Alaska - July, 2008

A trip to Alaska changed so many of my perceptions about Alaskan wildlife, the tundra, glaciers, daylight, and the true meaning of the word "BIG".

 

We were fortunate to see Alaska during one of the few sunny, warm, and dry weeks of the year. The "Great One" - Denali, or Mt. McKinley - graced us with full views on three separate days and remained mostly visible the rest of the time. (We're told this happens 2% of the year.)
The national bird of Alaska - the mosquito, right? - tortured us each morning and evening in the backcountry of Denali. Even so, the swarms didn't stop us from enjoying the beauty of our surroundings.
In the short 1 1/2 weeks we spent in Alaska, I came to appreciate finding life in the biggest - and the smallest of settings.

 

95 miles into Denali National Park (accessible only by a dirt road) is the old mining town of Kantishna. We spent 3 glorious days there just absorbing the beauty.

As always, Ron and I went on one climb to Quiggly Ridge that was nearly out of our league - but well worth the the view and the pain!

Other days, we took tamer walks through moose, fox, beaver, wolf, and bear country. Five miles from our lodge was photogenic Wonder Lake and Reflection Pond.

On our last day, we took a day trip from Anchorage to Seward. A 4 hour round trip stretched to 14 hours as we stopped many times along the way to participate in the gorgeous setting.

 

  • The real treat came around 12:15 am as we drove around Turnaround Arm heading north toward Anchorage. It was just dusky - not quite dark - when Ron yelled, "Did you see that?????" Slamming on the brakes, he put the car in reverse and slowly backed toward a large black creature? Was it a bear - or a huge moose? Of course, it had to be on my side of the car.

 

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