Monday, June 23, 2014

Return to the North

Karen and I share a common bond -- one of many that drew us together some 35ish years ago.  We both love the north, especially wild places in the north -- places where as far as you can see in any direction there’s not a sign revealing the imprint of the hand of man.  It truly gives both of us a natural high.

            Wild as far as we can see in any direction!  Roadside view along the Yukon's portion of the Alaska Highway.

We gave ourselves a three week high this spring -- a late May/early June road trip north -- the Yukon and Alaska.  We never got any further from Petersburg than Wasilla, AK so left plenty of room for reruns.  We put something over 2300 miles on our Mazda Tribute plus a couple of hundred miles each way on a ferry just traveling from one part of Alaska to another.  Since it’s about 700 miles from our mainland ferry landing at Haines, Alaska, to Wasilla, I figure we covered about 900 miles side tripping -- a drive to Talkeetna plus lots of miles in search of photo ops -- critters from bears to moose, caribou and all manner of rodents, particularly porcupines and ground squirrels.  Yes, Karen will drive miles just to commune with a squirrel.

                                       "Hey, it's Karen!"  Arctic ground squirrels, Denali Highway, Alaska

Of course we both packed our paints.  Karen’s never saw the light of day.  Mine didn’t do much better.  Eventually, after painting a couple of dumpster stuffers, I decided to focus on chasing photos for future studio paintings, and the joy of finding those subjects.  Thus we drove pretty slow, but with little traffic we just pulled over to let other travelers pass.  You can’t do that on a mainland interstate.

During the ensuing weeks we’ll share some of our photos from our latest adventure.  It’s already fun reliving the trip.  Here’s a primer:

                                              The ultimate lure:  Karen with David and Tamia in Wasilla

                                                        "Er, Karen, Are you sure that's a squirrel?"

                                                                "And, are you sure that's just a stump?"

                                                 "What was that sound?"  Trumpeter swan, Yukon

            "You mean we traveled all this distance just to take a picture of a bug on a dandelion?"  Swallowtail butterfly

The sight of a flower triggers the kind of Pavlovian response in Karen as the word "bakery" in a storefront window does to Don.

                              It doesn't look like Karen's porcupine friend has been flossing his teeth regularly.

Now isn't Memorial Day supposed to be warm and sunny -- a chance to head out for a picnic?   Denali Highway, Alaska

                           If perchance Don would look up he might notice something -- like maybe a willow ptarmigan.

       Yes, it's fun recounting this trip in the rear-view mirror of our camera lenses.  We'll share more in the near future.

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