Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sinkholes & Spring Thaw at Elevation

Before we moved to Alaska, people spoke of the "spring breakup" of the roads. I couldn't quite picture it. While out 4-wheeling today on the road past ours I discovered just how "broken up" a road going through spring breakup could be.

It seems to start with sinkholes, little areas that when you step on them are squishy like stepping on a trampoline. When you get cars going over them, however, they squish right out and now you have a big hole. In one place on Falls Creek Road, the frost had heaved and the dirt over a foot deep and a foot high, all across the road, torn up for about 6 feet. Some cars were parked before it, so obviously the owners just walk the rest of the way home. Long sections of that road were "heaved" this way and that, requiring some careful driving even on the 4-wheeler.

Our road has a smaller case of the heaves, and our driveway none at all. What we have on our driveway is soft stuff: an area that looks like solid gravel ends up "giving" and we sink a foot. That's when we appreciate 4 wheel drive!

All the staff at Razdolna School said you have to have a 4wd vehicle to work there. I'm telling my hubby when he gets back from spring break on Saturday (Their spring break coincides with the Russian Easter; never mind there's only 12 days of school left when they come back from break) that he'd better 4-wheel to work the rest of the schoolyear to save wear and tear on our vehicle!

Is the snow gone yet? Not by a long shot. There is still 2 or more feet out in the open; more in the woods, drifts and snowbanks. This week all the snow melted off our road for the first time since November. I was estatic. Last week for the first time all winter we began to fall through the snow when we walked on it, so getting out to the sledding hill has become an ordeal. We often just crawl so we don't have to postleg it, but even when we go down the hill, we have to postleg our way back up. That's harder for the kids with their short legs than it is for me, but it's not fun either way, so we're just not sledding as much. Skiing is still fun, though at times we sink unexpectly then as well. Locals say the snow is hanging on unusually long. For my first winter up here, I don't mind, though I can see how everyone just wants it GONE!

By the way, I was going to write this blog entry last week, but then we got 4 inches of snow, then another 1/2 inch, so it didn't seem right to blog about sinkholes I couldn't see. It has finally melted away so I'm okay writing about it now!

No comments: