ALASKA the WILD!
ALASKA the WILD! A CAMPERSCHOOL TRIP JOURNAL July 21- August 14, 2007
Two homeschool sisters merged their personal trip journals as they traveled to Alaska with their parents for their senior graduation trip. Now they have traveled to all 50 states during their twelve years of homeschooling! You can read their journal as they traveled, first by plane, then cruise ship, bus, train, RV, ferry and plane again.
Learn about Alaska along with them and some of the same books and resources that they took along with them.
Alaska: Spirit of the Wild - This is the movie we saw at the IMAX
If you are studying Alaska or it's animals, this movie that we saw at the IMAX theater in Vancouver is a MUST and you can see it in your own home. Great for all ages. Order it now!
The majestic beauty of Alaska is displayed masterfully in this film, which was originally presented in IMAX theaters and received an Academy Award(r) nomination for Best Documentary in 1998. The landscape of Alaska is shown in magnificent aerial shots, and "white thunder," the spectacular sight when enormous icebergs break off from glaciers, is shown in exquisitely sharp footage. As might be expected, much of the film is devoted to Alaska's abundant wildlife, including moose, bears, seals, wolves, caribou, musk oxen, and whales. The narration, delivered by actor Charlton Heston, provides informative background on the animals, but the star of the film is always the stunning camera work. An underwater shot taken in the midst of dozens of diving seals is particularly memorable, and scenes of humpback whales breaching on the surface are simply spectacular. Bears fight each other over the best fishing spots, and even their prey, the salmon swimming upstream, are featured in an underwater montage showing their life cycle. Animals that actually welcome the Alaskan winter, polar bears, are shown as they search the snowy landscape for prey. And a traditional whale hunt by an Inuit tribe is shown. This film is intelligently produced, and the astounding quality of the photography makes it a true treat for the eyes. --Robert J. McNamara
Prelude for ALASKA the WILD!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Today we started out very early for our flight out of Raleigh, NC to Toronto, Canada. There we boarded another flight to Vancouver, Canada. Finally arriving, picking up our rental car and getting checked into our hotel room, we went to see an IMAX movie called "Alaska-Spirit of the Wild". While waiting to see the movie it was exciting to watch float planes and cruise ships from the dock that our cruise ship, "The Island Princess" will depart from on Monday. The weather is cool and drizzling rain.
The IMAX movie is on a huge screen and is about all of Alaska's wildlife. It was really interesting to see all of these animals and learn about how they survive in Alaska's cold climates and how they feed, hunt and move on or hibernate before the freezing weather comes. Some of the many animals we learned about were black bears, moose, humpback whales, caribou, bald eagles, fox, and wolf. Most interesting about the movie was how a group of humpback whales, or pod, "hunt" for food together. They work as a group by circling around a school of fish, blowing bubbles and causing the fish to pack tightly together. The whales then charge up through the packed school of fish with their mouths wide open and gulp hundreds of fish at a time. WOW! Seeing Alaska's wildlife is going to be fabulous.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
After having donuts for breakfast we went just down the road from our hotel to "Stanley Park". The park was very nice with lots of trees and different kinds of flowers. There are bays, inlets and a harbor running alongside the park giving it very nice views. We walked along the Burrard Inlet. Near the "Lions Gate Bridge" we enjoyed listening to a man playing a Japanese violin which had a very lively, unique sound. We even stopped at "The Hollow Tree" for a picture.
For lunch we had a delicious meal of fish and chips while we sat outside on the upper deck of a restaurant overlooking the water where ships and boats were passing. It was very enjoyable. The weather here is rainy and much cooler than back at home. We enjoyed just having a nice relaxing day seeing the VERY large city of Vancouver and anticipating the fun time that we are going to have on the cruise. Before going to bed we had family Bible reading and took some time for journaling.
