This year has been weird for weather. We've hardly had any snow at all. We go for weeks with balmy weather, get a few inches of snow, then it rains. Then we go for weeks with frigid temps and wind. Right now we are in a frigid spell with temps down to -25 ambient and -50 windchill. I thought about going to the grocery store today and decided against it when I looked out the window and saw that the local ravens could not even make any progress when trying to fly against the wind. The low temps are easy to handle, but the wind can be brutal. It's a shame too because today was sunny, bright, and beautiful.
The weather this year has also caused the river to freeze very clear. These pics were taken during the K300 in January. It was the only time I've been down on the ice this year. Since then we've gotten enough of a smattering of snow here and there to cover the open patches of ice on the river. When I first walked out onto the ice on my way down to the start of the K300, I was walking along the beach for awhile before I found a spot to walk onto the river. As soon as I hit the river, I walked across a patch of ice that was clear and you could see straight down into the river water. My heart skipped a beat and I had a short sensation that falling in could be a possibility.
It took awhile to walk across the river because of all of the slippery open spot, but I made it to the start of the race where they had big flood lights set up. The flood light illuminated the ice well enough to take some pictures, although the pic do not do justice to the actual experience of standing on a frozen river and being able to look right down into it.
In some places you could distinctly see where the ice stopped about 4-5 feet under the surface, the mirky brown water still flowing underneath. After three winters here, I still marvel at the fact that we stand and drive on this frozen river and that the ice can handle all of the traffic that passes over it as if it were made of concrete or asphalt.
In places where cars were parked on clear spots in the ice, you could see the reflection of the color of the paint in the ice and it made for some very cool looking effects. Now, the river is completely covered in snow (although not very much of it) and the clear ice patches are hidden from view, allowing you to easily forget that you are standing or driving not on a snowy paved road, but a snowy ice road.