And why are they not frozen? Because their hearts are warmed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Welcome to our blog! We hope you enjoy our travels and dialogues as we journey to Anchorage Alaska for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

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.

At the Regal Air docks.  The plane you are looking at is a DeHaviland Beaver, the "bush" plane.  We flew in the Cessna 206 behind it.  The young man standing on the wing strut is fueling it for the next flight.  We asked for the Cessna because it was smaller, closer to the type of planes that Sister Taylor flew in as a youngster.  And we got to go alone instead of with 3-4 other passengers.  
A portion of the Lake Hood Seaplane Base.  Our pilot told us that there are 1,000 planes here, 1,000 planes at Merrill Field and who knows how many planes on small lakes, etc., all around the area.  Flying is THE mode of transportation in Alaska!  Below is another view of the base.   The International Airport is on the far side.

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.

The Colony Glacier coming around the big hump in the middle from the left and the George Glacier coming around from the right.  The dark strips are called the moraine and that's where they join.  All the soil and rock scraped up by the glacier (and ground into silt) as it advances makes the dark color. 
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.

As we flew along the valley on our way back to Anchorage, the pilot tried to find some wildlife for us to see.  We saw a couple of moose feeding down on the flats and, if you look real close in the lower right quarter of the picture, you can see a couple of white spots on the cliff which are Dall sheep.

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!!


  1. Wow!!!! Very cool!!! So much fun .. you all look great!!

  2. We haven't kept up for the summer has been so busy here. This looks like a great trip for Jonathan. Hope to see you both on your return.We are in Paris France this week of our 44 th anniversary. Amazing!

  3. We haven't kept up for the summer has been so busy here. This looks like a great trip for Jonathan. Hope to see you both on your return.We are in Paris France this week of our 44 th anniversary. Amazing!