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Kluane National Park in the Yukon. -- Wikimedia photo

Kluane National Park in the Yukon. — Wikimedia photo

2001 Memories of a Non-Wandering Wanderer

Lakes, forests and mountains dominated the day’s drive, and sight-seeing stops – and it would take all the synonyms for beauty in a thesaurus to describe the day. Travel writers are cautioned not to use the overused word beautiful.

Mount St. Elias -- Wikimedia photo

Mount St. Elias — Wikimedia photo

My route followed the edges of the Wrangell-St Elias National Park in Alaska, and Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary and Kluane National Park in the Yukon Territory. The latter is home to Mount Logan, which at 19,551 feet is Canada’s highest mountain.

 

Among the wildlife I saw along the way were coyotes beside the road, northern shovelers on one of the lakes, and lesser scaups, which was not just a new trip bird but a lifer, a species that I was seeing for the very first time.

Haines Junction welcome,

Haines Junction welcome,

Haines Junction, a rustic town with only a population of 500, was created in 1942 during the construction of the Alaska Highway. It was evidently a stopping-off place because it had quite a few hotels for a village with a population of 600. Although small, it is a major administrative center for the First Nations people.

I stayed at a place called the Gateway Lodge, which may no longer exist because I couldn’t find it on the Internet when I went looking this morning. For my night-time entertainment, I did laundry, ate at a restaurant called the Cozy Corner and went to bed early. I had driven a bit over 300 miles this day and was pooped.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Slice of Life http://tinyurl.com/jnpcuwa A wonderful day. What a great feeling to have on awakening in the morning.

 

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

In Tok, I watched a dog sled demonstration. -- Wikimedia photo by Mark Wilson

In Tok, I watched a dog sled demonstration. — Wikimedia photo by Mark Wilson

2001 Memories of a Non-Wandering Wanderer

After a second night in Anchorage, and another breakfast with fellow travelers, I took of to  Alaska’s largest city — and soon found myself at Earthquake Park, which was created to memorialize the 1964 Alaskan Earthquake.

According to a National Geographic article, “In Anchorage, the ground cracked open and giant fissures swallowed children whole, killing them in front of their siblings. Landslides launched tsunamis that swept away coastal villages before the shaking even ended. In Seward, spilled oil slicked the water and caught fire. When the earthquake-triggered tsunami hit minutes later, the wave was blazing.”

Rock ptarmigan were on of the more commonly seen birds while I was in Alaska. I also saw a willow ptarmigan with is Alaska's state bird. Wikimedia photo

Rock ptarmigan were one of the more commonly seen birds while I was in Alaska. I also saw a willow ptarmigan, which is Alaska’s state bird. Wikimedia photo

The park contains a portion of the two-mile slide area produced by the quake, which registered about 8.5 on the Richter scale. Looking at the remnants of the quake that killed 139 people humbled me, and reminded me that Mother Nature is not always kind.

But I got to see her kinder face — the one that so often takes my breath away because of its grandness — when I drove past the Wrangell Mountains on my way from Anchorage to Tok.

That evening, when the sun was still high in the sky, I watched a dog sled demonstration in Tok. I also spent the night there but my memory is vague on the lodging. While I can’t picture it, I did write in my journal that the Tok “hotel was rough.”

Bean Pat: Where’s my Backpack http://tinyurl.com/gp844m8 The eyes have it. This blog reminds me to keep my own eyes open to the world around me. It’s full of wonders and surprises if I just look.

            “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world,” – Robin Williams.

Beside a lake in Maine. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Beside a lake in Maine. — Photo by Pat Bean

Just Call Me an Old Broad

Picture, if you can, an image of a little old lady. Then picture the image of an old broad. I suspect the two images are nothing alike, even if they’re of the same person.

Words can’t help but define how we see things. But then there are images that can put words in our heads. The best example I can think of was when I spent a week at Wassamki Springs Campground near Scarborough, Maine, back when I was still living and traveling full-time in my RV.

View from my RV at Wassamki Springs Campground in Maine. -- Photo by Pat Bean

View from my RV at Wassamki Springs Campground in Maine. — Photo by Pat Bean

My camp site was right next to a lake, and from my RV window I once watched a moose swim across the water, and exit not more than 50 feet away. Watching that moose, I thought how lucky I was to be able to see nature take place so up close and personal.

