Saturday, January 14, 2006

Limbo

Date: Jan. 14
Mileage: 38.5
January mileage: 227.3
Temperature upon departure: 13

Today, I was very scientific about my bicycle riding. My process:

1.) Check the most recent seismic data from Mt. Augustine.
2.) Check the prevailing wind and ash data from the NOAA.
3.) Determine, based on wind direction, wind speed and ash reports, the minimum number of minutes it might take a noxious ash cloud to reach town should the volcano erupt within the next five minutes.
4.) Subtract about 45 minutes from that time, to be on the safe side.
5.) Viola! Bicycle riding increments.

I got two of these in today, each about two hours and 20 miles apiece. My morning ride was hard and tiresome on the snowy trails. But, I gotta say, a fine layer of fresh ash that fell with yesterday's snow made for some amazing traction going downhill. I also enjoyed looping the upper trail and following my glaring white tire tracks through the gray snow. On my afternoon ride, I stuck to the ice-paved gravel roads and climbed up to Ohlson Mountain Road. I hoped to stay out longer, maybe even push for 50 miles. But a really nasty snowstorm started, and I wasn't that confident in my ash projections. Plus, it was just cold today.

As it stands (at 7:30 p.m.), Augustine only erupted once today, at 12:13 a.m. I took this picture just after sunrise this morning. It's another molten hot magma mountain on Alaska's ring of fire, Mt. Redoubt, currently on his best behavior. Those clouds hovering below Redoubt meant there was no chance of seeing Augustine again today, but clouds sure beat ash. Pray for calm!

6 comments:

  1. Just curious, how many miles away is that mountain in your picture?

    I admire your trip planning:-)

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  2. I bet that's Mt McKinley, isn't it, Jill? It's high enough that it's visible from Homer, if I remember right. Looks like the right peak view as seen from the west!

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  3. OOOPS, should have read the post more carefully! I just saw that was Mt Redoubt! OOOOPS!

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  4. Hey guys;

    I'm going to try and make more of a habit of replying to comments. Mt. Redoubt is about 80 or so miles or so from Homer. Mt. McKinley, by contrast, is several hundred miles away. I'm not sure that it can ever been seen from Homer, but I do know you can see it from Anchorage on a clear day. But, now that you mention it, Redoubt does look kind of like Mt. McKinley :-)

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  5. We don't have magma vocanos here in Alaska, St. Augustine and Redoubt are pyroclastic flow volcanos. They spew hot mud basically, like Mt. St. Helen's. My dad was working on Mt. Redoubt when it blew, got some amazing pictures of that one. Flooding from melting the glacier at the cap of the mountian, boiling hot mud, rocks from the dome flying through the air, lightening from the ash cloud, wild stuff. He gave me a piece of the dome which blew into a million peices, it's weird stuff, not normal rock but not pumice either.
    Glad the ash isn't too bad there, I was suprised to read that you got a little of it, the news makes it sound like it's not hitting any populated areas. It's nasty stuff, hope you don't get anymore there. Keep on with your training! I can't wait to hear how the S100 goes for you!

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  6. Sorry, I guess I should have said we dont have magma as in LAVA, like the volcanos in Hawaii! Lots of people think we have red hot lava flowing out. :)

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