Chill 18 degrees

(These were a few thoughts from the end of a mining season north of Fairbanks one winter.)

Winter’s settled in up here rather subtly, but with determination. What little summer we had seemed mighty thin, but we’ll make it. A nearby renowned dogmusher has a young new dog-handler who’s gung-ho to learn and help and add to his resume; they passed through my neck of the woods on their way to Fairbanks earlier in the week before the snow flew. I wonder if the old driver has an in with the weatherman – they were planning to work the dogs on some practice runs.

Some days the old forklift just refuses to start, no matter if she’s been in a warm shed. Thought I was doing her a favor, but all she did was cough and sputter like an old smoker. Turns out she had a bit of a sticking problem and flooded out every time I tried to get near her. Problem solved, and now I can get back to business.

Need to head to the river, take a look see if things are freezing up yet or just the soft spots are covered up and dangerous. Last time dog went in after the stick she came up with a rather surprised and breathless expression so it’s probably time to retire the idea of swim and fetch. Still need that water hole, though.

Sure am glad I don’t have to deal with winter water down there this time of year. October was always a nasty month for the boat; that and February. Old Bimbo..actually, I think one of his fights coming around the corner was in December and that’s not far off, but I’ll trade that water for this cold stuff for a change. At least I don’t have to get wet just to do business off the back deck – now that it’s attached to my cabin on land.

Speaking of land, got myself some. Have a pretty good-lookin outhouse about 30 years old, or maybe it’s 40. Whatever, it’s not full yet so no complaints. A little blue board might be a nice addition, especially if I want to stand up without leaving a patch of hair behind on one of those cold days when I might create a little steam. Hmm. Maybe that’s not too dignified a topic. Movin on..

Well, guess I’m ready for some shut-eye. Tough ending a day that doesn’t find you anchored up somewhere, listening to the creaks and ticks, the occasional thrum of a passing boat, and the otters investigating your gear on the dock. Hope I get used to it, have something besides a blue ring around my behind to show for the switch. Guess I’ll figger it out. Til next time ~


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