Alaska

Last full day in VancouverVancouver

Posted by Fraser Smith 2013-06-18 06:22:35

Our last blog. Very sad. We spent the day exploring Stanley Park. Great place. Very big with something for everyone. Hector had a good day and met a few feathered friends along the way.Blog imageHaving a chat with some Canada Geese.Blog imageFraser and Hector enjoying a bit of lunch.Blog imageThis is the Beaver Pool. Absolutely covered in lilies. There was a beaver lodge in the middle.
Blog imageHector made a real friend here when he shared his lunch with this red winged blackbird.Blog imageWe saw three different kinds of squirrels. This one, and black one which was a lot bigger and a red one.Blog imageWe got a much better sighting of a racoon today. This one was good enough to pose for us. I think it was half asleep as the weather was very warm and they really should be asleep during the day.Blog imageBarbara is very chuffed to have captured this picture of a woodpecker.Blog imageFraser and Hector eating again at the beach this time.Blog imageSee you all soon. Hope you have all enjoyed reading about our holiday as much as we have enjoyed being here. xxxx

Vancouver city tour and Capilano suspension bridgeVancouver

Posted by Fraser Smith 2013-06-17 05:57:40

Another good day. The weather turned out to be lovely. The best day so far this year according to our driver who took us on our tour of Vancouver. We definitely are taking the sun with us as we travel. The first stop on our tour was Stanley Park. A very large park so we didn't see too much of it. We are going to walk there tomorrow for the day as it is supposed to be nice again. Lots of lovely totem poles.Blog imageHector getting closer to this one.Blog imageThe next stop was at the Capilano suspension bridge. This was good fun and a long way down to the bottom of the gorge. 70 meters.Blog imageHector and I posing half way across.Blog imageThis is the tree top walk which took us all in amongst the forest.
Blog imageThis is the cliff walk. We didn't have a lot of time for this as we needed to get back to the bus so not so many photos taken here.Blog imageHector and Fraser on the cliff walk.Blog imageView from Prospect Point. Blog imageWe saw a racoon here but only fleetingly.Blog imageHector admiring the view from our hotel room down to the harbour.Blog imageGreat excitement. They were filming Godzilla in the middle of the town. This is a lorry crash. Now you know how they made the smoke!!!!Blog image

Back in VancouverVancouver

Posted by Fraser Smith 2013-06-16 08:00:18

We are now back in Vancouver. This is Hector waiting for the plane out of Anchorage. We were all sad to leave. We had such a good time in Alaska. Blog imageA few of the carvings in the airport at Anchorage. This one is a carved whalebone.Blog imageEskimo dollsBlog imageWalrus tusk carving. There were many more and all just as impressive.Blog imageCruise ship in Whittier (centre of picture) taken from the airplane. Track of 23 glaciers in a day trip shown.
Blog imageCollege fjord. Track of 23 glaciers in a day trip shown.Blog imageVancouver city centre with cruise ship terminal in the centre of the picture. No ships in at the time.Blog imageHector getting comfy on the chaise longue at our home for the next 3 nights. Cloudy when we landed but still warm.Blog imageOff on a city tour tomorrow so hoping the sun is going to shine. x

Back to AnchorageAnchorage

Posted by Fraser Smith 2013-06-15 06:45:41

On the way up to Anchorage we saw a couple of mountains that resembled those of the Black Cuillin on Skye. This is a photo of one of them taken on the way back. Those who have experience of Skye and who have had parts of their anatomy rubbed off by the rock will recognise the similar features here. If it's not gabbro then it must be something very similar.Blog imageAs the weather conditions around Denali were better today than on our trip North we couldn't help stopping to try and get a better view of it. We stopped several times and captured a few decent views although we only realised that we had missed perhaps the best location after we had passed it. Blog imageThere are not very many places to stop for lunch between Denali and Anchorage so we had a picnic lunch of left over pizza from last night's dinner. Weather again was lovely. To see a panorama of Denali taken from this picnic spot click this link.Blog imageEating again. This is the hotel we are staying at near the airport. It is next to the world's largest float plane airport. Blog imageNice watching them take off and land.Blog imageHector was a bit put out when he read this notice.Blog image



Anchorage - TalkeetnaTalkeetna

Posted by Fraser Smith 2013-06-15 02:34:56

Better late than never. We forgot to put in our trip from Anchorage to Talkeetna.
The hotel dropped us off at the airport to pick up our car. As you can see Hector got involved as usual.Blog imageWe got him settled in the back seat and set off on our journey.Blog imageOur drive up from Anchorage to Talkeetna was fairly uneventful which is mainly due to the fact that there was little wildlife to spot along the edge of the road and almost nowhere to stop for refreshments. We did stop at a little lake for a break. This is us just turning into The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge entrance driveBlog imageThis is Hector soaking up the rays whilst we had a spot of lunch on the balcony of the Lodge. Denali was hiding in the clouds at this time.Blog imageTalkeetna Lodge.Blog imageWe went on a walk along some of the tracks around the Lodge. That was our first encounter with the Alaskan mosquito and we hadn't applied the Skin so Soft! They got us.Blog imageWe encountered this Willow Ptarmigan which posed very nicely for us.Blog imageWe also saw this lovely American Robin collecting flies for its brood.Blog image

