Wednesday, August 13, 2008
It took about 24 hours of traveling (Kotzebue to Anchorage, (4 hr layover); Anchorage to Minneapolis (5 hour layover); Minneapolis to DCA; DCA to Shady Grove Metro; Shady Grove to Germantown to retrieve my car (kindness of my good friends the McClures); Germantown to Columbia), but I made it home last Tuesday evening. I left the next morning of three days of training in Southern Maryland.
It's taken me since then to get readjusted to life in the lower forty-eight, on EDT, etc. I have some amazing pictures of Copper Center/Kenny Lake, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, our INCREDIBLE glacier hike, and Kotzebue and I want to get them up in case anyone is interested. Hopefully soon!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
2) Go to the E.R. (recreationally)
3) Watch the Alaska Airlines flights (aka the "Freedom Bird") take off and land at the airport
4) Lay on the floor and stare at the dusty ceiling fan
5) Watch the rain come down.
6) Bake banana bread.
7) Reminisce about summer.
Alas, we could only come up with seven . . . . . .
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
- Ptarmigan (the "p" is silent -- the state bird of Alaska)
- Snowshoe hare (look like the bunnies at home, except with really big feet and no cottontails)
- Ground squirrels (smaller version of what we have at home)
- A Golden Eagle who swooped and swirled right outside our windows
- Several Grizzly Bears, ncludng a mama and cub walking right by the side of the road
- Dall Sheep (the white cliff-dwelling wild sheep who inspired the creation of the park)
We stopped in an area where wolf had been reported and several people on the bus claimed to see them walking through the brush, but I never saw anything myself. We didn't spot any moose, but we have seen several wandering my the roadside, so we weren't too upset about that.
The other thing we didn't see, to our disappointment, was Denali (aka and officially Mt. McKinley) itself. It was just too cloudy. Ah, well -- that's what postcards are for, right?
Monday, July 28, 2008
Saturday was dedicated to an AMAZING whale-watching boat trip out of Seward. We gathered in downtown Seward around 8 am and loaded onto our boat with about 15 other people for a full day of cruising Resurrection Bay, the Gulf of Alaska, and Kenai Fjords National Park.
- Puffins (they are so cute, and quite small)
- Harbor seals
- Doll Porpoise
- Sea otters
- Humback whales
- Sea Lions
- A bear ambling along the coast line
- Bald eagles
- Orcas. Lots and lots of Orcas! At this time of year, multiple groups of Orcas gather in the gulf of Alaska and intermingle for breeding purposes -- this is called the "Superpod". We wandered into the middle of this Killer Whale speed dating scene.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Joy and I woke up bright and early in Anchorage (well, everything and everytime is bright, here in the land of the midnight sun!), collected the rental car (a compact American car in a shade of blue I didn't know was still used for cars) and set out south out of Anchorage to the Kenai pennisula.
Friday, July 25, 2008
As those who know me well can testify, I'm an inveterate procrastinator, a real last-minute girl. But this trip, I was ready. My bags were packed, I was ready to go! I was T minus 30 or so to leave for the airport, running the vacuum and making the bed, when my cell phone rang. It was Orbitz, through whom I bought the tickets, calling to let me know that due to "weather" (it was a gorgeous day) Northwest Airlines had cancelled my 12:15 flight to Minneapolis, which of course meant I would miss my two connections.
So, Orbitz-girl says, they have rebooked on another set of flights.
The next day.
Obviously, this was not O.K. with me -- we have a complicated and packed itinery that involves, among other things, leaving Anchorage at 10 am Friday to pick up the 10-year-old from Space Camp. A 24 hour delay-of-game would totally throw the plans into chaos.
So, it took two different phones calls to NWA and some tears and a little screaming, but they got me on a flight to Detroit and then from there to Anchorage. I spent 6 hours at DCA, 1.5 hours in Detroit, and 9 or so hours in the air, but I made it!!
I arrived in Anchorage at 10:30 pm (Anchorage time, 2:30 am my time!) and it was overcast but daylight. I've never been so disoriented in my life!
Spent the night at a hotel/guest house in Anchorage, got a little sleep, and we're off!
Pictures tonight, hopefully!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I've christened this trip the "I'm going to Alaska . . . No, not on a Cruise" expedition. I might have a t-shirt made.
So, here's the basic outline of the trip:
Thursday, 7/24 -- Fly out. Depart DCA (National) at 12:15. Change planes in Detroit and Seattle/Tacoma, eventually arriving in Anchorage at 8:30 pm local time. Alaska is four hours behind EDT, so that's basically 12 hours of traveling. Meet Joy and spend the night in Anchorage. (Columbia, MD to Anchorage, AK -- 4278 miles)
Friday, 7/25 -- Look around Anchorage a little, then drive to Kenai to pick up Paul at Space Camp. Drive on to Seward and spend the night. (Anchorage to Kenai -- 157 miles. Kenai to Seward -- 104 miles).
Saturday, 7/26 -- Whale Watching trip.
Sunday, 7/27 -- Poke around Seward a little, then on to South Denali by way of Talkeetna. Spend the night at the McKinley Princess (Seward to Talkeetna -- 237 scenic miles)
Monday, 7/28 -- Into the park! Tundra Wilderness Tour by bus. (Talkeetna to Healy -- 165 miles)
Tuesday, 7/29 -- Rafting trip in Healy. On to Fairbanks -- explore Pioneerland, learn about the goldrush, etc. (Healy to Fairbanks -- 187 miles)
Wednesday, 7/30 -- Fairbanks to Copper Center (260 miles)
Thursday, 7/31 -- Wrangell-St. Elias National Park -- activities TBD. Hopefully Glacier Hiking!
Friday, 8/1 -- Return to Anchorage and fly to Kotzebue (Copper Center to Anchorage -- 193 miles. Anchorage to Kotz -- 549 air miles (can't drive it even if we wanted to -- no roads!)
Saturday 8/2 -- Monday 8/4 -- Kotzebue! Exploring the Northwest Arctic -- the tundra, the town, etc.
Monday 8/4 - Tuesday 8/5 -- Fly Kotz -- Anchorage -- Minneapolis -- DCA (red-eye).
Hopefully pictures of mountains, moose, and glaciers will be forthcoming soon, but in the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, here are a couple pictures of Hermione with her "summer buzz cut"