Sunday, August 12, 2012

Moving on Down!

Since my last post we have spent some time in Anchorage and moved on to Soldotna. Anchorage is a typical American city with the usual box stores, fast food restaurants, and traffic. It is located on Cook Inlet.
 Our first day there we explored the inlet stopping at Point Woranzof, Earthquake Park, Beluga Point, and a few other places. Point Woranzof is located at the end of the Anchorage airport runway so we got to experience airplanes taking off over our heads.

 From this vantage point we could see Mount McKinley (Denali) in the distance and a cruise ship sitting in the harbor.

 Earthquake Park commemorates the 1964 Earthquake, a 9.2 earthquake that destroyed many of Alaska's coastal communities. Beluga Point is south of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm. You can sometimes see Beluga whales chasing the salmon and occasionally even an Orca chasing the Beluga. During our time in Anchorage we drove past this place three times and never saw a whale!

We also made a day trip to Portage Glacier and the port town of Whittier. Portage Glacier is an active glacier located at the end of Portage Lake. Active means that it is not receding as quickly as most glaciers but somewhat maintaining it's size. We took the boat tour so that we could get up close and personal.

Below are two icebergs that had "calved" during the night. Even though they don"t look that big both were bigger than the boat we were on.

A chunk of glacier ice. It will turn a milky white color after being exposed to air for a while.

 Boy was it cold!! What's really funny is this is also the only place in Alaska so far that we have really been bothered by mosquitos. Go figure! Apparently the weather conditions in this part of Alaska are perfect for glaciers as Portage Glacier was only one of many glaciers in that area.

 After the boat trip we drove on to Whittier. To get to Whittier you have to drive through North America's longest vehicle tunnel - a 2.5 mile one way tunnel. Whittier itself was a surprise. Because it is considered an important Alaskan port I expected to find a bustling city. Instead it's a sleepy little town with a steady population of less than 300 even though over 700,000 people visit every year. There was a cruise ship in port waiting for boarding.

 We are now in Soldotna on the Kenai Pennisula. A fisherman's paradise, at least for some people. For Rose and Terry, not yet. Fishing for salmon is very different. Running salmon have only one thing on their mind and it's not food! You do not fish with fancy lures or tasty tidbits. You fish with a bare hook and hope you can get lucky and snag a passing salmon. Terry has managed to catch one and we grilled it last night. Yum-m-m!  Fresh, wild Alaskan salmon is everything it's advertised to be. I just hope somebody finally gets the hang of it and we can fill the freezer.

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