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Tuesday, June 28 - Talkeetna

No, unfortunately, we didn't take the plane out of Talkeetna, but now at least you have a picture of Mt McKinley.

Talkeetna is a small town north of Anchorage that is the starting point for climbers who attempt to get to the top of the mountain.  Every year in May and June, after a flight to the 7700 ft base, some 1200 people try to make it to the 20,300 ft summit, with a 52% success rate over the past two decades.  On June 15th of this year, a 74-yr old Japanese man made it...the oldest man to date to succeed.  There's hope for Ed yet!













This business had many lobelia hangings on their outside wall.  Which do you like best?

need a birdhouse?


Wednesday, June 29 - Anchorage

We got to Anchorage today.  BIG city. Seems strange to be in one; this is probably the largest city we have been in since San Diego in March.  Even had to choose which Wal-Mart to stay in tonight.  (We eventually chose neither, and stayed at Sam's).  Got our grocery shopping done at Fred Meyer's.  We really like the store; it's like an upscale Wal-Mart super center, but about twice the size.

The city fortunately has many parks, and we found a variety of trails to hike.  The first was along the shore line.  Then we went to a botanical garden, and we got lots of pictures, then on to a trail that crossed a salmon stream where we were able to watch several Chinook or king salmon (2 of them very red, and all over 2-3 feet long)) as they struggled over and over again to make headway in the swiftly rushing stream. It was amazing to watch them from the bridge.  Ed was frustrated not being able to take pictures because of the glare on the water.

Patty identified the following birds seen today: red-necked grebe, American dipper, arctic tern.

We decided one day in Anchorage was enough...we'll move out tomorrow.







These are really tiny flowers, especially the blue and yellow forget-me-nots.






Georgia O'Keefe imitations?







Thursday, June 30 - Anchorage to Portage Pass

Lots of rain today, on and off, but in spite of it, it was a great day.  (Does it seem to you as well that we are not having any bad days?) Following the Seward Hwy south, we stopped at Potter's Marsh to look at birds.  We saw only a few, but we again saw several salmon swimming in a creek running through the marsh.  Further down the road at Potter, we stooped to look at a rotary snow plow engine.  The rotary is 9 feet tall.  You should have seen the video we saw with 3 locomotives pushing this plow through snow that was nearly as high as the plow!
The next stop was Beluga Point - that's us there.  But no beluga whales today.



We stopped at the wildlife sanctuary at Portage (or at least what used to be Portage - the 1964 earthquake buried the town with 130+ people killed.  They say one tidal wave was over 100 ft tall!). These animals were injured, left orphans when young, or otherwise rescued.  Nice to see them close.








We turned inward at the Portage-Whittier road to see some glaciers and do some hiking.  We weren't disappointed. The glacial ice is blue, and those are small  icebergs floating in the lake behind Patty. Tomorrow we get to see the visitor center exhibits.


We are parked only a couple of miles away at a turnoff near a small lake which is turquoise in color.  The small strip of spruce forest across the lake leads into snow-clad mountains being brushed by fluffy white clouds...we get all the best spots!  The man parked next to us, an Alaskan, says he comes here often for trout fishing. Free parking, too!  Patty identified a female harlequin duck, and a savannah sparrow.  She'd getting good at it.

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