Sunday, December 31, 2006


While it's tough to get a picture of, there's nothing quite as cute as a Reindeer with a hay snout. I took these while I was working on a diet study of the Reindeer at UAF. They have all kinds of delicious goodies mixed into their food and they love it. After they dip into their trough, a lot of it sticks on their face. Then you have to chase them around with a camera to capture the cuteness. Here are some of these efforts.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

I volunteered on a Reindeer research project and got the opportunity to work in a village called White Mountain, about 60 miles out of Nome. White Mountain is a stop on the Iditarod route as well. This is me ready for a day of snowmachining. The goggles are pretty cool--can you see the aliens?!?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Me right outside of the lovely town of Talkeetna with the beautiful Talkeetna mountain range in the background. See, it's not always dark in the winter! Today sunrise was at 10:15AM and sunset is at 3:47PM. Every day we gain a little more light!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

snow piles

I really enjoy the piles and shapes that snow makes when it falls on different objects. Notice the top of the chair and the individual triangles. This is probably from being born and raised in LA and finding snow in general so exotic! Sorry if I'm boring everyone else!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Chena Hot Springs is really a magical place in the winter. There is so much moisture in the air that everything is completely weighed down with frost, snow and ice, including the bridge and rocks. The best part is that people are allowed to bring their dogs--not to soak but to sit in cages on rocks right next to the springs so that they can partake of the steam and warmth which is probably great for tired sled dog muscles!! The pic on the bottom is a dog who seems to be quite enjoying his steam!

Tis the season

A few things I like about the snow: dog mushing, weird snowy piles where you know something must be underneath but you have no idea what, and frost on tree branches.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Here is another older pic but worth sharing, I think. Here is a gull flying by in Glacier Bay National Park.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I saw this license plate in Juneau, it's so perfect for AK.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Two summers ago I worked for the US Dept. of Fish and Wildlife on a long-term productivity study at a Black Legged Kittiwake rookery in Prince William Sound. Me and another girl camped a mile from the rookery of 18,000 birds for a month and a half with occasional 45 minute Zodiac trips into Valdez for supplies. The rookery was only one mile from Shoup Glacier, so we went to sleep every night listening to the glacier calve, which sounds like loud thunder, it's pretty impressive. If we wanted to take a break, we could drive the zodiac directly to the glacier and check out the spectacular views.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The winter is AK is just as beautiful as the summer! I took these on a drive from Haines to Anchorage.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I worked at the Palmer Musk Ox Farm the summer I first came to AK, two summers ago. I was lucky enough to come during baby season, during the month of May. I saw several Musk Ox actually being born and the amazingly tender relationship between Musk Ox and their babies.
I also spent a lot of time gathering qiviut, which is Musk Ox hair. It is warmer than wool and softer than cashmere and highly coveted! We had to gather it from the ground and also straight off of their bodies, as well. I'm not sure they loved getting combed but most didn't seem to mind too much. Musk Ox are highly social and for the most part friendly animals. For more info. check out

Friday, December 08, 2006

Two summers ago I worked on a Black Oystercatcher project where we went to oiled and unoiled islands in Prince William Sound to see if the birds were still being affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Imagine my utter joy when I showed up after a long trip from Whittier to a boat in the middle of Prince William Sound to find there was a DOG onboard! This is Nascar, the only dog working for the US Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Well, not exactly working, but his owners both do so Nascar has special permission to come along.
Here he is on deck checking out an Orca, modeling his warm fleece suit and warming up down below.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

At the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in Anchorage. The crowds were immense, but these dogs looked happy chilling out in the truck, saving their energy!

When I worked on the Brown Bear study in Haines, I only had one day a week off. This was rough because there were SO many incredible hikes in the area and I didn't have time to explore enough! One of the best was a trip to the Kluane National Park which is north of Haines in the Yukon. We hiked the King's Throne trail, which was rough, rocky and steep. We were entirely unprepared for snow at the top but luckily we were dressed at least a little warmly. Here I am at a cairn on way up. We encountered this Black Bear--luckily from the car--stuffing his mouth full of vegetation. It's a dark picture so click on it if you want a better view.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I volunteered at a Wolf Sanctuary in Southern Colorado called Mission:Wolf. It is a wonderful place where volunteers live and care for forty one wolf and wolf-dog hybrids and educate the public about wolf preservation. The wolves at Mission: Wolf were all born in captivity and can therefore never be released, but they have a beautiful place to spend their days here. We did a lot of socializing of wolves and hybrids. The hybrids were getting socialized in order to be adopted into families and the wolves were socialized in order to be used in educational programs at schools across the US. One of the incredible privileges of working at Mission:Wolf was being able to have one-on-one time with wolves. The way to greet wolves is to crouch to their level and bare your teeth. That way they can lick inside your mouth and get to know you, as you can see I am getting this treatment in the top pic. It was of course scary but exhilarating and definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The guy in the other pic is the director of Mission: Wolf, Kent. For more info. go to I highly recommend visiting, as you can see it's a beautiful place!!

The lighter of these is a hybrid.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Here is a retired sled dog and a pet chocolate lab enjoying some deep snow off Chena Rd. in Fairbanks! These dogs are both "seniors," but a walk in the snow makes them feel like pups again, you can tell!

And then it's sunset and time to head to the yurt to collapse by the stove! Ah, retirement!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Here I am working two summers ago on a Brown Bear research study in Haines, which is a beautiful small town in Southeast Alaska. We had spotting scopes and digital video cameras and monitored both brown bear behavior and the bears' reactions to the people around them...both in cars and on foot. There were three of us assigned to different spots in the early morning (4:30AM!) and dusk when the bears were most active along the Chilkoot River. I saw several grizzlies and cubs every single day and some got quite close. They would literally walk right by which was exhilarating and scary at the same time! It was an incredible opportunity as I had never ever seen a bear in person. I don't have Grizz pics because we only shot video but I have pics of the reason those Grizzlies are there: Salmon and lots of 'em!! We worked at the beginning of Fall and as you can probably tell it was chilly and wet! The research is extremely important to the ongoing success of these grizzlies. For more info. check out:

Here I am in a typical winter outfit. These jumpsuits keep you extremely warm and although everyone makes fun of my sheepskin cap, I wouldn't leave home without it! I am in Fairbanks in this pic working at the Reindeer farm.