Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #150: Let’s Get Wild

Guest host Dianne Millard of Rambling Ranger has asked us to get wild for this challenge. On her blog she says “I’m talking about Mother Nature untouched and untrammeled, allowed to get on with her work without human help or hindrance.” Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska meets all of those criteria. It’s the wildest place I’ve ever been.

The landscapes in Denali are breathtaking whether seen from land or from the air.

Wildflowers growing in the middle of the riverbed
Denali Wilderness, Alaska
View from overlook on Denali Park Road
Morning walk near our campsite
Mt. Denali
The high round snow covered peak is the south peak of Mt. McKinley
Flying over a glacier in Alaska

We were always looking out for wildlife. Except for a couple of moose, most of the wildlife was too far from us to get a good close up picture.

Dall Sheep in Denali National Park, Alaska
Moose in the Denali Wilderness
Grizzly Bear in Denali National Park, Alaska
Caribou grazing in Denali National Park

Many thanks to guest host Dianne Millard for the challenge. Please be sure to visit her post at Lens-Artists Challenge #150: Let’s Get Wild

Memories of Alaska Glaciers

When I saw Terri’s Monthly Color Photo Challenge was for the color Glacier Blue, I took the challenge literally and browsed through my archives searching for the blue in my glacier images from our 2013 Alaska RV trip.

I was amazed each time we saw one of these ancient, gigantic bodies of ice. We saw a few from the road, many from nature cruises, and even some from an airplane. Each one took my breath away. We could feel the cold each time we approached one for a closer look. Seeing all these images again brought back many happy memories.

The captain of our cruise from Seward took us close to the Aialik Glacier and shut off the engines so we could see and hear the glacier calving. There’s more about that amazing experience at Glaciers and Wildlife in Seward

Aialik Glacier, Alaska
Calving on Aialik Glacier, Alaska

Probably the most memorable day of our Alaska journey was the day we took a flight seeing trip from Talkeetna. We not only saw glaciers from the air, but our plane landed on one.

Flying over a glacier in Alaska
The blue glacier water can be seen from the air
Beth on Ruth glacier under a clear blue sky

On a nature cruise from Valdez our boat navigated through the ice and in Juneau we saw Mendenhall Glacier up close.

Glacier Blue Ice in Alaskas
Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

While these images make me cold as I look at them they also make me happy. I feel so grateful we were able to make the trip when we did.

Many thanks to Patti for this week’s Lens Artists photo challenge Emotions.

Lens-Artists #100: Long and Winding Road

This week Tina has chosen “The Long and Winding Road” as our challenge. During our travels we have driven on so many long and winding roads I wasn’t sure which ones to include.

As I thought about how to approach this challenge, my mind kept going back to our 2013 RV trip to Alaska.  There were many long and winding roads during our journey but I decided to focus on just one.

Exactly seven years ago today we were in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada at the start of the Alaska Highway (also called the AlCan). Before returning home we would travel on every mile of this long and winding road.

The United States military began construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 to provide an overland route to Alaska. The approximately 1400 mile road from Dawson Creek, BC to Delta Junction, Alaska was completed in 8 months and 12 days.

Mile Zero
Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway! in Dawson Creek, BC

As you can see from the photo above, like many other travelers, we posed for a picture at the famous sign marking the beginning of the Alaska Highway. (The actual location of mile marker 0 is in downtown Dawson Creek, BC). There’s more about our stay in Dawson Creek at Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway.

Part of the road was paved, part was gravel, and part was under construction. There were frost heaves and pot holes, some marked with signs and some not. Sometimes we would go for miles without seeing another vehicle. We stopped at pull outs for breaks and never had a problem finding campgrounds or diesel fuel.

Gravel section of the Alaska Highway in the Yukon

The Alaska HIghway in the Yukon

We drove slowly and enjoyed the wildlife and magnificent views.

Moose on the Alaska Highway
Moose on the Alaska Highway

Alaska Highway

Alaska Highway

As I worked on this post I thought of how empty this road must be this summer with the U.S./Canadian border still closed. I remember the campgrounds, restaurants, and stores we stopped at along the way in Canada and Alaska. These businesses have a short season and depend on summer travelers to make it through the rest of the year. I hope that they will be able to make it until next year when hopefully people will be traveling again.

