Jeff and Dorothy Brady were interviewed on October 9, 2018 by Karen Brewster at their home in Skagway, Alaska. In this first part of a two part interview, Jeff and Dorothy talk about their lives in Skagway and environmental changes they have observed over time in Skagway and Dyea. As an avid gardener, Dorothy talks about changes she has seen in the plants in her garden and the shifts in her gardening techniques and the effects of seasonal weather changes. As active outdoors people, both Jeff and Dorothy discuss their observations of winter and summer temperatures and precipitation, the timing of freeze-up and break-up, changes in wildlife, bird, tree, and plant populations, receding glaciers, changes in rivers and flooding, and effects on human infrastructure.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Observing Change in Alaska's National Parks
Date of Interview: Oct 10, 2018
Narrator(s): Dorothy Brady, Jeff Brady
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Ruth Sensenig
After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.
Jeff's personal background and coming to Skagway
Dorothy's personal background
Buying and restoring property in Dyea, and effect of West Creek flood
Dorothy's work history and living in the Aleutian Islands
Development of Dorothy's interest in gardening
Recycling old wood and old dirt into new projects
Presences of night crawler worms in the yard
Observations of change in temperature and snow cover, and the effect on plant survival, reseeding, and human infrastructure
Observations of change in water table, summer temperatures, and rainfall, and effect on human infrastructure
Observations of change in the amount of snow and in river water levels
Presence of mule deer in Dyea
Observations of change in insect populations
Observations of change in the Taiya River, flooding, and erosion
Observations of change in bird populations
Observations of change in seasonal timing, temperatures, wind and snow
Observations of change in the fall colors of trees
Observations of change in apple trees and fir trees
Observations of change in berries, willow, heather, and lichen
Observations of effects of pollution
Observations of change in mushrooms
Observations of change in treeline
Observations of change in glaciers
Observations of change in vegetation in the Dyea flats
Observations of change in rainfall and river water levels
Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.
After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.
KAREN BREWSTER: Today is October 10, 2018. This is Karen Brewster, and I’m here with Jeff and Dorothy Brady at their home in Skagway, Alaska. And this is for the Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park and Bering Land Bridge Climate Change Project.
So, it’s recording. To get us started, I don’t know who wants to start, but tell me a little bit about who you are and -- DOROTHY BRADY: You go ahead.
KAREN BREWSTER: So, Jeff. A little bit about -- let’s start with, when did you come to Skagway? JEFF BRADY: I first came to Skagway in June of 1974 on a camping trip with a bunch of teenagers from North Carolina. And we were here about three days and just loved the town.
I was just entering college at the time, and so I just kinda filed that away. I really loved it here. I talked to quite a few people.
I didn’t meet her (pointing to Dorothy) at the time, but I was work -- I was staying at a place called the Bunkhouse, which her employer owned.
They were off on a trip down the Yukon River, but there were guys there from North Carolina who were working there for the summer, so I thought that this would be a great thing to do.
And they ran a hiking and rafting business over the Chilkoot and down the Yukon River.
So anyway, a couple years later, I wrote back to try and get a summer job and was lucky enough to do that. And I ended up managing the bunkhouse, and taking people on Chilkoot hikes and getting ’em ready for the river.
I never did the river trips myself at the time, but, uh, got people ready for the river. And other clients that came through. Drove a taxi.
Became involved in getting to know the history of the town really well. I was here when the park was established. I was here for the dedication.
I wrote a brief history of Skagway for the North Wind, which was the newspaper here at the time. It came out sort of monthly, or whenever the guy felt like putting it out.
KAREN BREWSTER: And that was Cy Coyne? JEFF BRADY: That was Cy Coyne, the North Wind.
And then I got the bug to, uh -- I was a writing major, uh, American studies major in college. Did some -- had done some journalism off and on since high school, and kinda got the bug to -- to maybe run a newspaper.
And tried to talk Cy into selling me his paper, but he was a little leery of selling it to some twenty-one-year-old kid. This was after I’d been here a couple of summers, even, so --
Anyway, we just kind of reached a mutual agreement to where I would do my own thing, and he would kinda bow out, and if I couldn’t make it, he’d start up again. He was seventy-seven years old. He was really glad I made it. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: Anyway, from then on, I edited the newspaper for thirty-seven years. I started a bookstore, um, Skagway News Depot and Books.
I sold the paper a couple years ago, um, just because it was time for me to move on from that.
And I still own the bookstore, which is one of the very first lease-backs at Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park. And we just renewed it for another ten years. So we are locked in still.
KAREN BREWSTER: So the Park Service owns the building, and they lease it to you? JEFF BRADY: They lease it to me, and I sub-lease it to the newspaper. We keep -- we keep the bookstore downstairs, but uh --
KAREN BREWSTER: So what did you -- the name of your newspaper is -- ? JEFF BRADY: The Skagway News. KAREN BREWSTER: The Skagway News. JEFF BRADY: And it is carrying on under new ownership from the Yukon.
KAREN BREWSTER: Great. Now, Dorothy. DOROTHY BRADY: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: A little brief history of yourself. (sound of moving a mic) Get that out of the way.
You were born here, right? DOROTHY BRADY: Yes, 1958. In the White Pass Hospital, which no longer stands. And, uh, I was born and raised here.
KAREN BREWSTER: And you’re -- to the Lingle family? DOROTHY BRADY: No, the Hillery/O’Daniel family. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. DOROTHY BRADY: My stepdad was Ben Lingle. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. DOROTHY BRADY: But my biological dad was John O’Daniel. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
DOROTHY BRADY: And he moved away to Sitka when I was just a baby, so I never knew him.
But my mom and my stepdad bought the hardware store in 1962, I think, and so I was pretty much raised up in the hardware business. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: And then my dad bought an air service and had fourteen planes. Skagway Air Service.
And the logo on the back was a can-can dancer, and the -- the -- the caption on the plane said, “We Can Can Can.” And one of those planes is still here in Skagway, owned by another owner of another business.
