Thursday, June 18, 2015

where the road took me....

 just did an overnight in Valdez.  it was great to be out and about and get out of the heat of Anchorage and the smoke smells.  wandered around Valdez yesterday before heading home.
 was thinking of stopping at the Matanuska glacier either coming or going but it was sprinkling on the way back and pouring after a walk at the view area so i passed, will head there another's a great little place to chill and take some photos.  there were quite a few purple flowers seen from above already.  not sure what they were from that far off.
 stopped a few times...well pretty often along the way.  there is a walk at the view point so i took the girls on that one.  the clouds had rolled in so it was a wee bit cooler.
 Rio did well overall.  for sure weaker than her usual..but this may be her new baseline.  it was my first time even attempting to get her in the car and i had to help with her front paws every time.  then she'd help with a weak jump and i'd help lift her back end.
 by the end of both days of driving both dogs were super tired.  as soon as i set up the tent Blossom was wanting in.  she and Rio were both fast asleep within minutes.  me...well, i'd brought the wrong sleep pad and i had a large snoring dog right by my face.  slept great last night back home.
 lots of wildflowers out on the sides of the road.  at one point i stopped and took all these seemingly great shots of lupine with mountain ranges...never really looked at the fact that i had moved the setting to my black and white setting.  oops...not so cool in black and white..oh well.  life as an amateur...haha!!
 i killed many bugs if the front of my car and windshield are any indicators and well there was a small  bird that hit the windshield as well. no idea what became of the poor bird.  it was pouring rain at that point and i was driving fast.  there was no residual on the glass so i'm hoping the little guy woke up...if not i guess an eagle or fox or owl had a lovely little meal..survival of those who don't hit windshields i guess.
 you can see all the purple on the moraine below.
 pulled into an RV campground in Valdez after 10 pm...set up the tent and crashed.  the biting flies seem to be out in droves. trying to set up the tent fast.  when i went to pay in the morning the lady at the desk just said she wasn't going to charge me since i had gotten in so late and was leaving so early...she just requesting free's called . a lovely little place.  RV's, Tents and even little cabins...flush toilets and showers...all good things!! even wifi
 always love the colors at Sheep Mountain
 the roof estimate doesn't look too bad.  will probably check in with my neighbor before we say the final yes.  chatted with the lawn people as well.  they will come next week and go crazy on the yard.  see what we can get done in a day.  some of the work is still for me but at least i will have a helping hand getting started.  mowed lawn looked like the worst on the block.
 the St Elias/Wrangels in the background.
 a few moose sightings...hard not to see a moose when you travel around Alaska.
 it's so hot...i've just been packing today and chilling.  no walk...just too dang hot for me!!
 i sure hope it's not this hot in Denali !! we leave early in the morning..super early for me.  VM is watching dogs....hope all goes well.  will give my Rio tips...she should be fine.  think i'll cruise over to the store and cook up more beef to keep her eating while i'm away.
 more than a few baldies...another staple of Alaska.  this guy was chilling in a pond...from the picture below the eagle you can see it's a beaver pond.  didn't see the beavers though.
 they always leave their mark though.
 just looking at pics from 2002 i think when i was last at this glacier...Worthington.  it has receded quite a lot since then.  last time KR and i took the ferry from Whittier to Valdez and then drove back.  we hiked Shoup. i tried to hike that again.  lots of brush and it was  brush a lot further than i remember...Rio was getting super tired so we ended up turning back before we got out of brush.  wasn't hapy with the brush and the bear risk or the bugs out there.
 KR and i must have gone a bit earlier in the year as well.  from what i saw on the sign that trail has a lot of damage.  it wasn't in the best of shape the year we went so if minimal maintinence i can see how it would be even worse now.
 i had Huey back then. don't think Rio would tolerate the ferry ride.  so this was Blossom and Rio's first trip to Valdez...they are pretty well traveled pups.
 lots of great waterfalls along the Richardson Highway...i did remember that from the last time.
 these are all photo's taken with the zoom so more to follow.  wanted to look through all the pics from this trip before heading out to Denali tomorrow.
 so i'll be usual.  normal for the summer.
 have some cool pics that i have an app that changes my photo's to a watercolor image.  it works great with some pics...less so with others, but fun checking them out.
 i think that is the oil stuff.  the pipeline ends down here.  oddly, you don't see it all that much on this southern end of the pipeline..i've driven up to Deadhorse and many more views up there...of course, this area is really brushy and dense with flora.  up there it is tundra.
 in the foreground is where the old Valdez was before the earthquake of 1964 and tsunami that followed. the town took a huge hit and after it was over they abandoned the old down town and rebuild.  not sure what stuff has been done to protect the oil stuff over there.
 wasn't much to see of the old town site.  they had pictures of what used to be here or there staked into the sites...i suppose if i got out and walked around i may see a bit more.  i was ready to crash though.
 pretty flowers though.
 there is always stuff that you see that you don't get photos of.  one was driving along in Valdez an eagle flew over me and that bird had a full salmon in his talons...would have been a cool to see though.  sometimes that is plenty.

 some wildflowers that i took...not in black and white...though these flowers always do well in black and white.
 wandered around at the docks for a few.  that seems to be the most touristed up areas.  Valdez kind of reminded me of Whittier.  it's more of a place you go to with the purpose of leaving it.  it doesn't really have some cute town center and seems more about function than beauty..though it's in a beautiful setting, they really don't showcase that in their downtown area.
 harbors and boats are always cool though.
 wish i had time and dog care so that i could take a kayak out to the Columbia glacier...especially on a day like this.  too hot to leave the pups in the car though.
 will have to save that and Kennicott for another day.  may just have to make it an annual trip and do a week of adventures out this way..maybe rent a cabin in the Wrangell mountains.
 town from the other side...a little drive.
 the fires...there are more of them.  seems like the Kenai fires are now causing more trouble and the ones up here are getting a bit more controlled.  could smell the smoke this morning around here though. we are hoping the road is clear heading north but we are leaving early just in case.
 birds nesting along the underside of a bridge.  i think this area is the fisheries place.
 just thought the gulls looked all cute snuggled up.

 i'll miss my walrus viewing over the next few days.  boo...

 not far out of Valdez i spotted this swan pair and their nest.  so cool...they have huge nests.
 they must take turns on the nest while the other one feeds.
 just beautiful and graceful birds.

 wish i was beautiful and graceful like a swan...but i suspect i'm more like a crow or magpie....
 guess i better get back to planning for tomorrow. just want to wake up early, take a shower, feed dogs and book.  that is all i'll have time for.
 colombine...always a favorite.
thankful for: 1.  safe travels without any car issues 2.  that Rio was able to have another adventure...what is the point of saving her if she can't still enjoy life.  3.  freedom to explore this wondrous world i live in .

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