As it was another cool wet day we decided to just do some touring of our immediate surroundings, which is the town of Soldotna. Our first stop was the visitor's center. In front of this building were a couple of interesting items which caught our attention. The first was the fish bench and the second was a statue of a man holding a fish. We learned later that the man was Les, a citizen of the area who holds the town's record for catching the largest king salmon. The fish weighed 97 pounds. One thing we learned today is that it is fish which drives the economy of Alaska. Fishing has been important to the state in the past and up to the present, more so than oil or gold.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Before we leave Palmer, I have one more picture to show from there. It is of the stained glass windows at the "Church of a Thousand Trees". That stained glass sure looked beautiful set in the log walls!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday we took a road trip in our little Honda to Hatcher Pass and the Independence Mine. That trip took us through some very scenic alpine country (Hatcher Pass has an elevation of 3,886 feet). Below is a picture taken near the top.The road winds through Mat-Su Valley before climbing into the mountains.
Friday, June 25, 2010
According to the AAA Tour Book Anchorage is as far west as the Hawaiian Islands and as far north as Helsinki Finland. It is Alaska's largest city, located in the heart of the heart of the state's south central gulf coast. Our first stop was at Earthquake Park. From this park we could look over Cook's Inlet and see the city of Anchorage off in the distance.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
We were in Anchorage yesterday and I was going to write on that trip in my next posting. This morning, however, I had such an interesting experience with the wildlife out our back door that I decided to write on that instead. First I do want to show you what we have to look out on from our motor home. There is view over looking a river valley and beyond that are the Chugach Mountains.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
The Glenn Highway is what we turned onto from the Alaskan Highway to reach our final destination of Anchorage. It is a scenic road with many mountain vistas and, most importantly, glaciers. A little fact which I learned yesterday is that glaciers all over the world cover 30,000 miles, of which the majority are in Alaska. Also 75% of the world's fresh water comes from glaciers. Yesterday we had the privilege of viewing their beauty. The best way to show you some of the spectacular sights we saw yesterday is just to post some pictures here. How about this for a sight to look at while eating lunch?
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
We reached Whitehorse on Monday. Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon Territory, and a city of 25,000 people. It has many historic things to see here so we decided to stay over one day to see them. We started our day in Miles Canyon, thinking we would take a short hike to see the gorge of the Yukon River. In our initial view of the canyon we saw an interesting example of what is called columnar jointing. The lava walls look like bundles of straight posts. Above the walls is a suspension bridge which we crossed to start our hike.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
John and I decided to take a day off from traveling and spend a day in Watson Lake. It was Sunday and we wanted to attend services as well as get our laundry done. I had the erroneous idea that since this town was the only one for miles around, we would have a fairly good choice of churches to attend as well as places to shop. I was so wrong! But that was all right, we still enjoyed our time in this town. We attended services at Laird Evangelical Free church. The church was built in 1942, most likely at the time of the construction of the Alaska highway. The building is also serves as a community center. It does seem that quite often when John and I attend services in churches that are not of our faith we find some commonality in the contemporary songs, which was the case in this particular church.
Given the many miles we had to reach Alaska and the bumpy roads, John and I started thinking that perhaps we should have instead flown into Anchorage and toured the state from there by car. There also had been the option of taking the ferry through the inside passage and thus cutting off some of the miles. Those thoughts were completely dispelled Saturday when we drove through the northern Canadian Rockies on the Alaska Highway. Almost every bend in the road presented some kind of spectacular mountain vista. If we were not gazing up at towering snow-covered mountain peaks we were looking down vast verdant river valleys. Adding to those picturesque scenes were many rivers which meander for miles through the wilderness.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
We did not make it to the Yukon Territory, as you may notice by the title of this posting. And we may not make it tomorrow. We have about 327 miles yet to go from here to the border. Our drive on the Alaskan Highway was slow today. There were a few high hills to climb and steep grades to go down. There was one patch of road where we had to laugh at all the warnings. At that spot there were signs warning about moose on the road, icy conditions, 8% grade, and, if that was not enough, we were warned that the road was uneven. We soon learned to take that latter warning seriously. John took the first rough wave of road a bit too fast and I thought every dish in my cupboards would be broken. Fortunately our motor home stayed in one piece and no dishes got smashed. Most of what we saw today was lots of rolling hills and forest. The picture below was taken from the top of a hill just before we started descending into a river gorge. Only the tops of trees can be seen.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Wednesday we continued to drive north, up and down hills. The scenery remained quite beautiful with mountain lakes and forests. In that section of British Columbia we saw a few warning signs along the highway for badger crossings. However, we never saw one of those critters crossing the road. That night found us at Dragon Lake, a very quiet and serene place tucked away in the hills near the town of Quesnel. Many older folks were there for the fishing, and probably the peacefulness of it all.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
So far so good with my internet connections, which is why I am continuing to write postings. Last night while John and I were walking around on the rodeo grounds we noticed large wooden horseshoes hanging on posts with famous rodeo performer's names and their awards listed on them. Some were noted for calf roping, others for bronco riding, others for the suicide race, and so forth. We wondered what the suicide race was all about. We got into a conversation about the rodeo with our neighbor in the park from British Columbia (who says he comes to Omak frequently for gaming at the local casino and for cheap shopping). He informed us that once a year, in July, there is the famous Omak stampede. That is the suicide race. He pointed to a path coming down the hill near us which ends in the river. That is where the suicide race takes place. Seemed to me that at the top of the hill, where the path started, there is a subdivision. Guess that is not stopping the stampede!
Today we crossed the border into British Columbia. The scenery has been awesome, to some extent a bit like what we saw yesterday. We did a lot of driving over hills and down into valleys. Our route has been following the Okagan River.There have been many more glacial lakes also. In the fertile river valleys we saw numerous cherry and peach orchards, also vineyards.There have been lots of rolling and rugged rocky hills. And, as we drive further north, we can view mountains off in the distance. We are also starting to see more pine forests and less of the arid hills. Below is a picture of the hills which surround our campground.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Most of our drive north from Walla Walla was through agricultural land. There were many green rolling hills, the likes of which we had seen Saturday on our drive to Palouse Falls. We passed by numerous orchards, many of which seemed to be apple. We also saw many cattle in feed lots. I told John that I thought that they looked depressed all crowded together in muddy pens! Then, similarly as our experience was Saturday, we started climbing into higher elevations and started seeing land that was arid and rocky. Only a few towns dotted the landscape now and we saw signs pointing to such recreational areas as Moses and Soap Lake. There was a rest stop right alongside of Blue Lake where we stopped for a break and to snap some pictures.