Short November Days

We’re down to 8 hours of daylight, still disappearing at a rate of more than 4 minutes per day. The good news is that we don’t have to get up early to see the sun rise; the bad news is that we have to fight the urge to fix dinner at 3:30 in the afternoon once the sun sets.

Mornings can be so beautiful – the pre-dawn light is pastel pink…

… and when the sun rises above the Coastal Mountains, the early light kisses the snow-capped mountains.

Here’s a short time lapse video to show you what it looks like with a 20′ tide and the shallow arc of the winter sun.

We’ve had snow already, though it hasn’t accumulated or lasted just yet. One sunny afternoon last week we took a drive Out The Road, and saw some of the creeks starting to freeze over.

The edges of the ice show how the crystals form, delicate fingers reaching and branching into the still water.

The days are cold now, but it’s still too early for the bears to den up for the winter. The bears are restless since they didn’t get enough to eat this summer. Recent years of drought caused poor salmon spawning, and fewer mature fish to return to the streams this year. We also had a very cold, wet summer (which made up for the droughts), resulting in a poor berry crop… which all adds up to hungry bears.

In the 7 years we’ve been up here, this is the first year we’ve had problems with bears in town. Lots of problems! They’ve been up on the decks of people’s houses, cubs climb into trash cans – in fact, the worst part of the problem is that sows are teaching their cubs to look for food around humans. We can’t un-teach that lesson to those cubs, so they will keep returning to human areas in search of food.

Fish & Game will try to trap and re-locate problem bears to the other end of the island (35 miles away), but that’s no guarantee that the bears won’t find their way back to town. It’s a sad situation. Last week a cub got down on the dock! The poor thing was so scared, running from the Fish & Game officer trying to net it with no mom in sight. Another only-in-Alaska type of story is yesterday’s local news item – an Alaska Airlines 737 struck and killed a brown bear on the runway in the small town of Yakutat.

So that’s the story here. We’re hunkered down, wearing masks when we need to go to the store or post office, and keeping busy. Stay safe out there, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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