Sounds of Springtime


We hear the creeks gurgling once again. Bird songs fill the air.

In the National Parks, we often talk about Soundscapes…. The chorus of sounds that we associate with a specific landscape or set of resources.

One such sound, typical of Denali’s spring season, is that of the call of a male Willow Ptarmigan. It’s his mating call. And it certainly is catchy. You pretty much can’t mistake it for any other sound.

Last week, I had a visitor ask me about frogs in the park. He was convinced he’d heard a frog. We talked for a brief moment about the one frog that calls Denali ‘home’. And then I pulled out my little tablet computer and played (thanks to the _iBird_ app) for him the call of the male Willow Ptarmigan. Turns out, the Ptarmigan is what he heard, not the frog.

Between Mount Rainier and Denali, I have learned the distinct calls of a couple of birds: grouses and ptarmigan. Very interesting calls. And very memorable.

Click on the link: Willow Ptarmigan to view a video I took of this guy, strutting his stuff. I apologize for wind and creaking noises; today was very windy in the park!


Future Plans

I sit here on the brink of something new. It’s no secret that I’m switching jobs and moving back to Colorado. It’s going to be a welcome change, although some of my day-to-day activities at work will remain much the same as they have been over the past few years.

I’m excited to move down to Rocky. My heart practically skips a beat when I think about it.

But perhaps something else that is exciting are the opportunities that I see, beyond the summer. I’m almost giddy with delight over the possibility of some time off next winter to work on a few personal projects.

Throughout the past few years, I have often found myself thinking, “If I only had the time to do XYZ. That would be so cool.” But that time hasn’t seemed to exist. Yet.

Maybe now a new era is dawning.

Carpe diem.

Sparkles and Shines

Sometimes a girl needs a bit of sparkle. Just a bit of bling or fancy to brighten that smile.

Here in Denali, the sparkles come from snowflakes, from wind-rippled lakes, from sundogs and rainbows. There are times when this magnificent landscape truly sparkles. As an artist, these scenes can be very inspiring. They capture my imagination and challenge me to notice the little details: ice crystals, water droplets, tiny tundra flowers.

The latest issue of the online knitting magazine Twist Collective has equally captured my attention. It’s the details in these pieces that speak to me. (Candlewick and Tepal are calling to me at the moment.) The lace patterns are intricate and beautiful. And in a few short weeks when I get back to the land of Lambspun and My Sister Knits, I’m going to immerse myself for a day in lace weight yarns, alpaca, merino and silk.

My bling is inspired by the beauty around me and hand-made – and I’m looking forward to getting my creative juices going again.




At the moment, I’m really struggling to focus on _anything_. I have work still to do here in Denali, and I have a bunch of friends I will miss when I leave.

At the same time, I’m so ready to leave, take that amazing road trip and just get to the Rockies and my friends down there.

Today was a long day at work. Busy with a few visitors who caused me to raise my eyebrows, if you catch my meaning. But at the end of the day, a coworker and I went to the Kennels. Sultana gave birth this morning to Denali’s 2012 litter (yet to be named), and we wanted to see the puppies. They were squealing and squirming about, trying to feed, while Sultana eagerly gobbled up her own food: momma and babies are all healthy and happy.

The first (of many) things I will miss about Denali: these sweet dogs. Always ready for a snuggle and play time. I wish I could take them all with me.

Tomorrow Is Just One Of Yesterday’s Dreams

In the last week, my life has taken a turn that I never imagined for myself this year. I mean, it was something that I dearly hoped and prayed for, but I didn’t really expect. The statistics were just stacked against it. But the clouds parted and the sun shone down on my little heart like a miracle.

I interviewed for, and was offered, a position for this summer at Rocky Mountain National Park. Next month, I’ll be packing up my cabin here in Denali and heading down to Colorado.

Today, a coworker looked at me and asked if this course was, perhaps, bittersweet. Sort of. This landscape up here is amazing and life takes on a whole new meaning. I won’t soon forget falling asleep to the simultaneous calling of both loons and wolves last summer at Wonder Lake and waking up to see that huge peak guarding over the low country.

But on the other end of this journey is Rocky. Regardless of the actual job duties, I’ll be able to sit on Trail Ridge once again and watch the sunset.

Enough said.