Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alaskan Picture Pages

I extended my time in Alaska to include a week of vacation. "The Phoenix" came up and joined me, and we spent a week cramming in as many activities as possible.

The first day we went on a bear-viewing tour. We chartered a small float plane and went to a nearby bay where we could safely view the bears from a boat.
Mama grizzly bear fishing for her two cubs:

I wouldn't want to be a salmon!

These two Spring cubs made all sorts of loud whiny, grunty sounds for more fish:

Smaller, adult male grizzly:

Black bears look small and cuddly by comparison:

I think this eagle was hoping for some leftover fish:

We spent a few days in Denali National Park, doing some hiking and white water rafting. We didn't have very much time for hiking, so we took the park shuttle as far as we could to the Savage River and walked around. Denali, by far, had the some of the best scenery. I had hoped to see caribou, moose, and dall sheep, but it didn't pan out. Mount McKinley is only visible a handful of days every month, so we didn't get to see it during our time there. Oh well, more incentive to return for a longer stay next time.

Fall looks entirely different on the tundra:

Me, looking carefree:


This is a ptarmigan, which I think must mean "tastes like chicken" in native tongue. One of our fellow tourists tried to convince us that it was a golden eagle. We just smiled and nodded.

After that, it was on to Seward Peninsula via the Alaskan Railroad (which has great views, but is a REALLY slow trip, so I was glad we took the motorcoach back!). We spent a couple of days on on Fox island at a fairly secluded hotel, where we dined on salmon, kayaked on the ocean, and took advantage of their personal chef.

The next day, we went on a wildlife-viewing day cruise. Highlights included spotting some whales and watching a glacier calve.

I think this sea lion was also on vacation:

Flirty otter:

Mama and baby whale:

It was difficult to go back to work, and I still have tons of photos to sort through, but I'm glad I went, and feel like I took pretty good advantage of the time that I had in Alaska. It's such a huge state, that there's no way to cover everything in one visit, and for some of the things that I wanted to see (Northern Lights), you really have to check it out at different times of the year. August was a great time to go though, as there was still plenty of daylight and tourist season was tapering down, so a lot of places that we went weren't as crowded.


ru said...

I will feel cheated if I never visit Alaska. Your pictures really capture the vibrance and wide-openness of Alaska. (for some reason the spell checker does not like the word vibrance. I checked; it's still a word)

Chris said...

Oh muh goodness!

I am ill with envy over your pictures. Those are amazing, awesome, and just any other great adjective you could throw in.

Wow. Just wow!

PS: Did I mention, wow?