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Alaska Autumn colors are at peak

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by SteveK, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. SteveK

    SteveK

    Mar 16, 2005
    Alaska
    For those coming to Alaska in the near future, or those living in parts of the state to the south of us, right now the autumn colors are at peak here in the Alaska Range. I drove through Broad Pass today (we live on the south side of the pass, Cantwell, our post office is on the north side). I wasn't expecting colors to be very good this year, as it's been so wet and cool, but right now the tundra on the pass is at peak, with dwarf birch a brilliant orange, blueberry bright red, willows and cottonwoods are yellow. It will only last a few days, or less if we get wind. The blueberries are pretty much non-existent this year due to the cold summer.
     
  2. Bolts

    Bolts

    May 7, 2007
    Tampa, Florida
    Lucky you, Steve! Wish I was there. Actually wish I was there for the last three months!

    (Still waiting for the palm trees to change color...)
     
  3. iLLMaCK

    iLLMaCK Guest

    Would it be better to come to Alaska in June or August, cause next year I'm coming, just not sure when exactly.
     
  4. SteveK

    SteveK

    Mar 16, 2005
    Alaska
    Dave, both times have their advantages and disadvantages. For our part of Alaska (we are on the border of Denali NP), June is a time for nesting birds, and young animals. August, from mid-month to September is autumn, and in any particular area the colors only last a few days, and that varies with altitude. Animals are in their new winter coats and look sleek, and nesting birds have flown south or will soon do so. Both months could have good weather or bad (as we had all summer this year). Wetter summers have more mosquitoes (which normally get bad around summer solstice) but frost knocks them down by mid-August. Today's drive through Broad Pass was in low clouds and rain, so I didn't take photos. Here's a photo from a few years ago of a mountain just north of Cantwell, called Panorama. Most of the vegetation in the foreground is dwarf birch.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. kays

    kays

    89
    Aug 9, 2008
    Maryland
    Alaska seems to be such a foreign, wonderful place.
     
  6. Oh, autumn already up there. It's still quite hot here.
     
  7. Yes...and here as well!
    can't even imagine fall yet, we haven't had much summer!
     
  8. SteveK

    SteveK

    Mar 16, 2005
    Alaska
    Our cities still look very American, with shopping malls, zero lot line houses, and traffic jams.

    Yes Phil, it won't be long before the snow flies here!
     
  9. stayathomedad

    stayathomedad

    Mar 11, 2008
    Alaska
    anchorage is still green
     
  10. Nice, Steve. Here's hoping the weather clears a bit so you can post some more shots to illustrate your point.

    In your suggestions, you failed to mention wildflowers! We visited Alaska in June, '04 and just last month. Wildflowers were wonderful both times, depending on location, but our experience suggests early July as probably the best time for flowers in general.
     
  11. kays

    kays

    89
    Aug 9, 2008
    Maryland
    No doubt. But there is the "other Alaska" - wilderness, extremely sparce population, rugged individualism, one state being in three (or is it four) different time zones.

    I had to do some research for mail delivery there - except for maybe Anchorage, airports are still operating under VFR (Visual Flight Rules) in this day and age. Flights not like CONUS - still controlled by the FED CAB! No adding or dropping a flight on a whim or immediate need. No one buying up routes. And the Bush Pilots; the places they go, and the folks they serve. Holy do-dew! Zip codes haphazzardly laid out as if by a drunken sailor. And just the immense size - and that's just the southern third.

    To be clear - I am in total awe of Alaska and the people there. And I have not even been there. Totally awestruck!
     
  12. SteveK

    SteveK

    Mar 16, 2005
    Alaska
    Yes, we do have nice wildflowers, and there are still a few in bloom. The fireweed here has a few blossoms left, though most are now going to seed. In our area, around Denali NP, the best time for flowers is normally right around solstice, though there are flowers blooming until mid August.

