Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Alaska

I go to nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order. ~ John Burroughs


Welcome to Alaska -- or at least, the small corner of it we visited!

I'd like to share a few photos of the many wonderful things we experienced. We spent two weeks on the Kenai Peninsula, southwest of Anchorage. As previously mentioned, the weather was, for the most part, cloudy, rainy and overcast - so the photos tend to be gray, which is unfortunate. Please double click on any of them for closer details.


This is Surprise Glacier on Prince William Sound. Amazing - and it's incredibly blue. One of the crewmen said we were actually lucky to see it in such gloomy weather because in bright sunlight, it doesn't look so blue. How's that for a positive attitude? :-)

Yep, it was this cold and this rainy! Brrr!

But not all views were gloomy. Look at this gorgeous fjord...

And we did see greenery on our hikes, like this beautiful field of autumn colors...




My favorite part of the whole trip was the wildlife we saw. Here are seals in Kenai Fjords National Park. These creatures are disappearing at an alarming rate, and no one knows for sure why it's happening.




Everywhere we'd go, we'd keep an eye open for moose. You just never know when you're going to spy one having lunch along the roadside...




There were magnificent bald eagles everywhere we went. Imagine getting to the point of thinking, "Ho hum - another bald eagle!"

The greatest treat of our trip was seeing caribou. We thought we were too far south and too early in the season. When we asked about wildlife viewing, the nice folks at the Kenai Visitors Center suggested we drive out past the airport because the caribou sometimes come out onto the tundra there. We headed straight there, in the middle of the afternoon, and drove for miles seeing nothing. Disappointed, we left and went on about our day. At dusk, I suggested we drive back out there and try one more time. We were richly rewarded! Again, I'm only sorry that the photos aren't brighter. It was amazing to see these glorious creatures so close...

After they grazed to our right side, we watched them cross the road in front of us to graze on the other side. Here is the huge male that led the small herd. He was incredible!



Another surprise waited for us as we rounded a corner by the house we rented in Homer. There, standing by the mail box on a neighboring yard, were two Sandhill Cranes. We stopped and watched them, and were lucky enough to see them "dancing" with one another. They bowed and jumped and flapped their wings. I guess they got tired of having an audience of two, because they just slowly walked away, disappearing over the hill.



One more shot of my beloved puffins, this time at the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward...


Our one wildlife disappointment is that we didn't see bears. We had the same experience a few years ago in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Everywhere we'd go, people would say, "Oh, two bears were just here!" But we never saw a one. However, we had to take a picture of this warning sign at the foot of the hiking trail to Exit Glacier. Read what it instructs you to do if a brown bear attacks (again, double click on it to enlarge.) I'm sure it wouldn't be funny if I were in that situation, but the sign made us laugh!


We stayed in some pretty special places. Here are two spots I'd like to share. The first is the bedroom of the house we rented in Homer. It was called The Nest, and it sat on a cliff over looking Kachemak Bay. The view from the rooms and the deck was outstanding! And there were quilts on every bed...

The house was decorated with lots of dark green (my favorite color!) But what really convinced me that I'd found a kindred spirit in the home's owner was a wall we discovered by the washer and dryer...

It was filled with little framed quotes! Quilts, green decor, and a wall of quotes - what more could I ask for? Oh - and a view to die for!

Here's where we stayed in the town of Kenai... the Harborside Cottages, over-looking the area where the Kenai River meets Cook Inlet...


The view from our cottage at night...



Look what I found in Homer! Pehaps there's a new career is waiting for me?

There is a famous bar in Homer called The Salty Dawg Saloon. It's kind of a hole-in-the-wall place we just had to see! The walls and ceiling are covered with dollar bills. The legend is that the trappers would come in for a drink and leave money behind to pay for drinks for the trappers they knew would be passing through in a week or so. They'd write their name on the money and put it on the wall, where their friends would find it.

Nice story, eh? But check this out... this bill was tacked up right over my head:


Now, I'm not a Mormon but I am from Utah. Funny that I'd sit right under this one, don't 'cha think? :-)


What would a trip to Alaska be without fishing? Here's hubby throwing in his first line the second day of our trip...


He didn't have a lot of luck fishing the lakes and streams, but he had fun trying. As he always says, "The fishing's great: the catching, not so good!"

But he did have luck on a halibut charter out of Homer...



He shipped home 35 pounds of halibut fillets, which just arrived today. YUM!

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this funny sign at the halibut ("butt") processing place (click for details)...

Now, you may be wondering what I did why hubby fished for halibut (fishing's not my thing.) I treated myself to a massage - a loooong massage, with an herbal body wrap... in a small, heated yurt on the shores of Kachemak Bay. I could hear the waves and the gulls as I lay there, experiencing something very close to nirvana! Here's the view...



Ah, it was such a wonderful trip! Hubby and I are both from states where the snow flies each winter, but we now live in southern California. So it was such a treat for both of us to once again experience autumn in all it's glory. Those are the images I'll keep in my heart -- not the clouds and the rain.

How incredibly lucky we are to have been able to go to Alaska! Thanks for letting me share some of my memories with you.

And many thanks to Mary and Jill, for teaching me how to post more than five photos at a time on Blogger. It appears that this old dog can learn new tricks!



Until next time...

28 comments:

Wendy said...

The views, the sights, the activities, the wildlife -- your Alaska trip leaves me speechless! Wow. What beautiful pictures! I loved your post. Thanks so much for sharing this!

