Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Husband had a work conference in Anchorage last week so we headed to the big city. Be still my civilized heart! They have Target, and Olive Garden, and Red Robin, and Kohls, and... well you get the idea! While husband was in his meetings, I shopped. We were there for 5 days and I think I went into Target 6 times! I may have a slight problem. Anchorage is beautiful. It is completely surrounded by mountains and despite the rainy weather pretty much all week, we were able to enjoy gorgeous views.

The weather did hamper our plans a bit. We wanted to rent bikes and bike the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Instead, we waited for a break in the rain and we took a nice stroll along the trail.

Husband watching a train go by next to the trail.

We stumbled across a huge pile of driftwood.

Look at that gorgeous sky!

The rain stopped by the end of the week and the weather was perfect for glacier viewing. We headed about an hour out of Anchorage to Portage Glacier.  We drove along Turnagian Arm (a waterway that connects to the Gulf of Alaska). Talk about a gorgeous drive! Wow. I don't have any pictures because none of the pictures I took from the car window could do it justice. Once we arrived at Portage Glacier, we took a ferry for an up close view of the glacier. We even got to taste ice from the glacier. For the record, it tastes just like normal ice. No surprise there. After the ferry ride, we hiked to Byron Glacier. 

The view that greeted us as we turned onto Portage Glacier Road. 

 Husband in front of Portage Glacier

Portage Glacier

Portage Glacier

Our first glacier

The glacier

Look at my crazy hair! I'm Alfalfa! It was a bit windy.

The hike to Byron Glacier

After the glaciers, we went to the Alaska Wildlife Conversation Center. The center takes in displaced wild animals and gives them care. Often these animals would not survive in the wild. They have a three legged porcupine who lost his leg when it got caught in a trap. They have a 3 month old bear (so cute!) who was found abandoned. They have a beautiful lynx that was rescued from a wildfire. We enjoyed seeing the different animals. Oh and in case you were curious, porcupines smell really, really bad!

Baby moose! 

The bear cub. It was just about the cutest thing I have ever seen! I wanted to take it home with me, but Husband said no. Boo. 

The three legged porcupine. He uses his tail as a leg. 

We also got to see Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley). 

Perhaps the best part of the entire trip (yes even better than Target!) was the stop we made along the Seward Highway. Our guidebook said we might be able to see beluga whales swimming at a couple of scenic viewpoints. We decided to try our luck and stop. Much to our surprise,we were able to watch 5 or 6 whales swimming in the water! They were pretty far away, but if you look closely at this picture, you can see the white of one whale. It was the perfect way to end our trip.

Stay tuned for a post about our next adventure: Barrow, Alaska where we will swim in the Arctic Ocean. Okay, maybe not swim, but at least dip a toe or two in!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

So long summer

They say summer is over here in the Alaska interior. I don't believe them, mostly because the calendar says it is the middle of August. August means it is still summer. However, all I have to do is walk outside and I realize they are right. The daytime temperatures are still around 70*F (around 20*C), but the air feels different, fall-like. There is a crispness to it. The leaves are turning yellow. The geese honk as they fly overhead, heading south to warmer weather. The days are getting shorter. It actually gets dark at night now.  We are losing seven minutes of daylight each day. A week ago, sunset was at 10:34 pm. Tonight the sun will set at 10:01 pm.

I am told that autumn doesn't last long here and I should expect the first snowfall sometime around the middle of September. I knew winter would arrive early this far north, but I did not expect it to arrive in September. Fall is my favourite time of year (anyone who has lived in New England for any amount of time during the autumn can't help but fall in love with fall!). I am sad it will be short-lived here. I don't want to think about the impending winter, with it's -40*F temperatures and very little sunlight. Instead, I plan to soak up the last few days of warmth and sunshine before it's too late.