It’s an obsession, really. I talk to coworkers and monitor Facebook pages, looking for the best places to see bears. We drive unpaved roads and rural neighborhoods at a crawl, perhaps slower than we should, considering that Alaska is a place where people value their privacy. We scrutinize creeks where the salmon are starting to run and peer into the forest that lines the roads, hoping to glimpse the round, dark shape of a bear.
In our last post, I talked about a boat tour that we took across Resurrection Bay and into the Gulf of Alaska and Kenai Fjords National Park.
In today’s post, I want to share pictures of the animals that we saw from the deck of the boat. The region is extremely rich in wildlife: ten marine mammals live in these pristine waters, and dozens of species of birds nest along the coast. While we didn’t see all of the wildlife the area has to offer, it’s astounding how much we did spot in just an eight-hour boat trip:
To celebrate Earth Day, here are a few of our favorite pictures from our time in Alaska and from the road trip that brought us here. These photos plainly illustrate just how quirky, fragile, and beautiful our planet is:
Riding on the Denali National Park shuttle in search of wildlife was usually an all-day affair. We had plenty of time to meditate on the scenery and get to know our neighbors as the bus lurched along at 10 miles an hour.
Our contemplations, however, were often interrupted by urgent, single-syllable cries of “Moose!” or “Stop!” that brought the bus to a jolting halt.
The weather forecast for our time on the Alcan showed nothing but rain. For days, it was supposed to rain. We were going to miss some of the stunning scenic views that make the Alcan legendary, all because of rain.
There are no words to adequately describe Banff National Park, and as a writer, it’s really, really frustrating when my vocabulary comes up so short.
I guess if I had to choose an appropriate adjective, it would be ridiculous; what with its UNESCO World Heritage Designation and pristine ecosystem and dense evergreen forests and towering mountains, and oh yeah, its immense glaciers, Banff is just plain ridiculous.
After leaving Glacier, we crossed the border into Canada and headed for Waterton Lakes National Park, in Alberta. The two parks are actually a single entity, called Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, established in 1932 by members of the Rotary International organizations in Alberta and Montana. Both parks have been designated as Biosphere Reserves, and the Peace Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Note: each park has its own administration and entrance fees and you have to go through customs when crossing the border).