October 2011 Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

As winter approaches the northern state, temperatures drop, the rain rolls in and the Anchorage area starts to quiet down from the summer rush. These are my favorite times of the year. While the weather was not cooperating, I drove out to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center that has a simple mission, " A non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Alaska's wildlife through conservation, education, and quality animal care." Located at the end of Turnagain Arm along the Seward Highway, there are 170 acres of open spaces (electrically fenced) that contain a wide assortment of Alaska's wildlife, along with a 65 acre plot of Wood Bison that are part of a program to re-introduce the species to the wilds of Alaska. Here are some pics from a rainy day.

Interestingly, there was a resident coyote in one of the bear enclosures that had been rehabilitated, released and decided that life was better back at the center. Especially since there is this regular feeding schedule and he/she was an artful dodger at getting a fair share. It was fun to watch.

June 2011 Exit Glacier & Hope

The Harding Icefield is the largest of its kind within the USA at 300 square miles and feeds at least 38 glaciers, with one of the outflows being Exit Glacier. Kenai Fjords National Park and the Kenai Mountains contain this massive icefield, only one of four within the US, that receives more than 400 inches of snow a year. Exit Glacier is the only road-accessible part of the park that has a nice visitor center, along with a trail system to explore the headwall and venture up to the Icefield when conditions are favorable.

Population 137, Hope lies directly across Seward Highway as you head to the end of the Turnagain Arm in the Cook Inlet. It is a long drive by car, but a straight shot if you fly or swim (not recommended). Just 17 miles off the highway it is a nice drive to this quaint old mining town established in 1896 and a post office in 1897. Its main attraction now is as an Anchorage weekend getaway with second homes/cabins and promotes itself as a " Historical mountain hideaway by the sea." Hiking, biking, river rafting, fishing are among the available activities along with an outdoor museum and local arts scene. Looks like a fun place to go and relax and get some quiet!

June 2011 Lake George & Colony Glacier

As luck would have it, there was a nice day to go flying and Jim was ready to take to the sky. We ran a familiar route with a nice twist to end it, by heading for Lake George, landing to walk up to the waters edge, and then up and over the Chugach range and thru the Eklunta valley and Lake, which supplies Anchorage with drinking water. The treat was a sprial up and out of Lake George to gain the needed elevation to make it over the passes. What a sight for miles!

May our paths and errands meet...