As many times as we've been to Alaska, we've never seen it quite like this. There's something about looking up from below rather than down from above, i.e. the cockpit of our Cessna 210. We always marveled at just how h-u-g-e Alaska was, what a commitment it took to visit--commitment in terms of time, finances, stamina and so many other things. (And that's when we came to Alaska with you Parkwest folks by air, and could cut highway corners and straighten out the route lines!) But to do this by ground is amazing. We took a car ferry from Haines to Skagway, a distance of 14 miles on the ferry and an hour of our time. By road it would have been 350 miles and a day's travel.
We have made the bittersweet transition back into "civilization," if that is what you call a small city with multiple gas stations, Tim Horton's coffee, and good running trails for Collin. (He's been remarkably diligent in his training for the Half Marathon, and so far had only one serious wildlife encounter.)
Here are some more scenes from the land of Denali and Jack London and all those hard-scrapping homesteaders. We managed to get our grizzly count up to about 15, blacks about 25. Still only the one lonely caribou, and as we make our way south, the chances of seeing more are slim. I think we're becoming wildlife snobs--yesterday I scoffed at a roadside warning for elk, thinking "how boring!"
Cat Herder (aka Marisa) has been guiding pilot tours in the American West for over twenty years. Keep tabs on your Parkwest pilot friends, National Park news and other tidbits here!