And so that’s kind of nice to see. Dad closed down the air service, um, about ten years ago. He’s no longer around. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
DOROTHY BRADY: So, yeah. I moved away when I was eighteen, nineteen. I went to Juneau, and then Gustavus, and then the Aleutian islands, and then back to Gustavus.
I lived in the Aleutians for three years. And then homesteaded in Gustavus for sixteen years.
And then reacquainted with Jeff in 1996, I think. JEFF BRADY: Um-hm. DOROTHY BRADY: And then we were married a year and a half later.
Brought my kids back up to Skagway and now we own a piece of property in Dyea that’s been owned in my family.
My dad’s sister, Mary Jane Hanousek and her husband, Ed, homesited it in 1957. It was five acres, and we just re -- we bought it in, I don’t know 2000 -- JEFF BRADY: 2011. Yeah.
And then we spent the next three years restoring the old cabins on the property, all of which had been damaged in the glacial flood event of 2002.
KAREN BREWSTER: Was that West Creek? JEFF BRADY: That was West Creek, yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: Um-hm.
JEFF BRADY: There was about four feet of water that came through there during that event, that very strange event.
I don’t know if that was climate change-driven, or it was just going to happen at some point, but, uh --
KAREN BREWSTER: That was when the glacial moraine broke through? JEFF BRADY: Yeah. It -- it -- it sloughed off into the lake at the end of the West Creek Glacier there, and all that water had to go somewhere. It came right down the West Creek/Taiya Valley.
And our place was the first one it hit. And then it also damaged homes on the other side of West Creek, as well.
But we -- we had -- and not much had been done to the place after that. The previous owner, it -- it got kinda tied up in a divorce, so really nothing could be done to it.
When that was settled, the owner had talked to Dorothy and Bea (Lingle), actually, who had been out there looking at it with him. And they -- they kinda sweet-talked him a bit, and he lowered the price, much to my delight.
And we were -- we had had a place up in Tagish before that, and we were able to sell that and buy this, so it worked out really well.
And we were looking for something to do, kind of in our semi-retirement years, and with the kind of a resurgence of the arts here in Skagway and North Words Writers Symposium, and active arts council, things like that, we thought we’d try and have a writers’ and artists’ retreat out there.
So we worked with Steve and Orion Hanson, who had done a lot of log work, both here, Haines, Hoonah, and Montana, and had them do a restoration of all those cabins.
And we were able to open the retreat in the summer of 2016, and it’s doing well.
KAREN BREWSTER: Great. So how many cabins are out there? JEFF BRADY: We have a main cabin that we live in in the summer time that was newer, built in the ‘80’s.
And then the three homestead cabins were built in the late ’50’s, early ’60’s. So there’s three of those for the -- for our writers and artists in residence, who stay there for about a month.
We have two sessions in the summer. It’s only open in the summer. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: We take applications, and we select ’em from all over. We’ve had ’em from as close as Sitka to as far away as South Africa.
KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. Cool. Um, so Dorothy, what kind of work have you done? You said you were out in the Aleutians? DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah, my boyfriend at the time was a bush pilot out there, and he flew a Grumman Goose. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. DOROTHY BRADY: There’s very few of them left. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
DOROTHY BRADY: And, um, I had a what they call an expediting business. I would just run people and chores -- do chores, and freight, and pick up people from the fishing boats and take ’em to the airport or to the clinic or the grocery store and pick up their freight and bring it back to the boats.
And I did that for, yeah, pretty much a year and a half. I don’t think I started that business 'til after I was there awhile.
But I had a single sign band radio, and they’d call me up. And it worked out really well because my boyfriend, the pilot, could -- I could go over to the air service.
I lived in a little sixteen-foot trailer right on the runway. And of Ballyhoo Mountain, and when Reeves Aleutian Airways would come in, the people that I’d have visiting in the trailer would go running out the door because the sheer -- crosswinds would be moving the plane around, and they’d think it was just going to take right out the whole trailer and everything out.
So I’ve had friends run out of the trailer before.
But I first built my first greenhouse there in the Aleutians with old driftwood and bought a big sheet plastic, and I -- my -- the owners of the air service weren’t really happy with me because I scabbed it off the side of one of their buildings, an old barracks.
And then I hauled in a bunch of fish and buried it in the boxes I built. The cats and dogs in the neighborhood all loved that. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: It wasn’t much of a neighborhood. It was pretty, pretty barren out there where I was. It’s grown up a whole lot, but, um --
Yeah, the one significant thing I can remember of being out in the Aleutians were the morel mushrooms. And I made screens and dried them in my trailer, which was pretty tiny already. Pretty short, so you’d in there, hunching away.
Uh, one of the businesses that I worked for was -- there was an Aleut man and a Japanese man that had a business where they flew live king crab to Japan. And we’d box ’em.
They started a business in an old World War II hangar, great big hangar, and built these tubs to house the king crab in and keep ’em alive, and then when the jets would in from Japan, we’d -- we'd start loading ’em.
And they’d get in arguments, and one of them would be shouting in Aleut, and the other one would be shouting in Japanese, but I was --
I -- I loved the Japanese guy. He was great. Didn’t speak a whole lot of any English, but he’d come into the trailer and cook, and teach me how to cook with salmon roe and sea urchin roe. He did a lot of processing of the sea urchin roe for his grandfather, because in Japan, it’s really good for old people. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. DOROTHY BRADY: Apparently it is everywhere, but he knew that about Japan.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So growing up here in Skagway, did you grow up foraging in the woods and gardening, and where does that interest come from? DOROTHY BRADY: No, my mom had a garden for a little while, but, no, my grandfather -- nobody around me really had a garden that I recall. I don’t even recall my mom having a garden, really.
But my aunt Mary Jane had sweet peas growing alongside her house. Her house is still standing. Um, I don’t know what street it’s on. It’s on State and, I don’t know, Fourteenth or something. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: Aunt Mary Jane’s? JEFF BRADY: State and Thirteenth. Across from the old -- across from the rec center. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. DOROTHY BRADY: Um-hm. Yep.
But I always had that green thumb. I always wanted to grow, and I don’t know where I got it from. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: But the history of Skagway’s gardens, my grandfather’s in there.