I am so grateful we made this trip when we did. I still dream of returning to Alaska. Next time we will not be towing our fifth wheel along the Alaska Highway. Instead, I see airplanes and ships in our future.

Thank you to Tina for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Long and Winding Road

Lens-Artists #95: All Wet

This week, Tina has asked us to show things that are All Wet.

As we traveled through Alaska in 2013 we saw wildlife almost every day and some the animals were all wet.

Two Sea Otters Valdez
Sea Otters on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez

Puffins on the Columbia Glacier Cruise from Valdez

Moose in pond
Moose in a pond in Denali National Park

Black Bear fishing for salmon in Hyder, Alaska
Black Bear fishing for salmon in Hyder, Alaska

I can’t end this post without including our beloved yellow Labrador Retriever, Blondie. She was happiest when she was all wet. No matter where we were, if there was water around, she wanted to swim in it. She’s been in doggie heaven for over two years now and I still miss her every day.

Our Labrador Retriever loved to share her wetness with us

Many thanks to Tina for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – All Wet


Lens-Artists #65: Pick a Place

This week, Tina has challenged us to capture the spirit of a place that is vivid in you memory.

My husband and I have been fortunate to be able to travel to most of the United States, parts of Canada, and a few other foreign countries. The one place that I think of most often is the state of Alaska.

It’s been six years since we towed our fifth wheel over 14,000 miles to Alaska and back. There are so many things that make Alaska memorable. The people are friendly and proud of their state. The mountains and glaciers took my breath away every where we went. I was constantly on the lookout for wildlife and often saw bears or moose beside the road. Sometimes we would be the only vehicle on the road for miles.

One of our favorite towns was Haines. We loved all the great people, the Hammer Museum, eagles and bears, and fresh Dungeness Crab for dinner. Probably best of all was the waterfront view from the campground. We enjoyed our cocktail hour searching for whales and watching the ships go by.

It's only raining to the left
View from our campground in Haines

As we traveled around Alaska we would sometimes drive for miles without seeing another car. I was constantly on the looking for bears and moose.

Beautiful view along the highway
Gorgeous scenery every where we went

Moose cow and calf crossing the road

One of our most memorable days was the day we left the fifth wheel in the RV park in North Pole and drove north on the Dalton Highway. After stopping at the Arctic Circle we continued on to Coldfoot, the farthest north we have ever traveled. At Coldfoot we turned around and arrived back at the camper after 10:00 pm and it was still daylight.

We traveled behind the motorcycle as we followed behind a pilot truck
Behind a motorcycle on the Dalton Highway

On a wildlife cruise from Seward, the captain turned off the engines so we could hear the ice calving at Aialik Glacier.

Calving on Aialik Glacier
Ice calving on Aialik Glacier on the Kenai Fjords trip from Seward

One of my favorite things in Alaska was seeing wildlife.

I’ll never forget the Orcas cruising close by our boat on a wildlife cruise from Valdez.

Pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
A pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez

The mama bear was too busy finding fish for her cub to pay attention to us.

Mama bear looking for more fish
Mama bear looking for more fish near Valdez

Black Bear Cub
Black Bear Cub

There were more bald eagles in Alaska than anywhere else I’ve ever been. As we rode close to the shoreline on one of the wildlife cruises there were too many eagles perched in the trees to count.

Pair of Eagles
We spotted this pair of Bald Eagles as we cruised by on a wildlife and glacier cruise from Valdez

Eagle soaring over bluff at Russian Orthadox Church
Eagle soaring over bluff at Russian Orthadox Church in Ninilchik

Riding on a train and a taking a plane ride to land on a glacier after seeing Mount Denali up close were two of our favorite excursions.

Going down the tracks
A ride on the Alaska Railroad to the Hurricane Turn

We went really close to Mt. McKinley
Mount Denali from the air

It’s been over six years since we were there. One day we will return…

Many thanks to Tina for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Pick a Place