All Aboard for Alaska!
the Island Princess Cruise Ship
Monday, July 23, 2007
Today is the day we boarded the luxurious "Island Princess" cruise ship. We will be cruising along the Inside Passage to Alaska for the next seven days. This ship is very large and seems like a city. It has several pools and many shops and restaurants to choose from. For dinner we ate at the buffet restaurant and had a lovely view from the window. We are definitely not going to starve because food is served 24 hours a day. Our room is on the 10th floor, port side and has a nice balcony, so we sat out there for a while. We even saw a bald eagle just as we were going out of the port. Michelle was the first to spot snow-topped mountains, even though it took a while to prove that it was snow and not clouds. We finally had some sun late this afternoon and it was very nice since it has been drizzling rain and dreary the whole time we were in Vancouver. Tonight we went to the "Princess Theater" to see the "Welcome Aboard Show" which was very entertaining. We are all excited about this cruise vacation and the adventures to come as we see Alaska.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Today was a full day of travel. Early this morning we sailed through Seymour Narrows. Once clear of Discovery Passage we headed through Johnston Strait and Queen Charlotte Strait.Â After disembarking the Canadian Pilots we switched directions and headed in a northwesterly direction toward Ketchikan.Â
After starting our day out by going to a nice restaurant for breakfast, Mom, Ashley and Michelle went to a "Shopping Show" (like the ones you see on TV). It was to help us with shopping in Ketchikan, Alaska tomorrow. We all went to hear a talk about glaciers.
Michelle spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping off a little seasickness and woke up feeling much better. Dad sat out on the balcony with his 60 power spotting scope and saw 5 porpoises playing out around the side of the ship. Mom and Ashley went to watch some people taking dance lessons and shop in the little souvenir shops on the ship.
Tonight we went to a very nice formal dinner where we were served 4 courses at our own table by a window on the 6th floor starboard side of the ship. This will be "our table" for meals unless we choose to eat at the buffet or grill. After dinner we went to see the "Piano Man" show where there were dancers singing with the Island Princess Orchestra.
Getting Wild in Alaska!
We've Now Been To All 50 States!
Wednesday July 25, 2007
We had a very early start this morning. We woke up at 5:30 this morning because we had to eat and be off the ship and in Ketchikan, Alaska by 7:00 a.m. before three other ships arrived in the port to avoid the crowds. We have now been to all fifty states! What an incredible and spectacular way to learn about this great country of ours!
In Ketchikan, we shopped around for souvenir shirts and jewelry. We bought some beautiful Northern Lights Topaz jewelry. Michelle and Ashley bought earrings, and a pendant. Dad bought Mom a beautiful ring, bracelet and earrings for an early birthday present. We also got earrings and an Alaskan charm bracelet little gemstones and other things with coupons from the shopping show.
After shopping around Ketchikan we went back to the ship and had lunch. This afternoon we relaxed on our balcony and looked for wildlife. We saw a humpback whale and even saw it breach. It's magnificent to see it jump up and splash back down with it's tail splashing. We saw a couple of more whales spouting while we ate dinner from our table with the view.
Late this afternoon we went to hear a talk about the 3 different types of bears that we could see while we are in Alaska. There are black bears, grizzly bears and we may even get to see polar bears.
Tonight we sat by a window watching the sea and listened to Elvis music, then watched Mom and Dad play a 50's and 60's Trivia Challenge game while we sipped hot chocolate. It was really interesting to watch all these elderly people recalling the tunes and names and dates of famous songs and people. Today has been a fun and tiring day, so now we are ready to be lulled to sleep by the rocking of the ship.
Wild, Amazing and Funny!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Today was another fun and busy day in Alaska. Around 7 a.m. this morning our ship docked in the port of Juneau, the capital of Alaska. There are no roads that connect to this capital city, which means you can only get to it by air and sea. We shopped around the city with our coupons. Then we went back to the ship for lunch and a rest before going out for a tour to the Tongass National Forest to see the "Mendenhall Glacier". It was amazingly beautiful to see the blue tinted frozen river which flows so slowly down the mountain that you don't even see it move and beautiful blue icebergs in the water below. Very spectacular sites!
We saw about two dozen Bald Eagles and lots of Sockeye Salmon spawning in a stream near a trail and three mountain goats. After seeing the glacier we went just down the road to a salmon hatchery which was really interesting. There we had a tour guide that showed us all different kinds of salmon being raised, fed, marked and released. They take care of the eggs, young, and little ones till they are about 6 months old, when they will release them in a net where they are free to wonder around a larger area to see how they will survive. Then they will release them in the wild where they will live, mate, lay their eggs and then die. It was very fascinating to learn that every salmon goes back to where he was born to lay the eggs, and to die.
We had a very good dinner on the ship and then we went to see a show called "Spotlight Showtime" with Duncan Tuck, a comedian who played the guitar. It was a grand time and we all laughed a whole lot.
