8, 2003 - Backyard Bear!
were finally answered today! As I was leaving for a hike on Flattop
Mountain, my neighbor, Mike, asked if I had seen the bear in my
backyard that morning. He said a black bear had gotten into the
trash can containing bird seed that the RV next to him had on their
front porch. As I was about to faint with disappointment that I
had missed seeing him, Mike pointed him out to me. There was this
beautiful black creature feasting on the seed about 60 feet from
our back door!
really glad today that the sun doesn't set until morning, because
I got such a late start on my hike due to watching the backyard
bear for over an hour. It was another perfectly gorgeous day and
I was told that Flattop Mountain offered panoramic views looking
down on Anchorage. When it's clear it's a perfect vantage point
to see Mt. McKinley. However, even though there wasn't a cloud in
the sky, there was enough of a haze to obscure the distant views
today. It was still a great day to walk and I really enjoyed yet
another and different view of Alaska.
disoriented as I drove down the mountain and wound up by mistake
back on the Seward Highway. I decided to drive back to Girdwood
as I hadn't actually seen the town itself when I attended the Forest
Festival on the 4th. I took a side road from there named Crow Creek
Road, a narrow, winding gravel road that was an enjoyable and slow
drive. I met a father and son from Dallas and we shared travel tips.
By the time I got home, it was 10:30 and Mike told me he had seen
the bear several times throughout the day. At about midnight, I
heard Mike outside and when I poked my head out the window, he told
me the bear was at the trash can right down the road from us. It
was funny to see him lumbering down the street and take off into
the woods again when he saw us.
12, 2003 - Bear Paw Festival
out to Palmer today and do some small hikes along the way, but got
waylaid again by a local community fair. Eagle River was celebrating
its Bear Paw Festival and I can just never pass up that kind of
enjoyed the fair, but I got the biggest kick out of a woman I met
there. As I was talking to one of the vendors, I told him I was
born in New Orleans. He pointed out a woman behind the counter and
said she was also from there. As I got to talking with her, we discovered
she went to school with my cousin, Pam, and knew her brothers and
my aunt. We had clicked immediately, but then we started laughing
because we said no wonder - we were practically family! She is actually
leaving for a visit to New Orleans next week and I let my cousin
know so they might contact each other there. Talk about a small
world - running into another Cajun cousin all the way up here in
love to meet people with whom I seem to have an instant connection
like that. Actually, she is the second New Orleans native I've met
and befriended immediately. At church last Sunday I met a woman
named Marquita who grew up not far from me. We hugged like old buddies
and no doubt will keep in touch as we discovered so much in common
besides our spirits seeming to know each other.
time I was at the fair I heard people complaining about how hot
it was and how they were afraid of passing out from heat stroke.
The temp was in the 80's, and I told them that was a cold snap in
Texas at this time of year.
after eating and seeing everything I wanted to at the fair, I took
off down the Old Glenn Highway. It's a slower, more narrow road
than the one I've been driving in that direction and it was just
a gorgeous day! The flowers are so brilliantly colored and the greenery
on the mountains look like they've exploded, they're so lush and
thick. Maybe it's the long daylight, or just the fact that they
have such a short time to show off and by golly, they're gonna do
it right! It is an amazing sight as it looks like the colors have
been "kicked up a notch" or applied heavier and brighter
than I've ever seen before. And again I feel so blessed to have
gotten to see this different and totally unusual state.
16, 2002 - Catching up with "old" friends
thrilled to get a visit from Chuck & Kalyn on their return visit
to Anchorage. It was fun to catch up on the things we've seen and
exchange notes on what to do and what can easily be missed.
are one of the nicest couples I've met on the road, but Chuck is
certainly the most hilarious! He wrote a poem about a speeding ticket
he received in Whitehorse to the tempo of "The Cremation of
Sam McGee." It was so funny I had tears rolling down my face
and I'm so glad I'm on their mailing list so I can keep up with
people I've met have been so helpful and full of tips and opinions
- some of which I'll take and some I won't. One man told me not
to dare take the Cassiar Highway back south because they just came
up it and watched a couple who pulled in next to them at the campground
throw away 10 garbage bags of things that were broken from traveling
the rough road. He did say that they were pulling a trailer, so
they just couldn't tell how bad it was until they stopped because
inside the truck it felt fine. In a motor home I can hear all the
rattling and bouncing, so that really slows me down when the road
with Woody & Genie today and they're already back in Washington.