But I also did a bit of people watching, too, especially of one elderly couple who walked their fancy poodle past my RV several times a day. They were always happy and smiling. I pictured them as an old married couple, one of the very few couples I knew, whose love had grown stronger with each passing decade. I could even see, in my mind’s eye, this old couple at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration.

Boy was I wrong.

The night before I left the campground, I met the couple at the nightly Bingo game held in the campground’s community building. I couldn’t help but laugh when I learned they were newlyweds, having been married only two months previously.

Now, instead of seeing them as a happy couple, I wondered about their pasts – and their previous partners. They had sure fooled this old broad, and changed the images in my brain.

Bean Pat: Expectations when we travel http://tinyurl.com/gm86s7x My kind of traveling and hiking

Aerial view of Seward, Alaska. -- Wikimedia photo

Aerial view of Seward, Alaska. — Wikimedia photo

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – JRR Tolkien

Salmon and Glaciers

I started off the day sharing breakfast with six other guests, then it was off on a day trip to Seward, 125 miles away. The first stop along the way was Potter’s Marsh Bird Sanctuary, where I saw salmon jumping in a stream, something I had read much about but never expected to see. I stayed a while to bird watch, and among the many species I saw, were a green-winged teal, and a red-necked phalarope, which were new birds for my trip list.

I found Seward to be a quaint tourist town, but traffic to and from it was as heavy as Utah’s I-15 between Ogden and Salt Lake, except it was squeezed into two lanes with construction going on around every curve in the road. Unlike my frustrating trips from Ogden to Salt Lake, however, I found the slowness of today’s traffic absolutely perfect. It gave me more time to enjoy the spectacular landscape along the way.

A tufted puffin. Isn't it cute? -- Wikimedia photo

A tufted puffin. Isn’t it cute? — Wikimedia photo

Once in Seward, I enjoyed a rockfish lunch at a small café with a view of a marina full of sailboats with glaciers in the background. Afterward I toured the Sealife Center, much of which had been built with fines from Exxon Valdez oil spill. I saw my first tufted puffin here, but thankfully I would see these delightful black, orange and white seabirds in the wild before my trip was ended, and could then add them to my life bird list.

Then it was on to explore some glaciers, which awed me by their brilliant colors. I never knew ice could be so full of rainbows?

It was late in the evening when I drove back to my bed and breakfast in Anchorage, but as bright as midday because it was summer in Alaska. As I drove, I heard the words of Dr. Seuss humming in my ear: Oh the places you’ll go, and the things you’ll see.

Bean Pat: Horse Trail Adventures https://horsetrailadventures.wordpress.com/ This is a blog my youngest daughter recently started. If you like horses, dogs, cat or the outdoors, I think you will enjoy it. And I’d love it if you would comment, and tell her mom sent you to check her blog out.

An Art Project

            “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”– Pablo Picasso

My art project for the day.

My art project for the day.

I Call It Entangled Passion

            It began with my friend Jean coming across an odd-sized free frame, which she gave to me. I pondered if I had anything among my art pieces that would fit it – but the answer was a negative.

Illustration of a poured painting in Just Paint It.

Illustration of a poured painting in Just Paint It.

The next step came when I checked out an art book at the library, titled Just Paint It by Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp. The book was subtitled: The world’s most enjoyable painting course ever – and its first lesson was a pour painting, with the illustration that is pictured here on the left.

I loved the example, and then thought of the frame and its heavy wood backing, which for my next step I painted white with some acrylic paint I had on hand. I let that dry overnight, then picked out five colors from some old gouache tubes of paint, which I seldom used.

I used five plastic cups and mixed each of the colors with a little water, then one at a time I poured the colors on the board, which I had propped up at about a 60-degree angle.

Gravity, with a few touchups from me, did the rest. I love how the colors all dripped and blended together. After it was dry, and I had reinserted the board into the frame, I stared at it for a while, decided I liked it, then named it “Entangled Passion.”

But perhaps you have a better name.

Bean Pat: A New Day https://imissmetoo.me/2017/01/27/filters-and-artists/ Another artist who is having fun.

            “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” — Jawaharal Nehru

I saw my first trumpeter swan in Alaska. -- Wikimedia photo by Donna Dewhurst.

I saw my first trumpeter swan in Alaska. — Wikimedia photo by Donna Dewhurst.

