Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #199 – Mechanical/Industrial

For this challenge, John asks us to feature mechanical and/or industrial images.

The discovery of gold is an important part of Alaska’s history. Several year ago, as we traveled around Alaska, old abandoned dredges and rusty machinery gave us a glimpse of some of the old machines that were once used to mine for gold.

Dredge 8 in Fairbanks is a popular tourist attraction. Other mining equipment is on display and at the end of the tour visitors can pan for gold.

The Pedro Dredge in Chicken shown below is a National Historic Site. The rusty machinery in the header image is on display at the Chicken Post Office. We drove by an active mining operation near there.

Many thanks to John for the challenge Lens’Artists #199: Mechanical/Industrial

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #184 – Travel Has Taught Me

“To Travel is to Live” – Hans Christian Andersen

Travel has taught me that there is beauty everywhere you go if you just take the time to look around. When we were traveling by RV, we always had several major destinations for each trip. At first we just drove between destinations without taking much time to enjoy the places in between.

The more trips we took, the more we enjoyed the out of way places that are often overlooked by travelers. Lake Bistineau State Park, Louisiana was one of those places.

Cypress Trees in Lake Bistineau State Park

I’ve learned that traveling opens up opportunities to try new things, even things that terrify me. Our hike to Delicate Arch at Arches National Park is a perfect example of this. I’m scared of heights and almost didn’t make the hike when I read I would have to walk along a narrow ledge with a shear drop off. With Henry’s help and encouragement, I made it. The payoff was this fantastic view.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah

I learned that asking a local is the best way to find out about the area, the history, and the out of the way places to visit that don’t show up in tour guides. One year we spent about two months wandering around Texas when the bluebonnets were blooming. A ranger I met in one of the state parks gave us directions to a scenic drive on a dirt road that we would have never discovered if we hadn’t asked.

Texas Bluebonnets

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” -James Michener

Travel has taught me I can learn more about a lot about a place by having conversations with people who live there. At the beautiful Russian Orthodox Church in Ninilchik, Alaska we met two women who manage the gift shop and maintain all the graves. They grew up in Ninilchik together and lived with relatives in Anchorage to attend high school because at the time there was no high school in Ninilchik (there is one today). They graduated together in 1950.

Gift Shop for the Russian Orthadox Church in Ninilchik, Alaska

Travel has taught me to try the local foods. We have enjoyed barbecue beef brisket in Texas, pasties in Michigan, Indian Tacos in South Dakota and Arizona, New Mexico cuisine, local seafood in Florida, Washington and Oregon, pork tenderloin sandwiches in Missouri, Dungeness Crab straight off the boat in Alaska, and so many other delicious things we can’t get at home.

Dungeness Crab, Haines, Alaska

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”― Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s quote describes exactly why Henry and I chose to go on our cruise in January. I’ve learned that every day is a gift. None of us know what tomorrow will bring. A single phone call, doctor’s visit, or an unexpected event can change your life in an instant.

St. Kitts

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing: – Helen Keller

Many thanks for Amy’s challenge Lens’Artists #184: Travel has taught me

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.

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Gravel section of the Alaska Highway in the Yukon

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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

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Alaska Highway

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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