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JUNE 21 through JULY 6 - Second half of trip
the Botanical Gardens show (Southwest Anchorage), the entry was more pleasant due to the
beautiful smile and hat we saw there
And a gorgeous glass salmon we ALMOST bought
from one artist there (darn):
And Glenn sampled the Reindeer hot dog
in Prince William Sound (June 25)
out of Anchorage south to Whittier, the mountains
last leg of the trip to Whittier, you must go through a railway tunnel
(The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, the longest vehicle-railroad tunnel
in North America) that has been retrofitted as of June 2000 to allow
one-lane of cars to drive through, right on the tracks. It is a 2-1/2
mile tunnel that seemed to take FOREVER to go through, due to the close
rock walls & the incredible length of the tunnel. Glenn and I were both more than
a little claustrophobic:
is a small fishing town with cruise ship traffic. It was a secret
base during WW II, everyone lived in a single large building (called the
Buckner Building) in town in
a newer "Begich Tower" 14 story building houses the Whittier residents
(some in the neighboring Whittier Manor), but Whittier retains its reputation as The Strangest Town in Alaska (with a book by that
Here is a new hotel being erected, not a common
occurrence here, as Whittier experiences little growth (the way the
residents like it):
went on a 26 glacier cruise with Phillips Cruise line on the
Klondike Express Catamaran, very professional, comfortable, and worth
several Piedmont glaciers (these come to the foot of the mountains).
Glenn has skillfully video taped much of our tour, the camera performed
icebergs began floating past as we went further into the College Fiord
towards the tidewater glaciers, where we also saw so many
"rafts" of otters (what they call the family groups).
These otters average 3 feet long, float on their backs, with their babies
on top. They also use their chests for smashing shells to eat the
glaciers, the most impressive, form a shelf at the edge of the water and
calve icebergs. The weather had cleared so the colors were awesome...(note Heidi is wearing her new sweater!)
saw plenty of seals on the ice near the tidewater glacier, note the
beautiful coloration of the ice...
into plenty of ice getting near the best tidewater glacier, The Surprise
waterfalls & greenery we enjoyed along the way:
to the Surprise Glacier, a rookery with thousands of birds swirling near
the rock face and the waterfalls>
captain brings back a piece of glacier ice hundreds of thousands of years
old, we could drink the ice water or chip a piece off to try to keep:
MUSEUM of HISTORY and ART (June 26)
ancient tools used by the Native Eskimos are shown here:
Thule/Okvik Bering Sea -
Cook Inlet Archaeology Artifacts are: 1) lamp,
2) polished slate rod, 3) projectile, 4) projectile point, 5) scraper, 6)
engraving tool, 7) adze blade, 8) microcore, 9) microblades, 10) stone
saw, 11) baked shale, 12) Ulu (semi-lunar knife), 13) notched stone
sinker, 14) projectile point, 15) eyed needle, 16) notched stone sinker,
17) shell beads, 18) split rib wedge, 19) labret (lip decoration), 20)
pigment, 21) bead, 22) bird bone awl, and 23) sharpening stone or abrader:
Below is a carving of a human head, found with
many whale bones beneath it. It is treated as a sacred
artifact. Photo of where it was found, and more details on the
Northwest Coast Archaeology, these artifacts
are: 1) drill, 2) dart harpoon head, 3) arrowhead, 4) knife blade, 5)
bowl, 6) incised decorated pebble, 7) pipe bowl, 8) needle, 9) spoke
shaver, 10) chopper, 11) micro core, 12) microblade, 13) micro blade
burin, 14) scraper:
Interior Archaeology artifacts are: 1) scin
scraper, 2-4) Projectile points, 5) arrowhead, 6) Tube, 7) scin scraper,
8) chithoe to scrape hides, 9) grooved adze, 10) projectile point, 11)
microblades, 12) microcore (sharp microblades would be struck from
carefully prepared microcores):
Prospector's tools in miniature ivory
Labrets (worn through a slit near the mouth
Antiques & Collectibles
Trapper Creek (near Denali)
He used to have the post office in this
building too, now there's a big new post office behind him.
caribou/reindeer in a fenced enclosure, their incredibly huge antlers
covered by "velvet" fur this time of year. Note how the
antlers come down to their noses in front.