His friend, Charlie Walker, had a huge garden, and my grandfather had two Welsh ponies that he had bought for my aunts, and he used them, their manure, a lot with his friend Charlie Walker. And they would garden quite a bit together. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: And his big specialty were the sweet peas, so I always try to have them in Dyea.
But, no, when I moved to Gustavus, I did the same thing. I started counting up. I’ve probably done six gardens between the Aleutians, Gustavus, and here.
But, uh, when I moved back here, one of my favorite places on the hillside was for sale. It was called the Frolander property.
And the old house on the property was in pretty bad shape, so instead of paying a construction company to go and tear it down, I ended up spending three years demolishing it myself. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
DOROTHY BRADY: And my brother, Mike, helped me with a lot of the crap that had to go to the dump.
But all that wood, I couldn’t figure out why I was salvaging it. And it was all 100-year-old or more first-growth fir. You can’t find that anymore. KAREN BREWSTER: No.
DOROTHY BRADY: So I stockpiled it, and then when we bought the Dyea property, and the contractor was looking for really good wood to do the window frames and door frames, I told him about this wood. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: But, yeah, the first -- the first thing they did the first day that they came on the property, and they saw -- they wanted to make sawhorses. And they saw that shed full of wood that I’d brought out from town, and they made sawhorses out of that 150-year-old wood.
And I came out, and I was like, "Who the heck did this? Ok. Let’s get one thing straight. This is really special wood."
And I’m still like that. When they tore the foundation out under this house, the contractor, he got scolded because I was like, "Where are you taking my dirt? That’s really special dirt."
I have spent years -- the Mulvihill house had never had a garden in it. And when I was digging up stuff here and making a garden, I found all kinds of neat things, you know.
But I told Charles Doland, I said, "That’s really special dirt. You go take that up on the hill and stockpile it on my other property. And then when the project’s done, we’re going to bring it back."
And, uh, but -- We have these hellacious, what are they called, night crawlers. I don’t know if you know what they are. KAREN BREWSTER: They’re a kind of worm. DOROTHY BRADY: They’re big worms. They’re a huge worm.
And I don’t know where they came from, but they are wrecking the yard. You know, you feel like you’re walking on lumps and bumps. KAREN BREWSTER: Whoa.
DOROTHY BRADY: And you feel like you’re going to twist your ankle.
KAREN BREWSTER: Now those are a newcomer, or they -- ? DOROTHY BRADY: I don’t believe anyone else in town has it. The lady across the street now, she’s starting to get ’em. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: But I believe they might have come in with some plants. We had a neighbor that grew, uh, that had a greenhouse business, and they may have come in on something of hers. I don’t know.
KAREN BREWSTER: But they’re not out on your Dyea property. DOROTHY BRADY: Nope. KAREN BREWSTER: Just here in town? DOROTHY BRADY: Yep. Just here.
And you can do an electrode, I think, in the ground, and they’ll pop up. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. DOROTHY BRADY: And then you can gather them, but I’ve never done it.
But it sure is a hassle when you have a small yard anyway, and now you’re walking on lumpy, bumpy things. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
And they don’t freeze out over the winter? DOROTHY BRADY: Hm-um. They dig deep. JEFF BRADY: They come back.
DOROTHY BRADY: They dig deep and they hibernate. But they’re as big around as your little finger and probably eight inches long, sometimes. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. DOROTHY BRADY: Yep. They’re large.
KAREN BREWSTER: What other things with your gardening are you noticing? DOROTHY BRADY: Um, well, I’m losing things in the winter now because we don’t have the snow cover.
Dyea’s probably, it can be ten degrees colder out there at our property on the West Creek. Um, I see a significant difference between town temperature and Dyea temperature.
Town’s a lot warmer, probably because you have cement and pavement and all that anyway. And with all the movement in town, I think that it’s hotter here.
But in Dyea, because you’re closer to the glaciers -- last winter I didn’t have any -- my delphiniums were the only thing that came back. I had a lot of perennials that didn’t come back. A lot of campanulas that usually overwinter.
I have had calendula starting to reseed, which is different. A lot of things are reseeding that normally wouldn’t do that because the cold will kill ’em, and they won’t come back in the spring.
But some of these things are now doing that. Cilantro.
But I was noticing the other day, too, the mountain ash, they are reseeding everywhere. And we never used to have that happen, you know, not -- when we were driving to Whitehorse just recently, I noticed them up at, probably 3000 feet. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
DOROTHY BRADY: And they’re all the way to Portage, which is just north of Fraser customs. And that’s at, what, 2500 feet?
KAREN BREWSTER: And they didn’t use to be that high up? DOROTHY BRADY: Hm-mm. Nope.
And you won’t notice them until this time of year. Because they’re golden, and they have red berries. So you wouldn’t even really notice them otherwise.
But as far as garden plants, I don’t see that significant a change. I’m always hoping that things will start growing here that don’t grow.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, that’s what I was wondering, if stuff now, you know, that didn’t use to grow are now starting to grow in your garden. DOROTHY BRADY: Mm, some years I’ll have kale reseed.
Um, and I’m always wondering what that variety is. Now I’m paying more attention to what variety that particular kale is. I’ll grow three or four different types of kale, but if there’s one that reseeds, that’s the kale I want to hang onto. And it’s a white kale. They’re pretty hardy.
KAREN BREWSTER: So usually, typically, plants do not reseed? DOROTHY BRADY: Right. KAREN BREWSTER: And why? DOROTHY BRADY: Because the winter is too cold. You know, if your spring warmed up significantly, then you’d have things reseed.
But this year, our cold held on a lot longer out in Dyea than we’ve ever had it hang on. JEFF BRADY: But there was --
DOROTHY BRADY: And we had a lot of wind.
JEFF BRADY: But there was a lack of snow. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: No insulation.
JEFF BRADY: And the -- so there was -- we had what I would call a real Alaska winter for the first time in over a decade.
And -- but without the snow, it, you know, it caused a lot of, a lot of -- yeah, there were a lot of frozen pipes in town. A lot of -- our oil line froze for the first time. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
DOROTHY BRADY: Not only that, but we lost water. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: This is the first year.
