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.