Random photo: The bears of Katmai

Recently, we went to Katmai National Park.  Katmai is best known for its bears—brown bears, some of the biggest in the world, made gloriously fat by the endless supply of spawning salmon that enter the Brooks River every year.

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Barrow (Utqiaġvik), Alaska: A day trip to the Arctic

 

iPhone screenshot showing our location–in America’s northernmost town

In August, Dale and I and our friend Jingyi took a day trip to Barrow, or Utqiaġvik, as it is now known

The town of Utqiaġvik (an Iñupiat word that’s pronounced oot- kay-ahg-vik) is the northernmost point in the United States, and this was our reason for going.  We wanted to dip our fingers in the Arctic Ocean, maybe see polar bears or whales, and visit the northern-most point of America before catching the 7:00 PM flight back to Anchorage.

Utqiaġvik sits at 71°18′N 156°44′W and is 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, so you might think its slogan, “top of the world,” is accurate.  In reality, there are towns in Norway, Denmark, Canada, and Russia that are further north,² but Utqiaġvik is at the top of Alaska (and therefore the U.S.), and it made for a great trip.

A bridge in Utqiaġvik; the sign says “Top of the World Bridge”

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Seward, Alaska: My near-miss bear encounter

Brown bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska (Source: National Park Service)
“Cheri!  Get inside!”

I was at work, walking from one building to the next, when I heard Dave, Facilities Manager, clapping his hands and yelling at me from across the parking lot.  How weird, I thought.

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Seward, Alaska: Looking for baby bears

We’re on the prowl for bears.

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.

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Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise, part two: The animals!!!

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:

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Happy Earth Day! A few photos from our beautiful home

Resurrection Bay, Seward, Alaska

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:

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An eventful first week in Seward, Alaska

A new job, a new home, a few bear attacks, and musings about the wonders of butter

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We’ve been in Seward for a little over a week, and it’s been an eventful few days.  Here are the highlights:

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Denali National Park: Hiking the colorful Alaskan tundra

Tips for hiking in Denali National Park

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The view at the end of the Alpine Trail

This is one in a series of articles about our trip to Denali National Park.


We expected Denali’s alpine landscape to be bleak and monochromatic.  After all, tundra is supposed to be a vast, perpetual wasteland, right?

Wrong.

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What animals can you see in Denali National Park?

Denali wildlife, small and large: From bear burritos to bull moose in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park shuttle bus
Denali shuttle bus, dust-covered from traveling the unpaved road all day

This is one in a series of articles about our trip to Denali National Park.


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.

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