We have a shallow well under the big house in Dyea, the one that was built in the ’80’s. So it’s probably only thirty feet.
But this is the first year. I think last year, we started noticing that our water table was a lot lower than it normally is, ’cause it’s usually a high water table in Dyea. But this year, it went dry.
KAREN BREWSTER: This summer? DOROTHY BRADY: Yes. JEFF BRADY: A couple of -- off and on.
KAREN BREWSTER: So what was different about this summer that contributed to that? JEFF BRADY: It was drier. DOROTHY BRADY: Lack of -- lack of precipitation. JEFF BRADY: A lot drier.
And, I mean, it was a really, really nice summer, but -- DOROTHY BRADY: It was hot. JEFF BRADY: But there were --
DOROTHY BRADY: It was ninety degrees for two weeks, three weeks.
KAREN BREWSTER: And you don’t remember it being like that when you were a kid? DOROTHY BRADY: Nope. KAREN BREWSTER: Or in the ’70’s? DOROTHY BRADY: Not that hot.
JEFF BRADY: We’ve had, you know, nice stretches of weather, nice summers. I mean, you know, you get -- you get some summers where it rains and is overcast and gloomy all the time, too. DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: But this one started off kinda cool, but then got really progressively nice.
And then, usually the weather kinda starts to turn in July, where it feels a little bit like it wants to veer toward fall. It might be a little wetter.
That didn’t happen. We had a couple of weeks, I think, in early August, where we had some rain. But then, from like mid-August all the way through September, even 'til now, I mean it’s -- we’ve had very little rain.
DOROTHY BRADY: We’ve had several friends on the hillside that have lost their water. And their wells are deep, you know? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: 300, 400 feet deep. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
DOROTHY BRADY: And one of my friends thinks that one of the earthquakes that was pretty strong here a couple years ago. Well, maybe it was like four years ago. JEFF BRADY: Just two years ago.
DOROTHY BRADY: Well, she’s had water problems since before then, but that one really -- last summer, she and I ended up camping out on the flats in Dyea. And we were calling ourselves the waterless, wandering women because I was out of water, and she was out of water here in town.
And then our -- her friend up the hill from her, they lost water. And another guy that just spent lots of money, probably $15-20,000. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. DOROTHY BRADY: He just lost his water.
It took -- they had to go 375 feet? And that’s $25 a foot. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: Through -- through bedrock to find him water. And he just told me the other day that he lost water again.
So, a lot of these people are having to haul water now to their homes, which is really a hassle. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: But, um --
KAREN BREWSTER: And then in Dyea, you have a big garden out there, so then you had to haul water? DOROTHY BRADY: No. That was --
the end of the property where the big house is, I do have a lot of gardens there. And that was -- I did have to haul water for awhile from the other end of the property.
Also, the well that’s under our house also provides water for the barn and for one of the cabins that we rent out. So it was taking -- you know, I was having to haul water.
But at the other end of the property, we had a well put in by a professional well driller. And it’s 125 feet, I think, and it’s up against the hillside. It’s really good water.
All my employees, everybody says they can -- it doesn’t smell like sulfur, um, no mineral taste to it or anything, so it’s good water.
JEFF BRADY: It was deep enough, and near an aquifer. We were able to get good water. Hopefully, you know, fingers crossed, that one will last.
We may -- we may have to drill another well for our purposes at our home if this trend continues in the shallow well. DOROTHY BRADY: It’s big, huge piece of property, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: It’s hard to say if, you know, climate’s had anything to do with that or not.
But, just things I’ve noticed, just in general on that theme, is that, you know, the lack of snow is -- we’re seeing it everywhere.
I’m on the Log Cabin Ski Society committee, and we run the Buckwheat Ski Classic every year, and we maintain ski trails up in the Yukon or in BC at Log Cabin.
And we’ve had, I’m going to say, three or four years straight now of really low snow cover up there.
And one year we had to push the race into very early April, and we barely had a race. So we’re like, always kind of praying for snow up there.
KAREN BREWSTER: So normally, when is the race? It’s in -- JEFF BRADY: The race is at the fourth Saturday in March.
But we spend all winter up there grooming trails, having them ready for the public in general.
We have an agreement with BC Forestry and Parks Canada, doing all that work up there, and it’s a great thing for Skagway and the Yukon, and --
but, you know, we always need more snow. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JEFF BRADY: It just, the last -- usually, it's -- it has not been a problem, up until the last four or five years.
Uh, there, you know, you’d have your ten-to-twenty-foot base up there, but getting that, it seems to be later and later in the winter where our crews can get out there.
Last year, they didn’t get out. I mean, usually they’re out there right after Thanksgiving. Last year, they weren’t out there 'til January. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. JEFF BRADY: And luckily, had enough. The year before, we barely had enough so, we’re --
you know, I see that, and then I see that translated into the rivers up there as well.
The Yukon River, during the Yukon River Quest at the end of June, typically would peak around then and would be normal to high. And it’s been fairly low the last few years.
And I saw a picture of Dawson City, taken yesterday, showing the Klondike and the Yukon River, and there is -- there’s hardly any -- the ferry up there grounded on one of its last trips because there wasn’t enough water in the river. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
JEFF BRADY: And you can see the riverbank is way, way -- it’s a good thirty feet out into the -- stretching out into the river.
I mean, I’ve never seen a photo like that up there before. So it’s happening.
KAREN BREWSTER: And is -- is some of that, with the glaciers receding, they’re therefore not putting out as much water into the rivers? JEFF BRADY: That, and there just wasn’t a lot of rain, all over, this -- this summer. DOROTHY BRADY: That's why (inaudible) --
JEFF BRADY: And then the snow pack in the winter is not what it used to be. So it’s a combination of all these things.
KAREN BREWSTER: So your ski race, if you have to have it in April, why is that barely a race? JEFF BRADY: Well, there’s just not enough -- the snow’s melting, the lakes -- There are little lakes that we traverse. Yeah, they have to hold up.
