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Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Alaskan sojourn, part 1...

Summertime. That means opportunities for a change of scenery. I just returned from nearly 10 days on the Kenai Peninsula/Anchorage area of Alaska. We lucked out with rare sunny days the first 4 we were there, yet still cool enough to don the lightweight fleece. Aaahhhhh......such relief from the hot, hot monsoonal days of my desert.


On one of those sunny days, we explored some trails along the Hatcher Pass near Wasilla where we were staying with friends for the first 1/3 of our trip. The expanses in Alaska always amaze me. You could be in a community one minute and a bit farther down the road the universe opens up with nothing but massive snow tainted mountains and valleys and passes as far as your eyes can make out the horizon...













This was my second trip to this part of Alaska. Actually, my first to the region just 50 miles north of Anchorage but my second trip to this part of the state. Luckily, we have friends scattered all over which makes it fun to explore from an insider's point of view. I've always enjoyed getting to know the places I visit from the perspective of its inhabitants....a much more intimate feel of the landscape and culture for me. Several other friends were visiting this great part of our country as well but they chose the 'cruise' route - taking a ship up to the inside passage from either San Francisco or Seattle/Vancouver. It seems Alaska was the place to be this summer....


There was a cool lodge and cafe at the summit of the pass. This was our view from our warming up-lunch spot.  A pot bellied stove was burning away - taking the chill out of the mountain air.










A view of the parking lot and trails near Summit Lake at Hatcher Pass...the snow patches were quite deep..... Did you know that Alaska alone has more than 3 million lakes?



We liked the Hatcher Pass area so much, we braved the bumpy, steep gravely road in our economy rental car 2 days in a row to explore. On this particular day, there were several paragliders silently hovering over our heads and guiding the ridge lift to take them along the mountain edges and sweeping along the valley below us to glide back and land softly right where they jumped off. If you look carefully on the bottom right near the dirt road, you'll see a fingernail view of a paraglider hugging the edge of the lower hill along the lake. This seemed to be a favorite recreational area of those living in Wasilla and Anchorage as the parking lot was fairly full with picnickers, hikers, paragliders, and mountain bikers scattered all over the hills.  The lake was ice cold and crystal clear. There were no power lines to distract you. No tacky billboards. No traffic or noise to clutter your head. Just a manmade road, some well worn trails, and limitless views in all directions....




























I have so many additional shots of our trip and diverse experiences we had during our stay. Stay tuned for a few tidbits more of our largest state - very well the last American frontier. Alaska was officially proclaimed a state by the United States Congress just 10 days before my birth. It is a fascinating place....

All images 2012 ©Diana Shay Diehl