Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kenai Fjords

I do not think I can describe this icy wonderland better than does the official site for the Kenai Fjords National Park:
 

Where Mountains, Ice, and Ocean Meet

At the edge of the Kenai Peninsula lies a land where the ice age lingers. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords' crowning feature. Wildlife thrives in icy waters and lush forests around this vast expanse of ice. Native Alutiiq relied on these resources to nurture a life entwined with the sea. Today, shrinking glaciers bear witness to the effects of our changing climate.

 
 
We set off in a tour boat 
 
 

It was fascinating to see all the wildlife around

Gray whale? humpback what?

humpback whale


orca / killer whale

















The glacier views were breathtaking



sea otter


black legged kittiwake (rissa tridactyla)


glaucous winged gull (larus glaucescens)

puffin

common murre

sea lions
 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Exit Glacier

From Wikipedia:

Exit Glacier is a glacier derived from the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska.
It received its name because it served as the exit for the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield in 1968

Here is the nature center where the trail up starts

 
The trail involves a bit of climbing

With some fantastic views
 

And some walking on flat ground


Past icy water streams



And finally, up close with the glacier




















On the way back I noticed that all the trees were slanting in a direction.. towards east perhaps?

 
And the familiar ant infestation .. leaves rolled up tight.


There were many lovely wildflowers as well.. but that warrants a separate post.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Scenes from Seward

Seward is a city in the Kenai peninsula in Alaska. It offers the perfect gateway to explore the peninsula's fjords and marine wildlife.

Seward Highway - from Anchorage to Seward
Sightings along the highway.. a moose and a glacier.
























The RV camp was by the shore , offering beautiful views of the mountains..





Marine life at the Alaska Sea life center in Seward:


Denali National Park: Landing on a glacier

We took a flight from Talkeetna into Denali NP, landing on one of the glaciers. It was a fascinating experience, white snow all over, except for the small scoops of water - which was the clearest of blue!

 




Thursday, July 19, 2012

Denali: Dramatic scenes and the big five

We were told that all visitors to Denali come to see 'the big 5' - the moose, caribou, bear, wolf and dall sheep. And of course they want to view the tallest peak, Denali a.k.a Mt. McKinley.

With our fingers crossed, we ventured into the Denali National Park in the 'Toklat' bus, a 6 hour roundtrip that gives some excellent viewing of the landscapes and, if you are lucky, the wildlife in the area.



caribou (the reindeer)
ptarmigan
grizzly bear, thankfully at a distance!





















































nails all around to save the boards from the grizzly
Mt McKinley
















dal sheep
















We were a bit sad that we had not seen the moose, the quintessential Alaskan animal. But we were soon to get lucky - there it was, by the road to seward, holding up traffic!