Jeff and Darla to Alaska

July 14-20, 2017

We drove Jeff and Darla to the New Orleans Airport for a flight that was supposed to leave at 6:30pm. But a thunderstorm came by and a potent bolt of lightning struck the runway with enough power to blow a pothole in the runway. So they were a little over an hour late in leaving, which made them miss their connecting flight to Anchorage from Seattle. Alaska Airlines put them up in a hotel and sent them out the next morning. One advantage to that is that they went into Anchorage in daylight and got views of the snowy mountains on the way in.

Maybe the delay wasn't so bad when you can get views like this going into Anchorage.

Closer to the Anchorage Airport they saw these large wind turbines on an island in the Cook Inlet.

Sunday, July 16

On Sunday they drove around the Turnagain Arm from Anchorage and down to the Kenai Peninsula. They stopped on the way at McHugh Creek and found themselves in a green wilderness. They also stopped at Falls Creek.

This squirrel just popped up in front of them, and then disappeared just as rapidly.

They were surprised at how small the squirrels were.

This appears to be on the property of Grizzly Ridge, next to the Kenai River.

They drove on down to the Kenai Peninsula and had reserved a cabin at Grizzly Ridge where Ashleigh was staying. Grizzly Ridge is near Coopers Landing. Their cabin was the one to the right of where Darla is standing.

The cabin was alongside the Kenai River. With the bunk beds it was designed to sleep up to six persons.

Darla by the Kenai River which is just below the cabins. It connects to the long Kenai Lake.

Jeff and Darla took a hike near Grizzly Ridge and were amazed at the number of these remarkable mushrooms.

This is a view across the Kenai River to Grizzly Ridge and includes the cabin they were staying in. You can see the grassy area below the cabins where the river picture above was taken.

Darla with a more open view across the Kenai River to Grizzly Ridge.

They catch up with Ashleigh at Grizzly Ridge. Ashleigh is staying at Grizzly Ridge and working for Sacketts about two miles up the road.

Jeff with this great view of the location of Grizzly Ridge. These are shot from the vicinity of the Princess Lodge which catered to busloads of folks from the Princess Tours.

Monday, July 17

On Monday afternoon they headed out for Homer. I understand that this was along the Cook Inlet on the way. Ashleigh was keen on driving around since she had not had a car with which to explore.

Rock skipping in the surf was one of their chosen forms of recreation.

They reached Homer close to 7pm, but that left them with a lot of daylight. Most of the buildings of Homer are along the narrow strip of land they call "the Spit". The tide is mostly out, but there area always fishing boats on the move in and out of Homer.

Ashleigh with Jeff at the busy Homer Marina. Homer is a major fishing port, particularly for halibut fishing.

Most of their time was spent exploring, skipping rocks, and such .. but it looks like Darla and Ashleigh did get a little time for shopping.

I certainly think of Homer as mostly famous for fishing from boats, but the fishing from shore must be pretty good too, judging from the number of people who are trying it.

Jeff and Ashleigh in front of the Mt. Redoubt Baptist Church, which Jeff, Brenda and Rod worked on during their mission trips in 1991 and 1992.

Jeff, Darla and Ashleigh made this visit there a little after 10pm!

They walked across the road for a look at the Cook Inlet. This slightly west of north view is about in the direction of Mt. Spurr, which we saw erupt when we were there in 1992.

Ashleigh and Jeff on the bank of the Cook Inlet across from the church.

Tuesday, July 18

They made the trip to Seward on Tuesday for the Kenai Fjords boat tour. This is a panoramic view of the Marina at Seward. About 3pm.

They headed out onto a cloudy sea, but on a boat big enough to provide some shelter when needed.

But if you're going to stay outside on deck, you need some coffee!

Above is a view of Seward as they headed out.

The intense greens of the sea and the landscape come through even in the mist and rain.

Several bald eagles were seen.

Ashleigh on deck as they head out into the Kenai Fjords. The Fjords are deep and steep-walled so the boats can nose right up to the rocks.

The day was cool and misty, so they kept their rain gear on.

Jeff and Ashleigh on deck.

Hard to see how that sea lion got up on that rock. Also hard to see why he's want to hang out with those messy seagulls.


Thousands of birds inhabit the rocks of the Kenai Fjords.

Ashleigh and Darla on deck with the necessary raingear.

They saw puffins up on the steep rough rock walls, and caught a glimpse of two mountain goats which they were told were rare in this area.

These sea lions were just hanging out on this rock. Certainly doesn't look very comfortable, and on a cold, rainy day like this they weren't getting much sun!

Jeff and Ashleigh on deck in rain gear as their boat and a couple of others cruise around in the area where whales had been sighted.

They did get some reasonably close views of a feeding whale.

Upon their return from the Kenai Fjords tour, they drove a short distance from Seward to the walking trail to Exit Glacier.

Wednesday, July 19

Jeff, Ashleigh and Darla beside the Kenai River behind Grizzly Ridge.

Ashleigh prepares to load her bicycle into the rental car. Jeff and Darla dropped her off at work before they headed for Anchorage. She normally rode her bike the two miles to work.

This is Ashleigh's work location. It is about two miles from Grizzly Ridge in the direction of Homer and she typically rides a bicycle to work. One of the ideas of the mission effort is to put Christian young people in needed summer help positions to bear witness to the community.

This is a closer view of Grizzly Ridge.

Above is Grizzly Ridge from the front. You can see that it is right on the highway. Jeff and Darla's cabin is behind this front row. Ashleigh is staying in the building at the right in the picture. In fact, she and other girls are staying on the lower level and some boys are staying on the top level, as I understood it.

Across the street are two other buildings which belong to the same property owner as I understood it.
At left is a view of Cooper's Landing from the top of the mountain. Traveling left (west) and crossing the bridge leads you quickly to Grizzly Ridge.

Saying goodbye to Ashleigh,Jeff and Darla started their drive back toward Anchorage. Rounding the Turnagain Arm, they stopped at an inviting hiking spot. When you are low in the valley, there are rushing rivers from the snowmelt.

Note the tiny snowmelt streams coming down the mountain. There will also be a melt stream at the bottom of that snow path. All these sources together produce some dramatic rivers.

Near the Turnagain Arm, they hiked out on an inviting trail near a stream and a glacier.

The rushing streams are beautiful. Fed by snowmelt at this time of year, they rush down the mountainside.

Jeff on the path upward beside the end of a glacier. Note the milky look of the stream coming out from under the glacial ice. It has a load of silt from the grinding of the glacier.

It certainly looks like Darla is in an Alaskan wilderness! They hiked out on the Byron Glacier Trail near Turnagain Arm.

Darla is out on the glacier. Notice the faint hint of blue in the distant ice on the slope.

You can certainly pick out Jeff on the glacier. They accumulated enough evidence to convince you that they made a trip to Alaska.

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