Seward, Alaska: Lovin’ me some snow

Winter camping, anyone?


A friend told me yesterday, “I haven’t seen any posts lately from Random Currents.”

Yes, it’s been a while.

My new job is wonderful and stimulating but also challenging.  We also moved into our new place last week, and we’ve been busy unpacking ever since.  It’s a cozy duplex near a huge abandoned orphanage.  The orphanage was irreparably damaged in a long-ago, terrible earthquake, and its empty hull looms behind us.  There is nothing in our backyard but the vacant windows and decomposing walls of a structure that once housed children.  Here’s what I’ve learned about it so far:

  • It’s a significant piece of Alaskan history.
  • There is a chance it may collapse and tumble down on us in the next quake.
  • Local kids say it’s haunted.

So cool.

I continue to write daily, and I’ve actually been working on some pretty interesting stuff for y’all, about the eerie orphanage and the historic quake that destroyed most of Seward, but these posts take time.  So for now, I’m going to share some lovely pictures with you, centered around a subject that makes me very happy–snow.

We have been intoxicated by the prospect of snow.  We want lots of it.  And ever since we arrived, we have been teased by our iPhone weather app.  Numerous times, it has declared that at this very moment it should be snowing, and yet it wasn’t, and it didn’t, and I was disappointed.  (100% chance, my ass.)

Then, last week, it finally started–our first snow of the season.  It was so beautiful that I found myself staring out the window, marveling at the very phenomenon of snowflakes, which the National Snow and Ice Data Center defines as “clusters of ice crystals that fall from a cloud.”  The blanket of white makes the most mundane of objects–our car, the trash dumpster across the street–look picturesque.

There are many different terms to describe snow, including melodic words like Hoarfrost, Graupel, flurry, squall, Firn, and Névé.  If I ever become a musher, these will be the names I give my sled dogs.

The snowstorm dissipated on Saturday, and this week the skies were mostly clear and the temperature was up and down.  One day it hit a balmy 40° before dropping back below freezing, so the snow melted and then refroze and now everything is covered in a cloudy layer of ice.  According to my iPhone, however, we have a 90% chance of snow today, so possibly/maybe/hopefully those ice crystals will begin dropping from the clouds any minute now.


The Lagoon, which is situated in the middle of Seward
I love the colors in this photo





A creek on one of the trails in Chugach National Forest
Our favorite view, of the snow-capped mountains across Resurrection Bay
A creek that runs into Resurrection Bay
Japanese sculpture capped in snow (a gift from Seward’s sister city in Japan)
Mile 0 of the Historic Iditarod Trail, which started in Seward. The trail, also known as the Seward-to-Nome Trail, was originally an informal group of paths used by Athabaskan and Eskimo natives.  When the gold rush hit Alaska in the early 20th century, the trail was packed with gold seekers.  The current Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which runs from Anchorage to Nome, commemorates the historic trail and the vital role that mushing and sled dogs have played in Alaskan history.
The first day it snowed. I was freezing but content.

Update: It ended up snowing on and off all afternoon today.  Yay!