New England Blogs

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Travel Thursday Hatcher Pass Alaska Photos

 Continuing on with the Alaska travel series of photos taken outside of New England, today I am happy to share with you some images taken at Hatcher Pass. Hatcher Pass is a mountain pass through the SW part of the Talkeetna Mountains. The cities of Palmer and Wasilla are approximately 12 miles to the South, and Willow is 26 miles to the West.

The initial drive heading up to the pass..

We headed up to the pass on day 5, in the early evening. I wanted to catch the late day light up there, and it did not disappoint. This area basically can have a few different micro climates, due to the tall mountains and changes in elevation. We were very fortunate to have witnessed some different weather patterns with some areas of rain, some fog, several rainbows, and some blue skies with sun. It's an evening I won't ever forget and I felt as though I was on top of the world.

Before we went all of the way up to the summit, we stopped to photograph the Hatcher Pass Cabins down below.

As we were increasing in elevation, we could see storm clouds to our South with a rainbow forming. I was able to make this dramatic photograph of the amazing sky and mountain tops.

After many switch backs and very steep turns, we made it to the summit. 

We did some walking around up there. There were many hikers, but for the most part, we didn't go far into the trails. The scenery was breathtaking.

Notice the blue car on the right hand side of this next photo as it is rounding one of the curves

As I was looking at some cell phone shots that I took, I noticed I had caught the blue car on it's ascent up the hill. I did not even realize the car was in either of these photos until I started processing them!

Summit Lake at the summit of the pass with beautiful light and shadows.

We got more dramatic skies with rainbows as we made our descent back down to the bottom.

I believe we saw four different rainbows this evening. 

Day 6 will be featured in the next Travel blog post, but in the meantime, I will be out photographing Fall foliage in VT so stayed tuned to some upcoming blog posts featuring VT as well. As always, thank you for viewing!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Travel Tuesday: Eklutna Trailrace, Knik Glacier, Palmer and more Alaska Photos

 Continuing on with the Alaskan travel series, today is another Travel Tuesday post featuring photos taken outside of New England.

Day five we woke up in the Wasilla air b and b cabin and had a full day planned. The weather was great and we had a good rest the night before.

We headed out to do a scenic drive along the Old Glenn Highway in Palmer. The morning fog was thick, but it eventually burned off. Our first stop was at The Eklutna Trailrace. The water here is a gorgeous green blue color, and there were many fisherman along the banks doing their morning fishing.

These two boys reminded me a bit of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn

Our next stop was to view the Knik Glacier. This was the first of many glaciers that we would see on this trip. It was beautiful to see.

We then made out way to The Alaska Glacier Lodge to check out the views there. We were there just at the right time, as the glacial tour helicopters were warming up. We were not there to do a tour, as my fear of heights would prevent me from flying in a helicopter, but I can only imagine how beautiful it must be and such an incredible experience.
We waited and watched for the helicopters to take off and I got a few pictures there as well.

"Into The Great Wide Open"

From here, we drove around the Palmer area, heading to the Alaskan State Fair to arrive at 11am when it opened. Palmer is a beautiful city surrounded by the Chugach Mountains, with Pioneer Peak being a beautiful prominent sight. Here is a photo I took of Pioneer Peak from across the Knik River. I liked the Fall colors that were emerging in the trees and you can really appreciate the enormous size of the mountain in this photo.

And another of the Chugach Mountains taken along the Knik River in Palmer

The Alaska State Fair was fun and crowded. We walked around, did a little shopping at the vendor booths, people watched, and ate our way through the fair including these delicious crab cakes. We wanted to be sure to enjoy all of the Alaskan tastes.

From here, we headed to the nearby Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry in Wasilla. I planned this for Mr S and he really enjoyed it. He loves any and all antiques that have a motor and there was a great selection here.

There were so many old photos and interesting facts to see and learn about the Alaskan history.

There were a lot of outdoor displays as well, including this old Alaskan Railroad train.

President Harding rode in this vehicle during his 1923 visit to Alaska.

As if it wasn't already a fun, yet busy day, we ended this day in a gorgeous place which I will share in the next blog post. 
Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Travel Thursday The Denali Highway in Alaska Photos

 Continuing on with the travel series outside of New England, today will feature day 4 of the recent Alaska trip. We checked out of the Denali Lakeview Inn and began our travel South to an air b and b cabin in Wasilla where we would be spending the next three nights.