KAREN BREWSTER: It’s just getting too warm? JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: They’re going to have to --
JEFF BRADY: But we don’t normally push it into April. It was just a set of circumstances where we had to have it in April that year. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
JEFF BRADY: But now, it might even -- having it a week or two earlier, is still a bit of a stretch for us at times.
KAREN BREWSTER: Have you had to cancel it? JEFF BRADY: No. No. We had to -- we’ve had to reroute the course. We had to shorten the course this year.
The year before that, in the middle of the race, it got too warm, and we had to close part of the course for safety. So people wouldn’t sink into the lake.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that’s good. We don’t want that. JEFF BRADY: No, we don’t.
And -- and there’s always plenty of water in the river for the River Quest, it’s just a matter of -- but there aren’t any records being broken because the river’s not high.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, so is it taking people longer to complete the Yukon River Quest? JEFF BRADY: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Because there’s -- it’s lower water? JEFF BRADY: It is.
Even the really fast teams are not as fast as they normally would be in what I would call a normal or high-flow year.
KAREN BREWSTER: And just for people who don’t know what that race is. JEFF BRADY: It’s a paddling race from Whitehorse to Dawson, which kind of had its roots in Skagway. I was involved with it at the beginning, and still am involved with it, so --
I keep an eye on the snow and the water. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
Well, what I know also is as a family, you guys have spent a lot of time out recreating. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: In probably snow and rivers and trails. JEFF BRADY: Right. And I think, and that’s where you notice it, too.
But the other thing I’ve seen in Dyea, and you might want to talk to John McDermott, um, because he’s a better Dyea-watcher than us, and he’s been out there longer. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
JEFF BRADY: But we’ve had deer coming into the Dyea valley in the last three years.
A family of deer probably came down from the Yukon, and they’ve been coming up to the Yukon the last few years, so they’ve made it down into Dyea. DOROTHY BRADY: Mule deer. KAREN BREWSTER: Mule deer? JEFF BRADY: Mule deer, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
JEFF BRADY: And, uh, we’d never had that before. So I don’t --
And I think that’s -- animals are moving further north with the warmer temperatures. So we’ve seen that.
The Sitka blacktail deer that you see in Southeast, it’s not those. Those have never made it up this far. Or if they did, they’ve been harvested and were gone for many years.
But these new deer are coming in, and it’s kind of nice to see, but it’s, you know, it’s a phenomenon of, I think, as a result of climate change.
DOROTHY BRADY: They may have been here during -- before the Gold Rush, but with 20,000 people around, you know. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: In Dyea valley, they got decimated.
So it’s nice to see them coming back.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and I’m wondering what are they eating? Is there now different plants growing that they can eat? DOROTHY BRADY: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No?
DOROTHY BRADY: I think they just aren’t getting killed, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: They can survive. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh.
DOROTHY BRADY: You know, I mean, they’re protected now if they’re in the -- JEFF BRADY: In the park down here, so. DOROTHY BRADY: In the park. You know, so that’s kind of nice. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: I want to see that. You know, in the rest of the Lower 48, they’re -- they can be a big problem.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. And I was thinking as a gardener. DOROTHY BRADY: They could be. KAREN BREWSTER: But so far?
DOROTHY BRADY: We also have a bear fence around our property because I like to protect the bears, you know. And there’s a corridor for them. They can come and go as they please around the outside of the fence line.
But with all the plants that I have now, I don’t want to risk, you know, having bears come in. And they’re like a pig. They can smell a long ways away, so they’re going to smell grain from the horses and the chickens and the pigs.
And, you know, they’re going to smell the apples. We do have apples now on our apple trees, so, you know, and currants on the property so, um.
One of the things I remember, too, the last year and this year. I have never seen these woolly worms before. And they are crazy. They were so --
KAREN BREWSTER: Those caterpillars? JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah. And they’re a moth. But when we see them, they’re caterpillars.
And this year, they were dropping off of the birch trees. I saw an alder tree that was completely covered by them.
The chickens won’t eat ’em. The birds won’t eat ’em. I don’t know what it is. They have some kind of pheromone that they emit.
But also sphynx moths. There’s a white-faced hornet that is starting to -- I think -- we think that maybe they got into our beehive and killed all our bees this year. So we’re going to have somebody come and look at that.
KAREN BREWSTER: So you had bees that didn’t work this year? DOROTHY BRADY: Right. KAREN BREWSTER: You normally have bees? DOROTHY BRADY: They were doing great.
I ordered ’em in from Anchorage. They were doing wonderful. I fed ’em all summer.
When it was hot out, I didn’t bother, but when it was cold and rainy and wet, I supplemented them.
And the next thing I know, I go out there and they’re all dead. And it doesn’t look like a mite. So I’m not sure.
We both, Justin and I, our employee, saw a white-faced hornet. And he’s really --
we have seen more unidentifiable insects that we’ve ever seen, and I wish that the university would update their website and start putting more information from individual people that are out there that are sending them photographs.
Because all that comes up are the bugs that have -- that are in the United States. They’re not actually identified as Alaska insects. And I think it’d be really beneficial.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, especially, if they’re insects that didn’t use to be in Alaska. DOROTHY BRADY: Absolutely. KAREN BREWSTER: And they’re now Alaska insects. DOROTHY BRADY: Right.
Uh, the wood wasp, incredibly crazy. They are all over the trees that are coming down the Taiya River right now.
The Taiya River is changing course. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. DOROTHY BRADY: And taking out a lot of the bank, and a lot of the spruce trees are falling into the river.
The river itself changed course this summer, which I’ve never seen before, and it’s now going in a different route.
Which is a good thing because it was heading right for the main road that goes into Dyea Valley. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: And the state has had to put huge boulders there to try and protect it.
But when the river decides it’s going to go a way, you can’t do anything about it. KAREN BREWSTER: No. DOROTHY BRADY: Unless you get out in there with heavy equipment, and who wants to do that, you know. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
JEFF BRADY: Yeah, it’s eating into the -- it’s eating into the old town site. I think it even wiped out one of their markers, one of the park’s new markers for their -- for the trails through the Dyea town site this summer.
