Sunday, November 9, 2008

Borealis times two

The aurora borealis dances above the Borealis cabin in the White Mtns

Silence.... I am always surprised how the complete lack of sound can be so loud. It doesn't quite make sense when I rationally contemplate the physics of it. A winters night in a cold and windless valley in Alaska radiates a silence so powerful that it is difficult to describe. A silence that makes you stand completely still and struggle to absorb some sort of distance vibration traveling through the atmosphere - a breeze rustle a branch, ice expanding on the river, an owl hooting, a jet flying miles overhead, a lone wolf howling at the moon. In the end the only conscious sound that I hear is that of the blood being pumped within my body and pulsing through my arteries and veins.

I was just reminded of the deafening sound of silence during a jaunt with Ann out into the White Mountains north of Fairbanks. Ann and I ventured 20 miles out to the Borealis cabin on the frozen shores Beaver Cr over the weekend. We were last here in May shivering in the early morning sunshine as we stumbled out of our packrafts during an overnight traverse in the endless twilight.

Ann frosted over as she radiates heat into the -20F(-30C) arctic air.

The entire forest was cloaked with a bouquet of hoar frost crystals that shimmered in the mid-day sunshine.

Two inch long crystals were delicately clinging to everything exposed to the atmosphere.

Slapping more kick-wax on my skis - grasses and sticks protruding through the snowpack quickly peeled the wax from my ski base. The low lying boggy areas still need some more snow before the tussocks are entirely covered and the trenches in between are completely filled in.

Peering out of the cabin before we ski back to civilization.

The high noon sun gradually drops closer and closer to the horizon as we head toward winter solstice and a few meager hours of sunshine each day.

4 comments:

Miki said...

Whoa! Aurora looks amazing in the picture. I cannot imagine looking at it in person!

Leslie said...

Awh, Ed - I so miss you and Fairbanks and cold and snow and arctic adventures!! Your photos are really quite stunning and I love your descriptions.

Storm said...

Oh my god, you really live in a wonderful place, I envy you, thanks to share with us these beautiful landscapes

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