The drive South along the Parks Highway was beautiful. This image was taken between the Denali NP exit and Cantwell.

Once we reached Cantwell, we took a left onto the Denali Highway. I find the road names in Alaska to be rather confusing. The road through Denali NP is called the Denali Park Road. The road we turned onto in Cantwell is called the Denali Highway. It has nothing to do with the Denali NP, and for the most part, this is a very isolated dirt road. Heading West from Cantwell, the first three miles were paved and then it became a dirt road. Here are a few images all taken within the first 15 miles on the Denali Highway Road.
It was absolutely beautiful!

walking along one of the trails...

Mr S took this cell phone shot of me. I LOVED this area. It was so desolate and peaceful.

A panorama of one of the little ponds or lakes

We also spotted our first Bald Eagle along this area. It was high in the sky and I didn't have my large telephoto lens ready to go at the time, but was happy to see the first of many Bald Eagles in Alaska.

The Denali Highway heads West from Cantwell for 135 miles to Paxson Alaska. As I mentioned, we only scratched the surface and drove 15 miles on this road, and then turned around to get back on the Parks Highway and head to our air b and b cabin in Wasilla. If I ever get to Alaska again, I would want to drive this road in it's entirety. 

Once we got back on the Parks Highway to head to Wasilla, the rain came and didn't stop for the rest of the day. We stopped for a delicious lunch at The Sheep Creek Lodge in Willow. We were tired by the time we got to the cabin in Wasilla, around 3pm,  and stayed in for the rest of the rainy day. We were fortunate to have a rain free morning wandering the Denali Highway.

Stay tuned for Day 5 details and photos.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Words For Wednesday (Travel edition Alaska Photography)


"John Mair, the famous naturalist, wrote in his journal that you should never go to Alaska as a young man because you will never be satisfied with any other place as long as you live. And there's a lot of truth to that."
------------Tom Bodett

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Travel Tuesday Alaska Day 3 Denali National Park

Continuing along with the Alaska travel series, day 3 was a fantastic day. We woke up to sunny skies, and Mama moose made another appearance, but this time she brought the twins with her. These two pictures were taken from the balcony of our room at Lakeview Inn in Healy AK.

At 8:30 am we did an ATV tour from Denali ATV Adventures located in Healy AK. The tour does not go through Denali NP, but it goes through rugged terrain and trails just outside of the park. It was fun and the Fall colors were just starting.

We then had a 2:30 bus tour at Denali National Park. The park is still closed at mile 43 due to a landslide, so it was a 5 1/2 hour tour. We chose to do the Denali Transit bus, and our driver was fantastic. She stopped at every wildlife sighting, and she did a great job narrating the tour.

My main goal for this trip was to see the Fall colors. The Fall colors in Alaska are different from the Fall colors here in New England. In Alaska, the tundra changes to some beautiful reds and golds, vs here in New England we have all of the colorful maple trees.

 The first 15 miles or so travelling into the park there were some Fall colors just beginning to come through. Gradually, the colors were turning a gorgeous pastel color, something I had never seen before. You can see the colors in this moose photo that I took.

 The further we went into the park and into higher elevations, the colors came on stronger. 

We were fortunate to see a lot of wildlife. Here is a photo of a Grizzly Bear that the bus driver spotted. It was the first Grizzly I had ever seen. It was so far away, it almost looked like a brown dot in the landscape as you can see in this next photo, but I love the colors of the tundra.

The next Grizzly that we saw put on quite a show for us. We were told that it's unusual to be able to see a Grizzly sitting and relaxing this time of year, as typically, their nose would be to the ground foraging for food to prepare for the long Winter. He looked like an adorable teddy bear.

He walked around for a bit, and then sat down again to scratch an itch.

We saw more Grizzlies...... A female with her two cubs.. It was difficult for me to position myself to get photos of the two babies, but I was able to capture one photo with Mama and one cub.

We then stopped to see another Grizzly Bear who was foraging for food.

Then, walking uphill.

It was one of my favorite days of the trip.....a beautiful sunny day full of fun and adventure. I don't think I can pick only one favorite day, though. 

Stay tuned for day four.