Denali and surrounds

Denali National Park and Preserve is a huge national park, somewhere around 6 million acres. Although some hiking is allowed in the park, there aren’t a lot of trails, so a lot of people take these tour buses along the central road through the park. Our bus driver/naturalist had a voice that reminded me of old filmstrip documentaries we would watch in grade school. A little soporific. We took an 8 hour trip, and we saw Dall sheep, caribou, grizzly bears, moose, a fox, hares, ptarmigans, owls, magpies, and other denizens of the woods, taiga, and tundra. The park was founded to save the Dall sheep, a kind of wild sheep that lives way up on the crests of mountains. We saw lots of them from a distance, with lambs prancing about. My simple camera wasn’t up to taking photos of most of the wildlife, but I managed to get a few (somewhat fuzzy) snaps.

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Kenai Fjords and Aialik Glacier

The Kenai Fjords National Park is mostly inaccessible by land — there’s not much in the way of hiking, and a lot of it is occupied by the Harding Icefield, which is a gigantic sheet of ice out of which several glaciers flow. To see the park you need to take a boat into the fjords. We went around the Aialik peninsula to see the Aialik Glacier. We saw lots of Steller sea lions, bald eagles, tufted and horned puffins, harbor seals, a black bear or two, mountain goats, porpoises, and other birds whose names I forget. The sea otters kept their distance so it was hard to see them up close. The ocean was a bit choppy so most of my photos came out a bit blurry, but I managed to snap a shot of some Steller sea lions hauled out on a rock:

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Seward, Seward’s Folly

Interestingly, the internet in my hotel is provided by Meraki, which was speadheading an urban mesh network in San Francisco. On Wednesday we took the train from Anchorage to Seward, named for the US Secretary of State who pushed for the purchase of Alaska from the Russians for the sum of $7.2 million. The train ride is very scenic and we passed some beautiful mountains, the Turnagain Arm (named by the navigationally frustrated Captain Cook), and a beautifully clear lake:

Reflections on the way to Seward

In Seward we checked out the Sea Life Center, which had some puffins:

Puffins hanging out

Today we went on a day long tour via boat of the Kenai Fjords National Park and saw the Aialik Peninsula and Aialik Glacier. I haven’t gotten the photos from there yet but if any turned out nicely I’ll post ’em.

Greetings from Anchorage

Sorry for the blog being down (not that anyone except for Adam noticed) — I forgot to renew my domain name. All that seems to be fixed now.

I’m in Anchorage, AK right now. The sun rises here at around 4:30 and sets at around 11:30 these days, so it’s still pretty bright out. Fortunately, the hotel has heavy drapes to block out the near-midnight sun. I may later spruce up this post with some photos.

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