Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seward and the fossil beds

Rodney and I took a few days last week to drive down to Seward just to check it out and see what it was like. I had almost a constant migraine though and no medication for it so we didn't stay that long. We found Seward to be rather touristy which didn't really appeal to us that much. Maybe if we had stayed longer we'd have found the real place amongst the fluff. We did enjoy the Sea Life Center but then again, I don't think we've met a zoo or aquarium that we haven't enjoyed. This wasn't the best picture of the Harlequins, but just after I took it I realized that there was another pair of birds off to the left checking out that nesting cavity! It was so cute how the male was showing off the great spot he had, trying to entice the female to approve!

This little bird just sat there snoozing with people walking right up to it.

This Tufted Puffin was hilarious! This wasn't the best shot I got of him, but it did show his cheekiness best! He kept swimming right up to me, then turning and splashing me as he dove!

I believe that this is some sort of starfish. It was one of the few pictures I took of the tanks just because they don't normally turn out that well. This one was so pretty though that I had to give it a try.

We ended up having some trouble with the lug bolts on one of our wheels and had to stop and call for help. We ended up right off Beluga Point south of Anchorage which was a beautiful spot. Rodney kept telling me on the way to Seward that he was seeing the Belugas, but until we stopped and took the time to really look, I could not see them. They weren't flashy, they weren't jumping, but if you took the time to sit and watch, you'd see them just below the surface. They were like shooting stars though. The first time you saw one you'd wonder if you had actually seen what you thought you saw. Then once you watched for a while you actually did see them more and more. I tried to get pictures but gave it up after a bit. You never knew exactly when they would come up and where and by the time you focused on that spot, they were gone. I just decided to enjoy the show and if any of ya'll want to see them, you'll have to come up and see them yourself! :) It was a beautiful and peaceful spot to wait for help to arrive and I was glad to have the opportunity to sit and enjoy. Meanwhile, Brian Headdings brought us an extra bolt and after borrowing one from another wheel, we were able to limp along home, after taking some time to stop for dinner with him.

I captured the image of these tiny flowers along that shore line but I haven't been able to identify them yet.

On Sunday Rodney and I decided to hike up to the fossil beds since I never got the chance to do that earlier this spring when he was taking the school kids up there. It is amazing how many flowers we continue to see that I've never seen before! Below are large-flowered wintergreen, dwarf fireweed and another lupine just because the color was so dark.

The dappled light through the trunks of the aspens was particularly enchanting.

I found it fascinating that these trees had all seemed to have twisted at about the same height. It made me wonder what had caused it.

After a long hike, we arrived at the fossil beds.

Andrei had taken a few kids up the Anthracite Ridge (below) the same afternoon but we didn't see them. There was a bit of snow up on the Anthracite Ridge this morning after a lovely (and much needed) rain last night!

Victory Peak doesn't look quite so impressive from the fossil beds.

This is part of the rock glacier from where Victory draws its water.

All that hard work to pick up some rocks? They really are things of beauty in their own right. The detail is amazing! It's a bit hard to see the fossils on the one on the left because they are more delicate, feathery little leaves.

Surprisingly, my temperamental ATV ankle held up remarkably well! It was a bit achy coming down but there was no pain after we got home. On the way back down we stopped at Big Rock. I'm thinking you can probably figure out what that is from the name. We had considered just going straight back down but decided we might as well check it out while we were up there. It was worth it! I'd gotten some good scenic pictures on the hike, but the views were AWESOME from Big Rock! The bright blue roof is the new arena at Ranch Camp.

This view shows the rest of camp between the two lakes.

And the glacier of course.

My mom wanted a picture of a burl so I made Sergei stand next to one of the ones used in the dining hall at Kingdom Air. The rest of you can carry on. ;)

I think this is a wild geranium but I don't remember where or when I took the picture so it's a bit hard to identify.

And last, but certainly not least, is the picture of "our" mountain Sunday night after a delicious meal at the Cote's house. This is the 11 pm "sunset" if you can call it that. Down in Seward I was waiting next to another lady. A guy waiting with her was pointing to a postcard and telling her that he wanted "to see that, whatever they call it." He was pointing to a picture of the northern lights. I had to laugh and then I said that he'd have to come back at another time of year because there isn't enough darkness to see them right now. He replied, "I know! What's up with that? We just got here last night and at 10 pm it looked like it was 4 pm! It's crazy!" I got quite a kick out of the exchange!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Glorious summer!

Summer is certainly upon us. Counselors have started orientation and the first campers will come in on Saturday. The weather has been absolutely fantastic save one brutally hot day where it hit at least 80 here at camp and at least 84 in the valley where of course we got stuck in construction. It has been so dry though that we actually had a small forest fire this past week when someone didn't properly put out a campfire. It was caught early and put out quickly so thankfully there wasn't much damage. The boys found it fascinating watching the helicopter go suck water out of a nearby lake and then dump it on the fire. With the short growing season here, everything must take advantage of the sun and GROW! Tons of flowers out now. Pictured are water lilies, lupines, Lady Slippers and Forget-Me-Nots. I wish I could figure out how I got such great color on that lily shot!

We've been blessed to see a lot of waterfowl on the lake this spring/summer. This Oldsquaw was an interesting one we'd never seen before.

The muskrats aren't waterfowl, but they are another entertaining addition to the lake.

I woke up one morning to find Mrs. Barrows Goldeneye standing on the buoy out front.

A few days later Mr. Goldeneye had two females to woo.

The swans seem to have a nest in the cove across from the house. You can barely see one of them in the lower left corner of the picture.

We took the boat out today to get some things on the other side and as I was taking pictures of the swans, I realized there was a moose right behind them. As we got closer I realized that there were two babies with mama moose! I wish these pictures had come out clearer but I was using the maximum zoom on a moving boat.

Can you see the two sets of ears on the baby?

When we came back the swans were back in their cove and another mama moose with just one baby came out of the trees. I've mentioned before that the moose come into camp to have their babies in safety because they know the bears won't come into camp. Rodney saw a hopeful grizzly up towards Victory Peak the other morning but that was before there were so many people in camp.
Mr. Loon was in the cove beyond our house this morning so we wonder if Mrs. Loon isn't sitting on a nest nearby.
Rodney and the kids put the pontoon boat back together this past week.

The sunbabing beach babes enjoyed the beautiful day.

It's hard to work on such a beautiful day with such a beautiful view.

Rodney and Andrei decked the boat yesterday and of course Ellie and Eider had to go for a spin today too.
There were some clouds hanging over Victory Peak earlier but they are starting to clear off for another beautiful day!

Morning commute

Morning commute