(behold Wendy hurrying off to look up ticket prices to Alaska...)

:-)

Patti said...

What a wonderful trip! Awesome pictures!!

Kelli said...

Welcome home, Pattie! Thank you so much for sharing the great photos with us...such beautiful things you saw! I love the eagle!
~Kelli

new*me said...

oh Pattie!!! That looks like a trip of a lifetime :) I could stay in that bedroom forever!!! Beautiful! I'm so glad you and hubby got the chance to take such an amazing trip.

Susie said...

Hi Pattie,
What a great post! I so enjoyed seeing all the photos of the beauty that is Alaska. I'd go back in a heartbeat, but there's so many other sights I long to see as well!
I laughed and laughed at the "if the bear attacks" sign. How on earth would one ever have the presence of mind to think black or brown. I'd wouldn't have to play dead, I'd probably die of fright LOL!
xo

Cammy said...

How lucky WE are that you shared this part of Alaska with us!

My fav picture is the one of you on the boat, obviously freezing, and grinning from ear to ear! Oh, and the quilts on every bed! How perfect.

Thanks again, Pattie, for this photo journey!

ptg said...

My God, what a wonderful trip with such gorgeous photos! My favorite has to be the fjord..that is just amazing.

Thank you SO much for sharing all of the photos!!

Deborah said...

What beautiful photos! Thanks so much for sharing them and your adventures with us.

Quilts and quotes, how amazing.

MargieAnne said...

Thank-you Pattie. I am so looking forward to our trip end June next year. It won't be wilderness as yours, because ours is a cruise, and now I wish we could see more. Will have to make the most of every opportunity to see & do things on shore. You have certainly whetted our appetite for this trip.

Blessings

grammy said...

Good to have you back and to see the wonderful pics. Because we had a bear go through our campsite and break into some stuff, the bear sign is very interesting. Funny, but when I think of the six little kids with our family, yikes scary. It came in the middle of the day while we were gone. Other people saw it, but not us. I love the eagle pic.

Hanlie said...

Thank you for sharing this with us! The pictures are just beautiful and Alaska looks fabulous! Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

carla said...

SOOOOO FUN!

love,

an old canine as well.

Manuela said...

Pretty, pretty pictures. The wildlife shots especiall are quite awesome.

Thanks for sharing and as always being an inspiration :)

Rayann said...

Thanks for sharing your trip, how beautiful! You and your hubby look so cute together.

Exuberant Color said...

Isn't it wonderful to see the wildlife close up that you have only seen in pictures before? I love that last picture with all of the beautiful colors.

Needled Mom said...

Wow, Pattie, the photos are all gorgeous. I love the room of the house where you stayed. With views like that, why would one get up in the morning?

Yum....I am already tasting the halibut. When's dinner?

Glad the photo thing worked.

Becky said...

What an awesome trip! My husband and I would like to be able to that someday, too! Thanks for sharing all the fun and beauty. :)

Boo Bear's Place said...

I love Alaska but,never been I have an ex bf who lives in anchorage. I would love to visit. The pixs where great thanks for sharing. I read your blog as much as i can.

PEA said...

Play dead unless it starts to eat you??? My goodness! lol Maybe it's a good thing you didn't see bears! hehe Oh Pattie, such beautiful pictures and I can just imagine how awesome it was to see all that gorgeous scenery in person. Even the places you stayed at were wonderful...look at the views from the cabins! It's no wonder you will never forget this trip:-) xoxo

Morning Glory said...

Hi Pattie,
Wow, have I enjoyed these pictures!! That's something my husband would relish doing someday. He loves to visit Alaska.

I want to say thanks for stopping by my blog. I'll look forward to your contributions to Alphabet Soup!

JC said...

AHHHH!!! I have so enjoyed your trip to Alaska. Thanks for sharing your pictures and your stories.

Midlife Mom said...

What gorgeous, spectacular pictures of your trip! WOW! I just love all the wildlife! Glad you had such a wonderful time there. A friend of mine went there on her honeymoon and had a wonderful time too. The cabin and house you stayed in is so nice, love the quilts!!!

The humane society work is going well. I have been raising money for our upcoming fund raiser and it's adding up! Yea! We are going to do the Christmas party that you suggested this year, will start planning just as soon as the Paws On Parade fundraiser is over. They are really excited about it as they have never done anything like it before. Thanks again for the suggestion!!!!

Kathy said...

I was out blog surfing this morning and ran across your blog. I'm so glad I did. I have always wanted to go to Alaska, at least I have experienced part of it through your. Thank you so much for sharing.

Nicole said...

Oh my goodness! What fun!! I am so jealous about the bald eagles!

Marci Rae said...

What an extraordinary adventure. Thanks so much for letting me live vicariously through you! Woohoo! Every since first reading your post I've been craving Puffins cereal. You don't think it's made with real Puffins do you? Ewwww.

Lora said...

Patti - what AWESOME pictures!! This trip sounds like a dream come true! I'm so glad you shared your photos!

I haven't forgotten about your stop watch either - just haven't had tome to get to the post office - but I will!

Karen said...

What a wonderful trip you had and so many exciting things you saw. You are the first person I have known that is crazy for Puffins! LOL

jovaliquilts said...

Wow, Pattie! I scrolled back in hopes of finding info about your trip to Alaska. Awesome!! Such an amazing place. Loved seeing your photos of the wildlife. How wonderful that you got a chance to make the trip.