Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lake Louise

We arrived at Lake Louise around 6 p.m.
We had a picnic of leftovers just outside our room overlooking the beautiful lake.
Then we took a stroll around the shoreline and just enjoyed the gorgeous evening.

 This lake gets little precipitation as it sheltered by four mountain ranges. It does connect with two other lakes, Lake Susitna and Lake Tyone. Together with a few rivers, they form a waterway chain through this part of interior Alaska.  Lake Louise has an area of about 26 square miles.

 There are many birds here on the lake. Bird Island, one of the many islands found here, is a nesting site for gulls. Lake Louise is also known to be the only freshwater nesting site for cormorants. A loon was sounding off during the night we were there. Its mesmerizing trill floated along on the evening air.  The lake is also well known for wonderful lake trout fishing. It is not uncommon to reel in a twenty pound lake trout here! Many people come to the lake and ice fish in the winter. The next morning we enjoyed a good breakfast at the lodge and set off for home. A couple of members of the Nelchina herd were also using the road this morning.
When we see a site like this, a mother caribou and her calf, we realize just how cool it is to be here in Alaska.
Yes, the road really is that wavy!

The harsh winters sure do a number on the roads. Of the sixteen miles we drove on this road, the vast majority of it was like this.

We finished out our drive home enjoying many gorgeous views, including this one of the Tazlina Glacier.

 We made it back to Anchorage by about 7 p.m. We were both tired after thoroughly enjoying a great trip.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Richardson Highway

We continued our afternoon by driving north on the Richardson Highway. We stopped several times to enjoy the views. One roadside stop near Glennallen offered wonderful views of a trio of impressive mountains. Mount Drum, Mount Sanford, and Mount Wrangell, were all glowing in the afternoon sun. A calm day allowed some dramatic mountain reflections in the nearby lake.

 Mount Drum, a stratovolcano or composite volcano, has many layers of hardened lava and eruptions forming its steep profile.
 It looked rather imposing in the distance even though its last volcanic activity was some 240,000 years ago! Mt. Drum's elevation is 12,010 feet high.
Located to the east is Mount Sanford, a shield volcano.
Supposedly, they look like a warrior's shield when viewed from above. These types of volcanoes are wide and are formed when lava flows instead of exploding from them. Mount Sanford is 16,237 feet in elevation. The last eruption here was about 300,000 years ago.

 A bit further east is another shield volcano, Mount Wrangell.
 Rising 14,163 feet in elevation, this mountain looks really wide and expansive. Of the three, this is the one with the most recent volcanic activity. Mt. Wrangell experienced an eruption in the mid 1880s or so. We stayed for a bit before wandering on to our home for the night.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Thompson Pass, Part 2

Here are some neat facts about Thompson Pass and a few more pictures of the afternoon we enjoyed there.
 Thompson Pass is the snowiest place in Alaska with an average of 551.5 inches of snow per year.
 In the winter of 1952-53, the most snow ever recorded in one season fell here. The Pass got a whopping 974.1 inches of snow that year!! This is the most snow ever recorded in one season in all of the United States.
Also, the Pass holds the record for the most snow falling in a single day. 62 inches of snow fell on December 29, 1955.
We really enjoyed walking along all the trails and climbing over the rocks.
                                                  It is truly a beautiful place.
As the sun began to fade behind the majestic mountains, we headed on down the highway.
 Thanks to the gift of sunlight, we were able to get some beautiful views of Worthington Glacier.
As we were starting to run a bit short on time, we skipped hiking to the glacier this time.