And brought down -- it was odd because it was -- it happened during that one rainy period we had in August after a lot of very hot summer. And then when we did have rain, all that wa -- all that -- it was almost like a flash flood. And the river crested.
It was in flood stage for about a week. And it brought down a lot of trees.
And it change -- it was so bizarre. It changed course at that one big bend right, uh, right there by the old town site, and the raft -- the typical route of the raft tours had to change.
They even had to get out there and use a chainsaw, which is like, I’m sure the park was frowning about that. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
JEFF BRADY: But it had to happen or the people couldn’t get to shore. But it was interesting.
And I know if you look at historical pictures of Dyea from the air, you see that that river has been all over the valley.
So this may or may not be a climate change thing. It could just be what that river does. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JEFF BRADY: But it was interesting to watch that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Has it affected the Chilkoot Trail at all, with its movements? JEFF BRADY: No, I think the Chilkoot is --
it floods every year anyway, so, uh, there was quite a bit of high water on the trail during that period. But it’s -- there’s nothing to protect it like there is in parts of the Taiya.
John McDermott had some flooding on his property where it -- and he’s had issues for many years, but it came in kind of on the back side of his property a little bit.
But he’s been trying to address it with rock and anchor trees and things like that over the years. Um. DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah, there’s not --
JEFF BRADY: I think that river just does its thing. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it’s most rivers, they do meander and move around. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: Right. And there’s no rock, you know, to -- JEFF BRADY: To protect it. DOROTHY BRADY: To protect it. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: It’s all sand.
JEFF BRADY: And the Chilkoot Trail crews are always having to deal with that, it seems like every year. But usually it’s later, and it’s after a lot -- a lot of rain.
This time, I think just a combination of the heat and enough rain brought it all down at once. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JEFF BRADY: And -- and changed the course of the river. It’s pretty dramatic. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: Oh, one of the things I remembered, too, is last winter when I was living in Dyea, I had a lot of grosbeaks and Bohemian waxwings.
And, I mean, thirty to fifty of them were at my feeder. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. DOROTHY BRADY: And I’ve never had that out there.
You know, I mean, usually here in town they go after the mountain ash berries, but they were coming to my feeder and feeding off the bird seed. So I thought that was unusual. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: I also had black-capped chickadees, juncos, and chestnut-backed chickadees stay all winter, which is -- KAREN BREWSTER: And they don’t usually? DOROTHY BRADY: Um-um. No.
And the bluejays also stayed, um, and the magpies came back.
I had, like thirty magpies at one point. They come down off of the -- out of the Yukon. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. DOROTHY BRADY: And kind of winter here.
But last year when we went to Ketchikan for my son’s basketball trip, it snowed three feet, which is really unusual there. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: And we went for a drive after a day and a half of them cleaning up. I never saw so many brand-new snow blowers and plows. It was unusual.
But I was amazed at the number of varied thrushes that were hanging out in Ketchikan.
KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. They don’t -- I don’t associate them with snow and winter. DOROTHY BRADY: They -- it was an unusual snow.
Ketchikan hadn’t seen that in twenty years. And it was only there for a couple days, right?
But the varied thrushes, it was amazing. It was like they were all congregating in Ketchikan, waiting for it to warm up, up here.
But it didn’t warm up, up here 'til, like, the end of May. Out at my garden in Dyea, I was digging into ice May 20, you know. That late.
KAREN BREWSTER: And usually, by May 20, do you have a garden planted? DOROTHY BRADY: No, no. I don’t have it planted, but -- JEFF BRADY: You can dig. DOROTHY BRADY: -- it won’t be frozen. And it was -- it was frozen, man. JEFF BRADY: And that was due --
DOROTHY BRADY: We’re on the ocean, so we have a lot of freezing-thawing, freezing-thawing. It did that all winter.
Like, it was a foot and a half higher than it should have been, and that’s not unusual. But the fact that it just didn’t warm up.
And we had more wind than we normally do. I mean, here it’s really windy. KAREN BREWSTER: It’s always windy, right? JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: In Skagway, it is. But in Dyea, it’s never windy. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. DOROTHY BRADY: And we had wind. We had wind and cold.
JEFF BRADY: And we didn’t have a lot of snow. I mean, we -- so that snow cover and its insulating property just wasn’t there. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
JEFF BRADY: I’d gotten a brand-new tractor with a snow plow on it. I was ready to go to town. I only had to put that thing on once.
KAREN BREWSTER: That’s why it didn’t snow, is ’cause you bought a new snowplow. JEFF BRADY: I guess so. I was ready for it. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. JEFF BRADY: But I’m ready for it this year. We’ll see.
DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah, it probably won’t snow this year, either. I knew as soon as I --
KAREN BREWSTER: But Dorothy, when you were growing up here, was there a lot of snow? DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah. They’d close the school. I remember a few times when it’d be total blizzard. Couldn’t see across the street.
We’d mark the window on the south side of the house. Like, it’s blowing north, north winds, so on the south side of the house, the drifts would climb the window. And we’d mark the window where, you know, how high the drifts would go.
And, um, yeah, Mom and I would -- we’d trek around town, you know, it was kind of fun, and -- but, you know, you don’t get that anymore.
And I remember every Halloween, it seemed like we were always trick-or-treating in a snow blizzard. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: And it’s -- last year, I think the kids were in t-shirts, you know. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: It was just so unusual.
Uh, this year, the colors were amazing. Now, normally we won’t get the change in the colors. KAREN BREWSTER: In the trees? DOROTHY BRADY: The way we normally do. Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: But these are -- you do have the deciduous trees? DOROTHY BRADY: Yep. But mostly if it’s windy. JEFF BRADY: But it’s October 10, and we still have leaves on the trees.
DOROTHY BRADY: If it’s windy, though, you don’t -- they won’t hold onto the trees so you can see the colors change in 'em. KAREN BREWSTER: I see. Ok.
DOROTHY BRADY: Also, depending on your temperature, every year is different. The temperature is what makes the colors, and if you can keep the leaves on the trees, you’re going to see that. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: Also, the apple-picking has been phenomenal. The last two years, the flower blossoms on the fruit trees are amazing.
