2 February, 2002
Rumbling up the snow machines, bundling up with equipment, gear and clothes - and off we zoomed to Ophir Creek. Ophir Creek where remnants lie of the old gold dredging days. Huge dredges set along the creek banks where at one time they searched for the riches of Alaska. Snow machining along the trail felt like driving a race car in a video game. Except when you mess up on a snow machine it is not as forgiving as a video game. I got the machine stuck pretty good one time. What happens is that you are zooming along on the trail but hit a steep turn in which the machine doesn't turn with it. So the ski on the one end gets buried with snow as the machine is tipped over on its side. Now if I was a pro snow-machiner I would be able to shift my weight on the turn of a dime and control the weight of the machine. However, I have not yet advanced to an expert driver. This will happen in due time - I am sure after 400 plus miles! So once the machine is tipped, you tug,dig, heave with muscle power and push on the gas until it is free! A little aerobic workout is refreshing during the cold of the day!!
The Ophir Creek site lies ontop of a hill and it gives a fantastic of the snow covered shrubby tundra. I worked the albedo measurer which measures the amount of incoming solar radiation compared to outgoing solar radiation. (Look back at my previous journal in November for a complete albedo explanation). All of this is attached to a cable that appears as a long clothesline. Running the albedo measurer feels like tugging a long, fishing pole in knee deep snow. However, instead of a fish on the end of the line, there is an UFO looking device with a camera that follows behind recording the shrub/snow pictures. So after tugging and pulling, 50 plus albedo measurements were recorded and stored in the data logger.
The magna probe that records snow depth was also ran, along with snow water equivalence, GPS measurements, shrubs tagged and a beloved snow pit was dug. All of these measurements were done at the Ophir Creek More details later on the importance of these measurements recorded at the windy Ophir Creek site!
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