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A couple of times we got fogged in and had to wait for the weather to improve before we could board our float plane to head out of King Salmon on Alaska's southwestern coast. The fog I am in now, however, is of a different nature.
It is in my head. A part of the jet lag that comes from an all-day air trip through four time zones. Not a terminal ‘brain cloud’ like the one that enveloped the Tom Hanks character in the movie Joe Verses the Volcano, but enough to slow me down the day after our return from two weeks in the Alaskan interior.
As my mother would say, “this too will pass.”
In the weeks that follow, we will revisit parts of that trip and explore what it means to travel with a group in one of the wildest parts of North America. Of course, there were great moments like busing in to the middle of Denali National Park, a 6 million acre expanse of protected land, on the 92 mile gravel road that serves as the park’s only paved access.
We joined the 30% Club on the journey in and out, seeing the largest mountain in North America. You only see this when the weather is clear which also makes it possible to capture iconic views of moose, caribou, grizzly bears and porcupines during the drives.
It was also interesting to ride the Alaskan Railway south from Denali to Talkeetna, the entry point for climbers preparing for Mt. Denali and film site for the classic television series Northern Exposures. A later drive and a stop along the great Turnagain Arm waterway, first seen by European eyes by the discoverer Captain James Cook in the 1700s and site (not on the tour) of the Turnagain Arm Pit Barbeque, introduced us to beluga whales in the wild.
A class four bus trip speeding down a pothole filled gravel road through high grass to a class one rafting trip among glaciers highlighted our subsequent visit to Girdwood. Blaring rock music and a dancing, head shaking Goldie Hawn look-alike standing in the front of the bus confirmed we were ‘not in Kansas anymore.’ A visit to a local Cajun restaurant there by way of local shuttle buses also provided a second opportunity to see the Northern Lights.
To round out the first week, we headed south from Girdwood to the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula, driving on Moose Pass through the Kenai Mountains and past the Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area to Seward. From there it was on a boat to Fox Island, a remote place that would serve as our launching pad by water into the Kenai Fjords National Park.
We will share more in our next posting about our itinerary and the second week into coastal Alaska to see grizzlies in the wild. For now, we leave you with this image of Alaskans and visitors watching belugas in the Turnagain Arm waterway, in the northwestern part of the Gulf of Alaska.
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The venture moola blog comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Find it at readjanus.com. Copyright Clinton Richardson.
Travel, business and history with original photos.
Clinton Richardson - author, photographer, business advisor and traveler.
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