An interesting browse through his shop.
Here's a real Moose Poop Lamp for sale there:
of TALKEETNA, Alaska
A small community 3 blocks long (a few casual
restaurants, bars and motels) with a great reputation for flying visitors
around the summit of Mt. McKinley, and a staging place for mountain
climbers. The general store is the hub of activity, with plenty of
"local color". What a hoot of a place:
This burl wood is very common, it grows these
knots because of arsenic content in the ground, absorbed by trees..more on
On a side road, we found the KTNA radio
station that was the site used for Northern Exposures radio station, in
use and transmitting just as you saw in the program:
We opted for luxury at the Talkeetna Alaskan
Lodge, glad we did. Great views, nice room, good food:
This is the only view most folks ever get of
Mt. McKinley. The next morning we would get up close and personal
(outside the dining room window at the Lodge):
Back yard of the Lodge:
The only gas station outside Talkeetna, worthy
of a photo:
K-2 Aviation FLIGHT from Talkeetna
around MOUNT MCKINLEY
had the option of the Red route the night before (still daylight,
remember), which required oxygen due to the altitude, but there would have
been no glacier landing. So we opted for the next choice of the
Green route at 9 a.m. as scheduled, which was awesome:
got the right side of the plane to use the video cam, I had the left:
view of the lodge below, then the greenery soon gave way to moraine
(crushed rock from the glacier that causes brown muddy looking rivers) and
view of Mt. McKinley and the surrounding mountain range was nothing short
of breath taking, as seen from Heidi's left side of the plane seat:
is the "landing strip" on the Ruth Glacier where another plane
about our size has already landed. We'll be there soon, landing
on the glacier, which is snowy underfoot but walkable. We're all
told not to stray too far from the plane, as there can be crevasses one
could disappear into (there were 8 of us). Our pilot told us his
boss gets real mad if he comes back a few passengers short. Below
are the views from where we stand. Our pilot is in the brown wearing
the cap. He was skilled, calm, informative on emergency measures,
humorous, and educational - the perfect guide.
actually was a small building there on the rocks above the Ruth glacier,
this can be rented out for overnight stays. We didn't opt for the
details. It looks no bigger than an outhouse to us:
other reason the pilot wanted us close-by was that an eerie fog was
settling over the glacier, as you can see. This could prevent
glacier landings for some hours, or strand us on the glacier for
we hopped back in the plane and off we went back, now Heidi's seeing what
Glenn saw from the right side of the plane on the way out. Here you
see frozen blue lakes and dark glacier ice, changing to moraine, then back
to greenery that supports animal life. What a great way to see
Alaska, from the air. Often moose can be seen wading through the
shallows of the lakes, though we didn't this day:
on terra firma at the K-2 office at the airstrip, what a trip!!
We've never felt more alive.
only way to really see Mt. McKinley, believe me.
(mile 188.5 on the Parks Hwy, between
Anchorage and Fairbanks)
An attraction in itself, this was built as
one's man dream hotel. However, he did not create enough fire exits
and could not pass inspection, nor was he willing to "deface"
his creation to bring the building up to code. So it was abandoned
before it even opened. Still an amazing bit of Roadside Americana.
and breathtaking views just across the
(11 miles North of Denali State Park),
inn was a real haven for us, with a friendly face at the counter, a good
restaurant nearby, free laundry facilities, and fast internet, all at a
fraction of the cost of the Princess Lodge and others just south of here.
A surprise in the lobby - a musk ox shot in
the 1950's by permit, preserved in a glass display:
Okay, the bug count is now high, judging from
the front of our rental car:
An Alaskan Native town south of Fairbanks on
the Mile 305 of the Parks Highway
& Maybe Breakfast, in the same town with The Two Choice Cafe (Take it,
or Leave it) both owned by a woman originally from Milwaukee Wisconsin who
has lived here for many years now. Call it Places of Attitude:
The Interpretive Center had an antique snow
machine, and a miniature fish catching boat on display, we saw the full
size ones that work quite well to catch fish:
This single span railroad bridge (701 feet
long), the only one of its kind in the WORLD, is still in daily use.
