Saturday, January 01, 2011

Backyard walks December

I love the backyard walks along the northern shore of our little peninsula at Palmer Station.  The rocky terrain reminds me of the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, the bedrock exposed and scoured by glaciation from long years past.  The exception is that here at Palmer, the glacier has been retreating more recently, but the results are the same.  Great hiking!
 Here is a view of the station from a rocky outcrop on the waters' edge.
 The bedrock ledges are folds that disappear into the depths of Arthur Harbor where there are shear drop-offs out from the waters edge about 30' or so. 
 It's beautiful to see the bedrock underwater with the perfect lighting like it was this hike.
Here is an edge right on the waterline.  These small little pieces of ice were left here after the glacier in the background calved and eventually the pieces end up stranded during the tidal changes.  
There are patches of snow that the penguins like to go hang out on and rest.  This is an Adelie on his belly, eating the snow that is the consistency of a snow cone.  It must be very refreshing as if he were on Torgersen where the Adelie colony is, the snow would be covered in POO.  
Hmmm, so I saw this other Adelie, with his head buried in the snow and he was stretching his back feet.  The penguins are fun to watch.  I was using a telephoto so I wouldn't disturb their quiet time.
This is the view from about where the penguins are hanging out.  In the distance you can see Torgersen Island to the left where the large Adelie colonies are.  As I turn around and head towards the glacier in the backyard....
I run into my favorite rocks that are about 4'-5' tall.  This one has been one of my subjects in a watercolor or two.  Wonderful scene this one is.
This rock sits precariously on an edge that is quite steep.  You can't tell from this angle, but another couple of winters with freezing and thawing and it might tumble down the hillside.  
 I am almost at the edge of the glacier, which is about 200 yards from me.  You can't tell that it's that far away because the rock is so deceptive.  It almost looks like gravel up to the glacier, but these rocks are the size of small dog houses and bowling balls.  I am standing tall on a ridge looking down into a valley that then rises up to meet the glacier.  As I turn around from this angle, I look towards the station...
And watch the diamonds that glitter in the waters surrounding the station.  The islands on the far horizon are called the Joubins.  They're not islands within the boating limits, but on occasion science personnel get to travel to those islands to check on bird populations.