2001 Memories of a Non-Wandering Wanderer

            Less wild, but just as beautiful, the 275 or so miles from Denali National Park to Alaska, took quite a bit more than the average six hours to drive because of sightseeing stops along the way.

A postcard of the Anchorage bed and breakfast where I stayed for two days.

A postcard of the Anchorage bed and breakfast where I stayed for two days.

One of those first sights along the way was a pair of beautiful trumpeter swans on a lake. I immediately did a U-turn for a closer, and longer look. It was a lifer for me. Although looking much like the tundra swan, of which I had seen thousands at Bear River Migratory Bird Refugee in Utah, the trumpeter is much larger. It is, with a wing span of six feet and weighing in at about 25 pounds, North America’s largest waterfowl.

What a great start, I thought, for the day.

Another spot along my drive that slowed my progress was the small and quaint village of Talkeetna, which felt very Alaskan. It was exactly the opposite of how I felt when I drove into Anchorage for the first time. Even the weather here is different, with more moderate winters because of its location in the southern portion of the state.

Talkeetna welcome sigh

Talkeetna welcome sigh

Anchorage’s large population, close to half a million residents, and yuppie espresso shops made the city feel more like California than Alaska.

The bed and breakfast  I had booked for two nights, however, had the feel of Alaska that I preferred. It was run by two great old ladies, one who cooked and took care of the flowers, and the other who took care of the business.

Yet another great day!

 

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Something to keep in mind. http://tinyurl.com/jfrz43y

“If at some point you don’t ask yourself, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ then you’re not doing it right.” — Roland Gau

Wonder Lake with a reflection of Denali, a sight I didn't see because the mountain was covered in mist. -- Wikimedia photo

Wonder Lake with a reflection of Denali, a sight I didn’t see because the mountain was covered in mist. — Wikimedia photo

2001 Memories of a Non-Wandering Wanderer

            Tim Cahill, one of my favorite outdoor writers, said he didn’t like taking guided tours led by someone who actually knew what they were doing. You end up, he wrote, “with a dismal lack of adventure. The trip goes too smoothly. You never end up swimming for your life through savage seas,” Cahill said, adding that you also never wake up half-drowned in some village where there or no telephones, no electricity, no doctors, and you seldom find yourself being nursed back to health by a beautiful woman.

Wildlife, like this caribou, slowed traffic, but what a joy to see. I especially enjoyed it when a moose blocked our way. == Wikimedia photo

Wildlife, like this caribou, slowed traffic, but what a joy to see. I especially enjoyed it when a moose blocked our way.– Wikimedia photo

Well this day, I was taking a guided tour, and it didn’t lack adventure. It included two bus breakdowns, and other delays that turned a normal eight-hour sightseeing bus trip into a 15-hour one, and with only a small packed lunch.

But it was one of the most glorious vacation days I’ve ever enjoyed.

Wildlife in their natural habitat could be seen around every curve in the road, although usually at a respectful distance. Thankfully I had a great pair of binoculars.

I lost count of the number of grizzly bears, many females with young cubs especially, that I saw. We stopped at one viewing point where over a dozen were in sight heading down a steep hill.

In addition there were caribou, foxes, golden eagles, Dall sheep, gyrfalcon (still the only one this birder has ever seen in the wild), greater white-fronted geese, northern harriers, beavers, ptarmigan, northern pintails, yellowlegs and moose.

The one and only  road that cuts through Denali National Park -- and I was on it from beginning to end. -- Wikimedia photo

The one and only road that cuts through Denali National Park — and I was on it from beginning to end. — Wikimedia photo

My only disappointment, if you could have one on such a glorious day, was that I didn’t see a wolf. I had never seen one in the wild at this point in my life, but thankfully that happened a few years later when I observed one in Yellowstone National Park, where they had been reintroduced.

The first lag of the roundtrip ended at Wonder Lake, where so many magnificent photos have been taken of Denali Mountain’s reflection. At 20,310 feet, Denali (once known as McKinley) is the tallest peak in North America.

There was mist on the mountain this day, and I got only one earlier, brief glimpse of Denali’s peaks. The mountain was so far away, however, that I decided to wait for a closer view. That ended up being my only view — too bad I forgot to seize the moment.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat Ralie Travels http://tinyurl.com/z2xnwqz Take an armchair tour of Edinburgh