Our son, Jonathon, came to visit us here in Alaska over the Memorial Day weekend. We had a great visit and managed to do a couple of fun activities, as well. The first thing we did, of course, was to visit the local Barnes & Noble Bookstore so that Jonathon could get himself some new movies and books on CD. Those of you who know JT will know that a Barnes & Noble trip is the highlight of any vacation for him!
The next day we took Jonathon to the office to meet the other senior missionaries. While we were there we had a moose visit the parking lot to trim the trees and bushes. This is not an uncommon occurrence. It was a little difficult getting both JT and the moose in a photo, but we managed.
Sister Taylor has wanted to take a floatplane trip since we got here and Jonathon loves to fly in small planes so it seemed like just the right thing to do. We contacted one of the local "flightseeing" companies and scheduled a trip!
On Friday afternoon we went down to the Lake Hood Seaplane base (next to the International Airport) and climbed aboard. We were going to schedule our trip in the morning, but there was a TFR in effect, a Temporary Flight Restriction, because Pres. Obama was landing at the nearby airbase for refueling on his way back from Japan. It is really unusual to see the skies over Anchorage clear of any and all airplanes!
We left shortly after 2:00 PM. We flew east into the Chugach Mountains, flying up the Eagle River Valley and over the top to the Colony and George Glaciers. They combine and terminate at Lake George. After carefully finding an area free of ice from the glacier, the pilot landed on Lake George not too far from the toe of the glacier. The lake was a little choppy from the wind coming down off the glaciers so the landing and take-off were quite bumpy! Jonathon loved it!
After our visit to the lake, we flew on to the Knik Glacier, which is one of the largest in this area. It is 25 miles long, 5 miles wide at the mouth. (Knik is pronounced with the k at the beginning, k-nik) We then followed the Knik River Valley (where we rode the ATVs a few weeks ago) back down to the Glenn Highway and basically followed it back to Anchorage. Our pilot was a great guy who originally came to this area when he was posted to the Elmendorf Air Force Base years ago. He was a wealth of information about the area and we very much enjoyed his company. We each had a headset with microphone so we were able to listen to and talk with him and each other and listen to the other planes/tower/etc.
|The Eagle River Valley. We turned right, flew up to the end and then up and over into the tops of the Chugach Mountains.|
|Tops of the mountains.|
|Not mountains peaking up through the clouds - mountains peaking up through the snow and ice.|
|Lake George from above. Looks fairly clear, right?|
|Lake George and the "toe" of the glacier from straight on. A little more ice visible on the lake.|
Bumpy ride! Woohoo!!
|A cool looking iceberg about the size of a house or a little larger. See that dark spot in the middle. Look below.|
|Look closely. It's a hole through the berg.|
|The Knik Glacier. There is no way to show the depth and ruggedness of all those crevasses. |
There is no way to cross this glacier on the surface. It is just impassable by foot or snowmachine!
|See how blue those pools are? Glacial ice absorbs all of the light spectrum except blue. |
The deeper into the ice you go, the more blue is reflected back for you to see.
|The "toe" of the Knik Glacier and the beginning of the Knik River. |
When I went on the ATV ride, we had lunch just to the right of this picture before heading back.
|Looking up the Knik River Valley. The glacier is at the top left and the river flows down the far side against the mountains. This valley was created by the combined forces of ice, flood and silt/gravel/rock.|
|Looking down the Knik River Valley toward the Palmer Hay Flats and, if you could see that far,|
but you can't in this picture, the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet.
Landing at the seaplane base.
|The intrepid explorers.|
On Saturday, we went to Palmer for lunch and an ATV ride at the invitation of Pres. and Sister LaVoie. Pres. LaVoie has a six-wheeled Polaris Ranger. We were able to get all three of us inside, thanks to Jonathon's having lost so much weight over the past several months. We drove one of the ATV trails alongside the highway for a short distance and then drove around a large gravel/rock area, letting Jonathon take over the driving for a bit. It was lots of fun.
|Sorry, just the two of us, Sister Taylor was the photographer.|
Jonathon went home on Sunday night, flying out at about midnight. (I'm sure that Pete just loved being at the airport in Portland at 4:30 AM!) We are looking forward to being with them and the rest of the family soon. Our mission is winding down and we will be returning home from Alaska in September.
But, in the mean time, we will continue to work hard for the Lord, doing our best to take good care of the junior missionaries while we can, and we are looking forward to Ralph & Dixie's visit later this week!!