From our stateroom balcony, we saw some bears along the shore of nearby island. One was a glacier bear, which is a light colored grizzly bear. The others were black bears and one even had two cubs. We are all excited because we are finally starting to see some wild life.
We still want to see a moose!
The Alaska Gold Rush
We Really Loved The Alaska Chocolate Rush!
Friday, July 27, 2007
Today our ship docked in the Skagway Port and stayed till about 9:00p.m.
In 1896 gold was discovered on the Klondike River in Skagway. People then started coming to Skagway to homestead and strike it rich, thus the "Gold Rush of '98". Skagway is a very small town of only about 800 people, so when our ship came into port, we more than doubled the size of the town. This morning we took a bus up to Fraser, BC in Canada where we boarded the "White Pass and Yukon Route" train. The bus driver stopped along the way to Fraser to allow us to take photos of some scenic places along the 1898 gold rush trail. The Train tour took us to Whitehorse,YT; Carcros,YT; Bennett, BC. We could see the trail of '98, Dead Horse Gultch and Glacier Station as we rode along side the mountains and the Skagway River. It was fascinating to hear the stories of the gold rush!
This afternoon we came back to the ship and just relaxed until the five o'clock Steve Hites "North To Alaska" show where we learned some more facts about the gold rush period from his songs. He was pretty funny. We bought his CD as a souvenir and to listen to in the RV that we will rent in Anchorage.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner of Alaska King Crab Legs at our table with the great views of the sea. Following dinner we saw a show called "Tribute" with the the Island Princess' orchestra, singers and dancers, singing to old songs by the Beatles, Beach Boys, and many other popular entertainers. Before returning to our stateroom to journal and sleep we had some chocolate from the Chocolate Buffet. Mmmmmm!!!
Did We Mention,"It's Cold in Alaska"?
Glaciers and God's Creation
Saturday, July 28, 2007
In the very early hours of this morning the Island Princess sailed into Glacier Bay National Park where we spent the whole morning and the early afternoon. It was VERY cold! We saw the Grand Pacific Glacier, Melburn Glacier and lots of little glaciers. The ship cruised around near them, giving us a chance to see some calving, which is when large chunks of the glacier break off and crash, sounding like thunder. It was VERY beautiful. Mom thinks the glaciers looked like chocolate mint, because of the blue tinted ice with dirt streaks through it due to the nearly 250 years that these glaciers have been here.There was one that was almost all brown with a few blue specs, not pretty, but interesting to see.
The Island Princess didn't stop cruising today even when we picked up some park rangers so they could talk about the glaciers and let us know when animals were spotted.
We saw lots of wildlife around. While traveling we saw whales, orca, seals, sea otters and bears in the water and on nearby land. As we were leaving Glacier Bay, we saw several whales, sea lions and a whole lot of sea otters. We also saw a few black bears and Mom and Dad saw some Puffins which are cute sea birds with big orange and yellow beaks. Dad set his scope up on our balcony or carried it to the open decks on levels 7, 14 or 15.
This afternoon we had family Bible reading time before going to see a show about "Glacier Bay National Park" with one of the Park Rangers speaking about the glaciers and wildlife.
Tonight's dinner was grand! It was a nice formal dinner at our special table with a view. We have enjoyed these nice seats by the water because we have been able to spot wildlife and see glaciers even while we eat.
It started with chilled strawberry soup that tasted like dessert. We had broiled Lobster tails that were so good it made you want more and more!
After dinner we went to the theater see "Motor City" by the Island Princess dancers and orchestra.
Then we went back to our stateroom to journal and sleep. We have seen a lot of God's wonderful creations today.
Hello Happy Campers!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
This morning the Island Princess traveled across the Gulf of Alaska. We enjoyed a cooking show followed by a backstage tour of the Island Princess Theater.
This afternoon we passed through Cape Hinchinbrook and entered Prince William Sound. Two of the ship's Alaskan Pilots boarded mid afternoon. Then we cruised around near many glaciers at College Fjord. Lunch was Alaskan Reindeer chili and clam chowder. We attended a lecture with the naturalist Dr. Thom Eley, about "Marine Mammals of the Southern Oceans". From our balcony Mom and Dad saw a large black bear with Dad's scope and we saw lots of adorable sea otters, floating like bookends and grooming themselves. This afternoon we relaxed in our stateroom and packed up our suitcases because the cruise ends tomorrow.Â
This evening we enjoyed a very nice dinner at our table by the window so we could see the beautiful and spectacular glaciers. Then they closed all the curtains in the dining room and turned out the lights and brought a whole bunch of flaming ice cream cakes that looked like volcanoes, called "Baked Alaska".
