The second bucket list item was exploring Denali National Park. I felt so alive while we were there. The look on my children's faces told me that they felt the same way. There were moments that it seemed we were the only people on earth. No artificial noises, destroyed land, smoggy air. Just nature as it should be.
Being a nature loving family, we made sure we explored as much as possible while there. Three of the big five mammals were checked off of our list. The first was Caribou who were desperately running away from the mosquitoes.
We kayaked with a seal in Juneau, rappelled next to a waterfall in Girdwood, and hiked in Denali, Alyeska, Skagway and Ketchikan. We took a cruise down the inside passage and enjoyed a different port each day with beautiful views in between.
My daughter's birthday wish this year was to ride the White Pass Railway to the Denver Valley and hike in old growth forest. It was just her and I and we loved it! The old train and rail was full of history of the gold rush.
We spent two weeks exploring inland and coastal Alaska. We started in Fairbanks which happened to be hotter than it was at home in So Cal. 93F temps weren't expected when we packed but it steadily cooled off the farther west we traveled.
Beautiful landscapes, friendly people and amazing wildlife were everywhere we went. I was able to cross off two big items from my bucket list. First was riding the Alaska Railroad. We were in a luxury car with unbroken views out the domed glass roof. We dined on wonderful food with my personal favorite being the Dungeness Crab Bisque.
The second was an incredible encounter we had with a Moose cow and calf. They were at Horseshoe lake in Denali. The calf played in the water while we stood there and watched. Of course I was taking photo's nonstop and kept telling myself that the beautiful scene was real.
The third was Dall Sheep although they were way on top of the mountains so we really just saw white dots. No Bears or Wolves this trip but I intend on returning someday.
I captured many different plants, animals and fungi on this trip along with scenic and family photo's. Looking back on these remind me of that wild and free feeling that every person should experience in nature.
I hope you enjoy a glimpse into our two weeks of exploring wild Alaska. As with most of my images of organisms, more information about them can be found on my Project Noah page.