Ketchikan

Ketchikan, Alaska is known as the salmon capital of the world. I saw a tumbling creek where the salmon spawned  I actually saw more salmon in Skagway than Ketchikan. July through August are the best times to watch the salmon jump. It’s also the time when bears, eagles, and other wildlife that love fish will come out into the sea.

Ketchikan is also known for its totem poles and native artwork. I found it funny that the tourist shop owners hustled to get their wares out when cruise ships approached the docks. As soon as the tourists board their ships, the store owners close shop. Every where you turn, there is a jewelry store. I avoided them and headed to the museums. Enjoy the pictures.

 

Glacier Bay

The water was a vivid blue with floating chunks of ice upon it. Seagulls cried as they circled above the huge glaciers. The sun peeked over the mountains and I could see the entire range capped with snow. The wind had a bite to it and I huddled deep inside my jacket. This was Alaska.

Great rivers of ice stretched over and between mountain ridges until they met the tidewater. There is nothing like hearing the sound of the glacier calving large chunks of ice with thunderous cracks into the sea. The Mendenhall Glacier is about 13.6 miles long and is not far from Juneau. The Margerie Glacier is bigger and is 21 miles long. There are other glaciers, but these are the popular ones.

A glacier forms when the snow pack doesn’t melt away, but is compressed by additional snow accumulation. Eventually, the compressed snow becomes ice. The force of gravity pulls the glacier downhill. As a glacier moves, it scrapes away soil and rock. This should be on your bucket list to see if you haven’t done so already.

A grizzly bear in the fireweed

Christopher Martin Photography

Last weekend I came across this grizzly bear late in the day along the Kananaskis Trail (Highway 40).  He first came out of the forest on the high side of the hill and traveled through this patch of fireweed before slipping back into the woods.

He was in the trees briefly before continuing down the hill and coming to the road.

Meeting the pavement, he crossed straightaway – which is always a bit of uncertainty given the wildcard of a speeding vehicle.  However this time the four vehicles nearby were all pulled over and no other traffic came so he had no issues.

Dark clouds rolled in and he disappeared down the bank so that ended the short visit.  I headed up to Highwood Pass and watched the weather scrape over the mountains for a bit. Note: that is a great place to enjoy watching the land – the elevation…

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Ireland, Galway to Westport

Have Bag, Will Travel

Galway Ireland

Almost as soon as we returned to the car and drove away from Knock it started to rain and by the time we reached the city of Galway we were very glad of underground parking facilities at the hotel so that we didn’t get soaked through getting to reception.

This wet weather came as something as a surprise. We travelled to Ireland in 2014 and went to the west coast, a year later we went to Northern Ireland and stayed in Belfast and in 2016 visited Cork and the South Coast. Despite Ireland’s reputation for dreary weather and lots of rain we enjoyed sunshine and blue skies on all three occasions.

So good was the weather in fact that Kim thinks it is permanently sunny in the Emerald Isle so she was especially dismayed to see the grey skies and persistent rain.

Northern Ireland Blue Flag

So persistent as it happened that we were unable and…

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Precious Gold

During the Klondike Gold Rush, gold was used as currency. It was eliminated from common coinage in 1933, yet gold is well used in today’s world that the average person doesn’t realize.

Gold is a heavy, yellow metallic chemical element. It has the greatest density of any mineral and because of its high density, it collects in streams as placer gold. Miners collected the gold nuggets and gold dust in pans, rockers, and sluice boxes. Pure gold is a soft metal that scratches, bends, and breaks easily. Therefore, gold is often mixed with other metals for use in jewelry.

Gold is reflective and is an excellent conductor of electricity. It can be drawn or molded into wire or threads. It doesn’t tarnish, rust, or dissolve in water and most acids. Due to this nature, gold is now used in many technical fields. Did you know that gold is used in the trigger deployment system of airbags in cars? Auto manufacturers use gold to dry paint on their cars. Gold-plated connectors operate in a car’s engine to withstand high temperatures and corrosive environment under a car’s engine hood.

Many aircraft use gold-coated acrylic windows in cockpits to help the windows stay clear of frost and fogging. The reflectability of gold helps keep the cockpit cool on hot runways. It also maintains the heat of the cabin while in flight at high, cold altitudes. Did you know that Air Force One uses gold reflectors to confuse an incoming missile’s heat-seeking signal? It makes it difficult for the guidance system to focus on its target. Gold protects the onboard computers in the Galileo space probe. It is used in satellites and the space shuttle’s electronic circuitry.

A telephone’s mouthpiece has a transmitter that contains gold in the diaphragm. Telephone jacks and connecting cords also use gold for contacts. Gold is the best material to use in microcircuits of electronic equipment. Did you know that gold is used in medical monitoring equipment?

Wouldn’t those miners of yesterday be surprised how precious gold has become? I found this information interesting.

