Matanuska Glacier is one of the sights along the road from the Canadian/Alaskan Border to Anchorage.
I lived in Alaska for three years between 1983-86. While the organization I was executive director of was in Anchorage, I wandered over much of the state, backpacking in numerous areas including Gates Of the Arctic National Park, kayaking in places like Prince William Sound and cross-country skiing, which included a trek into Denali National Park where we camped out in 30 (34 C) degrees below zero weather. You go to bed with your shoes and a hot water bottle! The beauty and wildness of the state is legendary. Yes, there are insects galore, big bears with sharp teeth, moose, and wolves. But they come with the territory.
Our drive from the Canadian Border to Anchorage was much tamer, but the beauty was there, as you can see from the following photos.
Speaking of wildlife, we spotted this beauty at the King Mountain Lodge. Can wildlife get much wilder?
Bright fields of fireweed contrasted with the darkness of black spruce along the road.
The road continued to wind among almost mystical mountains.
This mountain is part of Wrangle St. Elias National Park, one of the most remote and untamed national parks in the world.
This cache is a bit on the fancy side, more for tourists than keeping out the bears that want to raid your food supplies. But you get the idea.
Glacial rivers are gray from the rock ground off of mountains.
Another view of Matanuska Glacier.
I really liked this view of mountains along the highway.
More mountains. These with a different look.
An appropriately painted house along the route.
The bar at King Mountain Lodge. Road houses were once common along the highway, and necessary to accommodate travelers who couldn’t travel long distances over the rough highways on a given day. Most were quite colorful, and often filled by interesting characters. King Mountain continues to provide an interesting place to stop.
Peggy found this motorcycle inside. The owner, seeing her interest, took her out for a spin.
A photo of Libby Riddles was on the wall. Libby was the first woman to win the Iditarod, the world-famous sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. And she did it while I was in Anchorage. I called her and asked if she would be spokesperson for my organization. She agreed. I picked her up at the airport where she had just returned from a photo-shoot with Vogue Magazine and we spent a couple of days together as we ran around to all of the local media.
A shot of Libby and me sharing a laugh in the mid-80s.
I found this lovely pond on the edge of the highway.
These are the mountains that backed up to my home in Anchorage. I could be up in them in 30 minutes and would often go on hikes after work. One of my trips was a 25-mile day hike where I came out in this canyon. It included crossing a fairly substantial glacial river where I had to save my hiking companion from being swept away.
I’ll conclude with this sunset. In next Monday’s post I will take you off to the island of Kodiak for a visit with brown bears!
FRIDAY’S POST: The Mekemson kids are at it again and a railroad detective shows up at out house to accuse my brother of dark deeds, which fortunately, he didn’t do.
MONDAY’S POST: We continue our 18 day trip by raft down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.