Rambling travelogs from a world traveler

Sunday, September 22, 2013

TSA Revisited

 "Our safety is not in blindness, but in facing our dangers."  ~ Schiller

On one of the rainy days on our trip to Alaska, Ann dragged me to some downtown art galleries.  

I saw a picture I really liked.  I've stolen a photo from the artist's website to post it here.

Sandy Jamieson

The picture pretty much says it all.  But the artists website has more to say here.

On that happy note, I remain,

Dad / Geoff

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Girdwood, Alyeska and The Hike

We woke up on Ann's last morning in Anchorage to a glorious sunrise - the first time we'd really seen the sun the whole rainy week.  This is the best picture we got of this.

We drove back down the Turnagain Arm again, saw another Tidal Bore and the mud flats.

Then we drove into Girdwood and up to the Alyeska Hotel.  We had planned to hike one of the several trails that have their trail head near the hotel.  But then we saw the tram and decided to go up to the mountain on it. 

On the way up the tram, someone said, "Look at the bear!"  Sure enough down below in a nice mountain meadow there was a black bear eating berries.  We didn't take a picture because it would have looked like a black dot.  Later up  on the mountain we watched a hiking couple with a golden retriever walking along that same meadow.  The dog was as happy as only a golden can be running in a happy circles.  Suddenly the dog sniffed the bear and froze nose pointed at the bear.  They watched it for a while and continued up the mountain.  The bear never lost interest in its' berries.

Here is Ann on a ridge roughly 50' up above the tram station, the Turnagain and Girdwood are down below. 

I thought this sign on the lodge was interesting.

Avalanches are evidently a big deal in Girdwood and the Alyeska ski area.

After we came back down on the tram, we walked the Winner Creek Trail.  It is a 5 mile trail round trip out through a rain forest and along the Winner Creek Gorge.  At the end of the trail there is a Hand Tram to cross the gorge.  Here is Ann on the Hand Tram.

You cross the gorge by pulling yourself along on the rope - that's why it's called a hand tram.  The gear ratio on the pulleys is low and it is a lot of work to pull the thing up the hill.

After the hike we went back to Anchorage had a nice dinner and then a raspberry yogurt ice cream cone at the World's Most Northern Tastee Freez. As we were going back to the Bed & Breakfast made a last minute decision to drive out to Kincaid Park to look around.  We wound up finding more moose.  This was the best picture.  Not many people kow this, but at sundown, moose turn demonic.

Ann flew home Friday morning and I am on a trip now - I'm writing this from the hotel in Taipei, Taiwan.

On that happy note, I remain,

Dad / Geoff

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Today's Quickie Update

 "Art is a lie that lets us recognize the truth.  ~ Pablo Picasso

A quickie update.

The rain fell in buckets-full today so we cancelled the plans to go out on a hike and went to the Alaska Aviation Museum and The Anchorage Museum

There is a new office building going on near the airport that is associated with the Aviation Museum.  (The museum will lend them the display airplanes you see in the picture.) I had misread the construction signs that the Aviation Museum was moving to this site but I was wrong.  It's an office building.  Here is the Architects rendering. As I've said before, good art let's the viewer impose their viewpoint.  I'll let you impose yours here.  The nice fellows we met who were restoring old airplanes at the museum certainly imposed theirs.   

We updated Ann's "Moose Count" for this trip to 7 moose.  Today we got some pictures.  Ann stuck the camera out the car window to get this set of Mom and the Yearling.

On that happy note, I remain,

Dad / Geoff

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Short Bear Story

 "The life of man [in a state of nature] is solitary, nasty, brutish, and short.  ~  Thomas Hobbes

This will be a short story.  It happened yesterday after we got off the boat.  We met a nice couple from Wisconsin who talked about seeing Salmon still spawning in the Portage River at the Williwaw Fish Viewing Platform.  

This platform is on the way out of Whittier and Ann wanted to see the Salmon so we watched for the sign and pulled into the nice parking lot. 

The platform is a very short distance from the parking lot and sure enough, we looked down and saw  Salmon holding position in the stream right under the water.  There were a lot of them. 


This totally unprofessional video shows what we saw.

Right across the bank from the viewing platform was a grassy area that was all flattened out and had salmony fishy parts strewn all over it.  I took a picture....but I ain't posting it.  If you want to see fish parts that had been left behind by a sated bear, let me know. I'll email them.  

We also walked up a path under the road bridge and saw many more salmon and some dead whole salmon carcasses laying on the shore.  

We got back in the car and as we drove over the bridge to leave Ann looked right up the stream and yelled, "There's a bear!"  I looked quickly and saw a brown bear rump disappearing into the dense underbrush that lines the stream.  It was probably 50' or so from where we had just been standing around looking at dead fish like dumb tourists.  

On that happy note, I remain,

Dad / Geoff

Turnagain and the Glacier Cruise

Some more quick pictures and no real story.

We got up early this morning and drove up the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet.  Then we drove down the Portage Valley and through the Anton Anderson Tunnel to Whittier, AK to take a 5 hour glacier cruise.

As we left town we paralleled the railroad truck and passed the train taking people to Whittier for the same cruise.  We got far enough out in front to take this picture.

This was just slightly before sunrise and I'm happy the picture is a good as it is.

Further up the Turnagain, we passed the Bore Tide and found a place to get these videos of it.  This one is just before the bore tide passed.


And this one is the Bore Tide passing.

It was a rainy day and we had to wait for the 10:30 tunnel car open time.  When the tunnel opened we entered it here.

In Whittier, we got on this ship.

The cruise is long and we saw lot's of stuff despite the heavy rain all day long.  Here Ann is looking at 30 or so Steller Seals on Perry Island.  The Seals are in the light brown area at the far left of the picture.

Here is Ann enjoying the Surprise Glacier.

The glacier was actively calving and we saw several BIG stacks of ice fall into the fjord.  One significantly rocked the boat.  We were even lucky enough to see a big block of ice break loose from under the water (as deep as 300 feet) and come shooting up to the surface.  Unfortunately, we didn't have the camera out.

Here are Ann and I in front of Cascade Glacier.

The ship docked at 17:30 and we took the 18:00 tunnel back over to Girdwood.  We had a really great dinner at the Double Musky

We finished just before sunset and saw this nice vista near Bird Point

We are back in the Ilona's Bed & Breakfast and it's late.  It's beddy bye time.

I remain,

Dad / Geoff

Monday, September 9, 2013

North to Alaska

It's been a while.  This is going to be quick.  I'm not going to tell a story just show some pictures.  Remember you can click the pictures to make them bigger.

We finally found a good time for Ann to come up here to Alaska with  me.  I had two weeks off and a trip that starts next Fri the 13th....

We just got here Saturday and spend most of Sunday messing around downtown Anchorage at all the tourist trap stores and art galleries.

Today we drove up north along the Knick Arm of Cook Inlet and went up to the Eagle River Nature Center and a short hike.  Here's Ann.  There is a really fun little observation deck down on the river designed to see the Salmon swimming up.  It's past season.  No Salmon.

That's Eagle Peak in the background.

 After that we drove up to Eklutna Lake and hiked up the Twin Peaks trail.  We climbed about 700' above the lake and about 3 miles.  

Here I am on the trail up.  Bond Peak in the background.

Ann was enthralled by all the mushrooms that grow on Mother Nature's Forest Floor.  This was the best one.

Tomorrow we drive down to Whittier, Ak and take a the 26 Glacier Cruise.

On that happy note, I remain, 

Dad / Geoff