HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It’s a bright shiny new year! I love New Years Day. To me, it’s a fresh start; a clean slate; a brand new journal to write my thoughts in. The beginning of a new year incites me to daydream about activities and adventures. I look forward to a new year of hanging out with like-minded people, exercising our cameras and enjoying the landscapes around us. Steve and I begin to discuss summer plans; firming up dates and deciding where we’ll be towing our camper. The day is only a few minutes longer than it was on winter solstice, but it’s LONGER! That’s all that matters. From here on out…. piece of cake! I always feel like I survived another winter when New Years Day arrives, even though we have at least three more months of it.
My friend Kathee went with us to the fireworks display. She’s not a fan of driving in the dark either, so Steve and I drove to her house and picked her up. She lives on Chena Ridge, with the most awesome views of Fairbanks and the night sky.
We pulled into the Botanical Gardens and Steve was backing into a spot, when his headlights caught a moose in the light. The moose (a cow) was down on her knees grazing on whatever dead plants and flowers she could find under the snow. Next to her were more dead plants and flowers. What a bounty!
With her busy eating, we certainly weren’t going to intrude. So we waited her out and she did end up leaving about 15 minutes before the fireworks started. At about that time, my friend Julie showed up with her entire family. We got our cameras set up on our tripods, and began the trudge through deep snow to find a place to stage. Not long after, we saw a wind lantern launch and drift across the sky.
The show was delayed a few minutes, but once it got underway, the skies were filled with bright colors and the *BANG, BANG, BANG* of white explosions. At times I could feel it in my chest, it was so strong!
On the way back to Kathee’s house, I noticed the beautiful orange moon rises in the sky over the city below. We stopped at one overlook to take a few photos, and then I took more when we got up to Kathee’s. The first moon photo below was taken from the overlook and the second one was taken from Kathee’s driveway. It was gorgeous!
On New Years Day, Steve and I hung out at home, relaxing and enjoying TV. We made a honey spiral ham, potatoes and some side dishes for dinner. It turned out very good, and was quite filling. The temperature again was above zero, so we took Raven out for a walk around the neighborhood. We all needed the fresh air, and Raven was thrilled about getting out and smelling new smells. She gets cabin fever too!
We went out just before the sun went below the horizon. The sky was a lovely shade of blue but we could see clouds moving in quickly. While we were out, the sky began to turn a lovely shade of orange and pink. It was good walk and we saw others out walking, as well as kids playing and people enjoying their day off.
After getting home, we played a little frisbee with Raven. I love this photo I caught of her just about catching it in her mouth! Look at her wild eyes!
FIRST AURORA OF THE YEAR
At 4:30am this morning, I woke from a sound sleep for no reason at all. I started to roll over and go back to sleep, but decided instead to take a look out the bedroom window to see if there was any aurora activity. The moon was very bright, which makes the aurora even harder to see. But I could still see the green glow through the trees in our yard. Of course, I couldn’t just roll over and go back to sleep! I had to go out and grab a few photos.
I pulled on my jacket and boots over my pajamas and walked to the end of the driveway. I could see the aurora at the far end of my road, as usual, but the moon was so bright that I had to use longer shutter speeds to capture them.
It was so pretty out there in the night. And so quiet. The only sound I could hear was the bark of a distant dog from time to time. It was peaceful. Comfortable. A good opportunity to be alone with my thoughts and my prayers, and the silent conversations I have with my parents - who I miss so very much!
I shot this pano of the lights over my road and my house. It’s five frames that I merged together in Photoshop.
And here are the rest of the photos from last night:
Before coming in and warming up, I just had to take some photos of the moonlight shining through our birch trees. It was so beautiful!
SCENIC DRIVES and FUTURE ADVENTURES
Tomorrow (actually in less than 8 hours!) I am picking up my friend Amanda and her son, Marc, and we are going to Chena Hot Springs. We’re in search of wintry landscapes and hopefully moose, and whatever other things we can catch in our camera lenses. I’m looking forward to the drive, as I haven’t been up to Chena Hot Springs since the beginning of winter.
In a couple of weeks - over Martin Luther King Day weekend - I’m going on a *Girl’s Trip* to Anchorage. We’re planning to leave Fairbanks on Friday and come back on Monday. All four of us gals are part of the group that went to Kennicott last summer. We had such a blast, so we know we all get along well in close quarters (both in the truck, and in sharing a tent!) We’ll be staying on base when we get down there, in guest quarters. Much more comfortable than a tent and sleeping bag!
We don’t have any hard plans for our time in Anchorage, but we’re considering a drive to Seward for the day. I’ve never been down there in the winter, and I would love to check it out. Or perhaps we’ll just go as far as Alyeska and take the tram up to the restaurant for a drink. Or maybe we’ll just spend our time in Anchorage looking for things to see and do. Whatever we choose, it will be fun, I’m sure.
Until next time…