July 9-11, 2009 - Anchorage, AK

We headed out of Talkeetna towards Anchorage and again it was too smoky to see the Alaska Range, Mt. McKinley or any of the glaciers. We did not see any wildlife along the road even though we saw a lot of “moose crossing” signs. We passed through Wasilla but Rex wouldn’t stop so we could say “Hello” to Sara Palin and wish her well in her new endeavors now that she has resigned as Governor of Alaska. We are staying at the Golden Nugget RV Park in Anchorage.




Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska with a population of around 290,000 and is the biggest city we have been in for a long time. We went to the visitors center which is a small sod roofed cabin in the middle of downtown and walked around for a while. Most of the street corners have beautiful flower beds and there are a lot of large hanging baskets of flowers. A young lady who is going to school in Anchorage helped us with finding a parking space and told us the “Moose’s Tooth” was a great place for pizza and microbrew beer – and she was right if was excellent.
We spent most of a day at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The center hosts traditional native dancing and drumming, interpretive displays and cultural gifts. We saw a couple of dancing demonstrations from two different regions of Alaska and a demonstration of an event in the Alaska Native Games. The really great thing about these demonstrations is the young people (late teens and early twenty’s) giving the demonstrations attended after school programs on native culture when they were in high school. The better students were given jobs at the center. We listened to one girl tell stories and folklore that her grandmother and grandfather had passed on to her. There are also five authentic native dwellings outside around a small lake. Inside the dwellings an interpreter told about the people who lived in the dwellings and how they lived. They also described how the dwellings were built. It is amazing how they survived in such harsh conditions. There is an area set aside for native artisans selling their beautiful hand-made crafts – we did some early Christmas shopping.
Saturday morning we headed to the port area of Anchorage to a salmon viewing area hoping to see some big salmon. We were disappointed to only see one average size salmon. We think we missed the prime salmon run by a few weeks. We then headed to Earthquake Park where they have an outdoor exhibit about the 1964 Good Friday earthquake. The park is located on a bluff that mostly slid into the Cook Inlet during the earthquake. It is amazing how much damage the earthquake and following tsunami caused around Alaska.



Here is a picture of Anchorage from Earthquake Park and a picture of Cook Inlet– as you can see it is very overcast and gray today. Can you imagine standing here after the earthquake and watching the tsunami roll in.

We drove by Lake Hood, which is the largest seaplane base in the world and is also a bush pilot landing base. We missed a sign and ended up driving down a taxiway and had to turn around and drive back – at that point we were face to face with a small bush plane taxing to the runway. Luckily there was an exit to the main road and we were able to get out of the way (stupid tourists!!!)

After escaping the taxiway, we drove the Seward Highway south along Turnagain Arm on Cook Inlet. Turnagain Arm is known for having one of the world’s remarkably high tides, with a diurnal range of more than 33 feet. A bore tide is an abrupt rise of tidal water just after low tide, moving rapidly landward, formed by a flood tide surging into a constricted inlet such as Turnagain Arm. This foaming wall of water may reach a height of 6 feet and is very dangerous to small craft. It would be fun to watch the tide come in but we didn’t want to wait 7 hours for it. There are warning signs not to venture out onto the mud flats at low tide as the glacial silt and water can create quicksand and you could be caught by the incoming tide. These pictures are looking out over Cook Inlet at the mountains on Kenai Peninsula - as you can see it is not high tide. We were hoping to see some beluga whales but no such luck.



On the way back to Anchorage we stopped at Potter Marsh, a coastal wildlife refuge. There was not much wildlife around when we were there but we did see a few birds, a couple of red necked loons, some small salmon fry, and a pair of bald eagles. Rex was able to get a picture of one of the eagles.

Comments

  1. We love reading your blog. Almost like being there again. We sure miss you being here though!

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