Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Alaska State Fair, Part 1

It was a beautiful day for a fair or, actually, a beautiful day for anything.

These cuties greeted us just inside the fair's gates.
MooseQuito....Alaskan Style?

This was too cute. I'd love to have it in my house!
This wide-eyed guy stole my heart.

We went to the lumberjack show. Here they're demonstrating axe throwing.
Oops! Here they're showing how NOT to throw and axe.

They climb onto a narrow perch to chop.

He's just climbed a 50' pole and is now racing down it silhouetted against the sky.

Log rolling: A joust of sorts on a free rolling log


Alaska State Fair, Part 2

Atz Kilcher (Jewel's dad) performs

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Beautiful Day at Hatcher Pass

After spending much of the summer tethered to the laptop, I was delighted to get out to Hatcher Pass today. It's always gorgeous out there, no matter what the season or weather, but on a beautiful summer day, it was great. Okay, true, a few raindrops, but that just added a special sheen to the lighting, I think.

This photo was taken before you get into the Pass, down near a pull out on the river. As you can see, the blue skies and blue waters cascading over the rocks complimented each other nicely. There's always a roar of sound, too, near the river, which you don't fully appreciate until you move away, but just one of those sounds of nature I love.


You also come to appreciate how tough some trees in Alaska can be. Can you imagine clinging to life in this spot?

Looking back down into Mat-Su Valley from the heights of Hatcher Pass. You're really on a level with the clouds, an odd feeling, but cool

We climbed up the slope with our park service guide (one of the perks of Donna's summer job), and snapped this one at the top. Old mine cars, stilled forever near the mine's entrance.

Hatcher Pass, Part 2

Clouds have rolled in one one side, but simply provided a story book lighting as we climbed up and looked down on the gift shop and out buildings.
This picture gives no clue how high up were are nor the steepness of the slope just to the left. Mat-Su Valley to the rear again, of course.
Had I taken three steps forward, I'd have gone headfirst down a sharp decline that barely shows in this photo. Let's just say, you don't wanna do that.
About the only thing standing was the wall, which had this window I used to frame the mountain beyond.
Independence Mine is a bit of a junk heap, gotta admit. It's tough to see, but this is a waterfall pounding down the hill.

Hatcher Pass, Part 3

Helen and I braved the short entrance to the mine shaft (see the stop sign), thoroughly enjoying the coolness within. A HUGE difference in the temp in there and outside.

This is the end of the tracks that lead out onto the trestle as seen from the hilltop.

At this point, I'm more or less atop the area where I took Helen's photo above.

This is the side view of the trestle shown above.

Little did I know I was not only going to wind up "climbing a mountain," but even scarier, going down one, too. That's Helen in front of me, above, Donna and Mary a part of the tiny group sorta left lower center. That's where the fun started. See the cable stretched down the hill here?

I'm obviously a rotten photographer cos this photo does not show the steepness of the drop, but I was definitely not taking pictures coming down. Instead, I was hanging onto that cable for dear life and using my right hand to balance.

Looking the other way, I was whining that we weren't all the way down even then!

Finally back on something resembling flatness, I turned my attention to the water over the rocks once again. This place is just full of such great sights.

See what I mean?

Taken out the window of Donna's Honda as we headed down, down, down and back toward home again. I love this place!