Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"The Coldest state with the hottest governor"

The day we set out for Alaska was the day McCain picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate....a day to be written in the history books. This was on Friday, August 29th. First thing we do when we get to The Historic Anchorage Hotel is shop around. Jason finds a bumper sticker that states the title of this post, "Alaska- coldest state with the hottest governor". The clerk says they have had a huge stack of those very bumper stickers for months but they started flying off the shelf that day. GO SARAH PALIN!!! So that was our introduction to Alaska. We stayed in this great hotel the first night that was literally two blocks from the start line of the yearly Iditarod trail dogsled race. It was a breezy, clear, beautiful 65 degrees when we got there. Here is the most pictures I have ever posted...if you don't want to look, don't! I know it's long. So here goes...the chronicles of the Allreds in Alaska. Sorry about the detail and longevity of it all!

On Saturday morning we drove about two hours south to the fishing town of Seward. We went on a tour of the Kenai peninsula. This is the first glacier I ever laid eyes on...Bear Glacier. It was breathtaking. I wanted to take this pic b/c I loved the contrast of the green mountains right next to the glacier. It wasn't even cold, and there right in front of me was a glacier. Wow. It was a beautiful 70 degrees and sunny (they said it was the prettiest day Alaska had had in YEARS).

A closer look at Bear Glacier....and Jason and I for that matter. In case you forget what we looked like. :) Right as we were taking this close-up we heard a thunderous sound and turned around. Sure enough, a chunk of the glacier broke off and crashed into the sea. The sound was so thunderous you would've thought there was an avalanche.

I think we were pressing our luck with those first two beautiful days of weather. Mother nature came down laughing and gave us two HORRIBLE days of rain, cold, and 10-14 foot swells out in the sea. These guys had a deep sea fishing trip planned for this day, but b/c of the swells and danger, they didn't get out as far as they would've liked. Regardless, they had some good catches. The guide told them that they would be lucky to get a 15 LB halibut b/c of the weather and their location...Bob reeled in a 42 pounder. Okay, let me state that more accurately. Bob baited his pole, the halibut bit and Jordan reeled in his line. It was a joint effort!

Jason caught this enormous Lingcod fish that unfortunately he had to throw back because of some rule about catching this particular fish in the bay. The guide carries this club on the boat with him. I didn't understand why clubbing a fish would be necessary...but apparently some man got KILLED by a Halibut flapping around on the boat. So this is Jason, pretending to club his cod that he couldn't keep. Bummer. His brother Josh caught something even more unfortunate. A thirteen legged starfish and a Mantaray. Seriously.

The cutest bird in the world, the puffin. Alaska's state bird.

Steller seals that we saw on our tour. These animals can survive in this climate b/c of their blubber. How come that didn't work for me? I WAS FREEZING!!! The males can be up to 4000 LBS.

Whenever I think of Alaska I think of glaciers and icebergs. Well, Alaska is very green in the summer and very beautiful. These are some of the islands of the Kenai Peninsula. It reminded both Jason and I A LOT of the islands in Japan.

Another cute litte sea creature...the otter. They were ALL over the place, just laying back in the water and enjoying the nice freezing temperature. Just looking at them in their environment made me shiver. They are so cute though. So here's a little trivia for you. These creatures have a very fast metabolism that keeps them warm. They weight around 100 lbs and have to eat 1/4 of their body weight every day to keep up with their metabolism. Oh, and another warming mechanism- they have 600,000 hairs per square inch (a different tour said 250, let's just say some where between the two numbers).

This is Aialiak Glacier.

These two pics are from the airplane. They turned out better than we thought. They are so beautiful and really give you and aerial view of what's going on down there. The first one is of an ice field. Those feed into glaciers as I'm told. the second one is interesting because you can really see the glacier and how it moves into the sea and the contrast where it meets the sea.

Jason's fro. This is Alaska's state flower and it was everywhere in these hanging pots on the streets of Anchorage.

Before I say anything else, I am not pregnant. This pic is not doing me any favors and neither are the horizontal stripes of my sweater. UGH. But the harbor in Seward was so captivating, I couldn't resist putting this picture on. We loved walking around looking at the all the boats. Jason said he would name his boat "Sugar" after me. Aw.

This is the Kenai Fjords tour boat we rode around on.

All over on these tours were these beautiful green mountains covered in waterfalls from the melting snow. They were so pretty. Kind of reminded me of Hawaii.

Seals get on the icebergs to stay warm. That's right, to stay warm. A hot bath is what I prefer folks.

The last of the Eskimos. Doesn't Jason look like an Eskimo in this picture? He had on my sister-in-law's wig. HILARIOUS.

We had way too much fun playing with her wigs. Jason demanded that he grow out a beard for our trip so that he could really take on the persona of a mountain man. It really added to the effect of this homeless pic. The wig, the beard, the holey jeans and him begging for starburst from his brother. Classic.

We took another boat tour of Prince William Sound on Monday. It's another region filled with islands, glaciers, and icebergs...oh, and wildlife. So we drove to the town if Whittier Alaska and boarded the boat for a very CHOPPY, COLD ride.

These pics are of Surprise Glacier, which was the bluest glacier we saw. It was so beautiful. And I loved the marbling black. That's actually dirt that has been pushed for years by the glacier and the gathered layers give it the marbled look. Oh and the galciers aren't actually blue. We all learned this in elementary school, but here's a refresher...I hope I get this right. So you know how white is the absence of all color and black is the presence of all color. Well, these white glaciers seem so blue b/c they reflect all the colors except for blue. Blue is the most energetic color and these glaciers cannot absorb it. That's what the guide said.

This is an island we passed where all the seals were hanging out. Evidently, it's a pretty happening place.

More pics from the boat. You can see the wake of our boat at the bottom.

These three glaciers actually used to be a lot further out and they were once connected. That's not a political statement. No, I don't believe in global warming...silly politicians.

Anyone for a dip....look's inviting right?