Friends, sorry about the long lapse in posting, but ProfessorRoush was away from gardening while visiting family in Alaska and OPSEC is that I not disclose my location during my absence. The photo at the right is our first glimpse of some real Alaskan terrain, at an area known as the Turnagain on Highway 1 south of Anchorage.
|Fireweed and Black Spruce|
Most specifically, we were visiting the Kenai penisula, home to Seward, Homer, and all manner of small outposts. ProfessorRoush, the traveler, was well satisfied by the scenery, all of it beautiful as demonstrated by the several examples posted below.
ProfessorRoush, the naturalist, enjoyed the local fauna and flora, at least that which bothered to show itself. Everywhere, native Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)
was blooming, in meadows and singularly, fields and fields of it surrounding the Black Spruce trees and in open areas. And I became intimately acquainted with Devil's Club (Oplopanax horridus)
, its scientific name aptly giving warning about this prickly undergrowth of the forest. Look closely at the prickles on the woody stem...and remember not to brush against them!
I also, fauna wise, saw my first real live hornet nest, complete with the hornets, who themselves were not nearly so monstrously large or vicious as the cartoons suggest. These pictures, however, were about as close as I wanted to venture and the hornets still didn't seem to like the clicking of the camera mirror.
|Edge Glacier, Seward, Alaska|
In Seward, we hiked to the Exit Glacier, one of more than a dozen glaciers spilling off the vast Harding Icefield, and the blue ice and outflow was everything we could have wished it to be. Seward, rebuilt since it was wiped clean by a tsunami from the 1964 earthquake, also has a really nice aquarium you should visit if you are ever in the area.
|Marsh and Mountains, Highway 1, Alaska|
For large fauna sightings, however, I was shut-out. I will report that we saw plenty of salmon fishermen and other tourists during the trip. However, we didn't see a single moose or bear during the trip, despite being out and about every day, and I only saw one Bald Eagle from a distance. In fact, it got to be a bit of a joke. My son claims there are only 9 state troopers in all of the very large Kenai penisula, and I saw three of them on the trip, but no moose. On the way back north to the Anchorage airport, Mrs. ProfessorRoush and I were scanning all the marshes and flat areas, hoping in the late evening to see some large mammals coming down to feed, and at long last I spied two brown lumps moving over a field along the road and turned in for a better look. They were buffalo at an Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. I'll not bother you with a picture of the buffalo, but I'll leave you with a beautiful scenic view of Homer, Alaska, and its tourist-haven "Spit" extending into the bay.
|Looking out towards "The Spit" at Homer, Alaska|