Alaska's Northern Lights - 2018

All of them have shelters for when the weather is too cold for them— but the mammals all seemed comfortable in their own shaggy winter coats. In the barn where the horses and the little cow can be stabled, we found fresh hay and fed the ones who would venture close enough to us. All the creatures looked healthy and well-cared for. Even the wild squirrels who snacked at the bird feeders, had long lustrous tails and looked quite fat and sassy themselves. Among the avian species we saw were black-capped chickadees, ravens, and Canadian cardinals. On the waters of the hot springs swam several species of ducks: northern pintails and mallards among the ones we could name. There was a pair of geese as well but we could never figure out just what species they represented. But it was comforting and happy for us to be among other creatures who can survive in this very cold climate! The Lodge offers free tours of their geothermal electricity generating plant and their greenhouses where their fresh veggies are grown. At the Generating Station, we learned that water is pumped from 3000 ft below the surface and brought up at a temperature of about 155 degrees—insufficient to create the steam necessary to run their two turbines. In a process still a bit of a mystery to me, a refrigerant is added which somehow heats the water to the temperature that can create steam. Through this scientific magic, the entire property is heated and electrified, thus giving the complex its own power source— off the grid.

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