Saturday, November 23, 2013

More Hiking and Exploring on St. George

The Friday flight was canceled, meaning we had at least another two days on St. George.  Despite the 20 mile per hour winds and temperatures below freezing we needed to get out of the hotel and exercise.  A beach on the other side of the island named Garden Cove sounded enticing.  We bundled up and headed over the windblown ridge that divides the east end of the island.  With the wind at our back we make good time and covered the 2 or 3 miles to Garden Cove in just an hours time.  The traveling was over a mix of rocky ground and snow drifted tussocks.  We tried to avoid the tussocks as the snow filled the interstitial spaces making the walking even more difficult than is to be expected. As usual, the hike was well worth the effort.

Garden Cove was in the lee and felt much warmer.  The beach reminded me of Kodiak with back sand, washed up buoys, and curious seals.  For a change these were not fur seals, these were harbor seals and at least one spotted seal.  Even in November, Garden Cove seemed more alive than other parts of the island.  There were many birds, much of which I could not identify.  Two fox, one in a white winter coat and another still in black fur trotted down the beach ahead of us and then turned to bark with disapproval of our presence.

On the hike back we came across a large stone structure that I assume was a corral for the reindeer.  The corral is perhaps 60 feet in diameter walls 5 feet tall and 2 feet thick.  It is clear that a significant amount of time went into constructing it.  This structure might be quite old as a little bit of internet research has revealed that 15 siberian reindeer were introduced to St. George in 1911 and that there population quickly grew.

All of the following photos were taken by Jason.  Thanks Jason for carrying your nice camera.

Spotted Seal at Garden Cove

Spotted Seal and Harbor Seals?

Small bird in a creek at Garden Cove

Fox with a white winter coat

Stone reindeer corral

Stone reindeer corral

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