Alaska Adventures: Bumming around Moose Pass and Cooper Landing

Not only is Alaska gorgeous, it's my 42nd state!
I owe Alaska an apology. Prior to visiting last week, I didn't think much of it. To me, Alaska meant piles of snow, Exxon Valdez, flannel wearing lumberjacks and, erm, Sarah Palin. I imagined the scenery would be pretty, but I didn't have high expectations. Now, after a week and change tooling around the southerly part of the state... I don't have enough superlatives in my vocabulary. Simply, I heart Alaska.

To me, Alaska is: spectacular scenery, breathtaking vistas, unimaginable beauty, friendly people, amazing animals and incredible untouched wilderness. I feel honored to have been able to see the splendor. Promise me, if you ever get the chance, you will visit this great state!

Of course, I spent our entire trip snapping photos and I swear, I won't subject you to all 2,900 images. But do look forward to a few hundred over the next week as I share our journey through Anchorage, Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Seward, Whittier, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

After a few hours of flight delays, we landed in Anchorage in the early evening and ate the best pizza EVER at the Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria
I was initially concerned that we'd be driving two hours on winding roads in the dark to get to our bed and breakfast, until I realized that it doesn't get dark during the summer here.
9 p.m.-ish in Alaska.
A view from our bed and breakfast, the Inn at Tern Lake in Moose Pass, around 11:30 p.m.
The sun sets around midnight and rises a few hours later, but it doesn't get totally dark. It was disconcerting to go to bed at 11:30 and have the room look like it was 10 in the morning. Note to yourselves: Bring a sleeping mask!
So, I may have driven us 45 minutes in the wrong direction on the way to Cooper Landing the next day. BUT...
The detour allowed us to see a MOOSE.
I swore I wouldn't leave Alaska until I saw Bullwinkle. Luckily, I got this sighting out of the way early in the trip.
Water like glass.
Scenery that doesn't look real near Cooper Landing, AK.
A peek at the crystal clear Kenai River from the K'beq' interpretive site
With encouragement from our bed and breakfast host, we journeyed to the Russian River Campground to see the salmon running. Despite warnings from signage and other hikers, we didn't see bears on the trail. I'm grateful, really!
Lush flora.
Cute fauna. 
Word to the wise: The mosquitoes are as bad as they say. Bring bug spray or be eaten alive!
Might need to plant some ferns in the back 40 someday!
Being chained to my computer most days, I really enjoyed getting out into nature. Sadly, we tacked on a couple extra miles to our trek by taking the wrong trail to the falls. We eventually found it and hiked give or take seven miles.
Salmon ladder.

Now, we came here to see the salmon run. I expected to see salmon flying through the air and bears standing on the shore swiping at them with ferocious claws, National Geographic style. 
It was more like this. Note that the dark shapes are big salmon, quite a few of which we did see peeking up through the water on their quest upstream.
Our day started in the 70s with full, hot sun, but we caught a bit of rain towards the late afternoon.
The innkeepers told us we brought the sun with us from California and that the late spring meant more snow on the mountains than usual.
Proof that I hiked. Most hikers wear packs filled with water, snacks and rain gear. Me? Lenses. 
Arctic lupine.
A wild strawberry maybe? 
Our first hike ever.
Not a bad view, really.
Pre-dinner relaxation at the Kenai Princess Lodge in Cooper Landing.
We enjoyed potpies (salmon for everyone and chicken for me!) at the Kingfisher Roadhouse, a local's favorite.
The Kenai River.
View from the back porch of the Inn at Tern Lake.
The comfortable and spacious Inn at Tern Lake. Jeff and Rose are wonderful hosts!

Alaska Adventures:
- Hello from Alaska!

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