking, waterfall, and natural hotsprings.
This is the community of Baranof. There are maybe a dozen
cabins along the boardwalk. The waterfall is out of glacially
fed Baranof Lake. The building on the left is the community
bath house where the hot spring water is piped down from
the hotsprings up on the hill behind "town".

Here is part of Warm Springs Bay just in front of the lodge.

Working out with our new snowblower. Mike ordered the
snowblower in Juneau this October. Somehow the snowblower
ended up in Seattle before being barged back to Petersburg.
We then had to wait several months until a boat happened
to be coming to our area from Petersburg.

If you look closely, you can see me in my orange jacket. I'm
trying to shovel snow off the roof of the shop. I got some off
but there was so much ice, I gave up and moved sprinklers
into the area to try to melt the snowbelow so the roof can shed.

This was on the other side of the shop where I was shoveling
snow so it could shed. And it worked--before I could get out
of the way! Luckily there wasn't nearly as much snow on this
side, so I was able to work my way out fairly quickly.

Crushing cans on the deck. I admit I have a diet Pepsi
addiction. I am trying to wean myself off by drinking some
caffeine free--which tastes like crap and helps me drink less!
We keep our recycling all winter and take it back to Sitka
on the boat when we leave in the spring.

This is Sadie Creek. The lodge has a small bridge that crosses
the creek. There are guest cabins on each side of the creek and
that is also where we get our hydro power and drinking water.

This is actually the moon shining over the mountains before
sunrise one morning.

Harris Air in Sitka occasionally flies into the bay.

When they do, they usually drop off our mail and sometimes
groceries if we've had time to get an order in to the store.
Our hydro intake is up on the hill behind the lodge. When
the weather gets really cold, the intake grate sometimes ices
up and we have to snowshoe up (it always happens in the
middle of the night) to clear it with an ice axe.