Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm wild about wildlife!

I'm here in a remote part of Alaska and I have a WiFi connection, I'm loving this! It's Friday night....nearly midnight and it's still so incredibly light outside! It won't get dark until probably 2:00 AM here! How cool, the days are long and I feel more energetic.

We flew from Juneau to Anchorage on Tuesday (even that was a spectacular view):

and rented a car and drove south for 2 hours to Seward via the incredibly scenic Seward Highway, a US National Scenic Byway on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska:


We visited Kenai Fjords National Park, both by boat tour and then a land hike to see Exit Glacier, up-close (brrrr.....):

The boat tour through Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska was thrilling, wow, we saw so much wildlife! Sea otters, humpback whales, orcas, steller sea lions, puffins......just too awesome! It was so cold out on deck, but I was out there snapping photos anyway even as I turned into a human popsicle.....I didn't care, it was so worth it.

(awww.....)

The orcas were a real treat; the pod was especially playful and inquisitive....they came right up to, and swam under, our boat!


And the boat tour company participates in the Denali Green Tags program, which gave us the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint left by our boat trip and support renewable energy. So, we toured green!

Seward is also home to the 2004 champion of the Ididarod race, and he has opened his facility for tours and to meet the dogs. Of course, we just had to go! For the "summer version" of a dogsled ride, they hook up a dog team to a wheeled cart for an "Ididaride".....and you really get a feel for the power of the dogs. Wow, they sure do love to run!

Then came the really fun part: you get to pet the dogs and play with some of the up-and-coming champions.....the puppies! So adorable, as you can imagine.....and they made us miss Buddy & Aruba even more!


the pup I'm holding has one blue eye, one brown eye:

and this pup sure wanted to give me a kiss:

Afterwards, they gave a demonstration of the arctic gear that the mushers and the dogs wear (including paw booties) out on the 1,000 mile Ididarod trail every March. Most races last 9 days or so, at temps as low as 60 degrees F below zero. Brutal!

We left the quaint town of Seward after a couple of days and returned to Anchorage for one night. From there, we headed north on the Alaska Railroad for an amazing ride to our next destination.....I'll leave it as a surprise until I blog about it soon. Hint: in the interim, I'll let you "wonder" where we are.....

P.S. ~ The trash cans and recycling bins in Alaska are all designed to be "bear-proof":


I love knowing that you're joining us on our Alaskan journey, and I'll meet you back here soon! Enjoy the weekend.....

3 comments:

Rob H said...

Susan,

What a great story.

I'm Rob Harmon and I work with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. We provide the Green Tags to the Denali Green Tags program so I got a Google Alert when you mentioned it. Otherwise I might not have found your fabulous story!

Anyway, my wife and I have been thinking about a trip just like yours for a few years now. Would you be willing to share a bit of information about the planning process? Is it an organized tour, or did you put it together yourselves?

Thanks. I hope you have a blast.

Rob

ps - The puppies are adorable.

Susan Lepore said...

Hello Rob and thanks so much for your comment! I would love to share the details of our Alaska trip. Yes, I planned it all myself, we're traveling completely independent....no cruise, no tour groups. It's a great way to experience Alaska!

If you're checking back on this comment log, please send your e-mail to me at susanandsal@aol.com and I'll compile our itinerary details for you shortly after we return home. Otherwise, I noticed online that you're with the Puget Sound office of BEF, and I can call you (I didn't see your business e-mail?) there (briefly) if I don't hear back from you here on my blog.

Love the Green Tags program!

Take care,
Susan

perilloparodies said...

Wow, you guys look like you are having a blast. Glad. and how cute are those puppies!!!love from all of us... oh, check update on Dario on blog when you can. love ya!