Bipolar weather and end of training

Jun 16, 2013 | 0 comments

I’ve been trying to update this blog for about 3 days now, but the internet is so slow it keeps failing to save or post. So here we go again — fingers crossed. 
Looks almost like a painting!

First, I wanted to get the pictures up from the snow we had about a week and a half ago. I mentioned in my last post, but in case you missed it, we had a light snow storm last Friday.

Snow falling on Newton Peak

My coworkers milling around in the frost
Summer tried to come… didn’t quite make it.

Just as quickly as the snow came, it melted away again with a few gloriously warm days of sun this past week. I had training off and on — I was exempt from B3 aviation because apparently my certification I got last summer is good for 3 years, but I still got to do Operational Leadership (risk management), bear safety, and shotgun training.

Shotgun training

Shotgun training was super fun. We practiced with the park’s .12 gauge Remington 870s, using slugs and buckshot, the same ones we take into the field for bears. I haven’t gone shooting in over a year, but I was pretty proud of my aim! Didn’t even really get a bruise from the kick of the shotgun afterwards.

Ginormous mosquito — summer’s back!

Mew gull

Near the end of the week, we had an afternoon of birding with a biologist from AK Fish & Game. Needless to say, I was quite excited about this session. We birded around Nome for about 2 1/2 hours,  and I saw a bunch of new species I probably wouldn’t have identified on my own, including Cackling Geese (they look exactly like Canada Geese), parasitic jaegers, and a Pacific golden-plover.

Melanistic parasitic jaeger!

Regular plumage parasitic jaeger

Rock ptarmigan molting into summer plumage

During the birding trip, one of my coworkers spotted a whale offshore. We screeched to a halt on the side of the road and watched for a long time as the whale periodically surfaced to spout and roll in the calm surf. We couldn’t figure out what kind it is — possibly a bowhead? Maybe a grey whale? Still haven’t figured it out. 
Still haven’t identified it…

Bonfire (in the 10pm sunlight!)

That night, in celebration of finishing our two weeks of training, we returned to the beach to have a little bonfire, enjoy the last of our good weather, and the bright midnight sun.

On Tuesday I begin my summer of “real” work as an interpretive ranger. My schedule will be Tuesday-Saturday all summer, with Sunday and Monday as my weekend days. Next week I have a full schedule of assisting with a Tundra Tots program, giving a ranger talk at the visitor center, giving two Junior Ranger programs on Friday, and staffing our table at a craft fair on Saturday.

This week is also the beginning of Nome’s Folk Fest, which celebrates the summer solstice, so there will be a lot going on outside of work, including the summer parade, lots of live music, and other events and festivities bringing the town together. Should be a fun week!

Edit: Forgot to mention my Recipe of the Week for week 2 here was dairy-free rice pudding. I had a bunch of rice to use up, so I made it into pudding with almond milk, sugar, and cinnamon. It tasted like rice pudding, but the texture was more like just sticky, creamy rice. Overall, not too bad and a good way to use up rice that’s been in the fridge too long.


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