Sunday, September 29, 2019

Anchorage, Alaska


Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, is in the south-central part of the state on the Cook Inlet. It is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40% of the state's population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. It has more than 60 glaciers within 50 miles of downtown, a salmon stream in the heart of the city, 300 miles of wilderness trails and Chugach State Park and National Forest one of the largest state parksAnchorage is known for its cultural sites, including the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which displays traditional crafts, stages dances, and presents replicas of dwellings from the area’s indigenous groups. The city is also a gateway to nearby wilderness areas and six surrounding mountains including the Chugach, Kenai, and Talkeetna.   When we departed the Alaska Railroad on the land portion of our Alaskan Cruise--click here to read that post--we were checked into the Captain Cook Hotel.  Although it was the evening, the almost 24-hour daylight of the Alaskan summer made it look like mid-day.  This was our view of Anchorage from our hotel window! (All photos will enlarge if clicked on)


Our stomachs told us we were hungry after our day of travel and we ate dinner in the hotel, enjoying fried calamari and a steak. Both were delicious!



We were only spending one night in the hotel with our tour and so even though it was late we took a walk around the downtown, where my husband posed with a local "bear." We saw Cook's inlet in the distance and numerous extra-large lilac bushes. Our visit to Anchorage took place in June and lilacs were everywhere! Their beautiful scent is one of my fond memories of Alaska.  The long daylight hours of summer helps flowers grow, even if the spring and summer seasons are short.  We were told by a tour guide that Alaska also often wins prizes for growing the largest vegetables due to the extra-long sunlight hours.



The next morning, we took a highly recommended one hour Anchorage Trolley Tour which we picked up at this unique location.  Our tour guide was very entertaining! She sang, told jokes and local sayings as well as pointed out the interesting sights.  One of the sayings we heard often in Alaska was: "The odds are good, but the goods are odd." That means that there are more men than women living in Alaska, but often the men that are there are also "unusual or unique," putting it kindly. 



Our trolley window view of the bronze  Captian Cook Monument in Resolution Park. The bronze Captain Cook Monument has the famed explorer standing on a large wooden deck, looking out to sea -- toward the route he used when he explored Cook Inlet in 1778 aboard HMS Resolution. Captain Cook was searching for a Northwest Passage and never actually reached Anchorage.  He sent his ship's master, William Bligh instead.  After two weeks of exploration of the channel, he was happy to leave the area



On another trolley stop, we looked at this driveway, glass canopy and skylight set into the ground.  What is this?  Underneath the ground is a 2,800 square feet house!  Jon and Marnie Isaacs have lived in this house, and raised their family there, for almost 40 years.  To read why and how this house was built, click on this link from the Anchorage Daily News.




Next stop on the trolley we saw Earthquake Park in the Turnagain neighborhood. This 134-acre park is set in the woods where, in 1964, on March 27, during Good Friday, last century's most powerful earthquake occurred in Anchorage, Alaska. The earthquake was measured at a 9.2 on the Richter scale and lasted 4 minutes, killing 115 people and causing $116 million in damages ($0.73 billion in 2018 dollars.  This tragic event is commemorated in Anchorage’s Earthquake Park, where there are signs explaining the circumstances of the quake and its effect on the area.  If you examine my photo you can see wave-like ripples on the ground that was a result of the earthquake.



A view of downtown Anchorage from the park.


Next, we stopped at Lake Hood, where we saw the favorite mode of transportation for Alaskans--the seaplane! The sound of seaplanes is another Alaskan memory I will cherish, even if they can be quite noisy!  To hear a seaplane taking off click on this link which will take you to my Mille Fiori Favoriti facebook page where you will see my short video link--click on the photo in that link and it will enlarge and begin to play--make sure the sound is turned on!  You will hear the plane take off from the water and the tour guide's voice. She was telling us about a local lady who just posted a photo on facebook of a moose that was in her back yard!  There are estimated 1,000 moose that roam freely in the Anchorage area!  Unfortunately, we didn't see any on our hour-long tour.



More sights of Anchorage. A seaplane and the beautiful Chugach Mountains in the distance, more lilacs, the fencing surrounding some areas in an attempt to keep control of the moose, and the air full of commercial jets and seaplanes.



All too soon it was time to leave Anchorage and get on a bus that was to take us to Whittier, Alaska and our cruise ship. We loved Anchorage and would love to return for a much longer visit and see more of its sights. As Anchorage has a major airport and the Alaska Railroad, it is a wonderful location to begin a trip to see Alaska on one's own.  Just look at the scenery that surrounds the city! Now that's what you think of when you think of Alaska! Don't you agree?




