Sweet Lorraine

Things have just been going splendidly for us in the field so far. Case in point: I wore a tank top the entire day today. Why is this note-worthy? Two reasons. First, it was warm enough in MAY in Alaska to alleviate the necessity of not only several layers, but also any sleeves at all. Second, despite the early and sunny spring, what few mosquitoes are around aren’t biting yet. How could it get any better?

Lauren's outfit proves the warm weather. She is pointing to the dead moose in the waters of Stephan Lake that drove us out of there pretty quickly both days we were there.

Lauren’s outfit proves the warm weather.
She is pointing to the dead moose in the waters of Stephan Lake that drove us out of there pretty quickly both days we were there.

 

Well, I’ll tell you that, too.

I’ve noticed a bit of development in south central Alaska over the now four summers that I’ve been out here. Mostly, new houses are built and a few lots are cleared for even more future buildings – but today I saw something much bigger (and relevant to me personally). Lorraine Lake is near the tip of Point MacKenzie which is the bit of land directly across the water from Anchorage. It is 15 miles further down the road from the next closest collection location, which, until today, was a dreaded drive over a gravel road with rocks the size of tangerines. Really, it was mor elike driving through a riverbed than a road. But now it is PAVED. The entire fifteen miles. I am sure that Avis will appreciate the dozen fewer dents in the undercarriage that this development has likely allowed. And I appreciate not having to drive 25 miles per hour while clutching the steering wheel with white knuckles and cursing after each rock-meets-metal bang.

 

Butterfly on the gravel next to Noffer.

Butterfly on the gravel next to Noffer.

 

I usually dislike making collections at public accesses during holidays, not for misanthropic reasons but because lake traffic firectly correlates to increased risk of trap tamperings (one trap today was found out of the water at Knik Lake). However, I was pleasantly surprised (as is the trend so far this year) to have had charming conversations with locals at nearly half the sites we visited over Memorial Day weekend. I even dropped the forbidden E-word (evolution) after testing out the waters with a local fisherman who proved to be very interested in our research.

 

Some typical Alaskan wildlife in a Fred Meyer parking lot.

Some typical Alaskan wildlife in a Fred Meyer parking lot.

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