November in Newhalen

This last weekend, Tyler and I went riding with Kate and Bill to survey the last remnants of autumn before the snow blankets our village. Although the temperature was in the mid-20s (and about 0 degrees with windchill on the Honda), we bundled up and set out on Saturday afternoon to take in the splendor of the lower forests that lie at the foothills of Roadhouse Mountain.
The first time we journeyed to Roadhouse, the trees were lush and green and the ground was dry. During this trip, however, our scenery was painted in beautiful shades of yellows and oranges and everything was crisp from the frost. Ponds were crusted in layers of thin ice and our breaths came out in thick clouds.
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Kate and Bill first took us to see a beaver dam that plugged the river we were walking alongside. I had never seen a beaver dam up close, and to see it with my own eyes was remarkable.

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After we walked for a while, we sat down in a mossy patch and ate a snack. Tyler brought some crackers and brought a delicious jar of homemade hummus that we shared.

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While we were sitting, Bill trudged off for about ten minutes and promptly returned with a spruce grouse. I’ve never had grouse before, but I’m dying to try some! Apparently, they’re very easy to hunt. I’m hoping that Tyler will bring home a grouse or a ptarmigan for dinner one of these days!
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After our rest, we ventured to a bear tree. I had also never seen a bear tree before; looking at one up close reminded me of the true size of Grizzly Bears. This tree was rubbed raw about ten feet up from the ground. There was bear hair stuck in the splinters of the tree as well. It was truly a sight to see!
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After several hours of walking, we hiked back to our Hondas. Since our fingers and toes were frozen, we were ready to head back home.

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And to conclude, I’ll end with a stunning capture of Roadhouse Mountain. It was from this vantage point that I learned the word alpenglow from Kate. I think I have a new favorite word.
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And thus another mini-adventure from Bush Alaska concludes. Although I’m excited for the winter snow, I’ll be sad to see the autumnal colors disappear. Fall turns Newhalen into a genuinely breathtaking place during the holiday season.

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