They have been producing like I’ve never seen.
A lot of the old apple trees here usually don’t have really -- the season doesn’t give it a long enough time for the apples to remain on the tree to become sweet. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: And this year and last year, they did. And the apples are amazingly sweet.
KAREN BREWSTER: So they stayed on longer into the fall? DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah.
And also, because we didn’t get the wind, they’re able to stay on the tree longer.
The winds can be so strong here that they’ll just blow ’em all off the tree before they have a chance. KAREN BREWSTER: Really?
DOROTHY BRADY: Our winds in Skagway are significant because they come off of the Yukon Plateau. And when it comes down off of there and drops into this valley, it roars through here.
They have never been able to put wind turbines up on the top of the summit because of the hellacious winds that we get.
KAREN BREWSTER: It’s actually too windy for -- DOROTHY BRADY: It is. KAREN BREWSTER: -- for wind towers. DOROTHY BRADY: And icy, you know.
But speaking of the summit, the last couple of years, too, the fir trees, they’re all brown on the tops of ’em, because there’s no snow to protect ’em.
And when the wind is bitterly cold, it burns ’em. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. DOROTHY BRADY: And -- and kills ’em.
And I don’t know if you’ll see that if you’re driving north, but --
KAREN BREWSTER: How tall are the fir trees? DOROTHY BRADY: Oh, they’re not that tall, and they’re all very -- um, they have the strange shapes. You know, they’re all leaning.
They’re all small, you know. They’re alpine trees, but um. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
JEFF BRADY: Usually they get totally covered in snow, but, you know, as I mentioned with the -- around Log Cabin -- DOROTHY BRADY: Almost every single one. JEFF BRADY: -- and on the summit itself, it’s just not the level of snow we’ve seen. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. JEFF BRADY: We’re used to seeing.
DOROTHY BRADY: Also, the blueberries are -- usually they were lower on the summit, and now I’m climbing higher and higher to get to the blueberries because they’re starting to go uphill more because they aren’t -- it’s not as cold. And they can survive.
This year, we also saw willows starting. Now, if you’ve ever seen a willow shrub that’s only six to eight inches high, it has all the white seed fluff, so you don’t really know they’re a willow because they’re not a tree yet. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
DOROTHY BRADY: But they’re starting to sprout now, and all you’re going to see is a tuft of plant about this high covered in white fluff. And that’s the willow seed starting.
Also -- and I’ve never seen that before. In the twenty years that I have lived here, that’s unusual. And that’s on the top of the summit.
Yeah, that’d probably be at what, 3000 feet? 3500 feet, maybe? Not that much.
But the other thing was, the -- the heathers? Usually, they’re only like this high, and they’re all in a little group. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. DOROTHY BRADY: And that’s the way they are.
This year, they were -- they were four feet going that way. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
DOROTHY BRADY: They’re like they are in Scotland. They’re growing across the rock now. KAREN BREWSTER: They’re shooting out. DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah, it’s very unusual.
It’d be really nice to see -- have a biologist, an older person that -- especially from Fairbanks, that knows this stuff. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
DOROTHY BRADY: Can come here and see these heathers because I’d like for somebody to identify ’em.
Because now they’re changing shape, and I don’t know exactly what they are.
KAREN BREWSTER: So heather has always been here, it’s just, now it’s expanding? DOROTHY BRADY: Now it’s expanding, yeah. Like it does in Scotland.
There’s a certain variety pine tree on Yakutania Point, and that is starting to really die out because it’s becoming too dry for them.
That’s an unusual pine tree. Barbara Kalen used to collect the seed pods and send ’em to Iceland, and they actually came here and gave her an award.
And they call it Kalen’s forest because for many, many years, she sent them seed pods from these particular pines that will grow in Iceland. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: And I’ve noticed that a lot of them are falling over because there’s nothing to hold them in place anymore. It’s so dry now on Yakutania Point that -- that, um -- And also I think the pines are just suffering from climate change.
And the lichens. They’ve done a lot of studies, the Park Service has, on the lichens on that -- in that area.
And there I can see that they’re really suffering. But they’re just drying out a lot faster.
KAREN BREWSTER: The lichens are? JEFF BRADY: Yeah, there’s a whole separate study going on about the lichen. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JEFF BRADY: And possibilities of maybe cruise ship pollution affecting that, too, up high. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. JEFF BRADY: But, I don't know how --
DOROTHY BRADY: Oh, the pollution in this valley this summer was so sad, because coming from Dyea, I’d come around the corner, and I’d see this blue haze because we had no wind, and it was just sitting here.
And I just -- I just think that that’s going to kill off a lot of our trees. A lot of our spruce trees up and down Lynn Canal are really suffering because it’s been so hot and dry.
KAREN BREWSTER: Have you noticed them suffering from the pollution? Any effects yet? DOROTHY BRADY: I don’t know if it’s from the pollution. It’s hard to tell. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. DOROTHY BRADY: I mean, I’m not a scientist. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
DOROTHY BRADY: You’d have to really -- somebody had to have done a study thirty years ago on the spruce trees to see what they have in 'em, and then look at ’em now. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: Because I don’t think you’re going to tell unless you’ve been looking at ’em for awhile like I have. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: For, you know, forty years. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: But, um --
KAREN BREWSTER: But visually, you see that there’s something different? DOROTHY BRADY: Absolutely, especially this summer when it was so hot.
JEFF BRADY: Oh, yeah, I mean, you can -- when the wind’s not blowing and the ships are still spewing something. I mean, they’ve gotten better.
There’s -- you know, they’ve got scrubbers now and all that going on, but it -- it -- and it’s gotten better, but it’s still there. And it’s also the trains, as well.
DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah, and the incinerator. I mean, it’s everything. JEFF BRADY: And all the buses. DOROTHY BRADY: And the buses, right.
JEFF BRADY: It’s just that summer growth, you know. It’s gonna -- it’s gonna do something to the environment.
DOROTHY BRADY: I think you really see it, too, when the wind does blow. You’ll see all these brown needles, and that’s what we really noticed last week when they were spreading cement.
