Monday, October 08, 2012

Alaska Travelog: Sunday Sept 23

Sunday morning September 23.
Remember the photograph from a few posts back when I pointed out that the river was rising?

The first day I was surprised to see the water lapping over the bottom two steps.
Now...well, the stairs are completely underwater.
And the river is still rising.

And it is still raining.
That doesn't stop Bernie for wanting a crack at fishing the Russian River.
We gear up and start to drive the less than ten minute journey over to the river.
On the way we passed this scene. We had driven this stretch of road probably a half dozen times; neither of us recalled there being a pond this size front of this little cabin.
I thought it was a pretty reflection so I asked if we could stop and take a picture.
As I was shooting a truck with a man and a woman pulled up beside me.
They were locals and were returning from church where everyone was praying for the rain to stop and that the flooding would stop.
Apparently this "pond" was newly created by the weather.

I told them we would be praying too....

As visitors to the area it was not as apparent to us that the rain was causing problems.
All we saw was the pretty fall colors all around us.

We stopped to pick up some sandwiches and this now favorite cookie bar for later on.
(Shortbread cookie bottom with a praline topping filled with salted almonds and two kinds of chocolate chips.)

You should know the drill by now:
Bernie fished, I took pictures.

(Is that nodule on the heart shaped leaves a gall or ???)

The gulls were drifting rapidly down the river, faster than the last times I was here.

Got to wondering if God put the red dot on the gull's bill to mimic salmon eggs.
The fish might see the "egg" and swim right into the gull's mouth!

Now I have seen more than my share of gulls growing up three blocks for the beach in San Diego.
I had never seen a gull perching on a tree before.
There is something new to see every day it seems.

I hadn't seen this kind of moss or leaf or ??? growing on tree trunks before this trip.

Bernie wading in...

There's a reason he wears chest high waders.
He didn't catch anything.
At this point the river was running so fast that the fish were hunkering down and not rising to eat.

I amused myself easily by just looking down and all around me.
Mini landscapes like this one are a delight to my eyes.

Serious...can you believe all those colors around the beige mushroom?


I should have kept count of all the mushroom varieties I saw.

These mushrooms were the size of a small shirt button.

This mushroom, on the other hand...

Was bigger than Bernie's hand!

The foamy white moss was probably my favorite thing to photograph up close for a while.

Such sweet beauty that will soon be covered under yards of snow.
Bernie had a chance to chat with some of the locals fishing along side him.
I had mentioned that I would love to see a bear in the wild while I was in Alaska.
We were told to go back to the Skilak area where we were the day before.
Bears, we were promised, are everywhere in that area around dusk.

Ok then!
Back we go!

On this drive through the area I noticed a small meadow with lots of mushrooms.

Love the twisty black edge on that middle mushroom

Such delicate colors shading downward.

To give you an idea of what I saw from the car which made me ask Bernie to pull over so I could take pictures of mushrooms!
He is such a good sport.

We really didn't see many birds.
I did see this kind of bird three times though and never did get a really good picture of it.

We stopped at a lot of the same places we had stopped at the day before.
They just keep getting more golden yellow.

There were many lakes or coves to fish.
One lake was called Engineer Lake.
Or was it Mechanic Lake?
Something like that.

No bites but he is still a happy fellow.

I was still fascinated by the birch trees peeling trunks.

Still no bears, but I made sure to keep pretty close to the car and to Bernie while I was looking around.

This is what I kind of thought Alaska might look like...snow capped mountains and dense forests.

Gravel roads lined with yellow leaves...that part I hadn't sketched in my mind before this trip.
And as for seeing a bear in the wild?
No luck.

As we headed back Bernie wanted to pull into the Chugach National Forest area where the drift boat launches.


I had stood right there in front of those signs just a few days ago.

Life preservers used to hang from the hooks next to the sign that instructed parents to make sure their children wear life preservers around the river.
Right about now I think the warning should read:  "Get your kids OUTTA here...right now!"

Back at the Lodge I took another look at the steps.
The water was now lapping onto the little landing area. 

Trees were ankle deep in water.

Someone involved with the Lodge was a clever bird house builder.
I couldn't miss taking pictures of these bird cabins.

I think we went out for chili and pie that night.
Or maybe we just did a raid on our cabin's refrigerator to finish up the groceries we had purchased for our stay.
Funny...I really don't recall.
We had extend our stay at Drifter's Lodge one additional night; originally we had planned to get a hotel room in Anchorage for Sunday night and we were to fly out from there late on Monday.
Our last "drift" had been postponed in hopes of improving weather so we decided to stay at the lodge on Sunday night and drift on Monday.
The cabin we were staying in had been booked for Sunday night so we had to packed up and move one cabin over in order to stay the night.
That worked well actually as we would leave to drift around 7 am and our check out time would occur while we were on the river.
A bit of a bother to pack up and move, but not too bad really.
Early to bed we time would come early tomorrow!

To be continued...