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***ANNOUNCEMENT: NEW FORMAT***
As Alaska thaws out and spring starts to make an appearance, I expect to see an increase in photographic excursions and photo posts. Even though I utilize thumbnails to speed up the download process, I realize that by the time I get to the middle and end of a month (especially a month with many photographs), the images can take a long time to load. I know I still have a few readers who are on dial up internet service, and I apologize for these photo-heavy posts. Therefore, I am changing my format slightly, to minimize load times. The new format will still have a series of entries, but they will be snipped and a link will be included to read the rest of the entry and see additional photographs. If you have any feedback (both good and bad) about this new format, I'd love to hear it! You can email me at susan@susanstevenson.com with your comments.
Wednesday, May 3rd - Pre-season Trip to Denali

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story. ~ Linda Hogan

I welcomed the month of May by going for a drive to Denali with my friends Gip and Carmen. There is no better way to celebrate the arrival of a new month, and the onset of more spring-like weather, than to surround yourself with Mother Nature's glory. The road into the park is now open to mile 29.5 (Teklanika) and we got an early start on Monday morning to better our odds of seeing "The Great One".

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Sunday, May 7th - A walk through a Boreal Forest, Yaks and their babies, and more moose

Moose at MidnightThere is a moose who traipses through my backyard on a regular basis. He/she leaves a calling card of "moose nuggets", but never shows him/herself when I'm awake and watching.

I had another bout of insomnia, and was up until midnight. I opened the back door to let Sedona out one last time before heading to bed. At that time of the evening, I don't leash her - despite our unfenced yard - because she never goes more than a few feet from the back door. I happened to glance to the right and toward the trees along the back of my yard, and saw a huge black shadow under the streetlights. I quickly coaxed Sedona back into the house before she spotted the midnight marauder. It's not the best photo, due to extreme low light conditions and distance. But you can see how he/she kneels to get closer to the grass for grazing.

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Friday, May 12th - The Ice Goes Out, Another Trip to Denali, and Tree Swallows.

The Chena River goes outChena River Ice backupIn May, with rising temperatures, the ice which spans the Chena River all winter, thaws and breaks up into pieces. We call this "break up". Up and down the river, solid sheets of ice split apart, until finally the ice lets go and is swept downstream by the river's current. This is an awesome phenomenon, and occurs very quickly - the bulk of the ice moving by in only a few hours! The sound of the ice floes crashing into bridges and moving against itself is very exciting, and is one more sign of the arrival of spring.

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Tuesday, May 16th - Alaska Railroad Open House, Happy Mothers Day, Woodchuck Encounters, and GREEN-UP!

On Saturday, I got up early and drove around Fort Wainwright with Rachael and Susan browsing people's offerings at the post-wide yard sale. I only parted with $11, but picked up a few bargains. One man's junk is another man's treasure!

After walking what seemed like miles, Rachael and I went off to the Alaska Railroad Open House. This is a yearly tradition, and is the railroad's way of ushering in summer. There were free train rides (short trips - maybe a mile or two), popcorn and soda, and lots of fun things for the kids to pick up (hats, balloons, buttons, etc.). We went last year too, and thought it would be a nice way to pass a few hours.

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Wednesday, May 24th - You know when Spring has Sprung, because I'm too busy to update my journal!

I can't believe it's been a week since I updated this journal. I apologize for the delay. It has been so incredibly gorgeous here in Fairbanks - 50s and 60s during the day - and we're now up to 24 hours of visible daylight. These long days just make me want to run, run, run. Rachael and I try to keep as busy as possible and the days have been flying by quickly.

Last Thursday (the 18th), Rachael and I drove into Denali Park. We would go everyday if possible (and if gas wasn't so darn expensive!), but Thursday was our last chance to drive into Teklanika in our private vehicle. It is now officially tourist season, and the buses are running. I do plan to take a shuttle into the park (a la tourist) this summer with my sister-in-law when she comes to visit. It will be my first time, and I know that there is even more splendor to experience further in the park.

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Tuesday, May 30th - Memorial Day Weekend
"IN HONOR OF THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES WHO SERVED IN THE VIETNAM WAR. THE NAMES OF THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES AND OF THOSE WHO REMAIN MISSING ARE INSCRIBED IN THE ORDER THEY WERE TAKEN FROM US."

Preamble of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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© 2006 Susan L Stevenson