Monday, July 25, 2011
a day in glacier bay national park..
since we were so close we had to make a run through glacier bay national park. if for no other reason than to scope it out for possible future kayak trips. quite similar to prince william sound in many ways. glaciers, wildlife....beauty. can't complain at all. there are just so many awesome places...so little time and money to get to it all. this is the margerie glacier above. our boat tour left from bartlett cove in gustavus and went all the way up the west arm to margerie glacier. deb, from our B&B in gustavus had arranged for four of us to take this cruise. thanks again deb from blue heron! you rock!
bear sighting out there. we supposedly saw a few wolves on the beaches but for me they were just specks on the beach. can't say i really "saw" them. the bear was pretty obvious though. funny as they always say that nobody ever gets attacked by a bear if they are in a group of 3 or more. well, this weekend a group of 7 teenagers on some survival trek out of talkeetna was attacked. not sure how badly they were injured, but i suspect not as bad as the papers reported critical condition states. the news likes to overdramatize facts. working at a hospital in alaska means that the news information often covers the patients you see. always fun to read the paper...have also learned to read the obituaries. interesting reading a blip on people you cared for in those last days of thier lives.
work was not bad in some ways, sad in others. some cases just are so sad, that sadness runs through the place and everyone wants to help make a horrible situation a little less horrible.
2 large car wrecks on the kenai on friday. apparently the road was closed for hours as both wrecks involved fatalities. the worst accidents down there seem to involve passing. in certain sections of that highway it's best to just settle in behind the pack of cars/rv's and ride it out. put on some music and chill. a jeep ran into a motorcycle and the 2 people on the motorcycle were both killed. the other accident caused the loss of an infant and a child. can't imagine having your family taken from you in an instant like that. with the online paper people comment. this can be interesting but also annoying. people seem to have no compassion. the investigation is ongoing i'm sure, but people were blaming the mother who was driving. some of them get really brutal and nasty in thier comments.
honestly, we all do a million stupid things in our lifetime and most of the time we come out unscathed. driving with kids doesn't guarantee that people drive extra careful, often mothers and fathers are tired and distracted. this highway just has a history of taking peoples lives. each time it happens people seem to slow down for a bit and drive more cautiously, but eventually they grow impatient again.
it's still heart wrenching and as hospital staff i think we do our best in these cases trying to help families cope. i'd say what i saw was above and beyond. there are terrible people in our world, but there are also alot of great ones. the terrible ones get all the attention and the great ones go home and do thier laundry and lead normal lives.
we all loved this triple kayak. the boat we were on picked up kayakers and dropped off a few as well. not much storage in this triple. we all were in doubles on our trip. two of the doubles had a central storage area. the blue ones....so sandra and i had one of those and our boat was loaded with gear. very heavy...but also very stable.
puffins...these are the horned ones.
the boat cruised through the beardslee islands. lots of sea lions and birds out there. would be some cool paddling. our guide was telling us if we come back to explore the east arm of glacier bay. pretty and limited boat traffic. we dropped some kayakers at sebree island which isn't actually an island. oddly, learned that the land in the southeast is rebounding post glacier life. now that the glaciers have receeded the surface of the earth is rebounding up. several inches a year i believe. the tour bus driver was saying something about having lived there most of his life the ground has actually come up like 20-30 inches. alters water levels and such.
loads of sea lions. when i've gone to lectures it seems that the sea lion population in southeast alaska is quite healthy. the population out in south central and the aleutians is in decline. they are unsure why that is.
lots of cormorants. always love the cormorant. very cool/graceful birds.
raining all day today, looks to be clearing a bit now. just was outside looking at a little rainbow. love rainbows. actually, was surprised to not see any rainbows while in southeast alaska. seemed like the land of rainbows when i lived there.
spent alot of time in the bog this weekend. went there one day and thought i saw a big black lab, turned out to be a large black bear that's been hanging around east anchorage. could have gotten some nice photo's but for some odd reason that day i didn't take my camera. i had my point and shoot, but forgot the memory card in the computer here. also had my iphone. took a few pictures with that, but couldn't figure out how to zoom. now i know how. no bears sighted since that day. did see a mom and baby moose laying down there today. didn't want to disturb them though and the mom seemed a wee bit anxious so i left them be.
