Our trip to Alaska June 2011

Tuesday June 14th 2011:

 Dear Friends and Family,

“Moose at9 o’clock!”  I’ll probably be hearing that in my sleep for the next week.  Today, we’re on the McKinley Explorer railroad, traveling fromAnchorageto Denali/Mt. McKinley where we’ll spend the next two nights.  While on the train, if we see any moose or bear, we’re supposed to yell out, “Moose/bear at9 o’clock!”  (we’re sitting on the left side of the train.)  I believe I was the first one to see a moose this morning.  We’re going about 45 mph so I didn’t have a chance to get a picture so you’ll have to trust me on this one.

I’m sorry I haven’t figured out how to attach pictures to this blog yet.  I’m going to write WordPress tonight and see if they will give me instructions.  In the meantime, if you want to see pictures, please write to my email address Lsteadmanaz@cox.net so I’ll have your email to reply to and forward the latest pictures to you.

Yesterday, we had a phenomenal excursion to the Kenai Fjords!  Not only did we have the chance to be driven to Seward in our own “private” van, we saw the most amazing sights!  We saw a group of Orca whales, several Humpback whales, some Dall’s porpoises (they are half the size of our Florida Dolphins and are black and white like the Orcas.  This sort of reminds me of the difference between “real” Dobermans and Miniature Pinchers.)  We also saw some rare Fin whales, some Puffins, some Stellar sea lions, a couple of Bald Eagles, and, on our drive back to Anchorage, we came across a whole group of Dall’s sheep, walking on the side of the cliff!  I found it interesting that both the males and the females have horns!

However, I’ve got to say, that the very best part of yesterday was standing on the 80 ft pontoon boat only ½ mile from the glacier at the Aialik Fjord!  You know, it’s sort of like visiting theGrand Canyon(which we did last Thursday before we left on our Alaskan trip).  Pictures just won’t do it justice!  A lot of the glacier is a beautiful blue-green.  In the silence, sitting just off of the glacier in our boat, you can hear the loud booms and cracks as the glacier shifts and parts of it break off into the water.  You’re surrounded by a sea of ice and it reminded me of the Titanic, only with smaller “iceburgs.”  I got to hold a piece of old glacier ice and a piece of newer glacier ice.  The difference is that the old glacier ice is completely clear and the newer ice is full of air bubbles.  But, you can see the floating ice chunks with the 2/3 of the ice under the water and 1/3 above the water.  That’s why the Titanic had so much damage when they hit the 80 ft. (above water) iceburg.

We also learned a way of remembering the types of salmon inAlaskausing your fingers…your pinkie is for Pink Salmon, your ring finger is for Silver Salmon, your middle finger is for King Salmon, your index finger is for Red Salmon, and your thumb is for Chub Salmon!

Well, we are exhausted and need to get up at5 AMtomorrow!

 Lori and Susan

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