|Lots of beautiful countryside - fields of wild fireweed everywhere. |
(Okay. As far as I know it's all wild.)
|Sister Taylor and Sister Weston in the fireweed.|
|Most of the peninsula we passed through was either mountain pass or flat forested land with the occasional river/marsh thrown in. On this marsh we spotted a pair of Trumpeter Swans and a Red-necked Grebe with it's young.|
(Both are below)
|Driving back to Anchorage, after leaving the peninsula and turning up the Turnagain Arm, |
we were greeted by this view and a whole group of swans on the marsh along the roadside.
|There were actually about 10 swans in this group. Quite a sight.|
The next week, my sister Claudia and her husband Wes came to town from their home in Missouri. They stayed part of the week with his Aunt and Uncle and spent the weekend with us. We had a great time showing them around Anchorage, some of the Mat-Su Valley, and Hatcher Pass. Wes is a serious birder of long-standing, so Friday we spent our day together at Potter Marsh, Westchester Lagoon and several other spots along the way where we could go birdwatching. With his help and expertise we were able to identify six new birds and add them to our list.
We spent the entire day on Saturday going to the Reindeer Farm in Palmer and driving the length of Hatcher Pass to Willow and then back home. On Sunday they attended the Bush Branch with us and then we went by the Lake Hood Seaplane base and watched a few float planes take off and land.
|Claudia and Wes at Alaska Wild Berry Products, home of the 20-ft chocolate waterfall.|
|Elder Taylor and his sister, Claudia, at our picnic lunch in Palmer |
just prior to going to the Reindeer Farm and Hatcher Pass.
|Claudia feeding the reindeer.|
|Wes feeding the reindeer.|
|Sister Taylor with a friend at the Reindeer Farm. |
She tried to share the gospel with him but he wasn't very receptive.
|Elder Taylor at the Little Susitna River in Hatcher Pass.|
|A wee friend we found at the Independence Gold Mine. An Arctic Ground Squirrel. |
One of many we saw as we drove over the pass.
|Wes & Claudia at the entrance to the Water Tunnel, Independence Gold Mine.|
|One of the many, many gorgeous views of Hatcher Pass.|
|The famous wild blueberry that grows in Hatcher Pass and is harvested and coveted by many in this area of Alaska.|
|We stopped for ice cream on the way back to Anchorage. This is Sister Taylor's new motto!|
On Monday the four of us went to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. In addition to a short program of dancing, we also were able to see a demonstration of Native Alaskan sport and tour some dwellings of the various different peoples. It was really educational and fun as well.
|A modern, yet traditional representation of the Raven, a prominent |
figure in the culture and lore of the various Alaskan peoples.
|Each dance was a story told by the various symbolic movements of the hands.|
A story about a seal coming up for air, shaking his head and blinking his eyes to clear the water.
|Ceremonial Mukluks worn by one of the dancers.|
|Ceremonial fans used by the dancers to add grace and emphasis to the hand movements.|
|The lead singer and drummer. This man's home is on St. Lawrence Island. |
He explained the dances and songs and told us how his people live.
Below are two of the sport contests. Both involved kicking a ball that was
suspended from different heights.
|The various peoples of Alaska were represented by dwellings built around the Heritage Center's grounds. This is a "Womens's House," of the Yupik/Cupik people, built mostly underground.|
|Claudia in a "Men's House," a communal living space.|
|This is a "Long House," built by the people of the southeast, around Juneau. They are closely related to the Chinook and other peoples of the Pacific Northwest. We felt almost at home around their totem poles and lodges, etc.|
|Claudia and Wes|
Sorry for the long dry spell. Will try to get another post up soon.