Here we are behind the Interpretive Center with the bridge in the
Drying salmon for the dogs to eat:
An annual lottery called The Ice Classic to
guess when this tripod structure will fall through the ice on the Tanana
River in the spring, the winning ticket last year was almost $300,000 with
a May 2 correct guess. You can buy tickets at numerous locations in
Alaska. Information at:
DOWNTOWN FAIRBANKS (Golden Heart Park)
A beautiful welcome to the city of Fairbanks,
bronze statue of the 'Unknown First Family', by Malcolm Alexander, is the
centerpiece of Golden Heart Park and is 'dedicated to all families past,
present and future, and to the indomitable spirit of the people of
A peaceful and noble experience.
OF ALASKA, FAIRBANKS
MUSEUM OF THE NORTH
remembers this grumpy grizzly bear from the last time he visited this
museum, now he's shared him with me. He still "greets"
them at the entrance:
magnificent woolly mammoth skull & tusks, and other lower jaws are
just inside the entrance.
An interesting surprise find! A mummified baby woolly mammoth.
This is the front part of the body excavated from Fairbanks Creek, Alaska,
tentatively radiocarbon dated at 21,000 years old. In life this baby,
called "Effie", would have weighed about 100 kg.
immense whale skull shown front & back, with Glenn sitting nearby for
polar bear with several species of beautifully marked seals, and
male/female set of heads (both grow tusks, the males are just
& gray wolves on display:
Spirit masks by Alaska Natives
The ultimate MOOSE HORN chair.
Just a few of the impressive gold collection,
all found in Alaska
REAL "Blue Babe The Ox", a real Steppe Bison found mummified in
the tundra permafrost, killed 36,000 years ago by an American Lion.
Only because the carcass was covered quickly in silt and frozen was it
preserved this well
Another wonderful fish skin basket with fins
Wooden shaman mask (transforming from man to walrus), with real walrus
Spirit masks of raven, walrus, one whimsical
Spirit masks of cat and walrus
AMUSING sign at the Pawn Shop in Fairbanks
TANANA VALLEY FARMER'S MARKET
the loop north of Fairbanks, we found a refreshing array of goods and
friendly vendors, from European baked pastries to twig animals to
blueberry honey to plants & flowers:
A sweet face behind the healthy plants for
Twiggins from the Enchanted Swamp
(Partners Skunk Cabbage and Mountain Flower)
make endearing critter faces they nestle
amongst natural twigs, seeds & feathers as wall hangings. Heidi
now owns a musk ox Twiggins:
We enjoyed this market so much, we took very
few photos. It is not a huge market, but very worthwhile to
ALASKAN BOWL COMPANY, Fairbanks
On an industrial side street, we found this
interesting little factory/store that takes sections of logs and turns
them into nesting bowls called Family Tree bowls (or sibling bowls)
because they are all related. We watched the whole process from the
store, through large glass windows.
with the birch logs that are first cut in half:
Another worker moves a large cage into place,
and operates a lathe at different depths to cut out the curved, shallow
bowls that shoot off the log against the cage:
Then the bottoms are smoothed on another
Now some bowls are polished to a higher
They also make bird baths and many other
usable items from the wood. Some bowls are pre-laser-etched with
logos, animals, or "Alaska", or you can bring a photo to be
etched on a personalized bowl.
The rest of the wood is recycled into chips
Lacey Street Theater
We watched an informative short film
called Freeze Frame about the World Ice Art Championships in
Fairbanks. The exceptionally clear ice (called "Alaska
Diamond" comes from a manmade algae-free pond that is spring-fed,
making it perfect for such competitions. 1500
blocks of ice measuring 4 feet cubed are harvested by volunteers each year
(4 million pounds) for this and other competitions around the country.
either side of the theater are large glass fronted, walk-in display cases
kept at 20 degrees where a selection of ice sculptures can be seen &
touched, even a slide to go down if you wish. Here are photos of an
ice polar bear, log house, and Babe the blue ox:
Two Eskimos and a seal, a giant slipper:
And a live demonstration by an ice sculptor of
a small squirrel:
The tools used are ordinary wood chisels, hair
dryers, curling irons, etc. Some professional ice sculptors have
created their own customized tools out of stainless steel, due to the
constant exposure of their tools to water.