After dinner we went to play "Princess Jeopardy" and Ashley's team won. Then we went to see the "Farewell Variety Showtime" with Duncan Tuck and Tom Briscoe, two comedians. We followed up with "The Princess Pop Star Finals" where the audience judged the contestants.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Around 8 a.m. this morning we disembarked from the Island Princess cruise ship. Now we'll cruise on land in an RV.
A bus tour took us from Whittier to the Chugach Visitor Center and to Portage Valley, where we saw glaciers and rode a tram up a mountain through the clouds. We saw a couple of really cute hoary marmots. We also saw a chipmunk, a red squirrel and a Bald Eagle. We went to the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center where we saw a history exhibit on Alaska and watched a movie about why the colors of the flowers here in Alaska are so vivid. It's because Alaska's normal daylight lasts 19 hours. The flowers are beautiful! At 11:15 p.m. it was still not dark. When it does get dark the sky still looks blue instead of black.
After the tour we were taken to the hospitality center, where we picked up our luggage and then went to the ABC Motor Home Rentals to pick up our RV. After dinner we went to Wal-Mart to stock up on supplies for the next two weeks. Then we moved just down the road to Fred Meyer, a local grocery store where we are staying the night beside several other RVs.
A Successful Hunt!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
After getting a few groceries we headed north from Anchorage to Denali National and State Parks. We were looking for moose or grizzly bears, but we never saw any. While we were driving along we listened to two CD's. One called "Back Seat Driver Tours with your guide Kathy Ross" that was about Alaska and another one we bought on the cruise from a musician named Steve Hites called "Inside Passage".Â It has really catchy tunes, teaching about Alaska's history. We also read aloud from our Bible.
Tonight we are camping at Cantwell RV Park near the Denali Park entrance.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
We have finally seen moose!Â There were two bulls. We couldn't get close enough to get pictures, but we could see them really well through Dad's spotting scope and binoculars. We were on an eight-hour bus tour going 53 miles into Denali National Park and Preserve on a road that can only be accessed by special permit or a Denali tour bus. We also saw ten grizzly bears, seven of them were cubs. There were lots of Dall sheep, snowshoe hares and ground squirrels. We saw a few Caribou; two of them had VERY nice antlers. There were so many different birds; some of them were ptarmigan, gyrfalcon, hawks, loons, magpie, gulls and a golden eagle. They are all part of this beautiful world God created!
After the tour we went out to eat and on the way back to the campground we read from a book we bought to take home for our nieces called "Benny's Flag". It's a true story about an Aleut Indian boy from an Alaskan Mission Home who designed the Alaska state flag. The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not flower; the north star for the future State of Alaska, the most northerly state in the Union; and the big dipper for the Great Bear- symbolizing strength. We had an exciting day! We love spotting wildlife; especially moose!
Benny's Flag - by Phyllis Krasilovsky
This is the "true story about an Aleut Indian boy from an Alaskan Mission Home who designed the Alaska state flag. The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not flower; the north star for the future State of Alaska, the most northerly state in the Union; and the big dipper for the Great Bear- symbolizing strength." This story is so sweet!
Denali National Park in Alaska
Thursday, August 2, 2007
We started with a relaxing morning then we drove into Denali National Park again to see if we could see wildlife and a site of Mount McKinley.
We went to the visitor center where we took a bus just up the road to see an Alaskan Musher dog demonstration. The demonstration was fascinating.Â In the demonstration, five dogs were harnessed to a sled and pulled the sled with a ranger around a track on gravel! They are very strong dogs.Â We were allowed to pet the dogs and see cute little musher pups, too.
We had a wonderful site of Mount McKinley when we went back into the park. We were very blessed! Only about one in three visitors to Denali actually get to see it because clouds often hide it. Mount McKinley is so high it has its own weather system and there is always snow on it. It is the nation's tallest mountain at 20,320 feet. "The mountain is part of the Alaska Range, one of 39 mountain ranges in Alaska. Mount McKinley isn't the State's only big mountain. The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve has 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the country within its borders. Alaska is one-sixth the size of the lower 48 and has more coastline than the rest of the states combined, with 30,000-plus miles" quoted from the Alaska Visitors Guide. It is also estimated that there are approximately 100,000 glaciers and about 600 that are named.
