Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cabin Fever

The days are supposed to be getting longer but it isn't happening quite fast enough. Only about a minute per day at this time of year. This iPhone picture was taken at high noon on New Years Day and even if it wasn't cloudy, it would still feel rather bleak. Needless to say, I haven't been out walking very many miles and I'm starting to feel a little cooped up. I think it's called "cabin fever." Around town, the elevation is a little lower and there has been a fair amount of ice fog. For those who haven't experienced this meteorological wonder, it is a very small frozen water droplets which form around a chunk of some contaminent such as soot. When the temperature drops and there is no breeze to keep the air mixed, an inversion sets up. This is when the cold, dense air settles in the lower areas and all sorts of unhealthy stuff such as smoke from furnaces, wood stoves and power plants move towards the colder air which is now down instead of up. And the particulates in the smoke become ice fog. Very unhealthy conditions and it gets Fairbanks listed on the EPA top ten worst pollution lists every year. A good reason to live in the hills and one more reason to not do much aerobic exercise.

We are in the middle of an extended cold spell with many days during the last couple of weeks hovering around 40 below (°F or °C). Manley Hot Springs, a small village north of Fairbanks, had the dubious honor of being number 1 on the coldest places on earth website for a couple of days.  My mom is up for the holidays and (the real reason) to see her first great-grand baby. She has been getting a good taste of our winter weather. A bit colder than her home in Corvallis. Life doesn't stop when it gets cold though it does tend to get a bit more complicated. Yesterday evening was spent helping my oldest son replacing some frozen pipes.

On Monday afternoon, we spotted a young visitor in our yard. Sorry for the quality of the picture but it was starting to get dark. The tracks have crossed our yard numerous times over the last couple of days and I saw the yearling on the road once while walking the dogs. It was still attempting to follow it's mother while she was trying to send it on it's way. It looks small in the picture with the plants in the foreground but in reality, it's back is over six feet high. Long legs...


  1. We only get quail and parrots in our garden, but you've got real style!!

    You can keep your temperatures though thanks - too cool by about 60 degrees for me :-)

  2. Geoff James:
    Nothing exotic like quail or pheasants just moose. Enough of them such that we rarely bother to attempt a garden. In the past, a couple of them come in and completely emptied our garden in a single night. And you can't chase them out as they will stand up to just about any challenge.

  3. Nice moose. I haven't seen one since we moved down here.

    It was 50˚ here in Corvallis yesterday - that is a 90˚ swing in temperature for your mom. Yikes. I am sure it is worth it to see grand babies.

    Icy fog - no fun - inversion are the worst too. Hope your weather clears up soon.

  4. Dear Richard:

    The coldest I ever was came in around -34º, and that was cold enough. It lasted two days, in the High Peaks region of upstate New York. I can't imagine days and days of -40º.

    Of course, I bet the "R" bike would start in a minute.

    Happy New Year!

    Twisted Roads

  5. Trobairitz:
    It looks like it may be warming up a bit. It has only been -20°F for a while and the NWS is claiming that it will get up to -8°F today. I think my mom will appreciate the warmer temperatures back in Oregon.

    Jack Riepe:
    The coldest temperature I've ever started my bike was +12°F. And it really wanted a minute to warm up instead of the normal 15 seconds. The thick oil didn't help at all...

    Happy New Year to you as well!

  6. Manley Hot Springs beat Mt. Washington? Damn!

    Love your backyard visitor.

  7. Lori:
    Yep, the air temperature (without wind chill) was -55°F. Mt. Washington gets a lot of wind.

  8. You and your mom doing ok?

    Sorry to miss you in Corvallis.

  9. Irondad:
    Yes, thank you, doing fine. The last visit to Corvallis was kind of hectic and I didn't have a rental car. I figure that I'll see you the next time I'm in town but thank you.

  10. Richard

    I have experienced ice fog in the Northern BC town of Prince George. A pulp & paper town. I remember many a winter with 40 below and colder. Winters had lots of snow, so I know a little about cabin fever, the hardest part of the winter are tha last few months while you are waiting for spring & life to start all over again without cold & snow. Hang in it will be over soon.

  11. seriously how do you ever go outside with temps like that? Congrats on being a grandpa! :-)

  12. Dar:
    I've been through Prince George many times over the years. When heading south, it is always a welcome sight as it sort of signals re-entering civilization. All of a sudden things like cell phones and ATM cards start working again. Only a couple of more weeks until my next adventure.
    There is rarely any wind and no humidity so it doesn't feel that cold. Though any hint of a breeze makes it feel really cold. Many residents, especially teenagers, get lulled by this and don't dress for the temperatures. It's fine until the car breaks down...

  13. From your photos, Fairbanks appears to be stunning country though you might call it frozen in time right now. Don't know what's happening at this edge of the continent (not bragging or anything) but it's been like spring. Sadly the weather folks are predicting we will be encrusted in a layer of ice by the morning. Don't know if you've seen it but check out You Tube ... Ice Road Riders (on Harleys) ... for an I wonder why moment!
    Congrats on Grandparenthood.

  14. VStar Lady:
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Ice Road Riders, eh, I need to look that one up. There are some hard core adventure types up here that ride year around with studded tires.