Tuesday, May 7, 2013

there are no quick drives to denali national park...

 this was on the drive home.  lucky for me we are getting to that time of year when darkness leaves us and we are left with the light.  i'm always happy on winter solstice in december and a bit sad at summer solstice in june.  i left my place about noon...so much for the early escape.  that never seems to happen.
 i will have to weed through these as there are too many pictures for one posting.  always the tough part.  debated just having a second post with just black and whites...hmm.  still a possibilty.  plenty for just that.
 oh well.  weeded a few out.  we shall see.  as you can see it was a beautiful day out in denali.  the first 30 miles are open for regular vehicles.  maybe they will open more later, seems like this has been as far back as i've gone this time of year though.  i know they are plowing further out in prep for the summer season.  this moose was the first sighting in the park.  i only saw moose yesterday.  quite a few of them  looked for those caribou, but no luck this year.  could make another crazy run in a week or so...by then i may be able to stay at the hostel overnight.
 this moose looked pregnant to me.
 the big mountain denali (mckinley) was in view all day!  i could see clouds closing in behind me in the rearview mirror. i got home at close to 1am.  after 11pm sometime it was getting dark but by then i was getting past talkeetna and once i get to wasilla the streets have lights all the way back to anchorage so much safer.  i always worry about hitting one of these big moose out there.
 did see at least 2 moose on the way back .
 it is always so odd to me this time of year as if you look north you will see the lingering light.  you look south and you see the darkness.
 another moose further off the denali park road.
 still some old leaves left from the fall past.
 i'm sure there are caribou out there, but it's so vast and i can only really see so far.  there is just the one road in/out.
 was just reading an article in the latest national geographic about a place more remote.  wrangel island off of siberia.  what a wonderful place that would be to visit. i've read about that place a few times.  polar bears and walrus along with birds and fox...would be amazing.  was happy to read that it is quite protected and difficult to get to.  wonder how much that would cost to get out there.  they called it the galapago's of the north.  teaming with life.  said it was probably the last place the mammoths lived...lots of ivory out there.
 i know there are ivory collectors in siberia.  selling what they find.  wrangell has little of economic value so it hasn't been exploited.  it remains quite pristine.  guess there are a few tea party folks who believe this is actually an american territory as i think it was an american expedition that first explored it?  not sure. the united states makes no claims to it.  i just hope the animals and plants are allowed to continue living in safety there.  they say it's like the polar bear maternity center of the earth.  hundreds den up there.
 as i was driving back out of the park i ran into this pair.  the mama moose seemed quite determined to stay on this lovely plowed road.  i followed far back as they were wary of me. i tried to move up  on them when they moved to the far side of the road, first one way, then the other way.  they'd run or cross over in front of the car.
 the young one was much more skittish.  the mother though, seemed formidable.  i feared she would take her irritation out on my poor element.
 now that they aren't making them anymore....the elements...i feel even more protective of it.  i can't replace it easily at this point.  dang honda for getting rid of a great car!
 at one point the baby ran off to the one side and gave me this look of derision.  clearly i was not welcome on their road.  i feared i'd be accused of harrassing these poor moose, but i really did need to pass them at some point.  it's great to watch them walk casually down the road, but it's a 5 hour drive back to anchorage.
 we played a bit of this cat and mouse game.  at some point they were nearing that curve in the road and now i was fearing that they would come to an unfortunate end with an oncoming vehicle.
 as soon as they pulled to one side i gave them as much room as i could and got past them . they did run a bit and then turned into the snow.  i figured i was upsetting them more by moving slowly up on them than just getting past them.
 this was one time i thought i was good to go...but no.  it's late in the season and i know walking through that deep snow is a lot of work when the food supply is so low still.  hopefully, they were able to get back on the road and continue their walk to where ever they were headed.
 if this was summer there would be several buses and camera's flashing like crazy.  it was a great photo op.  like i need more pictures of moose though. haha.  i was hoping for some caribou...or a lynx...or a bear.  alas, it wasn't meant to be.  these guys are awful cute though.  no matter how many pictures i take of them, i'm still excited every time i see a moose!
 the big mountain was seen from different angles through the day. above is denali.  below is actually on the way home. just liked the light and thought black and white would work well.
 loved the wispy clouds over denali.  this was taken at the south view point.  i made a feeble attempt to walk the snow up to the actual look out . they do not keep the south or north view points plowed for winter.  poor rio kept stepping into deep holes...it was futile.  blossom pee'd and we got back in the car.
 this picture of denali was on the drive up...
 was able to get the dogs out for a nice stretch in the park.  we just walked the road after the road block.  there was a bridge down below and that was at least a mile walk downhill one way.
 blossom found a puddle of mud to lay down in and then i fed them in the rest area at the road closure area.
 lots of cool icicles on the sides of the road.  it's trying to melt.  didn't get the cool pictures i got on the beach that one day.  still kinda cool.  i just reached my camera in and hoped i'd get something decent.  these were the best of the ones i took.  most were deleted.  the road gets in the way of the picture.
 did like that this one had my element and that one drop that was falling off.  kinda cool
 here is the end of the road.  it was well plowed post this section so i'm guessing they just don't always open it.  i have heard they have plowed to mile 50.  perhaps i'll check their web site in the next few weeks and see what the news is.
 this is the bridge i walked the dogs to.  i kept them on leash.  steep drop offs that i was worried blossom would fall off.  she really wouldn't but i'm paranoid. have had way too many dreams involving blossom and untimely deaths.  the dogs are the best people i know.  would hate to lose them prematurely.
 there was a bit of a lake where i was playing chicken with the moose and her calf.  this was some melt that i entertained myself with while i waited for action on the road.
 drank part of a dr pepper, cherry, on the way home. filled up on gas at the talkeetna cut off.  i have been very good at avoiding soda's.  i will occasionally open one up if i am getting too tired.  you have to stay alert on the road...precious cargo with the pups on board...and i must protect my element.  a moose to the element would be the end of it.  though the thought did come to me that if just the roof was sliced off perhaps i could get one of those cool pop up's they made for elements.  my friend emailed me the link.  it was pretty pricey and the car would have to be in the lower 48 to get this done.
 will elements become like the volkswagon vans of olden times.  valued more as they age?  seems that all old suburbans end up in alaska...will this be true of old elements too.  they were super popular up here.  couldn't keep them on the lots.  spoke to a relative of a patient who works at the honda place i guess.  he said they didn't sell as good in the lower 48 and that was why they got cut.  dang!
 everywhere you look in the park is another spectacular view.  i know just lots of pictures of snow covered mountains.
 photo's can never do the place justice.
 if you look you can see a reflection of the mountains on the hood of the element.
 this is back on the main park road. it's paved the first 15 miles.  seemed in better shape than last year.  i remember last year thinking the unpaved road was much better than the paved part.
 did i forget to mention yesterday my ted hose race.  haven't done those since my friend quinton was a tech up here in the icu with me.  we'd each take a leg and race getting those ted hose on.   there is a young respiratory therapist.  for some reason this had come up in conversation about a year ago...this week we had our opportunity.
 i kicked his arse...i schooled him.  these are both from the drive home.  liked the rail stuff with the mountains in the background
 of course, the family of this particular patient is odd ( as many families and people in general are).  anyway, i found it odd that each day when she left her lap top computer was left open, facing the room.  it also never went to any sort of screen saver.  just sat there open.  i'm convinced she had some sort of camera hook up so she could watch us at night.  am i paranoid or what?  when i gave the bath and thus had our ted hose race, i covered the lap top with a towel.  the night before she'd called like 3 x, this night she never called after the towel was put up.  coincidence?  hmm.  i don't think i'll ever know.
 this big igloo was clearly someones idea of a money maker.  i've never seen it actually open or operating.  not sure what the story is.  it looks pretty tacky sitting there in the summer, but i must admit covered in snow such as this, it does have an odd charm about it.
 denali with linicular clouds? that usually means weather coming. the big mountain has it's own weather pattern.
 same grand visita's but in black and white.  always cooler in black and white i think.
 today i slept in.  i was pretty wiped out after the long drive yesterday.  the dogs were also a bit tired.

