Alaska Trip
July 9-21, 2005

Short Trips around Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska.
The city is on the edge of Cook Inlet.  The "beach" looks inviting, but it is actually a quicksand-like mudflat which is dangerous to walk on.
The mudflat is the result of silt being deposited by the glacier.  The tide has a range of about 30 feet; this picture was taken at low tide.  If you
stand on the mudflat, your feet will slowly sink.  Before you know it, you have sunk so far that you are trapped.  This makes it extremely
difficult for anyone to rescue you.  Some people have drowned when the tide returned, with rescuers unable to do anything.

I saw several black-billed magpies in Anchorage.

A sign at the Earthquake Park.
On March 27, 1964, a great earthquake hit the south-central part of Alaska, including the areas of Anchorage, Seward, and Valdez.
Known as the Good Friday Earthquake and the Great Alaska Earthquake, it registered 9.2 on the Richter scale.

David Donaldson of Birmingham, AL, and Andy Deuschle of Anchorage, AK.

Billy Leavell (Memphis, TN) shows where the ground dropped as result of the earthquake.

On way out we saw two familiar faces.  Hal Suddreth of Birmingham, AL, and Chris Nipper of Knoxville, TN.

Andy Deuschle (right) explaining to Mark Kern what happened to his finger.
"... I was playing in a softball game last week, and a softball hit my finger right on the tip,
splitting open the skin.  Six stitches were needed to close the wound..."

Mark & Takako Kern and family of Kansas City.

A beautiful DeHavilland floatplane flying overhead.  This plane uses a powerful
Pratt & Whitney "Wasp Junior" R-985 nine-cylinder supercharged 450 horsepower radial engine.

Downtown Anchorage is on the other side of the trees.  You can catch a large salmon near the heart of Anchorage.
This was picture taken around 8:30 pm; yet, it was like mid-afternoon.

The red fish (about four feet long) probably are Chinook Salmon (aka King Salmon),
and the smaller fish at lower left (about two feet long) are Choco Salmon (aka Silver Salmon).
Salmons turn red during spawning and then die within a few weeks, completing their life cycle.

Another DeHavilland floatplane.
You see many light planes, floatplanes, and ski planes flying over all day long as many fishermen, hikers, hunters, sightseekers, and skiers charter them
to reach many remote places in Alaska inaccessible by autos.  Anchorage probably has more small planes than any other cities in the United States.

At a scenic view stop on the Seward Highway which runs next to the Alaska Railroad tracks.  The water in background is
Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet.  The waters of Turnagain Arm were named by Captain James Cook in 1778 when he was
searching for a river and found that the shallow waters were not suited for his ship, and he and his crew were forced to "turn again."

Turnagain Arm is a deep fjord carved out by glaciers.  However the same glaciers have deposited so much silt that the water is not navigable.
The water is between the the Kenai mountains (seen in the background) and the Chugach mountains.  Indeed a beautiful place.

A beautiful welcoming post.

A tram approaching the station.

A view from the tram on way to the top.

The tram ride was fast, and the scenery was beautiful.

Enjoying the view.  The creek is fed by melting snow & ice from the glaciers.

Whenever there is too much snow on a steep mountain slope, there is a risk of an avalanche.  I think they use this gun
to start an avalanche.  The concrete box under the gun is probably a storage bin for explosive artillery shells.

Unfortunately, some shells may fail to detonate and become a hazard to hikers.

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