Monday, July 31, 2017

Random Alaska

I know I've spent two full weeks, and a lot of posts talking about Alaska.  And yet, I keep thinking of little tidbits of our trip that I haven't covered yet.  Mostly random, not in order by place or location, some that actually could have been included in one of my posts, and others that seem so unrelated that they almost could have been a post of their own, yet there isn't so much to tell or show to devote a whole post to it.

So, this is going to be the disorganized, random, some photos and a few explanations post to cover all that.  :0)

In the Kenai, we seemed to see eagles everywhere.  Near the river, in particular.  One day when we were driving elsewhere, DH just pulled over into a little parking area that had a small trail for walking to the river.  He was hoping to see a bear fishing for salmon, but apparently the salmon (and the bears) weren't there yet.  Too early in the season, I guess.  What we did see though, was an astounding number of eagles.  It started with two, an adult and a juvenile bald eagle.  Then they flew off to our right, and disappeared behind some tall trees.  A few minutes later, an adult bald came flying toward the river from that direction.  Shortly after came another adult bald eagle.  Then, nearly on it's heels, a juvenile bald.

DH and I were feeling lucky to have seen not one, not two, but three bald eagles in one spot.  Imagine our surprise when, over the course of a few minutes, from the same direction, came several more.  It was like someone behind those tall trees had a pitching machine that was firing out not balls, but eagles at regular intervals!  Not just bald eagles, but also some golden eagles.

Some flew off over the river, toward a mountain in the backdrop.  Two landed in trees and perched there, apparently watching for fish.  Others just soared in circles overhead.  At one time we counted ten different eagles all in our field of vision.  And of course neither of us had brought a phone with which to take pictures of this.

There are many glaciers, and we saw several during our travels. One we got to see closer than the others, and that was Exit Glacier.

I had always just pictured glaciers as big white blobs.  Because they are layer upon layer of packed snow, right?  Well, sort of.  They are layers of snow that has just piled up through the ages without melting away completely.  But they're not bright, pretty white.  From a distance, yes, they look white.  Up close, they look kind of dirty and grimy, like old snowbanks in the early spring that built up on the sides of the road all winter long and collected dirt and salt spray as well as snow.  Glaciers are snow, and ice, and lots of debris that they pick up as they move.  They are a little white, but more streaks of gray, and areas that are blue from the light reflecting on the dense icy layers within.

The meltwater that comes out of the base of a glacier as it recedes is a very opaque gray color.  It reminded me a lot of the color of cement slurry.  In a way, the glacial water is a kind of cement slurry; it contains lots of silt and small stones, as well as water.

As the water flows away from the glacier, the silt and stones are deposited, forming a glacial outwash basin.

outwash basin, looking toward the glacier

outwash basin, looking from the base of the glacier outward

the current base of the glacier
(I wanted to hike all the way to it, but the rest of my fellow travelers didn't like the steep, narrow, rocky path leading from this observation point to the glacier itself, and I was voted out of continuing our hike.)

Once the sediment and rocks have been deposited as the water (known as a braided river because of it's many small intertwining paths in an outwash basin) flows further and further from the glacier, the color of the water changes.  Glacial lakes are a beautiful blue color.

Random Photos:

our home on wheels

a misty morning

Honorary Son and DD1 spent most of their wakeful hours in the RV like this,
 taking pictures out the open window even while rolling down the road

my one moose photo

I think, hopefully, I've reached the end of my show and tell about going to Alaska.

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