Denali National Park againDenali

Posted by Fraser Smith 2013-06-14 03:11:21

Well, our last day in Denali has been great again as you can see from the sky behind this Dall ram we photographed whilst out on our bus trip (when you click the link, click "Map" in the top right of the map and select "Satellite" to get a better idea ot the terrain). Left at 9.00 and got back at 5.00. Blog imageThis was Hector's first long trip into the park and he had a wonderful time. Made lots of friends as usual. Even had his photo taken by other people. Here he is at one of our stops trying to wear antlers but they were very heavy so we had to give him some assistance.Blog imageBarbara managed to get this photo of a red fox and also unwittingly got an arctic ground squirrel as well.Blog imageWe had another brilliant sighting of a grizzly bear. This one had a slightly lighter coat than the one we showed you the other day. Very exciting. We actually saw 2 but only got a picture of this one.Blog imageWe went further into the park today, in fact 67 miles each way, so we got a wonderful view of Denali showing its full height. Did you know that this is the highest mountain when measured from its base to summit as the ground around its base is only 2 to 3 thousand feet. It is also the coldest.Blog imageHector at our final stop before heading back.Blog imageThis little ground squirrel, the same as in the fox picture, came out to see us. We think it must have been getting some sort of mineral or some tiny bugs from the stone. None of the animals in the park come looking for food from visitors as there is a very strict policy on not feeding animals or even leaving crumbs. There is just one small place where the general public are allowed to eat food.Blog imageHector admiring the view of Denali.Blog imageThis is our bus. We had a bit of a bumpy journey on the way back as the new driver, who was very yellow, wasn't very good!!!Blog imageA lovely male Caribou. Look at those lovely antlers and they still have quite a bit more to grow.Blog imageWhy is it that you find the best place to eat on your last night in a place? Prospectors is a great place to eat and drink.
Blog imageThey have a range of 49 beers on draught covering the full range of types of beer and ale with something I'm sure for almost everyone. Blog imageWe leave here tomorrow to head back to Anchorage so probably not too much to report tomorrow eve but will blog something.

Rafting the NenanaDenali

Posted by Fraser Smith 2013-06-13 02:22:11

Another lovely sunny day. Rafting this afternoon was great fun (when you click the link, click "Map" in the top right of the map and select "Satellite" to get a better idea ot the terrain). Flood, our guide, took great care of us as you can see below. If you were wondering where we are we were under the wall of water in the first pic.Blog imageWe were a bit more in control in this one. We got very wet at times but had full dry suits on so we kept dry under those. Barbara thought it was a bit hairy sitting on the side paddling to start with but she soon got into the swing of things and had a great time. We travelled 11 miles down stream.Blog imageWe went back and picked up Hector to go for a short trip into the park to pick up our bus tickets for tomorrow. We are getting the shuttle bus as we are not allowed to take a car in further than 13 miles. We will go to Eilison which is about 45 miles in and then get off and hopefully have a bit of a wander around. Have to eat our food before we get off the bus as no food allowed outwith vehicles unless in bear proof containers. Then we will get a later bus back (we hope).
Hector saw his first moose today even before we got to the park. Barbara spotted it eating the bushes in a layby so we stopped and got out to take some photos. We got quite close as you can see.Blog imageHector and Barbara posed for a photo at the reserve entrance. Can you spot the duck?Blog imageSome caribou we spotted having a sunbathe on our jaunt into the park. We also saw an Alaskan red squirrel but it was too fast for us to get a photo. Hopefully we will have more wildlife to show you tomorrow.Blog image

Tundra wilderness tourDenali

Posted by Fraser Smith 2013-06-12 08:45:04

Our first day in Denali has again been great. We arrived in time to have lunch before heading off on a bus trip into the park which left at 2.30pm and we got back at 10.30pm (when you click the link, click "Map" in the top right of the map and select "Satellite" to get a better idea ot the terrain). Great day. The moose in the picture below we saw on our journey to Denali (when you click the link, click "Map" in the top right of the map and select "Satellite" to get a better idea ot the terrain). Our loop through the layby is at mile 135. Didn't quite manage to get the camera out quick enough to catch it swimming across the river. The lorry is parked so it crossed the layby safely. We saw so many animals on our drive that we can't put in photos of them all so here are just a few of them.
Blog imageWe got a great view of the Coyote below. Never seen one of those before.
Blog imageWe saw 6 grizzly bears altogether but the one below was the star. He was having a nap really close to the road and we got some great pics and video of him.
Blog imageJust thought we had better put one in of ourselves just to prove we were there.
Blog image
This red fox was georgeous, especially his tail.Blog imageThese are Dall sheep and are very cute. They live on the side of the mountains a bit like goats.Blog imageWe got this great view of Denali on the way out. It is not very often that the whole of the mountain is seen. It's like Ben Nevis in that respect, it's just a bit bigger!Blog imageWe also saw 2 porcupines, lots of caribou, more moose with young calves, a Northern Harrier, Willow Ptarmigan (Alaska's state bird), Arctic Ground Squirrel and several flocks of the Dall sheep. The bus driver/guide was amazed at how much we saw and with seeing the mountain as well. Tommorow is the rafting so hopefully we will be in a fit state to catch up then. By the way, we don't seem to be getting much feedback from you all!!!! Hope you are reading these.