North Pole, Alaska
Reindeer Don't Have Red Noses!
Friday, August 3, 2007
Today we left Denali and headed north to Fairbanks. On the way we stopped at a few scenic overlooks. Dad took his spotting scope outside and scanned the area for wildlife. At one of the stops he spotted three moose - a cow with two young. They were so far away that we couldn't see them with our naked eyes, but we could see them really well through the scope. It is really amazing how Dad can spot wildlife really far away.
We went to the University of Alaska Fairbanks to their Large Animal Research Station where we took a tour and saw muskoxen, caribou, reindeer and even their babies. Male Muskoxen can weigh up to 750 pounds. Caribou maintain their yearlong migration across the circumpolar north. Caribou are actually species of Reindeer.
We also saw the garden by the Reindeer farm, which had beautiful flowers, and HUGE cabbages. We took a picture with Michelle's shoe beside it, to show the size.
Ashley has been reading a book we picked up at a little bookstore in Juneau, called "Julie of the Wolves" by Jean Craighead George. Today she gave the family a brief narration and then read aloud short clips to entertain us as we drove to Fairbanks. It is about a young girl called Julie whose real name is Miyax of the Eskimos. It tells how she kept from starving to death by befriending a pack of wolves.
We also enjoyed hearing Mom read more of Robert Service's Poetry. Last week Dad read to us "The Cremation of Sam McGee" and "The Spell of the Yukon" from a book called "The Best of Robert Service". These are funny poems of the gold rush and the Trail of '98.
We are staying at Riverview RV Park by the Cheno River in North Pole, AK where we have internet service so we can work on our Alaska Trip Journal weblens.
The Cremation of Sam McGee and other Poetry - by Robert Service
All The Way To The Arctic Circle!
We MOOSE be adventurous!
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Before leaving our campground this morning, we were trying to send out our Alaska Trip Journal website to friends, family and yahoo groups when we noticed a man walk close by our RV, so we looked out the front window and saw what he was looking at- a cow moose with her two calves! We got a really good look when they crossed the street and are so excited because we finally got close enough to take pictures. We are thankful that we had been delayed trying to get internet to work before we left. It must have been a God thing. WOW!
Dad felt adventurous and decided to drive to the Arctic Circle today. We have been riding alongside the Alaska Pipeline, which is a big 4 feet diameter pipe that runs 800 miles across across tundra, forest, and mountains through Alaska. It connects the Prudhoe Bay oil field in the north with Valdez, a port on the south coast of Alaska. The pipelines run above ground most of the way so it won't disturb wildlife or the permafrost which is the permanently frozen ground 12 inches below the surface. The drive has taken us all day, even though it was only about 200 miles. The road we traveled is called the Dalton Highway, the only highway that gets to the Arctic circle and beyond.Â It was really bumpy like a washboard and mostly dirt. Lots of commercial tanker trucks use this road each day. We read along the way from the "Discovery Channel Alaska Insight Guide" which cites that the first oil arrived at Valdez on July 28, 1977. The cost of the pipeline and related projects, including the tanker terminal at Valdez, 12 pumping stations and the Yukon River Bridge, was $8 billion.Â We also read that the north slope oil field contained an estimated 9.6 billion barrels of oil and 26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The pipeline carries the petroleum to the southern port of Valdez. From there tankers carry it all around the world. Without a barrel of oil or cubic foot of natural gas, Alaska would still be considered a bargain at 2 cents an acre, according to "The Alaska Purchase" by David K. Fremon.
Alaska was purchased as a US territory in 1867 and became our 49th state in 1959.
It was a very scenic, adventurous and exciting journey. Tonight we are camping near the Arctic Circle for the night in the middle of nowhere with a beautiful view. It didn't get dark until after midnight. That's why they call it the land of the midnight sun.
We Survived the Arctic Circle!
It's COOL up here!
Sunday, August 5, 2007
We survived the Arctic Circle!
It's Sunday and there are no churches at the Arctic Circle, so Dad read aloud the story of Esther for our own worship service and we took turns reading aloud some other passages from Psalms, Proverbs and Romans. As we retraced the drive of yesterday back to Fairbanks, we sang hymns to conclude our morning worship. The road today was not only dirty it was really muddy because it rained all night long and all day today.Â
We stopped at a scenic overview and had lunch in the RV.
