Friday, September 30, 2016

Alyeska Mountainscaping

Just back from Anchorage, Alaska....short trip to attend Vets With a Mission's annual board of directors meeting.  Late September...between seasons....cold and rainy every day.  But, a great chance for some "mountainscape" photography and a couple of good hikes

The Hotel Alyeska was a great choice for our meeting....beautiful surroundings,  off season rates, great food, relaxing and well appointed rooms and common areas

Just a 45 minute drive from Anchorage, nestled in the Chugach Mountains and next to the Chugach National Forest.

You can hike to the top...or take the tram ride.  The sun popped out for a few minutes and we were treated to a rainbow.  Great view down to the little ski town of Girdwood.

Great ride on the tram....holds 60 passengers and takes 5 minutes.

Ten degree difference from valley to mountaintops meant some snow....and good photos!

Alaska weather and climate

Recently renovated, the Alyeska has many inviting common areas.

The VWAM board of directors and advisors spent several days in the hotel boardroom.... reviewing the past year and charting our future.

Vets with a Mission

Glaciers in every is the Goat Glacier as seen from Girdwood. 

Glaciers near Anchorage

  Bill, Mike, Steve and Kent had a very nice hike around Moose Meadow.....which is one of the Nordic ski trails in winter.

Alyeska Trail Map.

Mike and I had a great rainy day hike into the Chugach National Forest.

Chugach National Forest

Signs and hotel staff continually warned us of bears!  Bears, bears...everywhere...on the slopes, in the parking lot, downtown Girdwood.  They were in a feeding frenzy in anticipation of a long and cold winter. 

Bears in Alaska

No...we didn't see this guy on the trail....he was stuffed, but still quite menacing in the hotel lobby.  We did keep a sharp eye on our hikes....but didn't see any.....guess they saw us first.

Bear Spray!

Great time to see Alaska's Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) in full color.

Alaska Trees

Too soon was our stay at the Alyeska over....time for a drive back to Anchorage along the scenic Seward Highway along the Cook Inlet....a long fiord with a rare bore tides.

Seward Highway Roadtrip

We stopped at Bird Point for some photos and met this gent....with an astronomical telescope pointed at the inland mountain slopes.  He showed us a black bear and several mountain goats!  Everyone we met in Alaska was friendly and hospitable.

The Cook Inlet is mostly mudflats and the home of globally rare bore tides.

We all overnighted in Anchorage to catch flights home.  My flight was a "red eye," giving me time to explore a bit and walk around the 6 mile trail at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base.
WOW.....1000 float planes!  Never seen anything like it.  Made me aware of the remote character of Alaska....many, many places you cannot drive to!

Lake Hood Seaplane Base

Click on the link below to see a Lake Hood video.

Also, lots and lots of bush planes at the airport.  Alaska has one private plane for every 58 citizens.....highest ratio anywhere in the world.
Listen to the Lake Hood tower!

Lake Hood ATC

Some long distance scenes taken from downtown Anchorage....urban, but on the edge of "The Last Frontier."

The mountains and glaciers are fascinating.  I found a great book about both at the Alyeska gift shop...

A great read about the renowned mountaineer and photographer.

Link to wonderful video about Bradford Washburn...

Time to head back to the sun in Florida.  Here's a last look taken with my LG phone.   Everything else taken with my Coolpix S6300.

Hoping to get back for a longer visit....maybe a fly in wilderness camp for some guided hiking and a view of Denali.  Thanks to VWAM board member and Anchorage resident, Cal Dunham, for hosting our meeting.....see you next year in South Carolina!