this is the other type of puffin, the tufted puffin.
betsy's island adventures is planning a return to round island next year. am excited to go back again. it's just an amazing place. it is funny to me that when i planned that trip i had a hell of a time convincing people to pay that amount of money to see and camp with walrus. now i'm already getting requests from people to come along. will already have to start making a list of names. no doubt this time i will have to turn people away. life is funny. someone suggested just making a living planning trips for people. it is some hassle though. worth it in the end.
previous trips...1. round island 2. kayak island 3. pribilof islands 4. churchill 5. chilkoot trail 6. shuyak island 7. kodiak to dutch harbor via ferry 8. dalton highway and 9. point adolphus...we've seen some amazing places over these past years. seemed right to return to round island for our tenth trip. after that, well, i'm always thinking. want to get to the land of 10,000 smokes and do a trip to wrangel/st elias park. back to ketchikan for some sort of trip, nome, barrow, attu or adak islands, st lawrence, nunivat islands...
always just hoping i stay healthy enough for these trips.
these would be fun to paddle around. maybe do these and then work into the east arm. see how it starts....?
always been nervous paddling around the sea lions, they've been known to tip kayaks. we were pretty dang close to several of them when we went through the inian passage. that was an amazing day. it was almost overload there was so much going on at once. that place was teeming with wildlife. we were paddling with purpose and couldn't really photograph it all. suffice it to say, not much compares to that in this life! simple awe inspiring.
more puffins below.
such a beautiful night out there. was just out looking at the cool clouds and chatting with neighbors. she thought her garden was a mess until i showed her my chickweed paradise. my backyard is crazy with chickweed. hate that crap. don't want to put toxins on there and the stuff i looked up said i really should pull it all out first, aerate and then put the toxins on. may have to do some work this summer to prep for next year. it's a bust now. will spend the next several weeks in battle mode.
been a rough week everywhere. those stories coming out of norway are awful. crazy guy dresses like police officer and lures youths to thier deaths. horrible. norway's courts only allow for a max of 21 year sentences. so the guy kills over 80 people and will serve only 21 years. there is alot wrong with our system, but that just seems so wrong.
had to get my gustavus boat. failed to get a hoonah one. oh well. not sure i ever got a ketchikan one either.
thought i felt a little quake last night. looks like i may have. just a 3.o. 3rd floor of hospital shakes a bit more than my place here though probably.
love alaskan skies.
was a bit cloudy in glacier bay the day we were there. some rain as well. they had a wildlife biologist on board. sandra stumped her with her killer whale lip question. she had read that killer whales don't have lips and their babies can't suckle so they squirt the milk at them. all seems a bit strange. killers are related to the dolphins and not actually whales i think. does this mean that dolphins also don't have lips? not that i've noticed lips on humpbacks either though.
loading and unloading from our tour boat didn't seem like a very easy task. the food on board wasn't too bad though. liked the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies myself. the chowder wasn't too impressive, the wraps were good though.
overall, the tour was good, who couldn't be happy in such beauty. not a great boat from a photography standpoint. the only place to be was on the back of the boat or on the top deck which was totally unprotected from the wind. luckily, we'd been warned of this and had borrowed down coats from deb. you really just couldn't stay outside long, except when the boat stopped. taking pictures through windows just isn't effective. so that would be my biggest complaint.
can't complain about that scenery though. i love the clouds, despite cooler weather, it adds a certain mystique to the scenery. great to see places in various light and weather conditions.
watched supernanny between shifts and they had a couple with 2 year old triplets. can't imagine. then took care of a couple with triplets last night. it was nice to take care of healthy though small babies and a family just starting when another family had just been devastated. it's easy to get yourself lost in others tragedies when you are a nurse so nice to see the good end of life as well. someone had offered to trade assignments. i can be a bit superstitious though and find that changing assignments can be a very bad idea.