We read quietly along the way from the "Julie of the Wolves" series and other Alaska travel books.
This afternoon Mom read aloud from a book called "Gold Rush Fever". Â
Tonight we are staying at Riverview RV Park, which is where we saw the moose on Saturday morning. Maybe they will walk through our campground again!
It took Dad over half an hour to wash all the mud off the RV at the campground.
Monday, August 6, 2007
We have exactly one week left here in Alaska and are having a great time!
Late this morning we left North Pole, AK and headed south toward Valdez in the rain. We stopped in Delta Junction for lunch where we had delicious buffalo burgers. Buffalo are raised locally.
Then we went to "The Sullivan Roadhouse Historical Museum" which is the oldest roadhouse in the interior of Alaska. The Sullivans built this house in 1905 and it is now a museum that focuses on the Valdez-Fairbanks trail and the roadhouses that operated along its route. There was also a beautiful garden with wildflowers and vegetables at the museum house.
Later this afternoon we drove through mountains, some covered with snow or glaciers. We were driving along and all of a sudden there were huge glaciers. It was amazing and beautiful! The Alaska Pipeline ran alongside the road within an accessible distance. As we were traveling we read from our "Julie" books and listened to Alaska's History in song from the "Inside Passage" CD.
Tonight we are camping in Glennallen, where we enjoyed a walk and playing with 4 cute little white/part Siamese kittens that were playing around outside our campground. We miss our cat, Truffles.
Julie Of The Wolves - by Jean Craighead George
Here are some educational resources from the series.
Julie of the Wolves "is about a young girl called Julie whose real name is Miyax of the Eskimos. It tells how she kept from starving to death by befriending a pack of wolves."
Glaciers Galore and S'more Salmon!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
This morning we left Glennallen and drove to Valdez where we will be staying until Thursday morning. On the way we stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks to take pictures of beautiful huge glaciers up in the mountains all around us. There were magnificent waterfalls, right by the road; one was called Bridal Veil Falls. We walked a trail very close to the Worthington glacier and watched ice climbers. Crazy!
We are staying at a nice campground alongside a bay and are in sight of nine beautiful glaciers. Across from our campsite is the Alaskan Oil Pipeline Terminal. We have been driving alongside the pipeline since Saturday and we have only seen about half of it's 800 mile length. While we were traveling we read aloud from "Gold Rush Fever" and alone from our "Julie" books.
This afternoon we enjoyed our campground site and watched a seal play around in the water right out in front of us. Tonight we roasted hot dogs and s'mores around our campfire. We enjoyed talking with the family next to us. They live in Alaska and homeschool their two young boys. It is nice to meet other homeschoolers or "camperschoolers" as we travel. www.squidoo.com/camperschool
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
After Dad read aloud from the book of Job for morning Bible reading, we drove around Valdez toward the Alaskan Pipe Line Terminal. On the way we stopped at three streams where salmon were spawning. At one of the stops we saw two Oriental women squeezing eggs or fish roe out of the female salmon. They had a gallon container full and then went back for another!! One of them told us it's for Sushi called Ikura. For lunch we went to Fu Kung where they serve Ikura. We didn't try any but Dad and Ashley ate caviar and also escargot (snails) as an appetizer on the cruise ship. Yuck!
This afternoon went to two museums and we watched two educational movies called "The Trans-Alaska Pipeline" and another called "Though the Earth be Moved" which is about the 1964 Alaska earthquake that caused a tsunami that severely damaged the town of Valdez causing it to be relocated 4 miles west of the old town. We even drove to the old location on the way back to go hunt for bears along the salmon streams. We didn't see any bears but we did see a wild swan and sooooo many salmon you could practically walk across the stream using them as stepping stones.
Bright and early in the morning we'll be leaving Valdez and board a ferry with our RV, going to Whittier across Prince William Sound.
Alaska Pipeline Educational Resources - Movie and Book
Learn about the Trans Alaska Pipeline from the movie shown in the museum in Valdez, where the terminal is.
Learn from the book about the people who've worked along the Pipeline.
In the 1970s the world's largest construction companies invaded Alaska in a wild rush to build the 800-mile, $10 billion trans-Alaska pipeline. The resulting rapid economic and social change touched every Alaskan.
