Alaska, land of the glacier and more

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September 7th 2016
Published: September 7th 2016
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I've been in Anchorage Alaska for two whole days now. If I was staying longer I would hire a vehicle and head out into the surrounding countryside, but alas my time is short. Tomorrow I commence my Cruise from Whitter to Vancouver through the Inside Passage. But I've made good use of my time here ... my feet are worn out from pounding the pavement around the downtown Anchorage hub, a real tourist retail centre. This is definitely NOT where the real Alaskans live ... the place is full of restaurants and eating places, hotels, tour companies and gift shops. Oh, and Fur Traders. My original intention was to stop off at a supermarket and grab enough supplies to feed myself economically without eating out, but alas, the nearest supermarket is well and truly out of reach of my feet. As it had been in all the weeks leading up to my departure when I was routinely checking the weather in Anchorage, it was raining when I arrived, and the skies were grey and overcast. The sun finally came out late this afternoon, but the horizon was still heavy with dark and heavy cloud. On day one I took a tour bus to Portage Glacier ... a 55 mile drive out of Anchorage along the edge of the Turnagain Arm which was beautiful despite the rain and cloud. The heavy mud flats were fascinating ... the glaciers as they move and melt grind the ground beneath them to mud and dust which washes down into the waterways. While they looked solid enough, apparently they are like quicksand and it is treacherous and dangerous to go walking on them. The up close view of the glacier was all that I expected and apparently we were blessed by the grey skies because that is when the deep blue in the ice looks best. After a trip on Portage Lake to see the glacier, our tour bus stopped at the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Centre where they rescue injured and orphaned animals hopefully to release them back into the wild if at all possible. Here I was able to sample and photograph a pretty comprehensive range of Alaskan animals. Some of the photos even look as if they have been taken in the wild, as the animals are housed in luxurious and spacious very normal habitat over a 200 acre spread.

Today I rode the downtown trolley bus for an hour and thereby saw a bit more of how Alaskans live here. The bus visited Earthquake Park which is a memorial to the last major earthquake to hit here I think back in 1964. A whole suburb used to exist on this site, but now it is just natural bushland with all the subsidences and uplifts left by the quake as a reminder. They say Alaska experiences on average a MAJOR earthquake every 13 years, so they are well overdue for another.

Its strange being back in the US. Strange, but somehow deeply familiar as memories, behaviours and habits I learnt over 30 years ago bubble to the surface. Tonight I broke my diet completely and had Pecan Pie with Salted Caramel gelato for desert at dinner. I don't think I've eaten pecan pie for over 30 years. Just had to do it.

The people are just as lovely as they were all those years ago ... very welcoming and outgoing. They seem genuinely concerned about their upcoming Presidential election ... comments and conversations about the two candidates abound. Neither seems to be appealing to anyone. But then all the way up here who really cares .... winter is coming, there is now only 14 hours of daylight in each 24 hour period. Soon it will be dark for 22 hours a day. I'm glad my ship will have sailed by then. Till next time ....... hi from Alaska.

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