Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Kenai

Today was our last day in the interior of Alaska - and what a day it was. We decided that we would drive down to the Kenai and Seward. It was an absolutely beautiful drive. There was so much to see and such a diverse amount of scenery.
One of the places that we went was out to the Kenai Fjords National Park where we saw the Exit Glacier. This is the only glacier in the park that you can usually get close to. You notice I said 'usually' - not today. The ranger at the park told us that in March and April they received ten feet of snow (yes, I said 10 feet!) and that they used their entire year's budget for snow removal just to get a one lane road into the visitor's center. They opened at 10:14 this morning. We couldn't get back to the base of the glacier but it was beautiful anyway.
One of the other places we went was to the Alaska Wild Life Conservation Center. They take orphaned or hurt animals and keep them - these animals are ones that could not survive in the wild any longer - but one of the things that I thought was neat was where the center was located.
On Good Friday in 1964 there was an earthquake in Anchorage - I knew about this earthquake because I had a cousin that was serving in the Air Force at the time and was stationed in Anchorage. Anyway, during this earthquake the bay in Anchorage completely emptied and the entire shoreline was changed. What I didn't know was that the small village of Portage was also affected ----------------------------

This cabin was destroyed in the earthquake - the village of Portage had to be moved because the earthquake caused the land to drop 6 to 12 feet and during a high tide much of the town was now underwater. Anyway, the center was located in an area that had been part of the village - many of the trees around were dead due to the saltwater on the roots.

Now, this is one of the animals at the center - it is a coyote that had been injured and was blind in one eye - there is no way it could survive in the wild. However, it was in the enclosure with three brown bears (which we didn't see because they were out in the brush). Anyway, we saw moose, musk ox, caribou, reindeer and wood bison (which are smaller than the bison down at Yellowstone). I enjoyed going through the center, but I get much more excited seeing the animals in the wild.

Speaking of animals in the wild - when we got back to the unit today this bald eagle was sitting in the trees. Pretty cool huh???
Well, tomorrow morning we leave for Tok. Dan wants to stay at Deadman's Lake tomorrow night - we'll see - I'm not sure, but I guess I can do anything for one night. Plus, guess who we meet today here at the park we are staying - our replacement hosts at Deadman's Lake. Isn't that a hoot - such a small world. Anyway, we talked for awhile - they left today to head on up to the campground and then they will be in Juneau the middle to end of August waiting for their ferry down to Bellingham, WA. We'll see how the summer went (this is their first camp hosting job!). Should be interesting.
Now, tomorrow is our one year anniversary of this whole new lifestyle. That is very hard for me to believe - May 18th of last year we pulled out of Dowling Park, Florida and started on our way to our first job in Idaho. Tomorrow we will start on the last part of our journey of this summer heading back toward Haines for our ferry trip to Juneau. So begins the next year of our two year journey (let's see if Dan sticks to the agreement).
Let me take a couple of minutes to give my thoughts on the interior of Alaska. This is probably some of the most beautiful scenery and country I have ever seen - the beauty of this place is unmistakable. However, ruggedness and vastness of this land is also unmistakable. Everywhere you turn you are stuck with beauty, but you realize that this land can be very unforgiving if you are not careful. Would I have missed the opportunity to see this land - no I wouldn't. Maybe you could say that the horrible road coming into the interior is the price you pay to experience all this beauty - if so, it is a very small price to pay. I hope that some of my pictures have shown some of this beauty.
Okay, enough of all that - I hope that all is going well with you - I don't think I will have Internet again until we get to Haines - so, if you don't hear from me in a couple of days don't get concerned. We will be set up in Juneau by Saturday afternoon - yahoo!!!! Take care and ------------
I'll talk to you in a couple of days!!!!


  1. Glad you had such a nice day driving the interior on Monday. Unbelievable for you to meet the host for Dead Man's Lake Campground. Did you post the Monday's adventure on Tuesday the 18th. Seems like the date on the top of the blog is one day ahead of your adventure - unless you wrote this very early on Tuesday morning. I'm reading at 7:30 am. It shows that you wrote this three hours ago. Of course all that day light... Interesting. Maybe we have a time issue with the blog coming from Alaska? Look forward to the next edition.

  2. I hope this comment posts. My last one wouldn't so I sent you the e-mail. I have loved the pictures and descriptions. Ted is now following the blog. He said you have sensational pictures. We were in Juneau at one time and my first memory is of the fish weir and the Governor's Mansion. I bet they even had a Wal-Mart for you now! Enjoy.

  3. Hey Carol, Neil, Ted, and Donna - Glad you are enjoying the pictures and the blog - I'll try and keep them coming (although I don't think I'll have any pics tonight- I'm on dial up and it will take too long!!) The time issue may be because I haven't changed the time on the computer - it's 4:57 here and the computer says 8:57 - I'll change the time and see what happens.

  4. Have enjoyed your pictures and comments on Alaska . . . based on a much shorter and more superficial visit to both the SE (a 10-day cruise on a 12-passenger boat between Sitka and Wrangell, and four or five days in Denali on both the Anchorage side and at cabins on the other side of the park), I really endorse your sense of awe at both the beauty and the "indifference" of the natural environment in Alaska.

    As you note, nature is BIG in Alaska, and just doesn't care about intruders like people. I also was bothered by the indifference of many Alaskans to rapacious development. I think it comes in reaction to the appearance of immutability and enormity that nature assumes in Alaska, but which in reality is just the last vestiges of an environment that is already heavily impacted by man, and unexpectedly fragile (after all, it's only unfrozen for about four months a year!). For example, almost all of the streams in Denali (one of the US;s largest parks) are no longer viable salmon streams because of placer mining operations that began in 1900.


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