Monday, July 30, 2007

Blog Hiatus

I will be leaving to return to Nebraska so I can get things ready for the movers. Now that we have a house in Alaska, we can move our things. I will not be posting to the blog for an undetermined amount of time. Remember, if you would like to be placed on a "new blog notification list", send me an email telling me that. Then I will send you an email each time I post something new. That way you won't have to keep checking to see if there is anything new on the blog.

July 29 - Bodenburg Butte Hike

July 29, 2007 - Butte Hike

God must have known that this is my last day in Alaska for a while. Today we attended early Mass and then had a big breakfast. (Little did I know that I would be needing that big breakfast to carry me through the day)! This afternoon we drove east of Palmer over the Matanuska River bridge. We took the Old Glenn Highway and headed to Bodenburg Butte. The guidebook said it was a 40-minute hike up the butte. We took a little longer than that (I think it was all the rest stops—but we like to claim that we were stopping to enjoy the fabulous scenery). Once we (literally) climbed the last few yards to the top, we were rewarded with a panoramic view of the valley. We could see the Chucagh Mountains, including Pioneer Peak, and the Talkeetna Mountains. Pioneer Peak is the tallest peak in this area and it is the one we can see from our current residence. We could see the Knik glacier and the Knik and Matanuska Rivers and a lot of uncleared forest area. The view also included the towns of Palmer and Butte, Hatcher Pass.
We did learn some new hiking rules:
1. Find out what the guidebook means when is it says a “moderate” trail.
2. Always go down the same trail you came up
Rule #1 is pretty self-explanatory and it leads to Rule #2. I did not want to climb (or fall) down the rocks on the trail that we used to ascend the butte. From the top we could see lots of people with kids and older people hiking up an alternate trail. I told Doug I didn’t mind if I even had to hike a couple of miles along the road to get back to our vehicle once we got to the bottom of the trail. But I wanted to take the easier trail down. I like to think of it as exploring new territory. We took the alternate trail and knew that we would not end up right by our pickup. But part way down we knew we were curving a long ways from our starting point. We ended up on the other side of the butte. Some nice folks gave us a ride the 5 miles back to our truck. It was the same nice couple who had taken our picture at the top of the butte!
After our hiking adventure, we continued south along the Old Glenn Highway and stopped at a place where there were a lot of people fishing. We waited for 30 minutes, hoping to see someone catch a big salmon. But---no such luck. Just before we were ready to leave we did see three large salmon pop up out of the river. So at least we can say we saw some salmon. We merged in to the New Glenn Highway and headed back home. On the way we say a mother moose and her calf off in the distance. Oh- I forgot to mention that we also ran across several instances of bear “poo” on our hike up the butte. That was close enough for me. So now I can say I have had encounters with salmon, moose and bear.

July 28- Governor's Picnic in Wasilla

July 28 – Governor’s Picnic
We attended the Governor’s Picnic in a park in Wasilla. During the festivities they honored all those who are serving in the military. Our governor, Sarah Palin, had just returned from a trip to Iraq and Germany where she visited with the troops from Alaska. She commented that the troop had left Alaska when it was 40* and were now serving in a location that was 140*. God Bless Them All!
They had lots of booths and events. Martin Buser, a four-time Iditarod winner was there with some of his pups. They certainly were well socialized. The dogs were extremely patient and well mannered, even with all the kids petting them and holding them. The Fish and Wildlife had a booth also. They had several kinds of salmon in their booth and this large king salmon in a cooler outside the booth.

July 26 - Anchorage

July 26 – Anchorage
We were in Anchorage for the afternoon. We visited Earthquake Park. It is an outdoor exhibit on the God Friday, 1964 earthquake that devastated south central Alaska. It wiped out some entire towns. Look that one up sometime. The story of this earthquake is very interesting. We traveled to the western edge of the city Point Woronzof. It has fantastic panoramic views of Cook Inlet, Point McKenzie and various mountains across the inlet, Mt. McKinley and the Anchorage skyline. While we were there a tour bus pulled in and everyone piled out for a picture, including the drivers. They spotted us and asked us to take the pictures. They laid out about 25 cameras on the rocks in front of us, struck a pose in front of the Downtown Anchorage skyline and we started taking pictures. It was the last night of their tour and they wanted a group picture.
Then we hiked a ways down the Tony Knowles (former governor of Alaska) Trail. We didn’t go the whole way, as it runs for about 11 miles along the shore of the Cook Inlet.

Then we went to the Alaska Wild Berry products and had delicious ice cream and saw the HUGE chocolate waterfall. (Sorry - I couldn't get the picture rotated. That's what happens when you get in a hurry!)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

July 21 - Mt McKinley Adventure

July 21 - Mt. McKinley Adventure
I can’t believe it has taken me so long to post this one. It is one of the most awesome activities we have done. After we drove across Hatcher Pass and lunch at Willow, we headed to Talkeetna. It is a small town. Main Street is one block long. It is a main tour bus stop, however. Princess Cruises even has an office there. Our first stop was the Visitors Center. It is about 10 miles before you ever get to town. The lady there told us to be sure and watch at mile marker 5. That is where we would get the best view of Mt. McKinley from the road. She was right! As we got to MM 5, the mountain appeared ahead of us in the middle of the road. It looked as if we could drive right to it. The view quickly disappeared, as the highway twisted and turned (as they all do here). We spent the afternoon wandering around town. We also went to the river. Just beyond the Main Street is the point where three rivers merge. There were lots of people and their dogs at the river. One of the places we stopped at was a business who gave flights around Mt. McKinley. We only wanted to investigate and see what the deals were. Then we decided that we could plan for years to take a flight around McKinley and NEVER be blessed with a day like this. It was 72*, sunny and no wind. We left at 6:00 pm (remember-we had plenty of daylight left since it doesn’t get dark here). We took a two hour flight around McKinley and landed on a glacier.
See the next few posts for more photos of this adventure!

July 21 - Mt. McKinley Photos

July 21 - On the Glacier

These are photos from the glacier landing. There were actually people camping on the glacier! The planes fly them in, dump them off and come back days later for them. We passed on that adventure.

July 21 - McKinley Rainbow

After we took off from the glacier, we flew through a 360* rainbow. There was a rainbow on all sides of us. It was like flying through a rainbow hoop. But the whole flight and glacier landing was unbelievable!!!

July 21 - Flight Home From McKinley