Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On The Way To Valdez

The village of Talkeetna starts at the only intersection in town and ends about a block later. Still, there is lots of cute and clever things to see along the stroll down Main Street. Why at the intersection alone there’s a building that houses the liquor store, the grocery store, the general store, the town bar, the visitors center, a guide service and the flight taxi. You can get an espresso as well if you like! There’s even an ATM upstairs if you need it.
Down at the end of Main Street, trade your shopping bag for the fishing rod and have a go for early run King (Chinook) Salmon. One had been caught he day before we gave it a try, but, alas, poor fishermen, no nibbles on this day- although we did see one swim on by in defiance!

Heading back through town to the campground we stopped to enjoy the “decorated moose” contest. Very much like the annual “Lobster Decoration Contest” in Rockland, Maine, for festival, here they do up a wooden moose. Visitors can vote for the business that has embellished the best moose of the season.

Yet again, the blessings bestowed upon us by Denali on a clear day gave representation to the reason why many never see it as the clouds and rain rolled right back on in. Once you’ve seen the mountain, you cannot decry the deteriorated weather, especially when a double rainbow reminds you of your previous good fortune.

Headed out of Talkeetna and through Palmer and Glennallen on the way to Valdez for an extended stay, there was time to visit the Musk Ox farm and the nearby Reindeer farm. From the musk ox, comes a wool made form the under hair (qiviut) which, when woven into hats and scarves is 8 times warmer than wool, finer than cashmere - and a whole heck of a lot more rare and therefore expensive. Back from literal extinction in Alaska, the herd has now been brought up to numbers approximating 3500 animals. They are neat!

Got an introduction to reindeer that was quite fun! Sort of a petting zoo for people who no longer believe in Santa Claus. We learned a lot about them, strolled the open fields among them, interacted with them within the parameters given us, and, yes, feed them by hand. Also very neat! Did you know? All of the reindeer who pulled Santa’s sleigh (You know Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, et. al.)- well guess what…the only reindeer that still carry their antlers in December are Does (ladies, girls, females), so we’re gonna need some serious re-writes on “Twas the night before Christmas….”

The farm had a small herd of elk as well and the largest buck and I made friends over a couple handfuls of long pulled grass from outside the corral. He was a magnificent animal, and he darn near made me want to join the Elk’s Lodge.

Above: a pile of reindeer antlers...

One big Elk!

As I’m putting this post together today a mere one more day’s run to Valdez, I’m a hoping and a praying that the next pictures of anything in the animal kingdom will be FISH! Birds are nice. Mammals are interesting and amusing, maybe even cute. But I NEED FISH!

Here’s the shot of the day- the Matanuska Glacier coming down from the Chugak Mountains on Glennallen Highway just before we pulled into camp for the night. Stable in size for the last 400 years, it’s 4 miles wide at the terminus and averages two miles wide most of its 27 mile long run down from the mountains.

No comments: