Snyder Christmas Letter 2006

Just as we sat down at the table by our big window overlooking the backyard to start composing
this letter, we noticed that the window was smeared with huge smudges of fresh moose drool. A
moose had tried to nibble our green plants hanging inside the house, but instead managed to
slobber the window with its nose and mouth. Sigh... a window cleaning operation came first. Yes,
living in Alaska sometimes has its amusing moments. So, back to composing our letter…

About 45 years ago we discovered and fell in love with the remote canyon country in southeastern
Utah. We are continually drawn to the massive-walled canyons, peaceful desert, petrified wood
logs, and ancient Indian ruins. Last April, we once again met a large group of friends in Escalante
to explore canyons. This time, however, we had a brand new experience.  A local resident told us
about an area of immense rocks dotted with dinosaur tracks. After wandering around on top of the
rocks, we finally found them!  Hundreds of huge dinosaur footprints were embedded into the rock.
We even found evidence of their heavy tails dragging between the footprints. What a thrill!

We both keep busy with various volunteer activities.  Dick’s adventures as a volunteer with the U.
S. Geological Survey continue. This summer, he and a USGS hydrologist drove 160 slow miles
from Fairbanks to the isolated village of Circle on the Yukon River. From there, they boated
about 230 miles down the Yukon and then up the remote Porcupine River into northeastern
Alaska. The Yukon Flats is one of few areas in Alaska Dick had not yet been to, and he describes
it as endless spruce or cottonwood forests along the rivers. Layers of frozen ground (permafrost)
overhung the river banks.
Dick also made two USGS trips into Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, to help with a lake
water-quality project.

Liska continues her role as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for a large family of
many children, who are in State custody. It has been challenging and yet rewarding. This summer
we both volunteered at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. All the athletes are veterans in
wheelchairs who come from around the U.S.A. to participate. It was inspiring to see these athletes
of all ages and abilities competing.

On Labor Day weekend, our 4-year-old granddaughter Tazlina fell in the woods behind her house
and broke her leg. She wore a bright neon pink cast on her leg for 10 weeks. Tazlina was such a
good sport and never complained. She scooted around like a beached seal and was amazingly
active: climbing up and down furniture with ease, clunking her leg behind her.  Her 1½-year-old
sister, Marley, is an enchanting fun-loving, cheerful kid, who is rapidly learning to talk.

David continues as a programmer for Geographic Information System maps and Patty is still with
the disabilities section of the Social Security Administration. Gary is teaching high school biology
and math and Heather is a busy mom.

The year began very sadly with the tragic and untimely deaths of our close friends Liz and Ken, in
a senseless car accident. They were blameless victims. The accident cast a shadow of grief over
us throughout the year and yet again reminded us how precious life is. We are deeply grateful for
our fulfilling lives and good health.

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Liska's Page
xmas 2007