Thursday, June 28, 2007


Seward is the entry point for Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords is all about fjords (obviously) and glaciers and critters. Exit Glacier is one of the most accessible. It's called Exit Glacier because it is retreating. Markers show how far the glacier has retreated since the 1890s.

Exit Glacier is a short walk from a park visitor center. Much of it is uphill but it's still relatively easy. You can get fairly close to the glacier but you can't walk right up to it any more. Apparently a few years ago a chunk of ice fell off and almost clunked a tourist. Also, the ground from the viewing area to the glacier is very steep over loose, slippery rocks.

Yes, it's really blue, which has to do with the way the ice is compacted and light is reflected.

This is what glaciers leave behind: rock.

Seeing the big glaciers, such as Aialik Glacier, requires a cruise from Seward, through Resurrection Bay and into the Gulf of Alaska. On a good days, the ocean in the Gulf of Alaska is not the smoothest you'll ever find. We had a less-than-good day but, we were told, not a really bad day. Rain, wind and waves made the cruising part less than wonderful, but the views of the glacier were worth it.

We also experienced a lot of sea ice and our captain had to navigate carefully through the ice. We had just watched an episode of "Deadliest Catch" in which a crab boat almost became stuck or crushed in sea ice. Coincidence?

Kenai Fjords tourists often see critters, such as puffins (no photo), humpback whales

and Steller sea lions.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Where the Road Ends

The road ends in Homer, Alaska. Along the way, you see more gorgeous scenery. A 70,000-acre wildfire on the Kenai Peninsula made the air a little smoky and hazy, but did not diminish the beauty of the landscape.

A Russian Orthodox church in Ninilchik is evidence of the Russian presence in Alaska.

The end of the road is the end of the Homer spit and the mountains beyond.

Homer is all about halibut and halibut fishing. The road on the Homer spit is lined with charter fishing outfits, RV and camping spots, fish processing businesses, restaurants and tourist shops. The harbor is packed with boats — commercial fishing boats, charter fishing boats and personal boats.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Richardson Highway

Can you stand any more pictures of beautiful scenery? The Richardson Highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks offers some of the best. It's a longer route than the Denali Highway but well worth the extra time. Plenty of turn-outs along the road accommodate photos as well as the oooh-aaaah-ing that comes naturally.

Even the Trans-Alaska pipeline is scenic. The Richardson Highway also offers many views of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, including this crossing at the Tanana River. According to one sign posting, the oil travels through the 800-mile-long pipeline at 5.9 miles per hour.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


After a while, the word "spectacular" starts to become meaningless when applied to Denali National Park. Even on a cloudy day, as we experienced, the park is beautiful and — spectacular. We never saw the whole of Denali (Mount McKinley) because of the clouds, but we didn't feel deprived.

The scenery was partly what we expected: snow-covered peaks, glaciers, spruce forest. Unexpected were the vast, flat plains and moraines.

We did see critters — hares, ground squirrels, Dall sheep, caribou and brown bears (which are really blond in Denali) — but mostly too far away or too quick to photograph.

Did we mention that the secenery was spectacular?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

We Saw a Bear!

This little black bear stopped traffic on the road near the visitor center at Portage Glacier. Black bears can be dangerous, so we photographed him from a safe distance away.

Portage is about 40 miles south of Anchorage. The visitor center offers more spectacular Alaska scenery.

And an iceberg. Okay, maybe not a Titanic-sized iceberg, but an iceberg nonetheless.

We also make a short hike to Byron Glacier.

Some of us are more Alaskan than others. Not mentioning any names.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Another Sunny Day in Alaska

And another beautiful hike, this time at the Eagle River Nature Center in Northeast Anchorage. No wildlife on this hike but others had seen a black bear in the park just an hour or so earlier. Even without critters, it was a beautiful walk with classic Alaska scenery: snow-topped mountains, glaciers, spruce trees, crystal water.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Winner Creek

Our first day in Anchorage started out cool and cloudy but turned warm and sunny. So we headed about 35 miles south of Anchorage to Girdwood and the Winner Creek hike, which starts at the Aleyska Resort. On the way, we stopped at Beluga Point.

Along the hike, we saw the site of an avalanche from this mountain to about 15o feet below where we stood for this photo.

Winner Creek:

I just liked the way this log had rotted:

Alaska is just as beautiful as the travel brochures claim it is. And full of critters. So far I've seen Dall sheep, a moose and an eagle. No opportunity for photos, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

On the Road Again

If it's summer, we must be traveling. The next journey is to Alaska to visit family and tour. Check in here to follow our adventures.