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Today–despite the cold and bluster and, later, rain–I drove down the Seward Highway, past Girdwood. If you look at a map of Anchorage, you can see it’s on Cook Inlet, and if you zoom in, you can see the Seward Highway runs along it. I drove down to (but not past) the point where the highway turns and runs back up the inlet for a bit. I think I saw a glacier at Portage, but the clouds were so thick, it wasn’t worth trying to get a picture. I may head down to Homer early next week, in which case I’ll get a picture then. I’ll also stop at more than just Bird Point and Beluga Point, to get pictures, since they’ll turn out nicer. (Saw birds, did not see belugas.)

I did, however, stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, to see moose, bears (I didn’t actually see any bears, though there was a very, very large dropping outside the bear enclosure), caribou, elk, eagles, and bison. I thought I’d be clever and walk around, rather than driving. And I did get a few better pictures, that way, than I might have if I’d needed to get out of the car and turn on my camera. (They’re below. Mostly moose and elk, because those were the animals that stood still and had babies with them.) But I also got soaked. And terrified when I saw the aforementioned dropping, since it was in one of the more remote areas of the park. I hustled back to the car, singing the theme song from Indiana Jones (not sure how I picked that), so as not to surprise the bear. On the way, safely within sight of several cars and buildings, I figured I’d walk over to see the eagles, but I surprised one of the moose, who started snorting at me. Rather than bother the moose further–and thereby trust the fence to hold up to a moose charge–I walked over to the car, after all, and saw the eagles from the warmth and dryness of my vehicle. They were very nice that way.

I also drove back to the Alyeskan Resort(?), by Girdwood. I was too chicken to look into riding the chair lift up the hill–maybe I’ll do it, if Dale really wants to, when he’s here–but there were some pretty views back that way. Also, the bakery at the Tourist Trap (no, they call it that!) at the intersection of Alyeskan and Seward has awesome pecan coconut bars. I recommend splitting them three ways; that was my lunch, over several hours, and I still have about a third of it left (along with a rumble in my tummy for something made not entirely from sugar).

Anyway, it was about 100 miles, all told, and the pictures are definitely not as fabulous as they would be if I’d had nice weather, but I’m so glad I went. It was a really nice drive.

Since I’m doing a big batch upload of pictures, anyway, I’ll go ahead and include my (not awesome, but you’ll get the idea) pictures of the mountains around Anchorage, covered in “termination dust.”

And, on the homefront, the handyman here is very nice but will have to remove pipes from under my sink tomorrow. They don’t pay him to work overtime, and it was awfully close to 5pm by the time he got here to look at the garbage disposal. Snaking didn’t do it, so the pipes have to go. Bleah.

The sunken trees are kind of cool… and creepy. They used to be part of a forest, but they sank in the 1964 earthquake, then died when the salt water crept up around them.

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September 2009