Wildlife By Land and Sea
From Valdez to Whittier on the Alaska Marine Highway system
Thursday, August 9, 2007
We had an early start to this day. We had to be in line with our RV to board the "Aurora" ferryboat by 7:00a.m. We decided that we would take a ferry to Whittier, then drive about an hour to Seward, rather than drive ten hours all the way here. This is the Alaska Marine Highway system which is the state ferry system that carries both vehicles and passengers through the Inside Passage. While on the five and a half hour ferry ride, we read alone from our "Julie" books and Ashley finished the series. She enjoyed this educational and adventurous series very much and loved learning how wolves live and behave in Alaska!
Also while on the ferry we saw mountains, glaciers, ice bergs, seals, sea otters, sea lions and porpoises. A Forest Service Ranger talked about the Prince William Sound and the Alaska earthquake in 1964. She had very helpful maps to chart where we traveled and pelts of a sea otter and an arctic fox. www.alaska.gov/ferry
We got off the ferry in Whittier and went through the 2Â½ mile one lane, one way tunnel, paved overtrain tracks which we had been through on the bus that took us from our cruise ship to Anchorage just under two weeks ago. We've made a circle around the interior of Alaska.
We stopped at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where we saw grizzly and black bears, buffalo, musk oxen, deer, elk, caribou, moose, a red fox and owls and magpies. While eating lunch in the safety of our camper we watched a bear playing in a tree. Then we saw a grizzly bear playing in a pond, it was really fun to watch so we videoed it. Today is Mom's birthday, so Dad took her to Ray's Waterfront Seafood Restaurant for dinner, while we girls ate in the camper. We are staying at an RV Park along Resurrection Bay in Seward. There was a huge beautiful double rainbow over the bay. What a day!
Though The Earth Be Moved - About the 1964 Earthquake
This is the educational movie we saw in the museum in Valdez. You can purchase it from this link.
Horsin' Around in Alaska
Call of the Wild
Friday, August 10, 2007
Today we went horseback riding with Dad at "Bardy's Trail Rides" in Seward, while Mom relaxed at the camper. The trail ride took us through deep woods of mature cottonwood trees, through salt marshes, and through areas where the brush was as high as the horses' withers. We rode within 100 feet of two Bald Eagles, an adult and a juvenile and saw several huge nests. Lukie, a dog that went along with us caught three salmon in a stream. We saw old wrecked vehicles tossed up inland and the only building that survived the tsunami and earthquake of 1964.
On the way to the town of Kenai we drove through Kenai National Park, both of which are part of the Kenai Peninsula. A US Forest Service Ranger had a roadside exhibit with animal pelts, skulls, horns, antlers, an eagle talon and wing. She even had scopes and binoculars available to use. She was pointing out mountain goats and hunters up in nearby mountains. Dad got his scope out so we could watch for a while.
Mom was delighted when Dad stopped at a yard sale along the way. We stopped at a 1950s ice cream parlor where we had moose tracks and bear claw ice cream; which is fitting for Alaska. We stopped at a visitor center in Kenai where we bought "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang" by Jack London, who, by the age of 21, was part of the rush to the Klondike. While traveling, Mom finished reading aloud "Gold Rush Fever" to us all. It's a great family read aloud book, a sweet story mixed with facts to learn about the gold rush days of the Klondike. You can purchase it below by clicking on the link.
Tonight we are staying at Beluga Lookout RV Park where we have spectacular views of Kenai River Cook Inlet, and the snow covered Mount Redoubt. Let's hope we see Beluga whales tomorrow.
We have had major computer problems today which we finally resolved, so we are writing this at 11:45 pm in the half light that passes for night in the northern summers of Alaska.
The Call of the Wild/ White Fang - by Jack London
This classic is a must for home education! Here are several to choose from:
Of all Jack London's fictions none have been so popular as his dog stories. In addition to The Call of the Wild, the epic tale of a Californian dog's adventures during the Klondike gold rush, this edition includes White Fang, and five famous short stories - `Batard', `Moon-Face', `Brown Wolf', `That Spot', and `To Build a Fire.
