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.
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:
Colorful panels cover an exterior wall of Bethel Regional High School. Obviously created by students, they seem to be answering some question that was posed to them. Responses vary, ranging from poetic:
“Hope will come, and we will be waiting,” and “Call the sun beautiful”
…to concrete and honest: “Passing my classes,” “Basketball is the most beautiful sport of all,” and “I don’t know.”
Warning: This post contains sad and disturbing photos of injured and deceased sea animals.
In January I wrote a post about the adorable Steller sea lions of Resurrection Bay. Unfortunately, they’re endangered. It was only when I started learning about sea lions for the blog that I discovered this fact, and after some debate I decided that I should share the sad side of my sea lion research with you. So here goes:
You’d think it would be easy to spot Denali, North America’s tallest peak. It is, after all, over 20,000 feet tall. In reality, the mountain formerly known as Mount McKinley is notoriously elusive. It makes its own, constantly changing weather and is usually cloud-covered, so the odds of seeing it are fairly low. In a single day, there’s about a 33% chance of seeing the mountain in its entirety, and odds aren’t that much better that you’ll even get a glimpse of it.
That’s why Dale and I spent ten nights camping in Denali National Park and Preserve, a long time to spend in a single campground.
Our year in Ketchikan, Alaska, plus an announcement!
We left home the day after college graduation. Dale picked me up from my parents’ house, the house I grew up in, and I told my parents and sister goodbye. I was 23 but still so attached to my parents that you might say it was via umbilical cord, yet here I was, moving thousands of miles away. I climbed into the Ford Ranger, its camper stuffed with our belongings, and turned to give my house one more look. Then I started to cry. Even after we had hit the highway and were headed north, tears continued to stream down my face. It started to rain, a storm so heavy that Dale could barely see, but he said later that no way was he going to stop; I would’ve made him turn back. I cried until we hit Dallas, and then, suddenly, I quit looking back, and the tears stopped.
It was May, 1993, and Dale and I were moving from New Braunfels, Texas, to Alaska.