"Every planet has its own weird customs. About a year before we met, I spent six weeks on a moon where the principal form of recreation was juggling geese. My hand to God. Baby geese - goslings! They were juggled."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I take a school bus to work

Saturday, I went to Fairbanks on some errands and to have a little fun. Before I could even get out of the park, however, I spotted a moose and her newborn calf. The calf had been born the day before.

My first stop in Fairbanks was the Museum of the North to check out the geology materials. Most of the museum was one room of very excellent displays centered on Alaskan natural and cultural history. The upstairs area was art and an exhibit called, 'The room where you go to listen.' 'The place,' as the artist seems to have nicknamed it, is a white room with a screen. On the screen are colors in constant, but very very slow, change. On the speakers are bells and chords reflecting the movement of the earth around the sun and moon around the earth and the aurora borealis. Booming speakers announce earthquakes occurring in Alaska in real time. I wondered what the 2002 Denali quake or the 1964 quake would have felt like...?

Next, to the Farmer's Market on College and Caribou. It's not a farmer's market yet, but rather a market full of artisans. The only crops so far are cucumbers and radishes. I picked up some dandelion jelly, fireweed jelly, and fireweed honey. A very friendly couple selling carved rock pendants let me take away one of their creations for a dollar less than they asked - with the promise that I come back with the final dollar (I ran out of cash...). I picked out a rounded pendant that came from a tailing pile - it certainly looks metamorphosed, and the greenish tint makes me think it used to be basalt. The woman had me pick out a silk string, and the man carefully glued connections to the ends. Very nice. I recommend them.

Last place to stop before errands was the Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge to find an EarthCache about an ice wedge. Beautiful nature trails and a peaceful walk on an amazing day.

I went to Savage River yesterday, a 20-30 minute bus ride from the Murie Science and Learning Center. Denali was out in full view but only visible for a short distance before nearby mountains blotted it out. Temperatures have been in the low 60s lately, practically balmy.

Wandered along the west side of the Loop Trail up to the bridge and kept going to try and find the knickpoint. I walked for quite a while but never did definitively find it. I'll have to get back.

Took the east side back and was stunned to meet a Dall ram right around a corner. As he began to trot up the trail towards me, I backed up and realized an ewe appeared behind me.


Dall sheep ram heading up the trail towards me.

Arctic ground squirrel, I think?

Partway through Savage Canyon.

I spent this morning brainstorming with a Park employee in a building called 'Over There.' A lot (or all) the Park buildings have strange nicknames. C-Camp's recycling center is called 'Over and Over.' Our rec hall was once called the 'Bloody Bucket.'

Our talk was totally inspiring - I really have a desire to produce useful geological materials this summer, and it helps to have encouragement from all over. In the past three weeks, I've received more helpful advice and encouragement than during my entire graduate career.

Since I walked to the office, I decided to try taking a bus home. It's funny, getting on a school bus all these years later.


  1. What is the scale of the baby?

  2. The scale is the mom, who was much taller than a horse. The baby was just a couple feet tall. On Sunday, wildlife techs put up 'Grizzly Bears Hunting' signs...