 we did get out though . i headed to the coastal trail.  it was another beautiful day.  i could see clouds north and i could see clouds east and by this evening there were clouds everywhere.  i got the good part of the day though.
 drove to westchester lagoon and walked the dogs over 4 miles on the coastal trail.  it's pretty much all clear.  one big puddle and a few smallish patches of ice on the trail, but people were biking and jogging and out enjoying the day. i'll have to get my bike tires pumped up and get out riding.
 i was feeling exceedingly fat today.  it's time to bust these extra pounds that seem to have crept on me with this leg thing.
 blossom's body got stretched out with the wide angle lens.  hehe.
 the bridge we walked to below and blossom looks at the water below...see this is why she stays on leash.  not a good idea to swim here, but she just seems water.
 always love shooting into the sun and making it look like a star.  i'm sure the real photographers would have ways to avoid this and thus my pictures no doubt look amatuerish due to these sorts of photo's
 artistic license, right?
 this is the river from the other side of the bridge.
 more star shots of the sun.
 rio is snoring behind me.  i'm sure i've ticked off more people.  another article in the nat geo i was skimming was about people living to be over 100.  one of the things they said was get stuff off your chest.  say it and let it go. if that is true...i could well live to be 150 years old!!  :-)  okay, i may have to deduct 25 years for not always letting it go.
did take 11 photo's off.  hot flash...wish this crap was over..if only it were easy to rip out a uterus!  good night

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