And the wind came up, and all these leaves were falling out of the trees. But the number of pine needles was amazing.
And I noticed this summer, when it was so hot -- usually you can smell the pines because it’s hot, you know, but the spruces were really droopy.
And you could -- you could really smell them. And normally you don’t. You know, it’s not something that -- that catches your interest. JEFF BRADY: It’s different. Different.
DOROTHY BRADY: I know we haven’t had any morel mushrooms two years in a row. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. That was one of my questions, was mushrooms. DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah.
The boletus are way down. Chanterelles, very few.
The bees on A -- the top of AB Mountain were amazing this year. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: Now I think maybe they’re looking for either cooler weather, uh, non-pest -- non-polluted plants. I don’t know.
KAREN BREWSTER: There were more of them up there than you’ve seen before? DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah.
My son Danny climbed AB this year, and he climbed it two years ago, and he said this year, it was crazy, the number of bees that were on the top of AB Mountain.
Probably, too, because with climate change and warming, a lot of the plants that are down here are now growing up there.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, well that was my question was, have -- have you seen the tree line changing or the vegetation zone changing? DOROTHY BRADY: Um, I -- no. I don’t think you would now.
I think in twenty years you might, but it’s kind of like watching your kid grow. You don’t really see it 'til they go away and then when they come back. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
JEFF BRADY: You definitely see the glaciers receding, though. DOROTHY BRADY: My mother probably told you that. JEFF BRADY: Look at Mount Harding. Mount Harding was exposed more up there than it’s ever been, this summer.
And then if you fly the ice field. Like, I’ve been a couple of times this summer to Juneau, it’s just amazing what you see -- what has come back and retreated.
Mendenhall, especially, and Eagle Glacier. Those glaciers are -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: I mean, I’ve been up here over forty years now, and it’s just amazing the change on the icefield.
And then just the level of snow. We don’t -- we don't get big snows anymore that stay, it seems. I kinda miss that. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: I miss the -- I miss having a lot of snow in the winter.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, when Dorothy, when you were growing up here, could you ski in -- around town? DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah, I think you could. ’Course we didn’t, because it wasn’t the "in thing." KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: You know, cross-country skiing.
But, um, yeah, we always went to Dyea, too, for our Christmas trees. There are a lot more trees out on the flats of Dyea than there ever were when I was a kid. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
DOROTHY BRADY: And part of that, too, is because the land is rising. You know, when the glaciers have receded, then it can -- it can rise up.
But there are a lot more trees growing out there than there ever used to be, but, um -- KAREN BREWSTER: What kind of trees? DOROTHY BRADY: Pine and spruce.
KAREN BREWSTER: Also, didn’t people use to graze horses out there? DOROTHY BRADY: Um-hm. Well, there was a man here that had a guiding business, hunting and guiding, and he would winter his horses out there.
And, um, it would be nice if we could do that again. Course, I have two horses, so --
But I’ve seen different plants now because the horses aren’t grazing there, so it gives invasive plants an opportunity to grab hold.
And I think if they were allowed to graze some out there, it wouldn’t be so significant.
The buttercups, there are a lot more of them than there ever used to be.
There are -- there’s a worm, oh gosh, it’s a caterpillar. I can’t remember the name of it. It’s black with a red, uh, spike on the end of its tail.
There were fireweed out there. There was a thirty-foot-square meadow of fireweed that was covered in those things. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. DOROTHY BRADY: And they had eaten all the leaves, and all the tops, so those won’t be able to reseed. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: Because of these guys. And I don’t know what they are, but --
When you’re horseback riding, you tend to see things a little bit better. When you’re up on top of the horse.
The currants this year were amazing. They were huge.
And the gooseberries, I mean, the cranberries. I had friends -- KAREN BREWSTER: Highbush? DOROTHY BRADY: Highbush. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: That were arguing with me because they thought they were crab apples. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, my goodness. DOROTHY BRADY: Because they were so big! KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah, the cranberries.
But we had a lot more rain -- not rain, but our rivers were so high this year.
And there wasn’t any rain, it was -- and so, you know, that it was -- JEFF BRADY: Only for that short time. DOROTHY BRADY: But -- but no, all summer. All summer.
You know, and it was unusual because I didn’t have any water, yet the river was high.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, is that the warm temperature causing the glacier to melt more? DOROTHY BRADY: Yes. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. Yeah. That was that.
DOROTHY BRADY: But there was no rain. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: And it was unusual. Usually, when the water and we have a flood stage, it’s because it’s raining constantly. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
DOROTHY BRADY: But now, if you get a chance, go out and look at the Taiya River and the West Creek River. They’re very, very low.
And this is the lowest they’ve been all year. It’s unusual. You can walk across the Taiya River.
KAREN BREWSTER: And usually in October, they’re higher? DOROTHY BRADY: Yes. JEFF BRADY: A little bit higher than now. Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: Um-hm.
JEFF BRADY: It’s -- it's where -- what she says is true. I mean, through the course of the summer, on average, the rivers were higher than what they normally are because of the heat and the melt. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
JEFF BRADY: But overall, everywhere, no. I mean, they just weren’t -- I’m thinking up in the Yukon, they just weren’t higher. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
JEFF BRADY: But then, when all of a sudden you did have a big dump of rain, boy, they really shot up. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: It’s hard to pin that to anything. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: But, uh, I mean, that’s what happened this year. And then now, it’s, you know, the Taiya --
I was out walking across West Creek this last weekend. And these pictures from Dawson I was talking about? KAREN BREWSTER: Right. JEFF BRADY: It’s -- it's like everything melted off, and then there was nothing left.
And now we’re in that nothing left stage until it snows again. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. JEFF BRADY: And if it doesn’t snow enough, the cycle will repeat.
DOROTHY BRADY: We may -- we may run out of water at the big house again. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
DOROTHY BRADY: We’ve had to lift the shallow well pump that’s down in the pipe. We’ve had to lift that twice, because the water table is lower, so that thing is sitting right on mud. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: So I have to lift it, and, I mean, it’s not light. But --