Alaska with Family and Friends Anchorage Alaska was the last state to complete our map. Since Canada was still closed, we decided fly to Anchorage. We stayed at this beautiful VRBO home in Anchorage. It was a great place to stay while we adventured out for exciting day trips! By the way, this photo of the front of the house was taken at 11:30 PM! It was weird to have sun up at 4:30AM and sunset at 11:42PM! Thankfully, the home has black out shades in all the bedrooms! Bryce, Laura and Reeve at the house. We took Reeve To the Anchorage Alaska Museum of Science and Nature. Reeve really enjoyed all the interactive displays including this one where you can create a bubble ring around yourself! And of course we stopped at the gift shop on the way out and Reeve got this awesome Star Wars kit. He put it together in record time! Denali National Park Trip We went to Denali via train; it was a 7 hour trip but lots of great scenery along the way. Here you can see remnants of the old teletype wires along the route They obviously get lots of rain here, everything was very lush! If you notice, this river water has a grey cast to it. That’s silt from the melting glaciers. Ferns, ferns and more ferns everywhere! They have a short growing season, but with almost constant daylight things grow fast and abundant! They hold many world records in the size of pumpkins, melons and other produce! Some remnants still remain along the way of the old trains too. While in Denali, we stayed at the Denali Bluffs Resort. Very nice resort just minutes from the entrance to Denali. VERY Large Mosquitoes here! On the way up the entrance to Denali Bluffs they had many of these whimsical signs along the way. I didn’t take pictures of them all, but of you go to their website you can see all of them, pretty fun! Mary and Joni braved the wind for a photo-op with the scenery from the resort deck. The wildflowers were everywhere, sometimes growing right out of the rocks like these hardy ones! Reeve, Joni and Mary hamming it up with their new furry friend in the lobby! Jan and I are enjoying a cocktail on the deck. This is a Yukon River Scow from 1915 used to haul freight during the Gold Rush. Another view of the magnificent scenery all around us! Denali National Park The entrance to Denali National Park. Although it was a great part of the trip, we were very disappointed that, due to poor communication on the part of the park website, we were unable to get on a tour of the park. The park shuttle system, which their website said was running, was NOT! By the time we arrived, all the commercial tours were fully booked; so our only option was to rent a van and drive in. Unfortunately, private vehicles are only allowed to drive in 15 miles of the 92 mile trip to the Denali peak! BUMMER! This just means, we will have to return. Our van, the only available rental vehicle we could find! Here we see a Japanese tourist doing what they do, take pictures! Sorry, Joni, I couldn’t resist! Despite the fact we had a limited exposure to this park and did not see any animal life, the flora and fauna was spectacular! Reeve, Bryce and Laura did a short hike around the lake near the train station. Denali National Park Sled Dog Kennels We think one of the top highlights of the trip for Reeve was our stop at the National Park Sled Dog Kennels! It got especially great for him when he was told he could pet the dogs! Royal enjoying the lazy warm days of summer! One of the retired sleds, it appears to have had many hard miles put on it! The cart they use in the warmer months for training of the dogs. This is as close as I’ll EVER get to riding on a dog sled! Reeve trying out the dog sled. The modern day sled and cold weather gear they use. As you can see by his face, he hated coming here! More like he hated leaving I think! Drive to Seward and the Marine Wildlife Tour Bryce drove us down to Seward to take the Marine Wildlife Tour, so I was able to get these few pictures of the trip down. Although it was drizzling for most of the trip, the scenery was still gorgeous, maybe even more so! This was our vessel for the tour; we’ll ignore the misrepresentation of the current weather conditions in it’s name! Despite, or maybe enhanced by the weather, this harbor is beautiful! Sea Otter carved bench. Reeve with his new digital camera ready for the adventure! One of the many “parking lot” style campgrounds here! You better like your neighbors! This was an apparatus used to load cargo (cement I think ) onto ships. The guide told us that the cruise ship’s captains would tell the passengers arriving here that it was a new slide for quick dis-embarkment of the ship! Our first wildlife sighting; a mother and calf grey whale! The guide explained that she was teaching him/her how to breech! Here’s momma showing him how it’s done! Junior’s attempt; not bad! She waves Adios! There were hundreds of Alaskan sea gulls everywhere you looked on these rocky shores! There were lots of these nests they built for their eggs too. These strange looking birds are called Murres. They kind of look like Penguins, but are not even related to Penguins. According to Reeve, these birds can fly and Penguins cannot! This was one of Reeve’s favorite sightings; a Mountain Goat and her baby. This was my only useable picture of a Puffin, they’re very small and hard to photograph. Here’s an elderly seal (according to Brandt) enjoying the sun. Jan thinks it’s an older otter. This is one of the many waterfalls from the melting glaciers above. Mary insisted I should be in one of my pictures sporting my new beanie from our boat! A little free advertising for the cruise company! Jan loved this shot; silhouetted rocks in front of the foggy backdrop! The girls! Jan, Joni, Mary and Laura, trying to stay warm and semi-dry! This was the only Bald Eagle we spotted close up, hanging out on a buoy on our way back to port. Palmer, Alaska- The Reindeer Farm and Sanctuary This was most likely Reeve’s favorite stop on the entire trip; the Reindeer Farm! Jan & Laura One of the many Reindeer they have. The reindeer are their business and all the other animals are rescues, mostly donated from the park service. Some very impressive antlers! We learned an interesting thing about these! The reindeer loses his antlers every year and they regrow in the spring. The interesting thing is, the individual reindeer can be identified by their antlers because when the regrow, they come back in the exact configuration they were! It’s kind of like their “fingerprint”! Here Jan and Laura are feeding the reindeer. One of the larger residents was this Moose. He’s been here since a baby, so he is very friendly! As a matter of fact, if you hold a small branch in your mouth, he’ll give you a “kiss”! Reeve is giving this little guy some love! This Bison was another interesting resident, he’s also a rescue who’s been here since he was very young! He’s not so small anymore! Here’s a portrait of this handsome dude! There were several Alpacas as well. And of course they had two Yaks! They are very furry beasts! They also had Elk but they were not as friendly, so they were in an enclosure all by themselves away from people and other animals! This was one of my favorites; an old Ford tractor that they are still using today! Reeve couldn’t resist petting the resident friendly Calico cat on our way out!