Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Yukon River Breaks Free From Icy Hood
May 3 2011 Pre-breakup
Everyone knew that the river would be late breaking up this year due to cooler than usual temperatures this spring. I predicted the 8th of May and I was pretty close only one day off.
I have to admit my eyes rarely leave the river on the days leading up to breakup, watching the ice go smooth then arc as the ice lifts shedding puddles of water to the edges of the river.I place sticks in the water edge so I can monitor the water level watching as Ducks ,Geese and Swans fly in flocks overhead coming to feed in the plant rich water of Ford Lake.
Friday, May 6 I was on the river bank watching the water come up, anticipating some action.Then I heard the deep short resonant sounds of the pressure building on the ice and I knew the time had come. Just moments later miles of ice slowly advance still in one piece, then it fractured and parted like an earthquake separates the land. At Simons bluff you could see the ice pilling up straight across from bank to bank in hugh chunks. It did not last long. It stalled,just a tease.
Saturday, May 7 you could not tear me away from the river and then at 4:20 pm the whole thing let go. It happens slowly at first then picks up speed like a freight train. The sound is amazing as the massive sheets ice break and shear the banks, crashing and scraping onto the rocky face of Calico Bluff. Then comes the jumble ice just as it is named chunks, crowded,rolling and tumbling and moving swiftly, for about 30 miles this year. With the water so unusually low we were able to get extremely close to the action, totally awesome.
Sunday, May 8 The final stage. The rush is over and the ice becomes less dense. I am always fascinated with the show I sit on the bank for hours watching this extravaganza that is a ballet and demolition derby all in one. It is truly mesmerizing.
No picture can make you feel this awe-inspiring event you have to witness the power it to believe it.