Which, in itself, is an interesting thing to those of us from the temperate zones. Our apartment building has a carport which has a slot for each apartment. On the pole next to each parking place is a power outlet. It is specifically there for the block heaters and is controlled by a switch in each respective apartment. For the first three weeks we lived here I couldn't figure out what this one wall switch was for. I couldn't get it to turn anything on or off. Just didn't make sense. Then one of our neighbors filled us in. You buy a short extension cord, specially built for the cold, plug it into your outlet and then plug your block heater into it. Then when you get upstairs to your apartment, you turn on the power. Cool, eh? (Yes, I am easily amused.)
On Monday night we went to Family Home Evening at the Mission Home with the all the other Senior Missionaries and the Mission Presidency and their wives. There were about twenty of us in attendance. It was really fun. Pres. Robinson showed us the new video that is being released by the church at Easter time called, "He Lives," or "Because He Lives," we can't remember which. It will be playing in numerous visitor centers and on the church's YouTube channel. Short, but very well done. Watch for it.
Tuesday we drove around town a little and then went down by the Cook Inlet. On the southeast edge of town we found a ski area. We've always had to drive for miles and miles to see a ski area. This is right on the edge of town, has a ski lift and a ski jump. Really took us by surprise. It was spring break here this week and there were several families and young people out skiing and snowboarding.
The Cook Inlet is on the north and west sides of town. We took a couple of pictures of the sunset over the tidal flats and found a park in a downtown neighborhood nearby where they had prepared a skating area on a lagoon.
We took a short sightseeing trip on Thursday evening. With all the clear, sunny skies and the sun not setting until about 8:00 PM we have lots of time in the evenings to be out and about. We drove out along Turnagain Arm, which is an arm of Cook Inlet. Capt. Cook tried to sail up the arm in search of the Northwest Passage and had to "turn again" because it was so shallow. He named it the Turnagain River.
The Turnagain Arm and the mountains that border it are probably the most scenic place we have seen thus far. I'm running out of superlatives for this place and it just keeps getting more and more fantastic. Alaska is just BIG. There are no words to describe just how beautiful it is here. And we are told that the summers are what everyone lives here for. Apparently another huge step above the splendor that exists the other nine months of the year. A few shots of the Turnagain Arm area --
|In addition to the beautiful mountains, you can see that the Arm is|
pretty much covered in ice, some of it stationary and some of it moving.
|Here you can see where the ice has built up around the edges of the Arm.|
This band of ice went clear around the shore as far as we could see.
On the way home we saw a couple of Dall sheep come down the cliff to the road. We stopped and got a couple of pics but they're not the best. The lower one had the horns but he was turned away from us most of the time.
Just outside of Anchorage we passed through a bird and wildlife refuge in an area called Potter Marsh. (Great birdwatching, Amy!) As we were driving along we saw a flash out over the marsh and realized that someone was taking photographs out there. Closer examination revealed that a young lady in a strapless wedding (we assume) dress was being professionally photographed in the middle of the marsh. The interesting thing about all this is that it was 14 degrees and windy! She must have been freezing! And if you think that is hardy (or fool-hardy, as the case may be) the Samoans and Tongans come to church in their lava-lavas and flip flops. And today it was 8 degrees!!!! They are really tough!