I have to start this Blog Post with a heavy heart from some sad news. We got word about an hour ago that two people down river from us are missing. One of which I have met and both we are very familiar with. Dave Luce owns Luce's Lodge and resort and Russ Bevins have both been on the Yentna River for 20 years and more. They left there homes this morning to go to town to get fuel and have been missing ever since. The river is still very UN-stable and we have gotten reports of other people getting wet (dropping thru the ice) trying to travel, now two are missing. Please throw out a prayer for their safe recovery and for the families comfort. Hopefully they get found along the river trying to get warm after getting wet but getting out of the water. It is now night time and temps are beginning to drop. It was near thirty today and heading for the teens tonight.
I am having a hard time getting into this post, I will do my best.
This video is part of the actual Freeze Up as it happened. Myra and I were standing along the shore looking at the stopped Ice in front of us and we were looking at all the water still running. It was very quiet right in front of us but we could hear a crushing sound coming toward us from up river. As we watched the Ice begin moving again from up river acting like a bulldozer plowing into the stationary ice and pushing it further and tighter. When you watch this short video you will see stationary Ice with the moving ice coming toward us. I am sorry the video is so short, my batteries died and this happened fairly quickly. Myra took 4 different videos but it was the first time with her camera and we found out that the settings were not quite right and they did not work. The push of the ice went all the way past us and the whole river flowed very slowly with ice for about 10 to 15 minutes then it just crushed to a stop right while we stood there, all went silent, completely silent, and it has not moved since. It was really an amazing gift of Gods nature to be there while it happened. We have talked to people that have lived here for years and never been at the river at the right time to see and others (Dan and Jean) that live right on the edge of the river for 35 years and have only witnessed the actually "setting stop" twice.
The jumbled ice where it has packed together is the thickest and safest ice to travel on. The flat ice is never considered safe because it has running water right under it, that moves very fast and the flat ice usually does not get thick. The jumbled ice is two to three feet thick immediately. The problem comes in because the flat areas can happen anywhere so one has to be very careful to choose the first path on the river. Some of the smaller flat areas do freeze to fill in the gaps in the jumble, so after a week or two of cold weather there is typically a safe route to travel.
The problem we have right now is the ice has not been set very long and we have had a little warm up. the river water level is raising so it has opened up some new holes in the ice. Now, after everyone being land locked on there little islands in the forest for nearly 3 months people are anxious to get out and go somewhere. Hence, things like "getting wet" happens. Willie, the new neighbor (to our neighborhood) showed me just two days ago where he had been in water just over the hood on his snowmachine, where he broke thru trying to get off the river.Pictures from the Hill in the front of our front yard. I walk out here occasionally for a wider expanse of the view. This is the same hill we see over from the inside of the cabin. Sorry for the water on the lens of my cheap little camera
These pictures were taken the morning of Freeze Up.
This is just frost and ice accumulation on the trees from the cold of this period. It had been running about 2 to 5 degrees during the day and 10 below at night during the freeze up period.
This was taken Just before the ice re-settled to its' final place.
Good looking Guy huh!
Huh, you talking to Me?
Isn't the depths of the slush and ice cool. I am walking right on the edge of shore, not on any ice.
These pictures were taken right after the river had stopped in its' final set, about 15 minutes after the video.
I thought the black and white version is awesome.
This is a view straight up into some trees from the river bank.
My heart is a little heavier now for our fellow river dwellers. We got another call to update us. The men have not been located and the Coast Guard Search and Rescue has been called in. The last sighting of them (according to the State Patrol Investigation)was just before the confluence of the Yentna and the Susitna river. They stopped to talk to a man that lives there and got a report of poor ice going up the Susitna, so they decided to go Down the Susitna to a town called Point McKinsey. They have not been seen since by anyone along the rivers or in Point McKinsey. There is still hope that they are stuck along the river somewhere. They are both skilled outdoorsman and can survive this weather if they are OK. Dave Luce had just found out Friday that his wife has Bone Cancer. This is all hard to absorb from here. There is nothing we can do from here but Pray.
This is truly an amazing and beautiful place, it does however, belong to God and all of the forces of Nature. I hope that I never forget this and those out here remember as well.
Thank You for being here with us!
I will talk to you soon,