Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Denali Trip

 We arrived in Denali late Sunday afternoon. On a quick jaunt into the park before dinner, we were lucky to see a mother moose and twins!

 After dinner, we returned to the park and managed to see Mt. McKinley totally unobstructed! On average, this happens only 4 times during the month of June. It was quite magnificent as you can tell by the photos even from 75 miles away!
 Remember, at over six million acres this is a huge park.
 On our way out we managed to see another moose cow and her calf.
Here is Greg posing with the moon over his shoulder around 11 at night. I don't think it ever got dark the whole night.
The next day we took Jen on the Denali bus to Eielson Visitor Center which is about 66 miles into the park.
 Wasn't exactly a prime day for seeing wildlife. We were able to see several caribou, including this one trying to rub the velvet off his antlers.

 We also saw one big grizzly bear!
Here is all you could see of Mt. McKinley today. As usual, it was covered by clouds.
 The views inside the park are breathtaking and endless!
 Of course, you have to have nerves of steel to travel these high, narrow, and treacherous roads in old school buses. But of course, the experience is worth it!
I'm headed back to TN to visit family and friends for several weeks. See ya in August.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Homer and Portage Valley

 On our last day in Homer, we decided to take a scenic tour of the area. From above town, there are some great views of the nearby glaciers
 and of the Homer Spit.
 We finished the afternoon off by visiting the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center. If you've never stopped in here before when visiting Homer, this is a great place to visit. There are many displays and we learned a lot about the ecology and history of our islands.
 One super interesting artifact is this seal intestine parka. It is made entirely from the seal intestine and sewn with grass. Good and waterproof! Too bad they don't sell them, I could get Greg one for a present.
We walked around the trail to some of the wetlands behind the center. Saw this moose caution sign on a pole at the beginning of our walk. Mother moose are extremely protective of their little ones!
 Luckily, we didn't see any moose but we did catch a glimpse of some Sand Hill cranes.
After a great dinner at Captain Pattie's restaurant on the spit, we returned to our beach apartment for the night. We just relaxed and enjoyed the beauty around us.
 Here is Greg enjoying the serenity of the area. I took this pic from the window in our apartment.
Jen took this picture from the same window around midnight. Even at this late hour, the views were still fantastic. It is hard to go to sleep when the sun stays up all night!
On our way home that Friday, we stopped briefly at Tern Lake. 
Saturday morning Jenifer and I went to the downtown market. After getting our fill of shopping, we walked home and got ready to hike to Byron Glacier. On the drive down, Greg managed to spot a Beluga whale swimming in Cook Inlet. We stopped and watched three Beluga whales in the calm waters of the inlet. When the water is not calm, they are very hard to spot because they resemble the white caps in the turbulent water.  By this time, the winds had picked up and what was a drizzle now turned into steady rain. We stopped to view a glacier in Portage Valley.
 By this time, it was pretty obvious that our hike would have to wait for another day.
 The temperature had dipped into the 40s with steady rain and gusty winds.
 We did head over to the visitor center which is always a good stop. Jenifer even got to get up close and personal with Smokey the Bear!
In the morning, we will leave for Denali!