Wednesday, July 27, 2011

From Canada to Washington

 We stayed three rainy days in Prince Rupert, this Black-tailed deer visited us each day, sometimes with family.  We birded the island coast in the fog and mist, seeing 40+ Rhinoceros Auklets, and a few other sea birds.  We took the opportunity to have service done on the RV, filters, oil. etc.
Moving south to escape rain, high prices (gas & food). rain, lack of new bird species, rain, the metric system, rain, and looking forward to being back the good old USA.
Passed through miles of vineyards and orchards in Canada and Washington.  Then bird species and numbers increased exponentially as we traveled the high desert habitats.  Then into the dark rain forest of the Northern Cascades, yes more rain, but not today.  The huge old growth rain forests, as pictured below, festooned with mosses, lichens, ferns was very impressive.  We are enjoying camping among the large trees.  Our plans are to see all five of the volcanos of Washington and then the ocean coast.   Our best to all.  Ty & Ida

Monday, July 18, 2011

Skagway & Hyder Alaska

We made our last two stops in Alaska, for both you had to travel through the Yukon, into British Columbia and back into Alaska. Other than that the two places couldn't be more different.   This lake is on the road into Skagway called Rainbow Lake for the beautiful colors reflected off the marl bottom.  The land was full of boulders and small trees and a myriad of lakes at alpine altitude.  The steep decline into the town was amazing.  This is a tourist town, Cruise ships, helicopter rides, trains, (think Wisconsin Dells +).  Walked the Historic Gold Rush District with about 10,000 people from the 5 ships per day.  On the way out of Skagway we were blessed with a Canadian Lynx sighting, running across the road and up a long bank. Our last Alaskan destination was Hyder with a population of 100 (in the summer) with streets of dusty gravel.  We attended a small Baptist church with 11 others, 6 visitors.  We drove to National Forest Salmon observation platform, as tradition has it, people who discover the first Salmon in the river get the fish named after them - we are now famous and some grizzly bear's lunch.  Then drove 23 miles up hairpin, cliff edge gravel road to summit over Salmon Glacier (pictured below) at 5,000+ feet.  Ty had to climb the extra 1,000 feet to the mountain top - at this alpine vista added the target birds of Gray-crowned Rosy-finch and White-tailed Ptarmigan, plus Golden-crowned Sparrow and Semi-palmated Plover.   Today we had a record bear day of 8 giving us 51 for the trip including a sow grizzly with 3 month old cubs, a black bear swimming a fast, wide river followed by a harbor seal, and a coastal brown bear with a curious standing cub.  God Bless you all,  Ty & Ida

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Going full circle

We are in Haines Junction, Yukon for the third time as we started here before going into Alaska, and 5 weeks later out then to Haines in SE Alaska and 1 week later back again.  Also journeyed through Tok twice.  What wonderful places we have seen,  what beautiful scenery as this mountain refection.  And wildlife, amazing!  Ty wanted to see bears on this trip and we are up to 37!   We have an answer for any of you wanting to get rid of dandelions, get a black bear, we watched a number of black bears devouring ripe dandelions their heads covered in seeds.   We are now on to a new journey in Canada and possibly back into Hyder, Alaska.  Below is our first attempt at sending a video, hope it works.  This is called Million Dollar Falls,  we camped there last night in a very peaceful environment.  Ty & Ida

Monday, July 4, 2011

Copper Country Alaska

 This is the wide expanse of the Copper River on the Edgerton Highway,  we have seen many more areas like this throughout our travels across the state.  There have been many beautiful wild flowers all along the roads and trails.  It is July 4th today and to celebrate we walked to Liberty Falls pictured below.  There are so many beautiful waterfalls everywhere we go.  There was an Am. Dipper nesting under a rock where the water tumbled over.  They are such a unique creation that can dive under the water and walk on the bottom of fast moving streams to find food.  We saw a baby moose, only after we heard it's soft grunting, I'm sure mama was near by so we quickly left the area.

We enjoyed our time in Valdez, exploring the history and wildlife of the area.  The 1964 earthquake that destroyed the town and moving the whole town 4 miles to safer ground was very interesting.  Then of course there was the 1989 oil spill, most all wildlife and area have been restored.  We took a boat trip to the Columbia and Meier Glaciers, There were amazing ice bergs as the Columbia is losing ice at nearly 100 feet a day.  If you used your imagination, you could see wonderful blue creatures in the melting ice.  We did have rain for 4 of the 6 days we were there so we have moved away from the coast to sunshine and warmer temperatures.   Seeing bears every few days, a Brown Bear near Valdez and a Black Bear crossed the road this afternoon as we waited for it on the Edgerton Highway.   Ty & Ida