POST OFFICE and SANTA CLAUS HOUSE
There is a post office at the North Pole!
a wonderful Santa Claus House:
We met both Santa and Mrs. Claus and had a
long discussion with them about what they do.
Glenn had no smile till I heard him say:
"How do I mail this home?" This is the ultimate plush
And we even got to meet one of the Reindeer
(shedding this time of year, notice again the velvet still on the huge
They also send Christmas letters to boys &
girls and adults too ("Home of the Original Letter from Santa"):
from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez
We officially visited the "Alyeska
Pipeline Visitor Center" north of Fairbanks which had some excellent
information about it.
can't visit Alaska without crossing the pipeline and wanting to know
more. It is a significant part of Alaska, and U.S. history.
Pump & driver assembly photo, for all you
guys & gals that like to see how these parts work:
The pipeline is 800 miles of 48" diameter
pipe. It can sustain an 8.5 earthquake. It is constructed
above-ground (to protect the permafrost, and high enough for migrating
animals to pass underneath), and below ground where safe.
The zig-zag pattern of the pipeline is by
design. This keeps the pipeline from separating during expansion
& contraction, an innovative design thanks to James Maple, Structural
Engineer. The pipeline received honors from the American Welding
Society for the superior work:
Can I take this home too? (actual piece of the
pipeline, cut out in the shape of the state of Alaska). We did buy
several SMALLER versions of this:
Gosh, this photo is more humorous than Heidi
intended! Okay, this is the part that was pushed through the
pipeline to test it (really!)
Chena Hot Springs Road from Fairbanks to Chena
We came upon this
herd fenced in near the road and were amazed at the prehistoric appearance
of these strange creatures, a cross between a longhorn cow, a musk ox, and
a buffalo. We later learned they were YAK. What a treat!
They were not to be found on our return trip along this road that
afternoon, so we had grasped the window of opportunity we had and were
delighted to have seen them.
the fact that my photos were lost, we have recovered several from Glenn's
video camera to be able to share with you).
herd had one large bull, huge and shaggy.
The mothers, juveniles and babies were all so
Several of the juveniles were play
fighting which was quite entertaining.
ICE MUSEUM (Chena Hot Springs)
The largest year-round ice structure in the
world, using 1000 tons of ice and snow, harvested on site from Beaver Pond
at Chena Hot Springs.
Built & maintained by 12-time world
champion ice carver Steve Brice and his fiancée and staff, this was an
unexpected and delightful surprise for both of us. Pete Renshaw was
a highly informative and friendly tour guide that shared many details to
make the experience unforgettable:
exoskeleton was built around the ice museum, where super cooled air is
circulated to keep the building chilled. A state-of-the-art
absorption chiller using hot water from the geothermal wells cools the
I have photographed with a flash (white
photos), and with a night photo lens to show off the color (at the expense
of clarity, but you will appreciate it for the colors), not to mention the
camera lens frosting over for obvious reasons!
Note the arched cathedral ceiling and
architecture, presided over by a rearing polar bear. The chandeliers
are faceted ice crystals lit with LED fiberoptics (that emit almost no
heat) that change color every 60 seconds to mimic the aurora borealis:
Here is the wedding chapel (a podium
surrounded by a balustrade, all of ice) which is used for weddings and
There are 5 separate chambers where we found
four-poster beds with caribou skin coverings, tables, and other furniture:
An igloo, inside & out
Full-size Knights fighting on horses, next to
a huge chess set:
The Ice Bar - all made of ice, including the
martini glasses and two vodka luges (the favorite is the fish luge, where
vodka is poured in the tail and comes out the mouth at the perfect chilled
Even a fireplace flanked by tables and stools
covered in caribou skins:
An article about the Museum, showing the vodka
blocks of ice ready to be used for sculpture or building materials, inside
the Museum front door:
Steve & his fiancée (this is she)
conducted a workshop before we arrived, creating this Ice Maiden.
They have created customized stainless steel tools just for ice
sculpting. Note the workbench and hanging apparatus for all the
tools, all made of ice. This is so cool, in more ways than one!
