After last weekend’s winter wonderland of fresh snow and temperatures at or below freezing, we saw a shift in the first part of this week to that Southeast Alaska special of snow trending towards rain and temperatures just above freezing.
Such conditions result in slush almost anywhere that snow is disturbed or drainage is poor, while still being cool enough that the semi-frozen water persists for days. It’s not the nicest for walking, but in some ways it can be better than what comes after if the skies clear out and temperatures drop again.
That’s what happened overnight. Wednesday skies cleared, and overnight temperatures dropped down into the lower 20s (at my house – I don’t think it was quite so cold officially). Fortunately most of the places I walked today had been decently plowed, shoveled, or trampled, so there was not the ankle-turning, toe catching random chunks of ice formed out of the irregular slush piles to contend with.
My car needed a tire fixed this morning, so I dropped it off first thing and took some extra time on my walk home to stroll around the park. The sun was slow to rise over Eureka Mountain, so light wasn’t the best for getting good looks at the birds in the estuary. I did notice a few birds I recognized from Swan Lake, including a coot, the Wood Duck and a blond Mallard or two. Presumably many of the other Mallards that I can’t recognize as individuals had also abandoned the lake for the park.
By the time I got around to the Visitor’s Center, the sun had cleared he mountains to the southwest, and I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my face for a few minutes while I stood facing he water near Merrill Rock.
Clear skies prevailed (though there were some high hazy clouds in the southern half of the sky), and temperatures got up to near freezing, I think, but this evening they have dropped to 21F at my house.