"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

She's All Mine (with a little help from my friend)

Squeezed between the flanks of two steep mountains is a sliver of water and, though small by Alaskan standards, this water has a name—Jerome Lake.  Its scenic value, however, more than measures up to another Alaskan standard.

Perhaps a couple hundred feet wide and a half-mile long, the water of Jerome Lake is a master of illusion.  Because the mountain on its southern side keeps it in shadow most of the day, the water often looks black, but in actuality it is crystal clear and not very deep, and you can see the bottom.

So clear you can see their feet.

The two-lane Seward highway, the only highway that provides access to the Kenai Peninsula,  is carved into the rock of the mountain on the north side.  Two small pullouts give travelers a chance to stop and enjoy the scenery or drop a line in the water.  One pullout is simply a wide spot in the road.

Approaching Jerome Lake from the north in autumn.  Cars are parked at each of the small pullouts.

The other is a paved pull-through where RVs often stop overnight, permitted by Alaska’s lax (or lacking) laws on such things.   It was this spot I drove into a couple days ago.  Twenty feet or so below me, the ice is slowly melting, leaving a narrow band of free water along one edge.

If I had one word that best describes Jerome Lake, it would be serene.   Even with traffic rushing by, I always find the lake peaceful, like an oasis of calm in a busy world.   With that in mind, what happened when I stopped at the lake the other day marks an incident in nature that I’ll never forget.

A pair of mallards paddled placidly about in the shallow water at the head of the lake.  To my right, behind some still-leafless brush, a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye ducks floated in that strip of water.  

Then, I saw a flurry of black and white wings as two Goldeneye drakes fought with each other.   Suddenly, the mallard drake zoomed across the water, feet and wings a-blur, right into the middle of the kerfuffle and broke up the fight.

I stood there transfixed.  

The mallard paddled back to his hen.


The vanquished Goldeneye scooted away, looking a bit grumpy.

The victorious Goldeneye rejoined his blue-eyed hen and drifted off to the right.

And I was left on the shore, agape at what I had just witnessed--one species interfering in the mating fights of another.

Or perhaps it all goes back to serene, that one-word description of Jerome Lake,  and that was exactly how the mallard wanted it.



  1. The more time you spend outdoors the more amazing nature becomes.

  2. Good for the mallard to re-establish the peace and serenity of Jerome Lake. That lake has always looked so serene to me as well. Fabulous pictures, Alaska at its best. Smiles, Patti (and Cap in Mongolia)

  3. Amazing .. Absolutely Amazing what you witnessed between the birds. The rear view mirror photo is a keeper for sure. So too is the third one down approaching Jerome Lake with the wonderful warm colors of the sun in the trees. For that matter the first photo is also very nice. Smiles .. Cap and Patti ..