Monday night I was geared up, out the door, and ready to head to the Black Rapids Glacier. I stopped by Fred Meyer’s to pick up some last minute food and batteries. I called the pilot to see what time to meet him at the airstrip and learned that there were 40-50 mph winds forecasted for Delta Junction. Since there was no way we would have an early morning, I stayed in Fairbanks for another night to head down in the morning. Leaving early on Tuesday morning, it was a beautiful drive down. Then I rolled into Delta in 60 mph winds, called the pilot again, “yeeeah, it’s going to be mid to late afternoon at best”. I hung out in Delta for a while, checked the forecast: wind advisory until 6 am the next day. A woman stepped out of a bus by the IGA and was promptly knocked over. A 40 foot tall cloud of dust blew off the riverbed.
All right, I’d take my time and enjoy the rest of the 40 mile drive. Continuing south, I made a bunch of stops in areas I haven’t stopped at before.
The Richardson Highway south of Delta Junction
All the rain and snow was being held up in the mountains to the south. Occasional showers made it through providing a few nice rainbows.
This time of year you can pick your favorite season by elevation contour
Waiting at the airstrip at Black Rapids for a few hours there was still no sign of the wind letting up. I drove north a few miles to where I could get cell reception and talked to the pilot again. This time it seemed there was no chance of us getting out Tuesday even if he could get the helicopter down. There was still hope that he would get down before nightfall and we could get an early start the next day. I drove north to find a place to camp and grab dinner in Delta. Once again in the IGA, standing in the checkout line, everything goes black. Yup, a tree just knocked down a power line. The whole town was out. On the phone with the pilot one more time, “I’ll see you in the morning”. I then drove to my campsite. The Sun was setting.
I had a nice view of the Milky Way for a while.
The aurora came out early the next morning
There are many more photos from this day here.