    Frank, like many Alaskans I do have a pilots license. I've owned two planes (cessna 120, cessna 180) but am planeless at this time. I am only rated VFR, but we also fly IFR (I Follow Rivers).

    Mail delivery can be a bit strange, as you indicated. Any carrier other than USPS doesn't deliver in our area. So, when I order something that's got to come via UPS or Fed Ex, it goes to Fairbanks, and is trucked down by a third party carrier, and dropped off at a gas station in the town 24 miles north of us. The gas station then calls us to tell us a package is in.

    The community where we live has 6 summer residents, and 4 winter ones. If we want to go to town to buy groceries, it's 145 miles one way. Yet we have good phone service and DSL lines, even though we do not have electricity other than what we produce with solar panels or diesel generators.

    As far as time zones, we used to have 5 across the state, but in an effort to ease tensions between Juneau and the mainland, all time zones were put into one main "Alaska Time". There are two more zones in the western part of the state, and the last island in the Aleutians is across the international dateline, so in effect Alaska is the western most state, and the eastern most one as well. And yes the state is big. We have more coastline than all the lower 48 combined. A favorite saying here is that if we cut the state in half, either half would still dwarf Texas. The Yukon Delta NWR (the largest in the country) is a bit bigger than Ohio, or twice the size of Switzerland. The Bering glacier is larger than Rhode Island. Denali National Park is larger than my birth state of Connecticut.
     
  13. kays

    kays

    89
    Aug 9, 2008
    Maryland
    Everything you've said is amazing - but the funny part is - the most amazing is that you have DSL! We're always told that you have to be within (I think) 17,000 FEET of the central office - I doubt your neighbors are that close!

    Sigh...

    The fall shooting looks wonderful up there - and I guess that means fall is slowly creeping up on us as well.

    Enjoy! ANd thanks for the geography lesson!
     
  14. SteveK

    SteveK

    Mar 16, 2005
    Alaska
    There are 14 landowners around a lake where we live, but only a few live here. The property was originally a 160 acre homestead.

    17,000 feet =3.2 miles. Well, 2 years ago the phone company built a repeater system with solar panels, generator, and batteries with inverters at the beginning or our driveway, 2.2 miles away. That enabled DSL connections. Meanwhile, a fiber optic cable is being run between Anchorage and Fairbanks. When it's complete, our phone company will hook into that, and eliminate their microwave towers. Our DSL lines will then improve; for now they work, but are slow.
     
  15. Steve, my wife and I passed near you on the rainy morning of Sunday, July 20. We had a flat tire on our rental vehicle driving the Denali Highway from Paxson late the previous evening, but got some help to mount the spare. We spent the night north of Cantwell near Denali NP, and we were driving toward Anchorage looking for a place to get the flat repaired that Sunday.

    We drove west of Cantwell on the extension of Rte 8 and found an old man who advertised tire repairs, but since it was cold and rainy, he declined (I didn't blame him). We ended up going to Wasilla to get it fixed.

    p.s. we saw fiber optic lines being laid on all major highways that we drove (Glenn, Richardson, Parks). That looks like a lot of $$$; North Slope oil revenue?
     
  16. GoGo

    GoGo

    Apr 20, 2006
    New York
    Oh AW!

    Great photo Steve!
    Looks like your going to be busy for a while.
    Have a great season!
    Ciao,
    Giorgio
     
  17. SteveK

    SteveK

    Mar 16, 2005
    Alaska
    Jim:

    That old guy in Cantwell changed my tires a few months ago (winter tread to summer tread).

    If you remember seeing the "Igloo" in route south of Cantwell, we are close to there.

    The fiber optic lines are being laid by a construction company for one of the phone companies here. I'm sure there is some government money in it, but I'm guessing it would be federal. Oil revenue pays for most everything else in the state budget, though municipalities and boroughs have taxes on property, bed taxes for hotels, and retail taxes on all goods purchased.
     
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