Note to self

Almost unbearable

blog

A Kirlian cloud.

There is no such thing as a Kirlian cloud, but in the days of alternative facts…

Seriously, out of the blue, after a long dark winter there  is more light than darkness. Almost too much. Gone are the days, when it was easy to catch a sunrise, or there was plenty of night time to watch the Northern lights. More light than darkness. Now comes the time of filling the tank. No more frantic reading, excessive cooking and baking. Winter is over. Well, there is still snow coming down, ice on the road, strong winds, but I can feel it, that sun light. It’s going to put an end to another winter.

Aren’t you glad?

Advertisements
Standard
One Man's Paradise

Escape from Lucania

blog

Kluane Icefield, Yukon

In 1937, Mount Lucania was the highest unclimbed peak in North America (17,150 ft). The mountain had seen only one attempt, that required a 100 plus mile approach with pack horses, crossing rivers and glaciers, uncharted terrain.  The leader of that failed expedition deemed the mountain “impregnable.” Nevertheless, he brought back photographs, which only motivated Brad Washburn to attempt he mountain, although in a different style.

Washburn had found three other young climbers. It was his idea to approach the mountain from Valdez, with the help of a bold bush pilot. That expedition turned into one of the greatest epics of mountaineering in Alaska. When Bates and Washburn landed on the Walsh Glacier the landing gear of the plane got stuck in the slushy surface of the glacier. Only after several heroic efforts, which involved ditching all non-essential gear, was the pilot able to take off, and there was no question, he would not come back with the other two climbers or pickup Washburn and Bates.

What would they do? Attempt the mountain, or find the quickest way back to civilization, which was at least 100 miles away?

David Roberts meet with Washburn and Bates, when they were in their nineties and wrote a pretty gripping tale about their adventure, which has everything from 3 left boots and only one right one, to grizzlies, and most of all a close friendship between two young men in dire straits.

They say there is no more terra incognita on this planet. Everything has been mapped. That may be true. But there are still forbidden places on Earth that have seen few or no human foot prints. The Saint Elias range is one of those places: vast, cold, and almost inaccessible. Today, you can take scenic flights across the Kluane Icefield and see endless glaciers and mountains, assuming the weather is cooperating, which is not all that often. Sometimes the glaciers feed raging rivers, sometimes they calf right into the Gulf of Alaska. That was the place, where Washburn and Bates found themselves after being stranded on the Walsh Glacier.
.

Standard
Inside Out

Island Living

Although I am not living on an island, it sometimes feels like it.

Unless I make the three mile trek to town I hear no human voices. The only footprints around the house are from feathered or furry friends. I don’t mind the isolation, or should I call it insulation? Insulation protects from outside perils.

Without the moon nights have been pitch black. It is a joy to see the sun rise in the morning. Some days there is fog drifting down from the mountains, slowly burning off, giving way to a breath-taking scenery. Those moments make up for the long, dark nights and gray, rainy days.


“The isolation spins its mysterious cocoon,
focusing the mind on one place, one time, one rhythm

– the turning of the light.

The island knows no other human voices, no other footprints.”

M. L. Stedman


I have not read Stedman’s “The Light Between Oceans”, which is apparently a novel about a couple living in a remote lighthouse.

”There is something that appeals to the human psyche about lighthouses because of their isolation. Their presence offers up a marvelous set of dichotomies the human imagination likes to explore – darkness and light, safety and danger, stasis and movement, isolation and communication”, she says.

I have read Bob Kull’s “Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes”, which is a diary about living alone for one year on a remote island off the Patagonian coast. He took his doctoral dissertation very seriously. At age 55, he  traveled to Chile with enough supplies to study the effects of deep wilderness solitude on a human being, himself.


“We experience the earth as a stranger we know we should protect for pragmatic or ethical reasons, but until we individually transform our consciousness and come to experience non-human beings as family and the earth as our home, we are unlikely to relax our demands for comfort and security and make the changes necessary for our survival, joy, and sense of belonging.

Bob Kull


His dissertation is available online. It’s an easy and interesting read. You can also learn how much stuff you need to bring to survive for one year on an uninhabited island off Patagonia.

Standard
One Man's Paradise

First Snow in the Valley

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Lewis Carroll


blog

The absence of colors during this first brush with winter is striking. Just a few days ago we had azure skies, golden leaves, and a green lawn.

This morning we woke up to gently falling snow flakes and a gray sky. It seems early. Will it stick? Or is this just a spell of winter weather?

What kind of winter will we have? I wish for tons of snow early, no wind, and then the bog freeze. That makes for good skiing and low avalanche danger. It also makes for lots of snow shoveling, difficult driving and numb fingertips. Exactly!

Standard
One Man's Paradise

October follies

“The highest form of bliss
is living with a certain degree of folly.”

Desiderius Erasmus


October has just been amazing. Clear skies, bountiful of sunshine, freezing night temperatures, fall foliage… Almost not enough time to catch your breath.

I know winter is coming. We are loosing 7 minutes of daylight every day. 13 F was the lowest temperature reading so far. Nevertheless, when the sun is out it just feels much warmer.

If I could, I would stop time right now. But I can’t. So I go with the flow and appreciate what I have.

 

Standard
One Man's Paradise

Rain, Mist, and Clouds – № 3

“So fine was the morning
except for a streak of wind here and there
that the sea and sky looked all one fabric,
as if sails were stuck high up in the sky,
or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.”

Virginia Woolf


Another beautiful morning in the Taiya Inlet. Despite the gloomy forecast we had some amazing days. Not all visitors may appreciate the mist and fog providing a mysterious backdrop to our mountains. I have never been to Misty Fjords, but I imagine that’s what this place could look like.

sea

Misty morning in the Taiya Inlet, Alaska

The rainy  weather has brought out the mushrooms in droves. More about that later.

Standard
One Man's Paradise

Tutshi Lake, Yukon

There is silver blue, sky blue and thunder blue. Every color holds within it a soul, which makes me happy or repels me, and which acts as a stimulus. To a person who has no art in him, colors are colors, tones are tones…and that is all.

All their consequences for the human spirit, which range between heaven to hell, just go unnoticed.

Emil Nolde


Emil Nolde was an Expressionists and is considered to be one of the great painters of the 20th century, mostly working in oil and watercolors. He is known for his vigorous brushwork and expressive choice of colors. His watercolor works include stormy, vivid landscapes.

Emil Nolde Marsh with Clouds

Marsh landscape with clouds – Emil Nolde

I guess it goes without saying that I am a fan of his paintings. His biography is interesting to read. He grew up on a farm at he German/Danish border, realized that he is not made for that work. He was 31, when he decided to pursue a career as an artist. Rejected by Art Schools, he took private painting lessons until he could support himself. In 1913-14 he participated with his wife in a colonial expedition to New Guinea traveling through Russia, China, and Japan.

Standard