Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So Dang Cute!

Access to the internet is improving but continues to be limited here at Katmai. I get up at 5:30 a.m. to use the computer for an hour or so before 7:00. If I write a bit at least every other night and save it on my laptop, I should be able to post something at least twice a week. I am so sorry about not being able to include photos right now. Hopefully soon I can manage one or two into the blog. Hang in there!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank MY FAVORITE TRAVEL AGENT and MY FAVORITE CRAFTS AND RECIPE GURU for all their support recently. The care packages are superb! It looks like my post-Katmai travel plans to visit the Kenai Peninsula are taking shape. And I have rediscovered an old friend – crocheting. I used to enjoy crocheting many years ago but it just sort of got lost in the passing of time. So when I mentioned a few blogs ago that I was having a bit of difficulty finding something to do in my free time (besides reading and lobbing pumice into Naknek Lake, of course) not only did I get a box of yarn but I also got a selection of crochet hooks, patterns, scissors, and measuring tape all in a handy carrying case!

But there is something else that keeps me busy now – swatting mosquitoes. Everything they say about the Alaska state bird is true.

As of Monday my external hard drive is officially toast. That means, among other things, that I have lost all my Word blog text that I had saved and all the Alaska photos I had taken up until a few days ago. I was putting it all on the drive so I could save space on my laptop. Well, I won’t be doing THAT again anytime soon.
This is not as horrible a situation as it might seem, though. I did get all of the text and many of the photos posted on the blog before the Katmai internet/Nina’s external hard drive double fiasco occurred. Plus, it is still early in the season and I can take lots more pictures! The salmon haven’t even started arriving yet, nor have the bears. And there is still a lot of pumice that remains to be lobbed into Naknek lake.

Plus, I can always go back to the Glacier Brew House in Anchorage on my way back to Utah and have halibut for lunch and take another picture of it.

I do honestly regret losing my original 138 photos of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, however. That is truly a sad loss. I will be able to get back there, but it won’t be the same as that hike down the Ukak Falls trail for the first time. There won’t be another first time waking up early the next morning to photograph Mt. Katmai peeking through thick shreds of cloud in the distance above Knife Creek Glacier or the amazement of seeing four lenticular clouds layered one on top of another like giant flattened marshmallows contoured above Mt. Mageik.

What freaked me out about losing all the info on the hard drive was that I was unsure if all my thin section photos and other data from SUU had been lost forever. Thankfully none of it was lost – it was all just hiding, safely tucked away in a folder, out of the way, ready for me to find it if I really needed to. Whew! I would surely have been one unhappy rock-hounding puppy dog if I had lost the results of all that work I had done on the Beaver Dam Mountains. That is my enduring treasure, evidence of how hard I worked to get my geology degree.

I had a very nice Sunday and Monday off, though. Early Saturday evening I took a walk to the falls platform with a couple of rangers and we saw a lovely harlequin duck out on the rocks in the river. What a beauty! I don’t think I had ever seen one before.
Later Saturday night I went over to the bar at Brooks Lodge and had a couple of brewskies that were definitely not your 3.2% alcohol Utah-grade beverage. It was a birthday celebration for a fellow park ranger who turned 26 (Am I really old enough to be most everyone’s mother here?). The lodge is a nice cozy place – a small sitting area with a half circle of comfortable chairs facing the bar, a few barstools, a pleasant bartender, and more chairs surrounding a roaring fire in the fireplace to keep back the chill. I chillaxed, enjoying the company and atmosphere and of course the beer served in my Brooks Lodge Katmai NP souvenir glass.

Sunday I slept a bit late and then washed clothes, easing out of my cheerfully mild hangover as the morning and then afternoon wore on. I took a walk back to the falls platform later in the evening, this time ready with my camera in case the harlequin duck was back. And he was! I perched my elbows on the railing and snapped photo after photo (which I am happy to say are on my laptop in a new blog folder). I was even able to get some video of the duck clambering up onto a rock in the middle of the fast-moving water. So dang cute!

But then – the rotten scoundrel of a glaucous gull swooped down and knocked the harlequin duck off the rock and takes its place! I thought that was extremely unmannerly of the gull. The little duck must have wondered “Hey! What’s the big idea here?” as it paddled about in the water for a minute and then flew off upstream. Stupid gull.

Monday I put the finishing touches on my “Geology of Novarupta” illustrated talk that I am scheduled to give Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. I have sort of figured out the Mac. I have sort of figured out Apple Keynote. I can do what I need to do and be done with it.

Plus, I am not the only person today who asked the question “What is it with these Mac people, anyway?”

When you have a minute, check this out: type in “banded pumice” in Google search and see what comes up. I was researching banded pumice today and found my blog post on the second page! It must have come up because I had inserted “banded pumice” into the key words at the bottom of the post a couple of weeks ago.

Woo Hoo!!!



    When I saw the title of your latest blog I thought it was going to be all about me - OOOPS.

    First thought - not all followers use Google and
    IE - some of us use Bing and Mozilla :))

    Onward and upward - You are Google famous !!
    I typed in WATCH FOR ROCKS---Travels of a Sharp Eyed Geologist and your blog took up almost the entire first page of results. Amazing.

    Have you thought of having your FABULOUS AND EXTREMELY GOOD LOOKING brother ship you a few
    thumb/flash drives to a least backup your photos. I do have some inside information that he is saving all of your blogs on his computer with thumb drive backup but you will need your own personal archive of photos.

    I contacted the National Park Service headquarters and I was told you are allowed to use a shotgun (with steel shot) for controlling the mosquitoes with a flame thrower backup.

    And Lastly - think smoke signals ***

    The Mailman

  2. I'm enjoying your adventures, and am sorry about the hard drive failure! There is a meme (http://outsidetheinterzone.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-amazing-planet.html) going about on the geoblogosphere about the most and least visited national parks. Katmai is on the list of least visited. I linked to "Watch for Rocks" so folks can see what the place is like...

  3. Hi Garry,
    Katmai is really remote and very expensive - the only way to get here is by float plane or small boat. Most people come in by floatplane.
    No wonder it is on the least visited list! The only way I could ever afford to get here is to work here.

    I'm glad you're enjoying the blog - wasn't it you who told me about geoblogosphere?