Tok Alaska: Cleft In the Rock

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Tok, Alaska marks the end of the Alaska Highway. We stayed in The Cleft In the Rock, a lodge of quaint cabins in the wood whose name alludes to God’s promise to Moses that His presence would go with His people, and that they will someday stand in His glory.

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The owners’ garden. That is rhubarb in the foreground. We had fresh rhubarb muffins for breakfast, along with fresh blueberry pancakes, eggs, reindeer sausage and potatoes, all made and served by the owners. The Cleft is only open in the summer and is a must stay.ak-0476

Winter’s End

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Looking over the Yukon. Peaceful on the surface, but there are rumblings underneath. I saw a 3 inch crack just offshore today and others are surely forming. The snow sublimes rapidly now under constantly sunny days and the temperatures are running above freezing in the afternoons.

The snow has turned granular. Icicles hang from eves and roofs are clearing. Birds are returning and chirping again. The spruce are putting on new growth, blue green. The geese have not returned yet but already you can hear gunfire around the village.

For winter, it is end of watch.

Self-portrait

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This week my photography students made self portraits. Here are two of mine. I look a bit scruffy but after all, I do live in the bush. I didn’t have a tripod, so for the first one I set the camera on a graveyard fencepost and for the second I balanced it on a low spruce branch. It fell off a few times, but its a tough little camera.

Who Is That Girl In the Window?

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The Window at Big Bend, Texas, 2006. The 5.6 mile trail winds through Oak Canyon. Eons of intermittent waters have carved the Window through the mountain fortress that you see rising to Lindsay’s left and right. The water has polished the floor to a high gloss, hard and slick. Watch out – that is a 200 foot drop out there! Even in March, the walk left us warm and sweaty. There is always a breeze in the cut, though, cooled by the massive stone walls that never feel the touch of the sun, and before long we donned our long-sleeved shirts.

Circular Gardening

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My son Christopher and Joey Jackson water the potato field. The Jacksons planted 300 pounds this year and hope to harvest several thousand in return for their labor. The garden project is funded by a grant. Our soil is very silty and porous so watering is a twice daily affair. A pump draws the water from the river behind the tree line. The garden is on the outskirts of the village and yes, bears do frequent the area. You don’t water the garden without a rifle at your side.