A week ago I was housebound watching rain falling from the sky, turning the roads into a sheet of wet ice and watching the dogs peering out of their houses at the rapidly diminishing snowpack. Today, at my place of employment, I chose to wear my parka out to work, and I'm darned glad I did so.
Here at the job site, near the White Mountains National Recreation Area, it's a nice, balmy 5-below zero (F). At the house, considerably lower than here, it has been running about 25 below most of the day, and in town (Fairbanks) it is currently about 30-below. Haul road travelers have been reporting even colder temperatures north of here.
This probably qualifies as the first cold snap of the season, and it is actually a bit late. Usually we see these sub-double-digit temperatures around the middle of November, and sometimes even the last few days of October. Even so, I never seem to be quite prepared for it and it takes me a few days to become aclimatized to the bitter weather of an Alaskan Interior winter. I very much appreciated my parkee this morning and at various times through the day.
It has been a relatively busy day thus far, and I am only now stealing away a few moments for myself. During this lull in the daily routine I've been able to enjoy the bright, clear sky of a cold afternoon. Though the sunlight was brief, it was nonetheless brilliant and brought a million or more sparkles to the hoarfrost hanging on nearly every verticle surface.
Ted tells me all of the dogs are coping nicely with the weather. He gave them all fresh straw before it hit, making sure the thinner coated dogs received extra, and prividing extra for Torus to build a nest, as he usually refuses to sleep inside a house even in the most bitter of temperatures. Today he was planning to take our snowmachine to a mechanic shop in town for some much needed work. The mechanic told me over the phone they are accepting work on a "first come, first served" basis, and to expect at least a two-week wait. That is fine, I can expect to receive the machine during the middle of my next R&R, in plenty of time to scout, pack and perhaps groom some trails. It won't take much more snow before we can relegate the four-wheeler to snow plowing duty which will suit me just fine.
Oh, lest I forget - the Sheep Mountain 150 sled dog race is scheduled for December 18th and 19th, and the roster is filling fast. Among my favorite long distance mushers competing in this year's event are three teams from the SP Kennel (Aliy Zirkle, Allen Moore and Bridgett Watkins), four teams from Lance Mackey's Comeback Kennel, Sebastian Schnuelle, DeeDee Jonrowe and more. You can see the full listing at http://www.sleddogcentral.com/news/2010/2010_sheep_mountain.htm.
My lull is about over, so I'd best get ready for the next little rush. Hoping you enjoy a wonderful evening and most importantly - are staying snug and warm near a friendly fire.