Tuesday, November 11, 2014

August 30, 2014 Beautiful Day in Kenai, Incredible Sunset at Turnagain Arm

We moved out of our cabin for the past 3 days this morning. This is the last day my cousins will spend with us. At least it looks like another beautiful day.

After breakfast, a quick stop at the bookstore of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Then a hike into Bear Country along Skilak Lake Road.

Chrissy had what will soon be obvious love affair with mushrooms today. 

There sure are a lot of funky fungi in Alaska.

Another stop at Skilak Lake where the four of us cheechakos thought that this might be Mount McKinley...it wasn't. First of all it wasn't even north of Skilak Lake...it was west. Secondly, McKinley is part of the Alaska Range, this one is standing alone. It is probably Mt. Redoubt which is an active volcano in the Aleutian Range.

Surprise...this trail is also in bear country...when are we going to see a bear while hiking?

Karen checking the trail map...
...Ken assuring her that if we see a bear...he is positive that she can out run her cousin.

Hey Chrissy, I don't get it. What is so funny about this mushroom?

Something in this forest is tripping on 'shrooms.

Today we not only are saying goodbye to Ken & Karen, we are also saying goodbye to Chrissy's brother, Jeff. She brought his ashes in her carry-on luggage. Of course, they spotted them with the x-ray machine. The TSA agents very politely asked permission to bomb test the contents of the bag. Then sent us on our way. Chrissy decided to leave his ashes in the Kenai River because it is well known as one of Alaska's best fishing spots. 

A few tears were wiped away as Jeff drifted down the river...

...a beautiful final resting place.

We hiked down the river for awhile. It was a peaceful hike on a perfect day.

A quick rest...

...and we headed back to the car and grabbed some lunch.

A few stops on our way back to Anchorage. Somewhere along the way we played "pooh sticks" while hiking across a bridge. I think Chrissy won but I'm old and my memory is not to be trusted.

My daily commute back home looks nothing like this.

A roadside waterfall

A road side moose

We spent a few hours at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. This place takes in injured or orphaned animals with the hope of returning them to the wild when possible. 

We were able to get really good pictures of the animals here...in some cases it almost seemed like they wanted their pictures taken...

....they would turn to give you different views...like models.

Chrissy spent a lot of time with the musk oxen. 

I walked around the grounds checking out all the animals.

The wood bison pictured here are going to be reintroduced to the wild in Alaska for the first time in 100 years.

These two were play fighting or practicing for the rut season.

This was happening about five feet in front of us. It was very cool to witness these two butting heads....

...and twisting their antlers to gain the advantage over each other. I could have watched this for hours but we had to get my cousins to the airport.
The sun began to set as we drove along Turnagain Arm...

...I think Ken was okay with missing his flight and staying in Alaska.

I didn't see any beluga whales but Chrissy says she did. Oh well gotta get to Anchorage...

...what...Dall sheep on the cliffs above us...we don't have time...okay I'll stop...

That's it...we have to get to the airport...

....Holy shit...the views are amazing and so are the golden hour colors as the sun goes down...

...we have to stop for this...

....pictures in every direction...I am a train geek...

...the colors were changing every few minutes...

...here's the pictures either Chrissy or I took along Turnagain Arm as the sun went down.

We made it back to Anchorage in time for a quick dinner then to the airport. Lots of hugs and thank you's for a wonderful week together. I've been waiting over a year for this week and it went by so fast I couldn't believe it was done. It was great to be able to spend this time with my cousins that I rarely get to see. Thanks Karen & Ken.

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