She proceeded to make several martini glasses
while we watched amazed, using the cylinder of ice you see in the first
photo, attached to the machine they designed. She knows just when to
stop at the base of the bowl of the glass, and start the stem. Note
the shape of the martini glass, but it is frosted:
Now she hits it with the hair dryer customized
tool, and voila! A martini glass ready to use:
......along with all the others she has made,
enough for a party!
HOT SPRINGS RESORT
(440 acres, 60 scenic miles from Fairbanks, at
the end of the Chena River)
swim in the hot springs warmed us up after the Ice Museum
...followed by a relaxing dinner in the
adjacent restaurant, then a drive back to Fairbanks by late
There are many other activities such as
hiking, horseback rides, dogcart rides, bike riding, a full spa, and in
the winter there are skiing trails and Aurora Borealis viewing areas and
"Watch" cabins to be close to the aurora viewing space.
a small cabin outside the hot springs building, we found Klondike Mike
(from Skagway, Alaska). A trainer of Iditarod sled dogs, he makes a
few "Story Knives" from diamond willow and bone each year to
sell. These finance him to go back to the wilderness with his dogs,
where he prefers to be, in wilderness down to 50 degrees below zero, north
of Fairbanks, in a tent with his dogs.
He has appeared in the movie "White
Fang" as numerous characters, and has traveled on cruise ships to
finance his preferred way of life. On one such ship, he found his
story knives were selling for an unusual reason to the Japanese
tourists. A bride is presented with an ornamental knife at her
wedding. If her husband proves to be unfaithful, the knife is to be
used to kill...HERSELF. Hmmm, what's wrong with THAT picture?
A Story Knife is an implement used by an
Eskimo girl to trace stories in the mud or snow while she is telling a
story. We did purchase one, and his book "Klondike Mike of
Alaska" which he signed for us. We both felt like we'd touched
the Real Alaska.
HIGHWAY from FAIRBANKS south through Delta Junction, Glen Allen heading
All over Alaska, we saw these bulbous growths
on wooden poles and wood made into fences & railings. We learned
that these burls occurred
to due arsenic in the ground absorbed by the tree that filled wood
cells, then new wood cells would grow around it, get blocked by the
arsenic, until it created these growths. It is made into fun and
unique items we enjoyed.
Knotty Shop (6565 Richardson Hwy, Salcha AK) is 32 miles south of
Fairbanks on the Richardson Hwy that was advertised as having many items
made from this wood. It was closed when we arrived, so we snapped a
few photos of the creations out front (elk, cow, Dahl sheep,
mosquito - ouch!, bird or another mosquito; rhino?. Perhaps
another time we'll get a virtual photo tour for you of the inside!
new mountain vista was more beautiful than the last:
Paxton Lake (a real Mirror Lake), only a few
cabins beside it for fishing:
Mama & baby moose foraging in the river:
Those postcards you've seen of Alaska? They're REAL.
Wildflowers, mountains, sky. What more could a person want?
Oh, alright, let's add a waterfall beside the road for perfection.
The mountains make one feel small but the heart feels large.
(Richardson Hwy approaching Valdez, the
world's most accessible glacier)
We both drank in the beauty, it was a profoundly quiet place of peace.
We were able to drive right into a parking lot at the Worthington Glacier
State Recreation Site, there is a trail right to the foot of the glacier
where people were walking.
Bridal Veil Falls on the last gorge approaching Valdez. In case you
don't realize how large it is, see the NEXT photo:
There was a waterfall on the opposite side of
the road too. Breathtaking and refreshing, to say the least.
Food for the soul.
ice worm made of polar bear hair:
(there ARE such things as ice worms, but
they are quite small and live in glacier ice):
"Snow Capital of Alaska"
Drastically changed since 9/11 due to the
security issues of having the end of the Trans Alaska Pipeline in Valdez
on Prince William Sound. No more cruise ships. So it has
reverted to a wonderful fishing town, easy to navigate, friendly
reception, big homes that's great for raising kids that love snow sports,
a refreshing place for both of us.
The employee at the Worthington Glacier State Park shared a photo of bald
eagles in her yard in Valdez, this is displayed in the gift shop there.
Okay, nice Chinese restaurant, bad name
Now THIS is how you get around in winter in Valdez
An impressive totem at the Prince William Community College. The
carver has made it a goal to place his work in all 50 states.
