18 mar 12 going for the record

There's nothing like a little competition for people to see the silver lining in a long, snowy winter.  Everyone is hoping for just another few inches of snow so we can break the all-time snowiest winter record from the mid-1950s.  The record is 132.6"and the official snowfall in Anchorage this winter so far is 129.4".  We're one snowy day away from the record.

As I mentioned in my first post about the snow back in January, we receive  more snow in our part of town because we're closer to the mountains than the official site, the airport, is.  I don't know how much snow we've received up here but I know how much is on the ground.  Below are two more photos of our yard for comparison to two weeks ago and January.  The above photo is the signage at the end of our street. 

The sky is cloudy this evening and the forecast calls for scattered snows this week.  Soon that record will belong to the Anchorage citizens of 2011-2012.  And all the slow commutes, aching backs, and narrow streets will be worth it.

Mount Snowmore!  Paul's overhead reach is 8'.

Now we've got a snow fence around the garden

4 mar 12 snow update

The snows continue to fall every couple of days, and Anchorage is nearing an all-time record.   Here are updates to the photos of our yard that I posted in January plus two new ones.

the vegetable garden.  Paul keeps a path open to the compost bins.  The top of the snow is at my chest.

The top of the pagoda is that bright snowy bump just right of center. 

Bhikkhu in the tunnel that is the path to our back door. His back is about 12" tall.
Bhikkhu in the driveway.  The far snow wall is chest height.  If I raise my hand , I can touch the top of the wall on the left.  The pagoda is to my left.

3 mar 12 iditarod parade

There are many unique aspects to life in Anchorage.  Dog mushing, arguably our most popular spectator sport, epitomizes that Alaska ideal of self-sufficiency against the harsh climate.  Thousands of people line the course of the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race as it winds 11 miles from downtown Anchorage to the Campbell Tract, just a few miles from our house.

Paul and I decided to get to the finish in an Alaskan way. We drove to a close trailhead and cross-country skied a couple of miles to the finish chute.  Despite the falling snow and low clouds obscuring the mountains, the climate didn't feel very harsh today with temperatures in the mid-20s.  Alaskans of all ages and a few tourists were hanging around trucks where the mushers who had finished were loading their dogs and sleds for the trip north to Willow and the real start of the race tomorrow.  The well-known mushers, most who finish regularly in the top ten, were answering questions and posing for photos.
Everyone wants to be close to the trail to cheer on the mushers.  The ceremonial start is more of a parade than a race.
We skied along the route, opposite to the mushers' progress, and stopped along the way to watch and take photos.  We eventually found ourselves on the other end of the Campbell Tract where the mushers were emerging from several miles in the woods with few spectators.  We watched and clapped until the last musher, a rapping rookie, passed. 

We skied to the Campbell Creek Science Center to play Iditarod trivia and listen to a long-time musher talk about the first Iditarod race 40 years ago.  Dan Seavey is mushing the trail this year to promote the race, dog sledding, and the trail.  His son and a grandson are also mushing dogs to Nome this year.
Happy Dogs! Though these leaders might have been a little warm with their jerseys encouraging the immunization of Alaska kids

When we left the science center, it seemed that everyone had gone home.  A lone moose stood on the trail near where we had watched the last mushers.  We saw no people on the ski back to the car.  That's life here in Anchorage on the edge of the last frontier, it could be 65 dog sled teams coming through town, or it could be the absence of any people on a trail within the city limits that contain a quarter of a million people, that reminds you that the wilderness and pioneers aren't very far away.

Karen Ramstead's team is always handsome though usually nearer the back of the pack on the trail to Nome.