I wasn't sitting in the right side of our tour bus to see the best views of the Chugach Mountains but even so, look at the views we saw!









Do you spy the grizzly bear in this photo?  It is not in the true wild, but it was located in our stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) in Portage, Alaska.  Info from their website: "The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a sanctuary dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, research, education and quality animal care. AWCC takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides them with spacious enclosures and quality animal care. Most of the animals that arrive at the AWCC become permanent residents and will always have a home here. The Center maintains over 200 acres of spacious habitats for animals to feel at home and display their natural “wild” behavior. Visitors may see brown bears cooling off in the water, a bull moose strutting, wood bison roaming on pastures and more."



We watched the bears for quite a while!




I loved when he sat down among the wildflowers!

A Muskox

Muskox are members of the goat family. They’re an ancient species of arctic mammal with a thick outer coat consisting of long (up to 36 inches) guard hairs that cover a dense underfur known as qiviut. Qiviut is considered to be one of the warmest materials in the world.

Sitka Black-Tailed Deer and Elk

Elk in Alaska are limited to island habitats with temperate, maritime climates. They feed on a variety of plants at different times of the year. During the summer months, they favor grasses, forbs, willows, and other leafy greens while in the winter they munch on branches and twigs of trees and shrubs.


 Moose

Only males or bull moose have antlers. Most male moose calves develop bony knobs on their heads by the end of their first summer. After the first year, they grow antlers every summer and shed them during the winter.  This moose seemed to be resting due to the midday heat--on our visit to this Wildlife Center, the temperatures were close to 80 degrees!



There were other animals in the wildlife center, but many were hiding from the heat or inside their shelters. There are owls, wolves, bison, lynx, fox, reindeer, and wolverines.  We also enjoyed the beautiful scenery surrounding the wildlife center and gift shop and cafe.





If you watch this YouTube you will experience the Whittier Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel—The tunnel's portal is made of 14 inches of concrete and was designed to withstand a major avalanche. The tunnel goes through Maynard Mountain for 13,300 ft. (2.5 miles) and is the longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America. The first tunnel designed for -40 Fahrenheit temperatures and 150 mph winds!

The one-lane tunnel must be shared by cars and trains traveling in both directions. This unique design enables a single lane of traffic to travel directly over the railroad track and saved tens of millions of dollars over the cost of constructing a larger tunnel.



We exited the tunnel and arrived in Whittier, Alaska to board our Princess Cruise ship!  The sea portion of our Alaskan trip was about to begin--more on my next post!


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40 comments:

riitta k said...

Stunning views. Especially I loved the mountains - looking so amazing. Happy MM.

Angie said...

Pat - more reasons to go to Alaska, as if I needed more! Wildlife, mountains with snow, quirky houses - I'm all over it. Loved the story about the underground house. Thanks for sharing another chapter in your Alaska adventure with all of us at Mosaic Monday!

diane b said...

Wow what an exciting trip. The scenery is breathtaking and the animals amazing. Great shots too.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Patrica,

Beautiful views of Anchorage. I love the animals and scenic views of the mountains. Alaska is on our bucket list of places to visit, we missed the land part of Alaska during our cruise. Beautiful photos and post. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

Little Wandering Wren said...

Oh my, I'm smiling big time at your amazing photos taken out the bad side of the window! Looks just as fabulous as your other posts Pat and I for one can't wait to get to Alaska someday!
Wren x

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Alaska is an amazing place and your photos beautifully capture all nature has to offer.

Sharon said...

What spectacular scenery! And I would love to see those bears especially.

Tom said...

...beautiful sights, I like the 'airport,' it reminds my of several of the lakes in the Adirondacks. Thanks for stopping by.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

You take such beautiful photos! I must say the pics of the bears was daunting! Have a grand week!

Ruth Hiebert said...

Spectacular scenery in Alaska. I love those mountains, but then the gardens and animals are wonderful as well.

Maggid said...

THANK YOU!!! I have always wondered what Alaska looks like . . . my imagination falls short. I bet everyone traveling in that tunnel is relieved to see mountains again. 🙂 I had a friend who terrified his parents . . . his family lived in Anchorage - somehow he managed to sleep through that huge earthquake. His bed shook and shimmied, sliding all the way across his room and blocked the door. His panicked
parents couldn't open the door and their shouts, pounding and shoving did not wake him easily. He was perfectly fine . . the family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada - and that sleeping story became legend with many of us. 💙

Small City Scenes said...

Beautiful Alaska----love it. I remember that 1964 earthquake as we had one the next year where I lived in Washington.
MB

ellen b. said...

