In August, Dale and I and our friend Jingyi took a day trip to Barrow, or Utqiaġvik, as it is now known.¹
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.
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:
Merry Christmas! Our gift to you… bald eagles in a snow storm, taken on Christmas Eve.
Remember the juvenile eagle that dive-bombed us? The one that I talked about in our last post? Well, these may be his (or her) parents. We have since discovered that there are at least four adult bald eagles living in Seward, plus the two juveniles.
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.
The Davis Mountains hold a special place in our hearts. Roughly equidistant between Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, the Davis Mountains are situated in the huge, sparsely-populated area of deep west Texas. We came out here many times in our 20’s and early 30’s. The first time we visited, several years before we we were even married, it was with Dale’s parents, and we returned numerous times after that, mostly to camp.
Our return this year was our first visit in probably fifteen years, and I have no idea why we ever stopped coming.