the rainforest of southeast alaska has a way of erasing the past. recently, the rainforest gave up the past, an old haida canoe was found. they figure it was being built around the time that columbus sailed from spain to explore the "new" world. just thought that was a cool find out there. the guys on our trip were pretty excited by some stuff they ran across out at mud bay. not sure what it was, but it was obviously man made at some point.
love the colours in the water. this beautiful hue is caused by glacier silt.
in this you can see that silt or glacier moraine...the stuff that is left when the glacier retreats back.
would have been some nice paddling this day.
again, this is the margerie glacier at the end of the west arm of glacier bay.
that mama and baby moose were just out in my front yard. blossom spotted them and started barking though so they moved on pretty quickly. that mom is a bit of a nervous one. they all have different personalities.
got lucky with the light on this one.
we hung out here for like 1/2 hour and no really good calvings happened.
took some pictures of the glacier...how could i not. self portrait here. we did see many of the same people on this little cruise that we had traveled with via the ferry. really happy we did the ferry crossing.
scott and sandra bundled up on the top deck.
though i'm not excited to spend the money to get the closets done, i am excited to have it done and get re-organized again. lots of stuff still in the garage. would like to get back down to my pool table and maybe do some pool parties again this winter. maybe some board game parties. not sure i can make that happen, but it sounds like fun. now that these rooms will be more presentable i could set up a table up here for a game night. hmmm....
we all got awarded the honorary jr ranger badges thanks to sandra's entertaining killer whale questions.
sandra always lightens up a room. who can help but laugh around her. it's a grand quality to have in this world.
val has now gone on to get her jr ranger badge at katmai. she was pretty proud!! in the background are some other guests who stayed at the blue heron. they looked pretty entertained by sandra and vals antics as well.
my jr ranger badge was also on display. will have to find a fitting place for it.
would have liked to have done the hike by the glacier bay lodge. bob and tanya biked over there with pete, who helps out at the blue heron, and did the walk. looked like a sweet walk. perhaps next time i head to paddle out in glacier bay will add this hike to the trip! liked the artwork on the tree though.
i think the glacier bay lodge is a 10 mile bike ride from the blue heron B&B.
here is pete with the group at the blue heron. i got a bunk in the cabin and was joined by scott and alex n erica. was good to share with them, first off, nobody snored!! secondly, i think scott and i were able to help alex and erica get packed up. scott also amazed them with his ability to compact a dry bag.
we stayed in all the spots available at the B&B over our 3 days there. we thought we had this cabin when we got back from our kayak trip, but as it turns out we were supposed to be in the other, smaller cabin. the funny part of that was that poor sandra had gone in to shower before getting on the plane to head back to anchorage. deb had gone to the airport to pick up the next guests and realized that she'd pointed us to the wrong cabin. she sent pete rushing back as she knew we'd be hitting the shower asap. sandra had to finish her shower rapidly and tidy up. deb said that was the first time in 15 years running the place that she'd made that error. we all got a laugh though.
after our day out in glacier bay we were joined by everyone else. bob and tanya had enjoyed a day in gustavus and alex and erica flew in that afternoon. deb had arranged for us to have dinner at the bear track inn. below is the bear track. it's a beautiful building in a beautiful area. does take a bit of a drive to get there. liked that the B&B was right in town. the bear track inn was kind enough to pick us up and bring us back. actually they took us to spirit walker for our pre-kayak meeting.
the men folk all got steaks...dinner was tasty and we all enjoyed our last big meal before hitting the wild.
so this is our group...sandra, tanya,val, bob, alex, erica, me and scott.
loved all the rubber boots sitting outside the bear track inn.
this picture above was actually a bob and tanya shot....just borrowed for the blog. we were all pretty excited to meet with our guides and discuss the trip. we were super excited to find out that the inian islands would be part of our journey!! i think bob was the most excited. it was a fabulous surprise. it was probably one of the most amazing parts of the trip so i'm thrilled we didn't miss it.
bob was very excited by all the wooden kayaks they had there. he and scott have both dreamed of making thier own wooden kayaks one day. they are beautiful. have never been in one. guess they are a bit heavier, but they are a sight to behold.