22 August 2011 10.00 AM 58 F Overcast
I recently reread some of my blog posts – well, I have to get the “traffic” figures up somehow – with a view to summarising our experiences of living out our second full year in Alaska.
Eerily similar to the post that marked the end of our first year here, there really are just two main thoughts that come to mind. How amazingly wonderful, beautiful, striking and vast Alaska is and how incredibly quickly time goes by.
This past year saw me make 2 trips down and up the Alcan to Manitoba – breaking down with serpentine belt issues both times, to collect dogs from Seppala Kennels. We also acquired a dog from the Mat-Su Borough’s Animal Control centre that needed a home and so have ended up with a few more dogs than we started the year with.
The dog truck has travelled several more thousand miles and not exactly covered itself in glory. However, the aforementioned serpentine belt issues aside, it has been faultless – but being stranded in the Yukon, twice, does rather dent one’s faith in it. Seems strange that 10 000 lb truck powered with a 6.7 litre V10 can be brought to a grinding halt by the failure of 3 feet of rubber belt.
We’ve had quite a few visitors staying with us and that has been great. Doing the tourist thing with them takes us out and about to places that we never quite seem to manage to get to ourselves. It’s also a great excuse to have meals out and to try some of the not so local restaurants.
Just as Alaska is justifiably famed for its cold, dark, snowy winters, the summer’s main claim to notoriety is mosquitoes. And rain. And we’ve had both, lots of both. We wage an endless war on the flying, biting things and just get on with living with the wet, cold, falling stuff. Although, the rain that fell in May just after our wildfire scare was very welcome. Actually, I may be being a little harsh on the weather front. June and July were lovely, warm and sunny most of the time – it’s just August – man, I hate August – it seems to be the most horrible month for rain here.
The good thing about August is, it marks the onset of autumn and that means temperatures beginning to cool down, which in turn means —– it’s almost time to start training dogs ! I know that quite a few people have already started, but we tend to err on the side of caution with our big heavy coated dogs. There’s lots of time in the weeks ahead to get those miles in.
And whilst August may still be considered summer in many places, here the leaves have already started to turn and yesterday I saw the first flying V formation of geese, heading south for warmer climes. Before we know it, the mornings will have their first frosts, then it will be time to take away the dogs water buckets and switch to souping them, the snows will come, race season will be here and then somehow it will be Spring and then I’ll be sitting here summarising the end of our third year in Alaska. I told you time was going by quickly !
Hopefully, it won’t go by in just such a blur. We have new friends returning this winter and other friends moving close by. I forsee fun evenings and shared trails, common adventures and tall tales. And the heart of all of that, for all of us, will be our dogs.