I sure am sorry I won't be seeing them in Alaska anymore and Genie
says she already misses it. As usual, though, I am so thankful for
the tips they shared about what they'd seen. Their opinion is not
to miss the Cassiar and I will definitely take that advice.
anxious for my mom to get here so we can hit the road to Seward.
I've definitely enjoyed the daytrips and hikes I've taken out of
Anchorage, and I think the break did me a lot of good, but I am
so ready to pack up my house and take off again.
20, 2003 - My Mom in Alaska!
so great to pick up mom yesterday at the airport. I'm already worried
for her sanity, though, as she can't get over the beauty and magnitude
of the mountains seen just on the way from the airport. I told her
those are really the speed bumps of the mountain world here, so
she better get a grip because she hasn't seen big mountains yet.
It's really going to be fun to have her to share the incredible
views with me over the thousands of miles we'll drive as we head
24, 2003 - Anchorage to Seward
Anchorage on Tuesday amid partly cloudy skies. There were so many
stops along the way that I wanted mom to see that by the time we
were almost to our first real destination, Seward, the clouds were
much heavier and not what I wanted to see when entering that picturesque
town. So I decided to stop at a scenic spot at the side of the road
and spend the night. I hoped that by the next day we'd have sunnier
skies for our arrival into Seward. I'd never been there before but
knew how much beauty is hidden by the clouds on such a day. For
most of the way, at least, the front row of mountains were still
visible enough for us to marvel at the size of the mountains as
we told ourselves it would be clearer tomorrow.
at the city campground and could tell its location right on the
water would be incredible if we could just see more of it. We took
a couple of drives down some of the side roads, and at the moment
we're trying to keep our spirits up as we get fleeting glimpses
of the jagged snow capped mountain peaks. Rationally I understand
there's no way we could spend a summer in Alaska or anywhere else
and not have rainy days, but this being the 3rd day now with no
break in the clouds is a little disappointing. We're going to drive
out to Exit Glacier tomorrow, which is nearby and easily accessible
by a short walk. After that, we'll decide if we want to give Seward
more time to clear or if we'll just head on to Homer. The forecast
is for partly cloudy skies, which would at least be an improvement
over the mostly overcast skies we've had lately.
26, 2003 - Hello again Homer
night in Seward was the nicest so far. We moved from the city campground
to a scenic pulloff at the side of a stream on the road to Exit
Glacier. Even though it was still mostly cloudy, there was enough
of a view visible of the surrounding mountains to marvel at, and
the sound of the rushing glacial stream was soothing and nice to
sleep to. The next morning we visited the glacier and took lots
of pictures, none of which managed to capture the very specific
and special blue of the age-old ice as it tumbles down the mountain,
splitting into jagged crevices and interesting towering shapes.
There are several places marked along the trail that shows where
the glacier was at certain timeframes and clearly shows how much
it has receded, especially in modern times. It was a glorious thing
to see and we really enjoyed it. Mom is still in the "I can't
believe I'm really in Alaska" stage and it's fun to see her
pinch herself to make sure she's not dreaming anymore. She says
of all the places she's ever seen in her life, this is certainly
the most beautiful. Her favorite, like mine, is the larger-than-life
mountains - just the sheer size and scope of such beauty can be
overwhelming and incredibly powerful. All this, being framed by
the most vividly colored flowers imaginable growing in profusion
at the side of the road, makes your neck ache from looking back
and forth trying not to miss anything.
we arrived at the Welcome-to-Homer rest stop, mom understood why
I thought it worthwhile to return here if for no other reason than
for that one view. When we arrived at the waterfront campground
that I stayed at before, there was no room at the spit, it being
Saturday and not the best time to find a spot on the Homer Spit
in the middle of tourist season. So I came back to Anchor Point
and we'll spend a couple of nights here and move oceanfront on Monday.
29, 2003 - A final farewell to Homer
enjoyed my last night on the Homer Spit as it was a very low tide
and I was able to walk out a pretty good ways exploring the tidepools
left behind. It was a special experience standing so far out on
ground that just that morning was underwater. With the dimming sunlight
playing on the mountains and the gentle waves lapping at shore,
I bid farewell to Homer for the last time and was so grateful I
got to experience it and share its beauty with my mom.
also great that she got to meet some of the friends I've made in
Alaska. I was happy to see Sheryl again and it was so sweet of her
and B.J. when they brought her some fresh Alaskan King Crab after
she asked where was the best place to get some.
also so glad that Kalyn and Chuck were back there also during the
time we were there and mom enjoyed meeting her new kids after they
announced they adopted her as their new mom.
I have truly
met some amazing people along the way and that has been one of the
greatest blessings I've experienced during this journey.