Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Date: Jan. 23
Mileage: 20.2
January mileage: 371.3
Temperature upon departure: 1

I know, I know, I'm overdoing the frozen face self portraits. But I just love the frosty eyelash look. I really think it could be the next innovation in eye makeup technology - a bold and stunning statement that says, "look at me! I move freely in the subzero wastelands. I'm sassy!"

Geoff and I were playing Scrabble after Telluride MountainFilm fest part 2 when our first real Alaskan earthquake hit. It generated a terribly predictable rumble beneath our seats, followed by the shifting and falling of a few household items. It measured only 4.1 on the scale, but it was the second earthquake I've "felt" in my life. The first also was in Alaska, out on the North Slope. I was sprawled on the soft tundra in my sleeping bag when I long, lolling rumble nudged me awake. I think that was a 4.8 quake - a pleasant experience, really, as long as you're out in the open where nothing can fall on you.

MountainFilm 2 also was a rumbling good time. The best film tonight was a anthropological mockumentary about the "Lost Civilization" of Mountain Village, Colo. Geoff and I visited this upscale planned community once, on a bicycle tour that took us through the San Juan Mountains. We rode the free tram from Telluride to 9,500 feet, and arrived at a mass of elaborate log castles, stone masonry and Swiss chalets that would put Park City to shame. It was about 8 p.m. on a September evening, and we saw absolutely no one the entire hour we walked around up there. Not a soul.

So, when the film was about to start, Geoff said, "You remember Mountain Village?"

"Yeah," I said, "I remember it was deserted."

The lights dimmed, and the ensuing film shed a lot of light on that confusing experience three years ago. It turns out Mountain Village was very recently inhabited by an entire civilization of second-home-owning, upper-class yuppies. Then, all of the sudden, they vanished. The archaeologists in the film concluded that their demise was quickened by a number of factors, including wilderness conditions unsuitable to their Land's End sweaters, their tendancy to drive ledge-rolling Hummers and their alienation of the Telluride ski bums whose labors kept them alive. Now the souless ghosts of their civilazation hover over the slopes - a reminder of the perils of living an unsustainable lifestyle. Who knew?


  1. It's colder than a well digger's ass in the Klondike.
    I am in Kenai and it's minus 20 right now. I have to work on planes all day out there. Getting ready to run fuel for the Iron Dog.

    Well, keep warm!

    Any Alaska readers, feel free to visit my blog for News from Alaska


  2. I had my first earthquake in AK also. Not much to it. I woke up for it, but only momentarily. I think most of my family missed it completely.
    So don't buy real estate in Telluride? The locals north of there had a nickname for that time it was "to ... you ride" I'll let you fill in the blank.

  3. I live in Mountain Village and I've witnessed the soul-less ghosts hovering over the moutain on numerous occasions. The movie doesn't even portray half of the real story. Stay away-stay far, far away.

    Chris P.

  4. I love your blog! You live in a beautiful area which I very much hope to visit one day. Your photographs capture Alaskas beauty perfectly. You have inspired me to get off my lazy arse and get out there! Blog On!

  5. I grew up in Japan and California so I have no memory of my first quake :-). I was an adult when one finally woke me up one night.

  6. Jill,

    you forgot the quake in Arcata ... or was there really one?


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