Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy Solstice

Even though I'm back at work for a couple of weeks, I'd like to wish all of our followers and readers a very happy Summer Solstice Day.  Solstice Day is truly important to us in the Great White North, because it means that winter is coming, and probably coming faster than many of us care to admit.

So, to take up where I left off, my major task the 10th through 14th was to finish up all of that much needed spring cleaning, and to decorate the place a bit for the big event on the 15th.  On Saturday the 15th I remarried.  Trish Cordon and I tied the knot right there in the middle of the front yard, with lots of friends and neighbors as witnesses.

Left to right - Best Man Mike Green, Bride Trish Cordon, Groom Thom "Swanny" Swan, Bride's Maid Janet Carter and Marriage Commissioner Don Standing Bear.  Photo by Cindy Shoemaker
Yep, we even had a theme - Arctic Redneck Tie Dye.  That was Trish's idea, and part of our goal was to keep the ceremony fairly casual.  After all, it IS Two Rivers, and our idea of formal wear leans toward clean Carhartts over new break-up boots (hip waders optional). 

I'm afraid our 'honeymoon' was a bit short-lived.  Of course we both needed to return to work, but that wasn't the cause.  Monday evening an incredibly fast moving wildfire broke out only 2 miles from our home place.  Trish learned of it first, while working up at Pleasant Valley Store.  She called to tell me, but I didn't see so much as a hint of smoke.  Just a few seconds after Trish hung up, our friend Janet called to tell me that folks were calling for help at 16 mile.  I jumped into my little car and headed that direction.  This video, shot by Luke Benson, will give you an idea of what I saw.

That video was taken from very near a friend's driveway, only 100 yards or so from where several of us neighbors were looking over our shoulders while loading her dogs into Blake Matray's dog truck to evacuate them.  Meanwhile, Abbie West and some friends were not far away, and captured this video.

Since our place was close, yet upwind and at lease safe for the moment, we brought my friends dogs over to camp.  We had to quickly jerry-rig picket lines for the dogs, but within 45 minutes of the fire's start, her dogs were safely and comfortably hanging out literally in our front yard.

Canine refugee camp
Firefighters hit this thing particularly hard, with at least 4 fixed wing aircraft dropping retardant and water, and several helicopters with 'Bambi buckets' doing the same.  It made for some heavy air traffic in a very small bit of airspace, as this video, shot by a neighbor at the eastern roadblock of the fire, shows.

The wildland fire crews deserve a huge amount of credit.  Their highly skilled and coordinated activities no doubt saved property and lives.  As it was, the fire was contained to 120 acres and did only minimal property damage.  They had everything well enough under control that I was able to return to work only a few hours late.

It was more than enough excitement to last, so I'm really not too disappointed to be missing the various solstice activities in town.  In fact, given the hot dry weather we've been having, it's kind of nice to know that after tomorrow, winter and the end of fire season is indeed coming soon.


  1. Hi Swanny, Congrats to you and Trish on your marriage! Woshing you two many years of happiness and togetherness! The videos of the wildfire were stark reminders of nature's dangers in the midst of Alaska's beautiful surroundings. Enjoy your posts of sled dog adventures and life in Two Rivers, Alaska. Dave in the NC mtns

  2. Hello Swanny, I have enjoyed your blog over the past few years, and it is one of several I use to vicariously live the AK life. Congratulations on your marriage. Best wishes to you both. - Melissa in Oregon