Skagway: A Gateway

Skagway means the windy place. With only 27 inches of moisture a year, Skagway is known as the sunshine capital of southeast Alaska. Its soil is rich and with the summer hours of the long daylight or Midnight sun, visitors will be surprised at the enormous growth of vegetation and flowers. The height of the gold rush had barely passed when the local residents exercised their green thumbs. By 1905, the White Pass railroad’s brochure proclaimed the beauty of Skagway’s flowers and prolific gardens.

The city had its history of brothels in its day. In 1898, on the corner of 6th and State, the Red Onion Saloon was a dance hall and bordello. It was moved later to Broadway. On some of the side streets, you can visit some of the old Red Light district areas. Not far from there, is a historic log cabin built by Captain William Moore and his son. He had followed gold rushes and settled there. He prospered, after the flood of gold seekers, by owning a dock, warehouse, and a sawmill.

Another interesting building is the Artic Brotherhood Hall. The old lodge members had collected 8, 800 pieces of driftwood and nailed them to the front wall. The building is now the home of the Visitors Bureau.

The Golden North Hotel is said to be haunted. Its famous resident, Mary was a woman  that succumbed to pneumonia in room 23 while waiting for her fiancé to return with gold. Guests claim to see her spirit in the room and feel a sensation of choking.

During the Gold Rush, criminals and con artists set up shop. One of the most notorious was “Soapy” Smith. He erected a fake telegraph company and charged $5.00 to send a message. The scam was the wire never left Skagway. The Klondike Gold Rush lasted just a few short years, but it made Skagway a bustling boomtown. No matter where you go in this town, you’ll feel like you are stepping back in time with its wooden sidewalks and  storefronts in a colorful picture of its past.

Not talked about for some unknown reason is a small creek park before you walk into the main drag of the city. In July and August, you can see the salmon jumping about as they are in the process of spawning. It’s a great wonder to watch. I highly recommend visiting this town.

 

The wild goat of the Bible identified as the Ibex

Ferrell's Travel Blog

Wild goats (Hebrew ya’el) are mentioned in a few Old Testament passages (1 Samuel 24:2; Job 39:1; Psalm 104:18; Prov. 5:19). This animal is often identified with the Ibex.

The ibex, a type of wild goat, is still found in Southern Palestine, Sinai, Egypt and Arabia; it was known also in ancient times, as is evident from rock carvings. (Fauna and Flora of the Bible, 46).

The wild goats are associated with En Gedi on the shore of the Dead Sea.

Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. (1 Samuel 24:1-2 NAU)

Our photo below was made at En Gedi.

Ibex at En Gedi. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins. A large Ibex at En Gedi. Photo by Ferrell…

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The significance of Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley

Ferrell's Travel Blog

From Tel Megiddo one has a good view of the Jezreel Valley. Our panorama is composed of three photos made from the same spot at Megiddo. The Jezreel Valley lies before us to the north (and slightly east). Nazareth is located in the mountains of lower Galilee. The valley continues east between the Hill of Moreh and Mount Gilboa to Beth-Shean, the Jordan Valley, and the mountains of Gilead. The valley was known by the Greek name Esdraelon in New Testament times.

It was almost inevitable that those traveling from Babylon, Assyria, the territory of the Hittites, or Syria to Egypt, would travel through the Valley of Jezreel. The site of Jezreel is between the Hill of Moreh and Mt. Gilboa. (More about this at another time.)

Panorama of Jezreel Valley from Megiddo. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins. Panorama of Jezreel Valley from Megiddo. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

For teaching purposes you may wish to use this annotated panoramic photograph. Click…

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Denali

I recently visited the Denali National Park and Reserve. Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America at 20,310 feet. It’s located in Alaska. The mountain was first named McKinley in 1896 for President W. McKinley, but the original Athabascan name was Denali. The Alaskan Board changed the name back to Denali, but it wasn’t until 2015 that the federal government adopted the change, thus you may hear it called by either name. Denali dominates the mountain range and is visible on a clear day. However, it is frequently swathed in clouds. I was lucky when I visited the area that the weather was good. I had expected rain or cold weather. The day I had arrived, it was 87 degrees. With the heat, it kept the wildlife from view.

Visitors can access the park by vehicle, bus tour, or by railroad. Lucky visitors can see grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. I did see a caribou crouching in a dry riverbed, yet it was too far away to get a great picture. I did get pictures of the Alaskan state bird, Tarmagon. It’s nickname is chicken. It is similar to a grouse and is found in bushes and long grass. Another animal is the red tree squirrel. It’s small compared to the gray squirrel. They are fast-moving creatures. I tried several times to get a picture of the little buggars. They are cute and are about the size of a chipmunk. I found it fascinating that they collect mushrooms and place them on the branches of black spruce trees to dry, before storing them.

So if you visit Alaska, do visit Denali. The scenery is beautiful.

 

Whale Watching in Alaska

It was a beautiful day in Juneau and we decided to go whale watching. We took a small tour boat. The natives told us that this time of year is rare for sunshine, but it was in the 70’s and we were able to see the mountain range. Some orcas and humpback whales came out for display.

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