I expected to be impressed by the State of Alaska, dazzled even. But, in spite of the research I did, seven things still caught me off guard and shook my senses — in a very positive way.
- THE AMOUNT OF SUNSHINE IN THE SUMMER MONTHS. My goodness!! We arrived at our hotel after 9:00 p.m. You can see the sun streaming through the windows in this photo. We went downstairs, had dinner, and the sun was STILL shining when we got back. Yes, SHINING. For the next 10 days, we didn’t actually see the sun set or rise. Both happened so closely together, and thankfully, we were asleep.
- THE SIZE OF THE FLOWERS. After thinking about #1 a little more, it makes sense. During the growing season, albeit short as it is, the plants get almost constant sunlight. The size and colors of the flowers I saw were impressive.
- THE UNSPOILED VASTNESS OF THIS HUGE STATE. According to statistics, there are only 741,000 people living within its 586,412 square miles. That is 1/5 the size of the lower 48 states!!! No wonder a person could drive for hours and hours without seeing another person, only trees, lakes, mountains and wildlife. But, actually, there are only 1500 miles of paved roads in the states, so you’d have to see most of it by floatplane.
- THE TOP OF DENALI MOUNTAIN. Formerly known as Mt. McKinley, only a few very lucky tourists get a chance to see Denali come out of the clouds and show off its grand peak. Steve and I were some of those lucky ones. One afternoon while touring Denali National Park, “the mountain came out” for about 25 minutes. We were awestruck!
- THE COLOR OF GLACIER-FED RIVERS AND STREAMS. I don’t know why exactly, but my mind just assumed that melted ice would be clear. That is not the case. Rivers, streams and lakes formed by melted glaciers are a steel gray color, and very few fish live in those waters — not enough nutrients, we were told.
- THE COLOR OF THE GLACIERS. Such a striking blue!!
- THE SOUND OF GLACIERS CALVING. “Calving” is the term used when chunks of ice fall off a glacier into the water. It sounds like a crack of lightning followed by thunder. I didn’t capture one with my camera, but I loved the sound and sight of all we got to see.
I hope you decide to visit Alaska some day. It is worth the money, the time and the long flight. I promise.