Thursday, July 17, 2014

I've never seen Denali out so much

I went to Fairbanks last weekend and what a trip there. We stopped at the south viewing rest area and the top was about to come out from behind a few small clouds. Well, they seemed small from 40 miles away. I've lived here over 30 years and have never seen Denali so much in one summer.
 We also stopped at the Alaskan Veterans Memorial. One of my favorite places along the highway. There were still flowers from the 4th of July.
 That's my friend Susan next to the Alaska Territorial Guard memorial. If you look where the ATG member is pointing and where the binoculars are, they're pointing at Denali.
 It was good weather for the moose to be swimming. I didn't bring my swim suit.
 Sunshine was out the whole way.
It was a good trip. I'll have more photos soon. I'm so far behind processing, it's not funny. I blame it on the good weather. If it's sunny out, I don't want to be inside behind a computer.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Even more Denali

Can you imagine driving north on the Richardson Highway, it's 80°+ outside on the 4th of July in Alaska and you com over a hill and this is what you see?
 That's what my friend Terri and I go to see for the holiday. The funny thing is that it was out the whole day. They say that only 25% of the people that come to Alaska to see Denali, get to see it cloud free.
 And it was a hot cloud free day.
And a beautiful fun day. Thanks Terri for going along.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Imagine Denali

I've been able to do a lot more traveling around Alaska this summer. Sometimes I also get to do some day dreaming. Can you imagine living in Denali National Park?
How about as a golden eagle

or as a dall sheep

or caribou

or more caribou?
WoW! What a dream.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Touring Alaska, what a week

My sister and her husband came up from Maryland to visit and I decided to be the ultimate tour guide. While at it, we might as well check out places I haven't been to either. Our first trip is into Denali National Park, the biggest mountains, the most wildlife and awesome scenery.
 On June 11th ( my 29th birthday. I'm not going to tell you how many 29th birthdays I've had) it snowed. Snowed in June! Did you read that? It snowed in June!
We saw brown bear so close that only the bus walls separated us. It could care less about us tourist gawking out the window and pointing all kinds of cameras at it. It was eating the green before it got covered by the snow.
The views were awesome and went on and on and on. There wasn't a time when I wasn't in awe of everything we got to see.
 These smart ravens were nesting under a bridge where they didn't have to worry about predators. They say corvids are the smartest.
 As the day went by, the snow stopped, the rain stopped and the mountain, Denali was revealing more and more.
 I always knew I would make it to the end of the road, but didn't know when or where. We traveled 185 on a old school bus with an awesome driver / guide, we saw bear, caribou, sheep, golden eagles, bald eagles, ravens and much more. It was a trip well worth it.
 Next stop was 45 minutes south of Anchorage at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. You're right, I've written about it before. So my sis' wanted to go. The wind was blowing and the animals were very active. She thinks the mush ox are ugly, but not me. They are built to survive arctic conditions.
They got in a couple orphaned moose. They were taking a nap and looked very comfortable.

 This little guy was singing his heart out and you could hear it above a lot of the noise. It didn't care that there was brown bear, tour buses and tourist below.
 The bears at AWCC are always a treat.
 Baby caribou. It's that time of year.
 Reindeer amaze me. How do they hold their head up?
 From there to Portage Glacier aboard the Ptarmigan. Icebergs, waterfalls and awesome scenery.
Lots of small side trips in between. They leave tomorrow night and will probably be happy to get back home so they can rest.
I'll have more photos posted when I get the time.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Not just glacier viewing in Prince William Sound

The photographs don't do justice to the beautiful day it was. I went out on Phillips Cruises & Tours, 26 Glacier Cruise yesterday out of Whittier, Alaska yesterday with a fun group from Stewart's Photo. Here we were in the North America's northern-most rain forest on a beautiful sunny day.
Humpback whales were everywhere. They must of liked the sun also. An endangered species, but the population is growing about 7% a year since being granted protection from whaling in 1966.
As a kid I thought I splashed a lot of water doing cannon balls.
 Harbor Seal getting a tan while hauled out on a small ice burg. Their numbers are on the decline in the area. A specific reason is not known. There's probably multiple factors involved.
 Glaciers, glaciers and more glaciers. They said we would see 26 glaciers in one day. I didn't count them, but I don't doubt we did. If you put all the glaciers in the lower 48 states, they wouldn't be as large as one of Alaska's bigger glaciers.
 They say there's about 100,00 glaciers in Alaska, but only 650 have been named. This is Harriman Glacier.
 More Humpback Whales. An adult can get 55 feet long an weigh up to 40 tons. Their dorsal fin and fluke are distinct to each whale and can be use for identification.
 We saw these two over a half mile away.
Black-legged Kittiwake. They say there's about 5 thousand here. I took their word for it.
I'll have more photos posted later. It was a great day and I have about 1000 photos to go through.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Beavers at play

I've been watching these beavers on and off for the past couple of years. There's four of them that live in this pond. It's taken me a couple of trips this year to determine what time of day or night they like to come out the most. 9PM seems to be the fav.
 They have a modest home, right smack dab in the middle of an industrial area owned by the Alaska Railroad. The city did add onto the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail a couple years ago where it runs right next to it and many other neat spots.
 The trail is used a bit but not real heavy. Maybe because there's not a lot of residential areas along the trail. A lot of people cross the bridge that goes over this pond without even seeing the beavers.
 I think they get kind of curious as to what I'm up to. They come in kind of close and swim back and forth right in front of me for some time.
 I started getting the attention of other wildlife. I guess they were looking for a handout maybe.
At first, the water slapping startled Macy. But after a bit she'd quietly watch the show. I guess you can say hands down this beaver put on the best show.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Off to see Barbara Falls in Eagle River

Saturdays have turned into little adventure days with photography and Amanda. Yesterday we went off to Barbara Falls aka South Fork Eagle River Falls in the Chugach State Park. We had a heavy overcast of smoke from the Funny River Fires a few hundred miles south.
 The hike is pretty fair and the scenery pretty good, but better yet when you get to the falls. You can hear them up ahead from the start of the hike. You  expect them around every corner because of how loud they are.
 It was hard to find a spot that didn't have a good view or were we able to take good photos. Lighting was a little challenging though because of the overcast.
 The temperature did take a dip, but we brought hoodies and flannels. The mosquitoes were out pretty good too.
 But, even with all the little challenges, it was worth the hike.
 And to take a closer look to feel the power and experience the roar.
This definitely made it to our list of places to return to.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day

It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who go into battle.
Norman Schwarzkopf

Have a safe holiday weekend.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

In search of ??? in Portage, Alaska

Amanda and I headed out to Portage again for the second time this weekend. This time we took Macy along and it's probably a good thing. Yep, Macy is my best bud, she's a lot of fun and lets me live in my house. But there wasn't a lot that caught my photography eye, so she got some extra attention.
 This stream reminded me of when I lived in South Carolina.
 Except for the mountains in the background of course.
 Macy was getting her workout for the day. I think our hike was a little longer than our normal daily walk.
 Dueling photos.
 Nice peaceful spot that took me several hours to re-find yesterday. I hadn't been back in here in a few years, and the National Park Service had make some nice campground improvements. With these improvements, I knew where I was but couldn't find where I wanted to go.
Macy was being adventurous, but I kept a close eye on her. There were plenty of bear signs around. Didn't see any though.
This is where she was checking out. I love this little fall. Actually it's not all that little. It runs down the side of a mountain, but it's nice and peaceful. 
These chunks of Portage Glacier were of pretty good size. With the wind blowing, you could feel the temperature change. The wind did keep the skeeters off of my pasty white legs. Yep, I was wearing shorts.