Alaska! Day 1
Alaska… what a fun trip. Andreal and I went to Alaska for five days at the end of September. We planned a long distance driving tour of Anchorage->Seward->Homer->Denali National Park->Anchorage. My trip reports often become overly detailed, so rather than one epic post of five days, I’m breaking it down into multiple posts.
We flew into Anchorage late Wednesday night, with plans to drive down to Seward the next morning. That morning, at the hostel, we made friends with Alenka, a girl from Slovenia who was stranded in Anchorage due to the trains stopping for the winter (in September!), and a clerical error in her license (couldn’t rent a car). All of us were in Alaska to see the wildlife, and take pictures. Andreal is a huge photo fiend like myself, and Alenka loves animals (her major at university focuses on them). She mentioned how she really wanted to get to Seward, and we told her we were heading that way, so she came along with us for the rest of our trip. You’ll find out later that this turned out to be an excellent decision.
Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center
Along the drive to Seward, we stopped by the AWCC to see the animals of Alaska. Turned out to be a good idea to stop by here, since this would be the most wildlife we’d see for a while. Among the many animals we saw, the most notable to me was an aggressive male elk, cuddly (but very not) bears, and a (no joke) crazy moose.
This male elk was very hostile and would charge towards visitors. He also kept hollering back at another male elk, separate from his group.
Andreal snagged this photo of me after he had charged at me. This is me telling her to hurry up because I didn’t understand how this wire fence was keeping me safe from his antlers until much later when Alenka pointed at the second fence on his side.
I wanted to sit and cuddle with these bears, even as they were ripping apart cantaloupes with their huge claws.
Ever meet a crazy moose? I have. This fella went on a rampage against a shed and a fence, and then started chasing another moose. Note the bloody antlers.
All the leaves were changing color so it was an amazing drive. We warned Alenka that we’d probably be randomly stopping along the drive to take pictures of the sights, but it turned out she was a super fan of stopping for pictures. Hooray!
We stopped at Tern Lake where the views were beautiful and Swans swam.
Aw would you look at that? I’m being artistic.
We didn’t see the Swans until we were driving off, so Andreal pulled over to the side while I snagged pics from the passenger seat. I got to use her camera and 400mm zoom to snag some pics. Oh, and also use the car as a huge lens shade.
My original intention was for us to do the 7 mile hike to the top of Exit Glacier, but we kept hearing mixed reports about the park being open. So, before hitting Seward, we drove in to check it out. It was open, and only an easy mile hike to the base of the glacier, so we headed out. This cancelled any 7 mile hike, which Andreal was very happy with. The information plaques showed the reach of the glacier in years past. It’s sad to see how much the glacier has shrunk over the years.
The glacier is blue, but dirty looking due to the melting. Okay, don’t judge, but I didn’t know glaciers were actually blue, I always thought it was something about the photography and the water reflecting the sky. No, it’s really blue. Andreal (Miss. Discovery Channel) explained it to me.
Seward is a cute harbor town with a ridiculous landscape of fjords (and a vicious marathon up a mountain). They’re known for boat rides to see the fjords and whales, which Andreal and Alenka were very excited about.
From our view at dinner, we saw a sea otter swimming about!
Andreal ran outside to snag this shot of him.
Later, in the evening, we walked to the shore to check out the views of Seward.
Lookie me, being artistic again.
Someone was collecting these to eat. They’re really tiny, so it seems like a lot of work.
I had debated on bringing my super zoom, but I figured I’d stick with my mid range. $#!$#@!$ We saw more sea otters and… porpoises! I took some shots at 70mm… they look like Nessie Photos, Nessie of the Loch Ness Monster. Ah well. Perhaps we’ll have luck tomorrow on the Fjords Tour.
I came back at night to snag a shot of the moon. I lasted 5 minutes out in the cold.
A note about this trip to Alaska. Andreal called me up one day to tell me she had some free time and wanted to go on a trip. We easily decided on Alaska, and then I realized that the travel dates were exactly two weeks away. Oi! We bought our tickets that night, and started planning our five day trip.
During that time, I also had a Dragon Boat Race weekend, meetings with clients, an engagement shoot, and Intel’s Oregon Fun Run (I flew out the same day). I had just shot Rachel and Po Po’s wedding, along with a weekend visit from Xavier. I was also going through a huge back-up-disc-clearing process. All this meant a perfect time to go to Alaska… not. But, it wasn’t an easy opportunity to come by (Andreal never has vacation time) Thus, began my Fall Schedule of Chaos, and why I dropped off the blog.