Exploring in Alaska

I’m no expert by any means when it comes to locations to visit in Alaska. However, I have been there five times since 1999 (most recently last month) and I’ve seen quite a lot of territory via air, sea and land transportation. I’ve traveled on 1-2 week small ship organized tours, organized land tours; and most recently on my own, unencumbered by departure schedules and limited time to devote to any single destination. We simply flew to Anchorage, rented a car and off we went exploring. Here’s a tip if you decide such an option is for you. Definitely drive about an hour north from Anchorage and visit the Historic Independence Gold Mine. I don’t believe it’s on most organized tour itineraries, and that’s what made it so special to me. The photos below are what we saw, spending a leisurely half-day walking around over marked trails, easy and less so. That afternoon we drove up the winding Hatcher Pass road to Summit Lake (another incredible destination not on your typical organized tour). I’ll post photos from there in a future blog post.

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Historic Building Architecture

Here are two examples of the sort of architectural details seen frequently in America early in the 20th Century…but hardly today. I found an old bank building which has now been converted into a community activity center, and even in that capacity it seems to be rarely used today. There were a couple of aspects of the building that caught my eye. First, the tall roman columns on the front of the building, capped by intricate scroll work as seen in the first photo below. The second was the flooring inside the building seen in the second photo. I assume that the separation between the octagonal ceramic tiles and the worn pine flooring was where the banks’s service counter once stood. I wonder how many customers waited in line at the location where I focused my camera, through the front window of the building. We certainly have an interesting past in the United States…if we’ll just look for it.

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