Saturday, July 3, 2021

Views from a Cooler Place

I noticed it hit 100 today in Salt Lake City, with a forecast of 101 for tomorrow.  Good luck with that. 

We are still enjoying the maritime climate of Ketchikan, Alaska.  I've done most of the hikes around here before, but don't mind doing them again.  

If you've never hiked here before, let me give an introduction.  The first thing to remember is that the forests are impenetrable.  If the devil's club and other prickly bushes don't get you, the mud and muskeg will.  Stay on the trail?  Essential, except in a few places above treeline.  

The old-school trails here are similar to the one below, with wooden treadways.  I can't even fathom how long it must have taken to put these in.  

More recently, they've shifted to using gravel, which I suspect lasts longer and isn't slippery when wet, although I always liked the wooden planks and the thrill when they don't break with each foot stomp.

Although I love airy summits, the forests here are incredible.  The life force is strong.  I'm a bit disappointed that it's been dry since we arrived since I enjoy lowland hikes in the rain here.

Yesterday was cloudy and cool.  We did a short, steep hike up Dude Mountain into the alpine, such as it is here.  It was lush where there wasn't snow.  

Skis would have been fun in a few spots.  

Today was five star, but "hot."  It looks like there will be a high of 73˚F at the Ketchikan airport!  I climbed Minerva Mountain and worked up quite a sweat.  I should have brought more water.  A few views of the nearby water ways and snow-capped mountains.  Visualize breathing the maritime air.  

I've been here both for dry, warm weather and rain, most commonly the latter.  We were here once for the Christmas Holidays and it rained and blew continuously for days.  It was like living in a car wash and probably the closest one can come to experiencing living underwater.  I was a runner at the time and it took about one or two blocks before I was soaked to the skin as not only was it raining hard, but it was blowing hard too. According to the Western Region Climate Center, Ketchikan averages 152" of precipitation a year, roughly TEN TIMES the annual precipitation at the Salt Lake City airport, which is even more impressive when you realize that thunderstorms are rare here.  June and July are the dry season, but each month averages over 7 inches, more than Seattle in its wettest month.  Such is life at the end of the Pacific storm track. 

Keep cool.


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  2. Another record breaking Utah heatwave with excessive heat warnings for almost all lower valleys and even some mid elevation valleys. Yuck.