A Fat Old Lady Takes Up Climbing
My Seventh Year in the Mountains
Autumn 2006

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There's been another transformation up on Flattop. Two weeks ago, snow covered Flattop and the surrounding area, and it looked like the inexorable progression of snow was working its way down the mountains, into town. That was before the Chinook winds from the south --sometimes at hurricane force-- brought heavy rain and flooding to Southcentral Alaska. The snow is mostly gone now, but cold temperature have returned. There was a small amount of snow up there, frozen puddles, and plenty of frost, but no wind. I was dressed warmly enough, so it was really very pleasant. Since I was not successful in climbing Flattop last month, I was particularly glad to be there today.

More photo links:

On the way back from a visit with my daughter in Valdez,
I took these two views of Mt. Drum on the Richardson Hwy (10/1/06)
View one / View two

Three moose in my backyard (10/15/06)
The birdfeeder was broken by the small bull earlier in the week.
This time he ate everything that was left in my veggie garden. The
cow and calf just nibbled on the bushes in my birdfeeder garden.

November is starting out very cold, but with little snow. With toewarmers in my boots, I headed up Flattop, hoping to shoot the full moon from somewhere near the top. We made it to the second saddle, where a powerful wind stopped us. It was surreal to have the freezing air blasting us, while overlooking valleys filled with slowly drifting clouds. You can just barely make out a rainbow effect in the upper left photo. Although it was beautiful up there, I was forced to retreat below those high winds. Shortly after we got back to the trailhead, the sun set behind one of our volcanoes. There were a number of photographers up there to capture the sight. It was funny to see us all turning our tripods around as soon as it got dark. There was nothing to shoot at that moment, but it wasn't long before the moon rose over the Chugach range, and we all set to clicking again.

More photos from November 4th: 

An ice encrusted blueberry leaf in my garden
A chilly view of the Flattop Trail, rounding Blueberry Hill

A frosty view of Anchorage, seen from the mountain trail
Two young bull moose block the trail
A cow and calf browse in the distance
The city glows, as sunset nears
The moon just begins to peek over the mountain ridge

November 2006 is shaping up to be one of the coldest and driest on record. We have hovered around zero most of the month. I just tuck my camera under my coat and look for pretty scenes around town. All these thumbnails have full-screen links if you click on them.

Anchorage from Point Woronzof

Female Downy Woodpecker

Northern Yarrow in afternoon sun

Helping Hands, Westchester Lagoon

Frozen Sea Sunset

Frosty "Pushki"

More photos from Thanksgiving weekend:
Closeup of a female mallard by Westchester Lagoon
Inlet scene, with ice broken by the tide
A photographer enjoys an icefall along Seward Highway
Winter view of wild roses, as festive as a Christmas tree

Summer views of the dried flowers (above)
Northern Yarrow & Pushki (Cow Parsnip)

All photographs are the property of the photographer, Mary Hopson.
If you wish to use them in screensavers or webpages, please leave copyright information intact.

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