When to be Thankful

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There have been many times over the years when I’m presented with a view in front of me that makes me say, “Wow!” Last month while in Alaska, we took a five-hour high-speed boat cruise in Prince William Sound, with its beautiful glaciers. When we departed Whittier, the weather wasn’t good. The best part of it was that it wasn’t raining, but low clouds, fog, and generally dark conditions made me think I’d have to change my photo focus to closer up views versus far away. But, having been to Prince William Sound several times before, I was prepared for whatever the weather gave us. When I spotted a brightening in the sky far away, I thought maybe our luck might change. And it did. The sun started to pop out and what I saw made me really thankful.

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One Happy Day in Alaska

My wife Barb and I have been fortunate enough to be able to take three vacation trips to our favorite location to visit — the great State of Alaska. Our first trip involved an Inside Passage journey via a small 100 passenger cruise ship, departing from Seattle and winding up in Juneau. From there we flew to Anchorage and traveled as a part of a land tour, afterwards we flew back home. That trip was great and it served as an incentive to make us want to return. So, we made a second trip up north for another small cruise ship and land tour, this time with Barb’s brother and his wife. Again, we loved every minute of it and I went through over 20 rolls of film (no digital then). But, just like before, we wanted more. So, in 2007 we splurged and signed up for a Voyage to the Bering Sea and Eastern Siberia. Two weeks on another cruise ship, less than 150 passengers, but the vessel was much larger and more luxurious than the ships we’d been on before.The trip was scheduled to depart from Whittier, a short road trip south of Anchorage. But, we set our plans to give us a few days before the ship’s departure, so we could rent a car and drive to some of the locations south of Anchorage we’d seen before, but mostly from bus windows, hardly stopping.

I must say that the first day of our unplanned rental car road trip was pretty special, because Barb was about as excited as I’d ever seen her, being free to roam where we might and stop when we wanted. As we drove south from Anchorage toward Seward we passed an Alaska Rail train traveling on the track parallel to the highway. We recalled that on our last trip to Alaska we rode one of those trains. After we got a bit further down the highway I saw a pull-off that was very close to the train tracks. I told Barb we could get our cameras out and take a couple of photos (this time digital…hooray!) as the train approached. Barb has one of the photos I made that day of the train as her computer “desktop” image, and for whatever reason she can’t find anything better. I think she likes it so much because of what then followed.

Driving further south we drove on a side road which was to take us to Portage Glacier, another location we’d visited before, but the day we were there it was cloudy and rainy with hardly any suitable views. This day, the weather was much better, albeit a bit overcast at times; but hey, this was Alaska and that’s what you get. As I drove along, with Barb looking out her window, she shouted for me to stop. “I see a glacier up there!” she said excitedly. So, we stopped and got out to see what we could see. The views were spectacular from where we were, and we had found a glacier we never before knew existed. Not only did we see and photograph that glacier, but we found a couple of others up in the mountains along the road. To top it all off, by the time we arrived at our destination, the famous and much visited Portage Glacier, Barb and I were literally jumping for joy. To say it was happy day in Alaska is a gross understatement. The photos below show a portion of what we saw that day.

Note: Over the next week or so, I plan to post more photos I made on this trip to Alaska, the Bering Sea and Eastern Siberia, and will have a brief story to go along for your journalistic interest.

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