VALDEZ MUSEUM, Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit
museum commemorates the time of the Good Friday earthquake (also called
the Great Alaska Earthquake) in Prince William Sound on March 27, 1964, it
measured 9.1 Richter. It impacted Alaskan history forever.
Below is the Hinchinbrook Lighthouse Lens
which was used at the entrance to Prince William Sound. It has been
replaced, now on display here. It has a candle power of 234,000 and
could be seen from 22 miles away.
A trunk of diamond willow in the museum:
and again, unbelievably large flower baskets
due to the hours of summer sunshine, this one was outside the museum:
The legendary Ice Worms again! This
brass plaque is: Alaskan Ice Worm, Valdez Glacier, 27 feet long, 1947:
Okay, I'm not scared of this old SHARK
jaw. Alaskans never miss an opportunity for a joke.
& JESSE WHITNEY MUSEUM, Valdez
of the largest private collection of Native art, artifacts and mounts in
the world. The Whitney's came to Alaska in 1947 and spent their
lives traveling & living in remote areas, assembling this amazing
collection. I captured what I could though there was much more.
A spectacular pair of polar bears near the
entrance (101" high, Record Class, 1200 lbs, taken March 1970 north
of Diomede Islands), a full mount bull moose (8' at antler tips, 8'4"
long), also wolverine, musk ox (58" at shoulder, 76" long,
exceptionally large with trophy class horns), and arctic wolves in the
A moose hide painting by L. Thimme showing
Reclamation dated 1913, and Mt. McKinley using burn technique similar to
A sled dog team pulling a bearded seal on a
sled (named Skipper and Tonto, believed to have been part of the original
Iditarod sled team bringing diptheria serum from Anchorage to Nome in
1925); two walrus skull, mandible & tusk sets, and associated horse
fossils of leg bone & hooves:
One of Heidi's favorites, a mythical creature
carved of whale bone:
The Paul Kulik "Transportation
Collection" to document the evolution of travel in Alaska which
includes a baleen ship (actual ship "Bear"), dog sleds, Jenny
Biplane, Lockheed L13 Lodestar, N4642U Cessna 180 from Talkeetna Airways ,
NC-8419 Wien Airlines, prop plane Winnie Mae (Lockheed) flown by Wiley
Post with Will Rogers, crashed in 1935 near Barrow AK, Alaska airlines 727
jet, N747 Pan Am jet, 107 (AIA, Hercules C-130), N13122 Interior Airways
(Widgeon), RAAN19906 Reeves Aleutian prop lane, Reeves Electra (Aleutian),
N905W Wien Air Alaska, Merric Helicopter (Fairbanks), and a snow machine,
Seal hide with ink & wash montage (central
scene of an Eskimo with sled and slain polar bear, and 7 outer scenes
depicting village life), by Judy Pelowok, Savoonga
Museum quality Eskimo facial portrait casts
(plaster with fur for hair, glass eyes), custom pieces:
Diorama of drum fest (2 drummers, singer,
dancer on baleen platform), and many walrus tusk carvings & cribbage
Many animal and Eskimo carvings to see, and
and mythical figures with fierce visages of
religious significance, we conclude:
Walrus oosiks with carvings:
Moose Antler chairs (4 full sets of antlers
and gut webbing), and an exceptional fluorite specimen:
We recommend this as a must-see if you ever
get as far south as Valdez where this collection resides.
This was a cool photo till we found out these were made of RUBBER.
Though we did not go out fishing for halibut,
this was almost as fun...watching them bring the day's catch in
wheelbarrows to the floating dock.
An interesting hairstyle & earrings:
The other fishermen cleaning their catch
(halibut and other species):
A great reminder!
view of the colorful marina from our restaurant:
INN & Gift Shop
real haven for us, due to the friendly reception (thanks, Renee!), great
prices and Alaska comfort food surrounded by impressive Alaskan decor, we
recommend it to anyone staying in Valdez. Here's a link with more
The dining room has museum quality mounts of
musk ox, walrus skulls with scrimshaw tusks, walrus tooth necklace and
much more, for display only:
Woolly mammoth ivory carvings on woolly mammoth leg bone
Woolly mammoth tusk scrimshawed with woolly mammoths
Buffalo horns, and buffalo carving on horn
Glenn's favorite, a polar bear on one level with 3 walrus below "sea
level", the base is most likely whale bone
The gift shop was very upscale, we thought
you'd appreciate seeing some of the ivory & bone carvings with the
A spider crab, Heidi's favorite
Ivory halibut carving
Eskimo diorama showing trouble in the making with the snagged line and a
seal coming up for the fish!
