Monday, May 24, 2010

Alaska Continued

I'm not sure what I did, but this post published instead of the train....So I have finished this draft and will post it too.

We left Anchorage and headed out the Glenn Highway towards Palmer for a quick drop in with a friend Russ knew 50 years ago.  Stan and Ginny were wonderful and gave us lots of  help with what to do on our travels.    The views were amazing all along the way.  This was outside Palmer at the Musk Ox farm where we stopped.  Deana is a knitter and wanted to see the musk ox that are known for their quivet---very fine hair that is the ultimate for knitting when spun.  The farm was actually closed but Nick was gracious and allowed us a 20 minute tour to see a few animals.  The farm is working to domesticate and increase the herd as a viable product for  the native economy.  The musk ox is the largest prehistoric mammal left.
After a stop at the Walmart for snacks and water and a knee support brace for me, we headed for the Tundra Rose, our cabin for the rest of the week.  Everywhere we looked was a scene you wanted to capture.  Each mile revealed a different vista, and we stopped at a lot of pull outs. 
This was a viewing area we stopped at along the Matanuska River.  Deana and Russ found a way down to the river bed to look for rocks.  The river is low right now, as the rainy season is about a month away.           We got to the cabin, and went for dinner at the Sheep Mountain Lodge.  The sourdough rolls were the size of a small loaf of bread!  And we saw the Dahl sheep grazing on the mountain side.  They actually have viewing sites to sit and watch for sheep and wildlife along the roads.        Here's a view from our cabin early the next morning.
Russ and I headed to Victory Camp just a few miles away, and spotted a moose on the side of the road.  What a sight!  Victory Camp has grown and modernized from what he remembered.  There is a beautiful lodge and different theme camps now.  Both of the lakes still had ice on them.  Such beauty.  Rick is now the director  and  began showing us around.  But a quick call and Nadine arrived to give us a grand tour.  Nadine is considered the grand matriarch of the area as she and her husband were the founding missionaries here.  At 90 years old, she still drives the gravel roads and knows every one by name.  It was a great privilege to spend time with her.  She took us to lunch at the Long Rifle Lodge to see "old Alaska".  The lodge had wonderful food and views and was filled with life size bears, muskox, and moose.   As we were leaving, Nadine walked us out the back hall where old photos from early camp days line the walls.  Very near the end of the hall there was a photo of about 15 kids in the back of an old Ford pick up truck.  My husband was looking at it and suddenly said "There's Dwayne"--his brother.  And standing right behind him was Russ.  Of all the old photos they could have hung, they chose one with both of them in it.
 We spent the afternoon at Matanuska Glacier Park.  It is the largest glacier that is easily accessible by car.  About a 20 minute hike around the very rocky, steep marked path took Deana, Trey and Russ to the black ice. ( I stayed at the viewing area because of my knee.)  The black ice is part of the glacier that is covered by dirt and silt.            You could hear the ice crack and break off ---it sounded like a rifle shot as it reverberated off the mountains. 
This is where the river begins at the glacier.  On the way out of the park we stopped along the bank of the river for a hunt for a small enough piece of "driftwood"  to take home.    And we did manage to get it into the suitcase.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I'm definitely going to visit the mountains :) They look stunning.

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