Such a unique place. So many interesting things to see. That tunnel...don't know if I could have gone through it. You gave us lots of great information, Pat. How nice that you could enjoy this trip and cruise.

Laila said...

Thank you so very much for taking me to your lovely trip. So interesting to see.
///LAila
https://tillklippt.blogspot.com/

William Kendall said...

Magnificent landscapes and beautiful animals.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Wow, looks like a great trip to me with wonderful clear weather. I love that you got to see so many animals. A great place to take a camera and you showcase it well.

Michelle said...

Alaska is still a place I need to visit. Your pictures are just beautiful!

Pamela S said...

Your photos and adventure stories are always so amazing. I was thinking about all of your posts and the beauty have experienced everyplace.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I've really enjoyed your photos since it's been a long time since I got to go there. And I'll look at your links and the video too. Thanks!

dee Nambiar said...

Anchorage in the summer -- so so so beautiful.
I desperately want to see Alaska. :)

Lady Fi said...

Such beautiful scenes!

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Trains and vehicles sharing the same one-late tunnel, wow! People get upset driving the two-lane highways in and out of our big town. Thanks for sharing your photos. I don't know if I'll make Alaska in this lifetime. I can't imagine how the "best views" could be better than what you saw out your window.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

What a beautiful state. I am enjoying seeing your trip.

Lorrie said...

Such amazing views and sights you saw on your trip. Anchorage sounds like a good place to visit. Glad you got to see bears and moose and elk!

Jeanie said...

It may have been late but it sure looked pretty light when you went out after dinner! A beautiful city with lots of wonderful sights. I am impressed, too, with all the wildlife you saw! What a fabulous trip you enjoyed!

Mother of 3 said...

When we were studying Alaska we read a few children's books that talked about the exceptionally large vegetables grown there even in their short season. I'm not sure how I'd adjust to such extended daylight hours but it sure is a beautiful region!

Vee said...

That is a funny expression! I suggested a trip to Alaska to my sister and she declined with a pretty fair of heat. LOL! She said she gets enough "Alaska" right here. I assured her that we do not have that kind of rugged beauty, but she says that we have everything else. Hahahahaha...

NanaHood said...

Oh how I would love to go there! I think it's gorgeous and I could use some cooler weather. It's been in the 90s for weeks!

betty-NZ said...

I'm so glad you are sharing your Alaska trip with us, it's so different from my world.

It's great to see you joining us on 'My Corner of the World' this week!

My Corner of the World

the 4 M's said...

Wow! Watching the bears sounds like an awesome experience! My husband and I hope to go on a cruise to Alaska for our 25th anniversary which is still in a few years.
www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

likeschocolate said...

It looks like my hometown gave you a lovely visit. I was just there in August. Lucky you that you got to see a Grisley.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Ah, beautiful memories....thanks for the fabulous pictures (and words) reminding me of our wonderful trip there! (And for facts and history that I had forgotten or never learned. You always do your research and share it so clearly.).) Anchorage is a splendid city and isn’t that tunnel amazing! I like the way you planned the trip and look forward to more. .... By the way, since we RVd our way through the state and stayed in a few places that were off the usual tourist route, we met several of those “unique” characters . We enjoyed those experiences, being fond of quirky people.... though I wouldn’t want to live with them ))). also, the lilacs! I think I already mentioned that I spent a lot of time reveling in the Spring flowers (in June and July!). We went to the central part of the state where we saw the biggest cabbages and other lush crops I’ve ever seen in my life ...all that sun is good for veggies!

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

Enjoyed seeing your pics!! Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 5. Shared.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

The bears! And splashes of red throughout the photos! Wonderful!

Captured by Jade said...

Some beautiful captures from your time in Alaska - thank you for sharing these & letting us 'tag along'. Alaska is high on our travel bucket list, but it won't be reached for a while, so loved seeing these photos & reading about your experience.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I think that the Alaska tourist authorities need to send you a cheque for the detailed travelogue! Great job! I am sure it is fascinating to visit when there is so much daylight, but I think it might be a tad depressing under conditions of total darkness.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

That saying is so funny... had me laughing out loud! We went on a seaplane once. Very memorable, and I will never forget the sensation of landing on water. Wonderful bear shots!

Rajlakshmi said...

Alaska is so beautiful... So stunning. The hills, the interesting wildlife and the lovely streets. Love your travelogue And Photography.

Bernhard said...

Thank you for the impressive images from Alaska. Esspecially the bear images are rocking :-)

Regards Bernhard

Lowcarb team member said...

You've shared such wonderful photographs here and I love your mosaics.

I will never get to visit Alaska but I have enjoyed seeing it through your various posts … wonderful :)

All the best Jan