Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anniversary Trip 2014 comes to an end

We awoke Sunday morning to another overcast and cool day.

 We decided to just relax and take it easy.
Greg did attempt to fish for awhile. Wind, rain, cold, and staying tangled up in the seaweed soon proved too much and he gave up after about an hour.

 By the way, the fish we caught yesterday has been tentatively identified as an Irish Lord, not a lingcod. After Greg warmed up and showered, we had dinner at the Chart Room.
On Monday morning what do you know? It is bright and mostly sunny! It was also a bit warmer.
 It was a nice sendoff for our drive home. On the way home we did notice a lot of fresh snow on the mountains.
There was even snow along the roadside in several locations.

 We stopped beside the Kenai River for a picnic lunch of leftovers.

 We made several other stops including the overlook for this volcano.
 You can see a glacier far back in the mountains in these photos.

Rolling into Anchorage about 5:30, we made it home for dinner. We don't have any other trips planned until Christmas in Tennessee. Guess Greg will get to blog with more of his bear adventure pictures until then!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Anniversary Trip 2014

We left home around 5:00 Friday afternoon for our trip down to Homer. The weather forecasters had predicted snow tonight. Luckily, we never ran into any snow on our drive but we did notice fresh snow on the mountains along the way. However, we did encounter a big moose in Soldotna. This huge animal brought traffic to a stop in a busy intersection as it walked calmly across the road. We also narrowly avoided hitting a few big porcupines as they waddled across the road. After making a few stops for food and bait, we made it into Homer around 11:30. Saturday we went to the Farmers' Market and ate lunch in town. After a relaxing afternoon, it was time to get down to business. Fishing business.

 It was quite cold and windy on Kachemak Bay as we cast our lines into the water.
 I had several hits but could not reel one in.
Greg finally managed to catch a fish that weighed about 4 pounds.

 We think this is a lingcod.
 Greg will have to research and find out. We fished until Greg lost feeling in both hands from the cold and wet conditions. He finally had to give it up and call it a night.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nice Fall Weekend!

After a rainy last few days, the sun finally returned to Anchorage this weekend. It turned out to be a slightly crisp, but beautiful, fall weekend. We decided to get out Saturday afternoon and take advantage of the nice weather.
We walked around the park strip a little and noticed that some of the trees have already put on their fall foliage. These trees' leaves have already changed into a glorious gold.
 After dinner, we continued to walk around and just admire the mountains in the near distance. It is easy to get caught up in your everyday life and become jaded to this incredible natural beauty. However, every so often something just catches your attention and you realize how beautiful it really is here. As did these mountains around sunset Saturday evening.
 That's about our excitement for now. More bear pics soon!

Monday, September 1, 2014


Here are some more pictures Greg took on his first day at McNeil River.

 As you can tell, he got quite a few of bears protecting their fishing spot in the river.
Some bears had prime salmon spots and just waited to fish.
 The bears walked within 5-10 feet of him regularly throughout the day.
 Sometimes, the bears got into heated arguments that lasted several minutes.
 At one time there were 29 bears in the river!

 This fellow saw the skirmish and decided to wander on upstream! Probably a wise choice!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

McNeil River Day 1

Greg arrived via float plane to McNeil River Camp around 6:30 p.m. on July 16th. It was pretty much as he expected with a cook shack, a few cabins for staff, a couple of outhouses, and not much else but fireweed, alder trees, and plenty of Alaskan vegetation. The camp was situated right up the hill from the beach where he landed. It took a couple of hours for him to get his gear to his chosen campsite and get his tent set up. Thanks, Karen
  After getting settled in, a few of them accompanied Manager Tom on a trip to get fresh water. This was from a stream about a quarter of a mile away from camp. They had to use 2 wheelbarrows to help carry the water back to camp. It was a bit much to take in and he didn't get much sleep that night.
The next morning, everyone filled their packs with food, water, and extra clothing. They then set out for the over 2 mile hike to the falls.
 Everyone arrived hot and sweaty as it was a bright sunny day. They could already see the bears before they headed down the final hill to the viewing area.
Within ten or fifteen minutes, it was apparent that the bears came from every direction for the fish feast. And they came well equipped for fishing!
They walked very close to Greg and the six other viewers!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Denali trip comes to an end

We got the car loaded and prepared to head toward Anchorage. We decided to have lunch at the Alpenglow Restaurant which is situated high upon the mountainside. The views are incredible.
While Martina and I ate dessert, Greg practiced taking action photos with a rather quick ground squirrel.
Being a bit too camera happy, he hid and snapped this paparazzi-style photo of us leaving the restaurant!
On a Hollywood note, Martina will not be appearing in the next Batman movie but here she is posing by the Batmobile!
 This crazy car was located at a fireworks stand on the side of the road as we journeyed home. We also stopped to see if we could glimpse Mt. McKinley as it had evaded us the entire trip. Alas, Martina is searching in vain since the mountain stayed hidden behind the clouds.
After making a quick grocery stop once we were back in Anchorage, Martina treated us to a wonderful homemade meal! Sunday afternoon Greg and Martina headed down to Bird Creek to fish for salmon. They had a great time but came home only wet and muddy with not a fish or even a picture! I think they got so caught up in combat fishing that they forgot to snap a few photos. On Monday, we just hung out as it was time for Martina's trip to end. We took her to the airport that night. We really enjoyed having her with us here and it was nice for Greg to have someone else to aggravate besides just me! Both of us hope she will come back and explore more of this beautiful state.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Denali, Day 3

Remember to click on the pictures to make them larger.

Got up and made our way over to the Denali Wilderness Access Center to get our tickets for the bus trip into the park. We got our tickets for the 2:00 pm bus tour to Eielson Visitor Center. This Center is located 66 miles into the park but it is an 8 hour round trip on the bus. The road only goes around 92 or 93 miles into the park and ends. This bus ride gives you a good glimpse of the park and usually offers many opportunities to see wildlife. After securing our tickets, we got a quick lunch and came back to board the bus. Not long into our journey, we spotted an Arctic fox hunting for some small critter in the vegetation.
Even though it was an overcast day, everything was still beautiful and you could see fresh snow on the mountaintop. In fact, we encountered sleet briefly as we traveled up the mountains.
About an hour later we saw two figures laying in the grass on a little knoll. It turned out to be a sleeping grizzly sow and her cub. Eventually, the mom did raise her head long enough to check out the scene around her.
 Just a bit up the road we saw two caribou resting in the grass.
 It was an overcast and sleepy kind of day. There were caribou we spotted that were quite a bit more active farther down the road. The herd was just grazing and then suddenly took off running. We then saw a dark figure come out of the shrubs. A huge chocolate grizzly was scouting for weak ones among the group. Another grizzly was eyeing the edge the of the herd from higher up the mountain. Made it to the Visitor Center and as usual did not get a glimpse of Mt. McKinley.
However, on our way back we were treated to a beautiful rainbow over the Toklat River.
This was certainly a nice way to end a great day.