Thursday, October 04, 2012

Alaska Travelog: The afternoon after fishing.

 After our half day drift boat fishing trip we decided to go exploring.
A trip over to Seward?
In the rain?
(We are staying in Coopers Landing...heading to Seward,)


Our little SUV rental car.
We got a free upgrade!
Four wheel drive!

That dark patch looked like a shadow but it actually was forest.

The drive to Seward probably would take a lot less time if one didn't need to stop at just about every wide spot in the road to take another picture.
I was a huge fan of the patch work quilt like colors on the mountains.

Traffic was light thank goodness.
It made those road side shots a lot more easy to manage.

But sometimes I still shot from the window as we zoomed along, like I did in this shot.
(Tip for shooting in motion: Use your camera's sports or burst setting.)

Not sure why fish can not be seen except in these two months?
(OK...that refers to when the salmon are spawning...I think...)
We thought we would take a look-see.

Looks like a nice little well used path...

I got into macro shots of the various ferns and micro plants that were like a carpet beneath my feet.

Doesn't this look like something that should be seen under tropical waters?
Nothing in this pictures was bigger than the tip of my thumb by the way.

The peeling patterns of the birch bark fascinated me.
Remember...I grew up with palm trees.
Deciduous trees are a new experience in my life.

At one point along the path the forest floor was carpeted in this beautiful tiny plant that sported an array of autumn colors.

The fern had turned pale and nearly white, which looked very nice against the brown decaying leaf mulch.
Now that's what I call a pretty forest path!
At the end was a small platform overlooking a rather ordinary stream with zero fish.
Oh well. 

From the cuts in the mountains that were made to clear a way for road construction we knew that there was precious little top soil in this forest; the trees were growing on basically solid rock.
No wonder the roots were growing almost above the ground.

Anyone who has read my blog over the years knows I have a fixation on mushrooms and fungi.
Isn't it pretty and interesting looking growing on this stump?

A close up...

The moss on this stump was growing around something (mold?) that was blue green with pink spots.

Kind of love the bony look of the roots atop the soil.
We didn't linger very long in the forest.
Back to our car...

And still more gorgeous fall scenery.

Traffic is picking up...must be getting closer to Seward.

I will say that as much as I was ga-ga over the yellow cottonwood and birch stands, I missed the multicolor forests of Utah.
Eventually some reds popped up along the way.

Now I did mention that it was raining.
Seriously raining at this point.
Check out what is going on along side the road.
Flooding in the forests...

And flooding in civilization too.
 Were we going to be able to make it to Seward?

There were road sign guys holding signs so travel could only happen one side of the street at a time.

Double hmmmm....

This was looking pretty bad.

Everywhere we looked there was ponding.

Over us the mountains play a colorful game of peek-a-boo through the misty clouds

Well, we made it Seward!

Houses clung to edges of cliffs that didn't look all that stable to me.
Pretty houses and they must have a fabulous view on clear days.

So here we are in downtown historic Seward.
Not terribly different than a lot of other historic areas of towns in San Diego.
We parked in front of this very cool door that went into a book store on our way to grab a cup of coffee next door.
(Thought of you Sara W.!)

Love the colorful names that they have given coffee and teas in this seaside coffee shop.
I stuck with hot chocolate but was tempted to try the Black Jack.
It had been about an hour on the road by this point so I asked to use the rest room.

Now there's something you don't usually see in a coffee shop bathroom.
I just saw the toilet plunger next to the organ...hee hee.
(Yes, that is a toilet in the low left of this picture and a baby changing table next to the organ. Just so you know, I just "went" and left, not trusting my piano keyboarding to be useful on a vintage organ.)

Back outside I spotted another great door, and roof too.

Wonder if this door was locally crafted?

In the driving rain we drove (Har!) around the area.
This was right across from the Cruise ship harbor.
Some kind of museum/cultural center or something.

Quite dreary.

Looking the other way.
Still dreary.

Some kind of monument being visited by crows.

Must be a great place to hang out on a drier day. 

What's this?
So this is where the Iditarod starts!

And in case anyone has forgotten, Seward was destroyed by 20 ft high tidal waves, six waves total, following immediately after the 9.2 earthquake that struck on Good Friday, 1964.
The signs are a constant reminder to everyone.

Mile 0 point of the Iditarod is right here.
Sure looks a lot different without snow doesn't it?

I will give it to Seward: they have some really fun building embellishments.

An old white clapboard houses with a great combo of red and blue green trim caught my eye as we drove through the little residential area.

There is just something about how the mountains frame Seward that I liked.

It had a busy boat harbor of course. 

I liked this Irish looking cottage too...

While I was sighing at all the cute houses Bernie was starting to wonder if the road flooding might strand us in Seward over night.

We got through the flooded road...whew!
The flooding really was bad though.

The next day we read that Seward had declared a state of emergency.

They got 30+ inches of rain in September and qualified for State and Federal Disaster funds.
The entire Kenai area suffered from uncommon hurricane winds and flooding rains during the month.

The calmness of the inlets denied anything major was happening inland.

Fall beauty shone despite the weather.

We got home to Coopers Landing and Bernie cooked up the trout he had caught the day before on the outside grill.
Just red onions, salt, pepper and a dab of butter, and the fish all wrapped in foil.
A salad, some fruit and a glass of wine completed the menu.
Alex stopped by to say hi and was pleased to see that we actually cooked and ate the fish.
Apparently people keep fish but then don't get around to cooking them!
We were to go fishing again the next day but the waters were rising and the weather was to be crummy so he suggested moving our next "drift" back a few days.
He didn't get any arguments out of us!
A day lazing about in bed, reading and exploring a bit sounded perfect to us at that point.

To be continued....


Lovella ♥ said...

I missed seeing the first 10 photos due to the retched X. After that though...the beautiful coloring of the trees and the flooding photos came through just fine.
It looks like such a wonderful adventure. It sounds positively wonderful to spend a day in bed without being sick.

ellen b. said...

Wowzers...that's some serious flooding. I'm glad you made it in and out and I didn't hear about you on the news!! Love the doors and the building art.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Love the colour on those trees...even through the rain. We were in Seward in July of 1999...and it was high and dry then. We caught salmon off the shore...and grilled it for dinner. Great memories. Did you visit Denali?

(I got the wretched X's instead of the first batch of photos as well.)

Brian & Charlotte Carper said...

I was aghast when I saw you were going over to Seward. The day before, I had posted a scary news video of the flooding in Seward and had assured Barbara and Hal that you guys weren't anywhere near that flooding and were perfectly safe.
I think they make their buildings so interesting over there because the number of dreary days they have far out weigh their sunny days.

Vee said...

Wow. That looked like quite an adventure. Yikes. It certainly is rugged beauty. How cool to see where the Iditarod begins. I was surprised by the beauty of so many of the homes. I confess. When I think of Alaska, I do not think of modern cities and shopping areas and lovely homes. You're changing that for me.

Sara said...

Wow, how did I miss this post? Thank you for the amazing doors...there are some very clever and artistic people in Alaska, evidently. Love the bookish one, and the whale tale one too. Also, that mermaid on the side of the house. And the piano on the powder room! I'm glad you didn't get washed away in the flood.