April 21 2008
I am tired, my feet are hurting and actually so is my right knee. Last night it barely froze here or maybe it didn't, we've had Yukon spring for a month but it was still freezing every night and possibly most days. Yesterday it warmed up finally and today it became Yukon hot at around 4. Still no birch sap. But swans are flying over.
My first day as keeper of wild places I made 2 trips one to the 911 pond, and 1 to the Birch trees. I left at 8.30 am doing a multipurpose trip collecting cans from along the highway and checking on the swans at the 911 pond. Walking in my rubber boots as the snow along the roads has or is melting it is very wet in the ditches, but it is the best time for collecting refundables. for 7 months there has been snow in the ditches and now it shows what people have been drinking while driving the Alaska highway. First I have to take a trail towards the highway. It's a wide open trail, through the forest, going south and only sloping down minimally till I come to a ridge, where I can overlook the Mendenhall valley. The 911 pond is part of that. On top of the ridge in the spruce trees I 'm sure a flock of chickadees lives there, I always here them chattering here. From here the ponds, they lay like beads on a necklace in the valley, still look white.
The frozen ponds stay white longest. I walk down the sloped ridge to the highway. Cans galore, I say every 10 meters a can , mostly beer cans, some pop, a few bottles of course there is always other goodies too, nothing too exciting this trip, some rope, a neat purple, little bungee cord and a mirror. Soon enough my pail is full and I stop to crush all the cans and transfer them to a bag. It's then that I here a duck like sound. I look around and scan the big puddles in the ditch,nothing.. till I hear "swish, swish". And right above 9 swans fly over me going west following the same route as I, they are not stopping at the pond I am heading for and fly right on through. No traffic in is in hearing range, so it's a moment to enjoy. The traffic is busier then I expected, though being some 3 hours along the road I say I did see 30 vehicles. Eventually I reach the little bush road that leads to the meadows in which the pond is. The snow on the trail is very soft. There is still snow as this road is used by skidoos which makes a hard frozen trail which takes longer to melt.
to be continued.