Christmas Music Boxes

Fall Colors

I took this while on a walk. I love how the colors contrast one another.fall colors

Vancouver, BC

Downtown Coal Harbor was once a shipyard for the industrial center and was also close to the railway terminus. Now it’s a haven for watching  float planes take off and for watching boats pass by. There are numerous waterfront pubs and small stores along the seawall.

Stroll along Water Street and you’ll enter Gas Town. It is the oldest district and its Victorian charm will wheel you in with its old architecture, boutiques, and vintage lamp posts.  It was founded by John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton in 1867. In the center of Gas Town is an old steam clock that still works.

East of downtown is Chinatown. Vancouver’s Chinese population originally made the journey to work in the mines and build the Trans-Canadian railway. You’ll find classic Asian specialty shops and cruisine.

Commercial Drive runs through the center of town. Lovely old ‘Queen Anne’ style homes remain on either side of the main road. You’ll find a diversity of cruisine.

Like most cities, Vancouver is growing. Foreign markets have bought many of the local homes and are tearing them down to build high rises and expensive condos, etc. For the average person, it is no longer feasible to live in the areas due to the high prices. It’s a great place to visit though.

Fireweed

20170807_215108_001 fireweed

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Bright Red Sun

I woke up this morning to the smell of a fire. The sun was bright red and the air smoky. Ashes covered my deck. As I looked around, ashes were falling from the sky. I turned on the news and found out 410 hwy. was closed because of firefighters containing a fire at Crystal Mountain area. There was already a forest fire in Cle Elum. The wind carried the smoke and ash over the mountains and into Auburn and surrounding areas.

This has been the driest summer Washington has ever had.

Sign of the Ages

I saw this club sign in Juneau and thought it was funny.20170801_084906_001 Juneau club

Anchorage

Anchorage is surrounded by the sea and Cook’s Inlet as well as the mountains. I consider it  a springboard to other destinations of Alaska. You can take a boat, ship, plane, bus, or ride the train from it.

There are many museums, including inside the Federal Building. Near West First Street is a monument of Eisenhower, for you history buffs. The Cook’s Hotel has a statue and a painting of Captain Cook. There are also several old paintings of the natives and the captain’s arrival.

For those who love to shop, you will be intrigued by the five-floored mall in downtown Anchorage. There are many fun tourist shops around too. Some shops have stuffed bears and moose to welcome guests. My favorite candy shop is inside the Cook Hotel. The owner colored his chocolates to look like the Northern Lights. How creative!

Many little parks dot the landscape of Anchorage. The Earthquake Park has a resident moose. Easy access from downtown is an eleven-mile coastal trail with spectacular views of the Cook Inlet. Kincaid Park is known for mountain biking. Many bicycle rental places are available. The pioneer spirit survives here. Anchorage has a population that appreciates the outdoors and never takes for granted the beauty here.

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.

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.

 

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