Anchorage

It’s been a while since my last post…and it had been a while since the previous post, as well. Sensing a pattern here. šŸ™‚

Due to the passage of time, I have decided not to revisit our Southwest trip now, though I may still do that one day, but instead to try a new format to share a recent trip that checks off one of our bucketĀ listĀ destinations: Alaska. We found Alaska to be everything we hoped; beautiful, vast, unspoiled, and almost indescribable. That said, despite my normally wordy style, I am resorting to a (mostly) image format. Let me know what you think.

Welcome to the first installment of the Bucket List: Alaska series.

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An incredible sunset and storm captured from the SeaTac airport before taking off for Anchorage

We arrived in Anchorage in the middle of the night, so we grabbed a few hours of sleep before venturing out to explore the northern-most, and most populatedĀ city in Alaska, with around 300,000 residents.

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Our first totems, carved to display characters and ancient stories

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Commas DO matter! šŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to take a trolley tour to help get our bearings, and determine what else we might want to see during our one day in town. It was a good choice; our guide was entertaining and educational, telling us about the 1964Ā earthquake which all but decimated much of Anchorage, but took relatively few lives due to the event occurring after 5 pm on Good Friday. Anchorage has created Earthquake Park out of one of the worst impacted areas, providing green space, trails, and interpretive exhibits, as well as, providing informative pictorial displays around downtown. Unfortunately, I did not get photos of the earthquake displays, being too busy reading them…

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The Captain Cook Monument at Resolution Park, at the edge of the Cook Inlet

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A seaplane landing on Lake Spenard near the Seaplane Base

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Alaska has six times as many pilots per capita and 16 times as many aircraft per capita when compared to the rest of the US, primarily since 90% of Alaska is not served by roads!

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The seaplanes are amazing to behold, not to mention the gorgeous scenery, even on a cloudy day

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We were fortunate to share our Alaska adventure with dear friends, Pam and Eric McGee, from the left, with Jerry and me ā¤

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Anchorage loves its parks, including this interesting linear park that was a block wide, and 13 blocks long

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A lovely whale mural just before the trolley reached its final destination at the Visitors Center

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Spirit Bridge was designed and sculpted by Roger Barrin of stainless steel and granite and placed just behind the VisitorsĀ Center

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The Log Cabin Visitors Center, complete with living roof, in the center of downtown Anchorage

After the trolley tour, where the four of us were joined by another couple destined for the same Alaska itinerary, we found a theater showing a film by photographer and videographerĀ Todd Salat, which featured time-lapse photography of the incredible phenomenon which is the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. From Wikipedia:

AnĀ auroraĀ (plural:Ā auroras),[a]Ā sometimes referred to asĀ polar lights,Ā northern lightsĀ (aurora borealis) orĀ southern lightsĀ (aurora australis), is aĀ naturalĀ light display in the Earth’s sky, predominantly seen in the high latitude (ArcticĀ andĀ Antarctic) regions.

Auroras are produced when theĀ magnetosphereĀ is sufficiently disturbed by theĀ solar windĀ that the trajectories ofĀ charged particlesĀ in both solar wind andĀ magnetospheric plasma, mainly in the form ofĀ electronsĀ andĀ protons, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere) due toĀ Earth’s magnetic field, where their energy is lost.

The resultingĀ ionizationĀ and excitation of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying color and complexity.

I will say that Wikipedia provides a very scientific explanation of a thoroughly emotional visual experience, for me, at least. We had been told that there was a chance we might see the Northern Lights in person during our two weeks in Alaska, but even if it was guaranteed (which it is NOT), I would still recommend seeing a time-lapse film given the chance. More on what we actually saw of the Northern Lights in a future post. šŸ˜‰

Following the film, we were fortunate to be able to visit the Anchorage Market & Festival which is an outdoor market held every weekend from May to September. With food, entertainment, artwork and crafts, and the largest selection of ‘Made in Alaska’ items anywhere, there is sure to be something for everyone. But no photos from our visit, sadly.

All this touring and sightseeing had the group of us clamoring for sustenance, so we headed to the highly recommendedĀ 49th State Brewing Company. Offering award-winning beer, fresh and locally sourced menu items, and a rooftop patio overlooking theĀ Cook Inlet and Alaska Range, we were on top of the world!

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Rooftop views and brews

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A bit of the port of Anchorage and the Cook Inlet, with fantastic cloud formations

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An impending storm over downtown?

Well, the storm hovered, but never arrived, so more walking was in order after dinner.

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The passing storm left this treasure in its wake ā¤

Our new friends took a pass, but the four of us made our way down to the Tony Knowles Coastal TrailĀ which winds 11 miles along the Cook Inlet from downtown to Kincaid Park. We enjoyed a couple of miles of the trail, and despite reports of frequent wildlife sightings on the trail, our experience was limited to beautiful vistas of the forest and inlet.

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Incomparable cloud formations and skies over the marsh

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Low tide exposes the dense glacial silt of the mudflats

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Point MacKenzie across the Cook Inlet to the north

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief visit to Anchorage, our introduction to the wild 49th state of Alaska. Our next installment will take us from Anchorage to Talkeetna via theĀ private dome cars of theĀ Alaska Railroad Wilderness Express. You can go straight to the next post by clickingĀ here.

 

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20 thoughts on “Anchorage

    • Thanks Richard! We were mostly on foot in town, and it was Sunday, so we didn’t notice traffic. But I know what you mean…there is rarely any traffic where we live, so when we encounter any, it’s a shock. šŸ˜

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    • Thank you so much! Wow, Finland would be a very exciting visit also! I have many more totem photos from other Alaskan cities, that I will include in future blog posts. And I love carved bears, we have three at our home. šŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

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