Ivory Saber tooth tiger on woolly mammoth tooth
Woolly mammoth carvings out of the woolly mammoth teeth
A group of whale carvings from whale bone
Musk ox carving from fossil whale bone
A puffin carving of ivory that is inked with color
Killer whales from whale baleen
Ivory pairs of dice
Whale bone box
of JULY FIREWORKS in DAYLIGHT at MIDNIGHT
noteworthy fact about watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July in
Valdez was the fact that it's still light at 11 p.m.
The best part was really the bonfire...
Now THAT's a bonfire!
BEAR, BUNNY, VALDEZ
beside the main road into Valdez, here a little cinnamon brown bear was
making his way back to his cave in plain sight...
and a black bunny right in town, hopping past
CLUB, Alaska Pipeline wall piece
stepped into this restaurant to see about dinner. There we found a
gorgeous piece of the Alaskan pipeline cut into the state of Alaska, one
of the best we've seen. The owner not only gave us the background on
this piece, but informed us that his restaurant/bar has the dubious
distinction of being the place the Exxon Valdez captain Joseph Hazelwood
had a few drinks before going to work, March 24, 1989. The world
will never forget the oil spill that changed the lives of the people in
ravens cawed to each other from a light post. Ravens are often used
as a theme carved in Native Alaskan totems and masks. We learned to
look for them and welcome them. They were a fitting & fond
farewell to our good times in Valdez.
5) The wolves were quite lively, only a few "posed" for their
pictures. Healthy creatures with piercing eyes, we hope the owners are
able to get the larger enclosure they need for the 50 wolves residing
Sean Penn recently used the wolves in the
making of a new film that will be out in 2007 entitled "Into the
On the Glenn Highway between Glennallen and
friendly wolf got the dog biscuit the owner (behind Heidi) asked her to
hold in her teeth before Glenn could snap the picture
is an older wolf, around 13 years
one had gotten loose and into a fight with another, hence the nick beside
was the moulting season, some lost their winter fur sooner than others...
colorful pansies were a welcome sight:
is a virtual tour of one wall of the last ivory carving store we visited
before turning in the rental car, to fill our need to see yet more of
these beautiful works of art. These folks also maintain cabins &
a gift shop in the town of Serling that displays items for sale.
of Eskimo and animals, pieces with great movement and expression, using
walrus ivory, whale bone, elk antler, whale vertebrae, soapstone:
Many masks, a blanket toss diorama, also a
woolly mammoth, and a raven on a vertebrae (which is now Heidi's)
Other Native Eskimo activities caught by the
artists, a delight to the eyes. We loved the mitten-over-face figure
on the far right:
Whale rib carving, and whale shoulder blade
those looking into baleen baskets, here is an example of an undesirable
baleen basket (loose weave, uneven shape, top does not fit, baleen is
Moose crossing sign, an active area for
crossings, many have been killed
A tiny WOVEN GRASS BASKET, these are very
labor intensive and hence expensive, rightfully so.
you think our trip was all fun & games, this huge whale vertebrae art
piece (and 2 smaller vertebrae piece artifacts) stole the last 4 hours of
our time in Alaska.
We bought two wardrobe boxes from Office
Depot, Glenn put them together on their sidewalk using untold amounts of
tape, bubble wrap and peanuts, then found it was too large for them to
take via UPS.
We had to drive to the airport and send it
FedEx in our small sedan. Glenn is a person to make things happen!
IN THE CAR
We figure at least a pound of bugs remained on the front bumper, we
intended to run the car through the wash but rant out of time
The best folks to deal with when renting a gently used car. Great
price and service with a friendly smile from Cheapwheels Rent-a-Car in
Anchorage (Spenard Road near the airport). They even had a large
home for rent they offered for our next visit. It doesn't get any
better than this. A fitting end to a memorable trip.
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