Sunday, March 21, 2010

Random Sunday Shots from the Mat-Su Valley

For the most part these were all snapped quickly, without much thought, out of a moving vehicle today so I won't claim they're great photos. On the other hand, these quick shots often give a glimpse of Alaska that I'm not so sure we always share, the quirky and quick glimpse that makes you go "Wow!" or "What the....?" Enjoy this glimpse into my real world, not my always photo pretty one. The shot above, btw, was taken on the way to Palmer.
A blurred focus shot that recalls "Old Mat-Su" alongside Palmer-Wasilla Highway.

This is one of my "look mom, no look" shots where I just sorta point the camera and click without looking through the viewfinder. Doesn't always work, gotta admit, but in this case caught a glimpse of, no lie, the Matanuska River as we crossed the bridge and were heading toward Butte.

Another "no look" shot of the Matanuska River. Honest, it's under all the snow and ice somewhere.

A glimpse of antlers....

Some of the cemetaries have lovely entrance-gates.

No offense to artist Jon VanZyle, but for some reason something about this shot out a house window made me think of a framed VanZyle print with the window providing a bit of frame. Note the snow overhang off a metal roof.

I love the ol' style sign at this place in Butte.

Okay, sigh, not every place in Alaska is always as scenic as we'd like.

Taken outside the hotel in Palmer where we stopped for lunch.

I would so much prefer to see this wonderful creature running free in the wild.

I'd love to see this one in the wild, too, not stuffed in a lobby, but, okay, from a distance. Even tho' he's not that big a guy, those claws are fearsome!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Views

Actually, this was from Monday night. The view out my living room window.

Looking north on Wasilla-Fishhook Road.

View from Idita-Park

Looking south toward Chugach Mts.

Looking north toward Talkeetas.

The spruce tree over my house

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hatcher Pass Scenery Along the Way video

This clip was shot at one of the pull overs as we began to drive into the Hatcher Pass area. At this point we still didn't know how far we'd be able to get, so we were taking advantage of the pull-overs that had been cleared and just taking in the scenery. This one was shot from a popular take-off area for snow-boarders who, in a separate clip, Kathy talked to and filmed. She has it on Facebook.

Hatcher Pass, Gold Mint Trail Parking View video

A short clip filmed in the parking area just past the MotherLode Lodge in the Gold Mint Trail parking area. From here is where you start doing some serious climbing upward as you drive toward the mine area, but still pretty darn impressive, too.

Hatcher Pass Lodge area -- A Video Look

Kathy Mattes and I headed out to Hatcher Pass on Friday, not quite knowing how far we'd be able to get due to the recent snows. It's an avalanche area, so they often close the roads to traffic. As it turned out, yipee, we were able to get all the way up the Hatcher Pass Lodge area just below the Independence Mine, which is as far as you can get in the winter anyway. The road from there on up to the mine is nothing but snow, lots and lots of snow, but at least she got to see it from afar. This particular video clip, narrated in my best tour guide voice, was actually taken from down lower, tho', just as you make the turn that reveals that area to you from down the mountain. Enjoy the view! It was spectacular!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Picture Postcard Kinda Day at Hatcher Pass

As many shots as I have of Hatcher and this pull-over by the Little Su, you'd think this would get old, but it doesn't. Views like this brought me to Alaska and I still treasure every viewing. BTW, the Little Su is under that snow you see, tho' you can see part of it in that big hole.

Close up view of the layers of snow above the water where a hole has formed on the Little Su.

I was back on the viewing platform, shooting back along the narrow path someone had stomped out. It was maybe two boot widths wide. As Kathy found out, if you stepped off the path, however, it was deep, very deep. maybe almost thigh deep. She didn't spill her coffee, I will note, tho' I had to pull her out and thus missed a great photo opportunity. For some strange reason she wasn't interested in recreating it so I could video tape, however. Wonder why?

Snow covered rocks

Some folks were prepping to go snowboarding. We got them on video, heck, we took lots of video that I'll try to upload soon, but this part is up on Kathy (Mattes) Facebook page.

Taken from the Gold Mint Trail parking lot, looking up the road we were about to take. Some folks were out here yesterday and couldn't get very far up, so we lucked out. I honestly kept expecting to hit the closed gates but we got all the way up to the Lodge! We have video from here.

Here we were at the best overlook for a view down into the Mat-Su Valley. I think Kathy was filming here, so look for this clip soon, too. I told her she needed to record to capture her first comments on the view, which is pretty darn awesome.

Just sorta clicking randomly....

That's Kathy left, trying to take it all in. This was her first trip up to Hatcher Pass which, as any regular blog readers know, is like a trip to heaven for me and a frequent jaunt.

That's Kathy again, right, and our view.

I shot and narrated with my best tour guide voice some video from about here as we looked up toward Hatcher Lodge, sorta center and down, and beyond it, Independence Mine.

We'd made out way up to the parking lot just past the Lodge and after getting some shots and video of the mine area from a bit closer, were beginning to hear the call of Hatcher Lodge for lunch. Mat-Su Valley can be seen in a bit of a haze in the distance on the left.

You know, if I had one of these, I wouldn't have to wait on the street plow to go past.

I think these were snow machine tracks, tho' might be some ski and snow board tracks tossed in there.

My artsy moment of the day, from inside the restaurant at Hatcher Lodge looking out past the flowers to the snowy mountains.

I also had a cat moment at lunch. Blackie decided he really, really liked me and even followed me back to the table.

Looking toward the Valley. I must have shot this one from just outside the Lodge after lunch.
Smoke coming out of the chimney of the Lodge.

This may look like a road to you and, okay, it summer months .... but those are actually snow machine tracks going up Willow-Fishhook Road.

Unless you've got a vehicle that jumps huge piles of snow and gates, you can't get onto Willow-Fishhook from this end. Heck, it often doesn't open up until June, so lots of time for snow machiners to have fun.

Just a random shot taken while driving back down outta the area.

Gotta love our Alaskan skies. When they want to impress, they sure kow how to impress those of us petty mortals who visit.

Yes, that's an avalanche warning sign, one of many you'll see on the drive to Hatcher. Snow conditions are monitored and the gates we passed through today may very well be shut tomorrow depending on what the snow and weather conditions do tonight.

Not so scenic, true, but this is the wet, dirty gunk that was coming off the bottom of the car when we got home.

Home Sweet Home

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Moose in the Front Yard

Kathy was still visiting and we were just about to head out the door to meet up with Pat Schue and her sister Joan when, "Moose alert!" I had turned around to turn off the computer and spied this youngster out the front window.

Betty, that is NOT your spruce tree Jr. is eating. It's the birch closer to the end of the driveway. Ha

Ah, here's mama. She seemed pretty oblivious to Jr., gotta admit.

We were on moose alert, but so were the moose. She's watching a neighborhood dog here and in the next picture.

Fortunately the dog seemed clueless that there was a moose within a hundred miles and just kept trotting down the road, but she was watching it.

She hadn't forgotten that Kathy and I were out there, either. She was checking us out for danger levels. Fortunately, we obviously ranked low as they were still there munching on my birch trees when we pulled out to go to dinner.

" Speaking of dinner," says Mama....