Fiction U.S.A. $7.95Canada $10.95To this day Jack London is the most widely read American writer in the world," E. L. Doctorow wrote in The New York Times Book Review. Generally considered to be London's greatest achievement, The Call of the Wild brought him international acclaim when it was published in 1903. His story of the dog Buck, who learns to survive in the bleak Yukon wilderness, is viewed by many as his symbolic autobiography. "No other popular writer of his time did any better writing than you will find in The Call of the Wild," said H. L. Mencken. "Here, indeed, are all the elements of sound fiction." White Fang (1906), which London conceived as a "complete antithesis and companion piece to The Call of the Wild," is the tale of an abused wolf-dog tamed by exposure to civilization. Also included in this volume is "To Build a Fire," a marvelously desolate short story set in the Klondike, but containing all the elements of a classic Greek tragedy. "The quintessential Jack London is in the on-rushing compulsive-ness of his northern stories," noted James Dickey. "Few men have more convincingly examined the connection between the creative powers of the individual writer and the unconscious drive to breed and to survive, found in the natural world. . . . London is in and committed to his creations to a degree very nearly unparalleled in the composition of fiction."
Nothing's Boring About a Bore Tide
Saturday, August 11, 2007
This morning at the campground we were hoping to search for Beluga whales in the Kenai River Cook Inlet, but the thick fog that surrounded us didn't lift, so late this morning we left for Anchorage and listened to Mom read "Call of the Wild". On the way we stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks. Just outside of Anchorage at Turnagain Arm we saw a bore tide, which is a large up to 6 foot wave or series of waves that rushes up to 15 mph with an incoming tide. It is one of only two in the United States.
This evening we all took a long walk along a coastal trail, hunting for moose. We didn't see any, but we did see their tracks. To answer the comment from Cort to Dad: we have been shooting moose, grizzly bears, black bears, caribou, reindeer, eagles, mountain goats, and dall sheep, but only with our cameras.
From Point Woronzof in Anchorage we could see Mount McKinley and other snow covered mountain ranges this evening. Cool, and we know it's HOT back home!
Tonight we saw a porcupine right by the road and watched him climb a tree. We are staying at Golden Nugget Camper Park in Anchorage.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
This morning we worshiped at Muldoon Road Baptist Church where the first song they sang made us feel very welcome. No matter where we are as we travel this sod, it's nice to worship God with brothers and sisters in Christ. It was called "The Family of God" and the words are:
"I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God.
I've been washed in the fountain, Cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family, the family of God".
The sermon was also really good. Pastor Jimmie Woods gave a message about marriage from Ephesians 5:33. They were celebrating the marriages of two couples that have been married over 60 years.
After having lunch we went to the Alaska center for the Performing Arts to see "Aurora-Alaska's Great Northern Lights". The movie is rare images of the Aurora Borealis put to classical music taking you on a journey across Alaska's vast landscapes and beautiful star-filled skies. Dad enjoyed the music so much he bought the CD.
After going back to Turnagain Arm to watch the Bore Tide come in again we drove north of Anchorage to find a spot for star gazing and hoping to see the Northern Lights.
Beautiful Blessings of Travel and Home!
50 States as we Graduate!
Monday and Tuesday, August 13 and 14, 2007
Sunday night we all tried to stay up through the darkness to watch for the Northern Lights and for the Perseid meteor shower. We didn't see the Northern Lights but we did see several dozen shooting stars!
We woke up early to finish packing and return the RV to ABC Motor Home Rentals, and then picked up a rental car so we could get around in Anchorage until time to go to the airport. We went downtown for a while and to the coastal walking trail to walk and watch airplanes fly out. There is a floatplane airport called Lake Hood where we watched a few landings and take offs. Alaska has a lot of air and water traffic.
We flew through the night and early morning. The flight out of Alaska was amazing. There were a lot of snow-covered mountains rising up through the clouds and glaciers that just went on and on like long wide white roads. It was so beautiful we can't even explain it in words. God is just amazing.
We had to fly through a big thunderstorm for our layover in Chicago and when we got off the plane we noticed it was hot and muggy. When we arrived in NC about 9a.m. Tuesday morning it was HOT and sunny. Such differences in the weather!
We had a wonderful time in Alaska, but it always feels nice to come back home. Our dream of seeing all 50 states has come true with this; our graduation trip to Alaska! Thanks Mom and Dad and thanks to God for this great country of ours!
Another fact book we were glad we had along with us from our local library.
Journey Into The Wild With JulieLost on the Alaskan tundra with no means of survival, Julie, a runaway Eskimo girl, is taken in by a pack of wolves -- and grows to love them as though they were family. Eventually Julie must leave the wilderness and return to her people, but the bond she has forged with her wolf family is one that is never broken. She is -- now and forever -- Julie of the Wolves.