One Man's Paradise

October follies – № 2

“It is a happiness to dream.”

Edgar Allan Poe


Cow parsnip meets October snow

It is tempting to write more about the weather, even our local radio has an article about it. Snow in mid October is not unusual, but 12 inches in one day that is.

It made for good photography and horrible driving. Actually, no driving for me, since the snow plow driver decided to dump snow in my driveway. Luckily the temperatures are above freezing and the mess is melting away fast.

I love reading adventure books. My latest pick was “Terra Incognita” by Sara Wheeler. Not sure I can recommend the book, because I am mostly jealous that she was invited to visit Antarctica three times as an artist in residence. The book did not inspire me as much as Werner Herzog’s improbable documentary “Encounters at the End of the World”. I have been dreaming about visiting this remote place for a while. I even made some attempts to land a job, although have not been very persistent.

Nevertheless, reading her book I must conclude that living in a research station in Antarctica is not so much different than living in the Alaskan bush. I have fond memories of being the winter caretaker at Rainy Pass Lodge. After the plane left that was it. The next plane was scheduled 6 weeks later to bring fresh food and supplies, pending airstrip and weather conditions. There was a crew of three onsite. We could communicate with the outside world, but were on our own for the most part. There were two generators onsite that provided electricity. They needed regular maintenance and occasional TLC. Daylight hours and weather conditions determined our daily routines. In the beginning trail hiking was an option to get around. Later we would use snow machines to haul firewood. There were days when we fantasized about sushi, hot tubs, or the beach. In the end it was an amazing experience.

Almost like Antarctica…



9 thoughts on “October follies – № 2

  1. Lovely images.
    Sara Wheeler’s book sounds like a good read. Perhaps you might enjoy Matt Dickinson’s (fiction) book Black Ice set on the Antarctic Ice cap. Great adventure and superb climax.

  2. I can’t imagine spending an Alaskan winter in isolation. That’s 6 weeks between supplies being brought in, but the duration was months, I’m guessing. Thanks for sharing that story (and the photos, of course)!

    • I was there for nine months. Only in the beginning and at the end of the season there was a seasonal long gap, where no planes could land on the airstrip or the lake. Once the lake was frozen we got a plane every 2 weeks. During the winter we also had visitors, snow machine racers riding 120 miles into the Alaska range. And then there was Iditarod. Maybe not for everyone, nevertheless remarkable.
      Thanks for visiting.

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