Our boondock site in the Chugach National Forest (N 60.78780 / W 148.86644) by a little pond turned out to be quite interesting. It rained all day but we stayed warm and dry in the motor home. Not a gully washer, just a steady moderate rain and constant. So we spent the day enjoying watching the water fowl, the clouds move back and forth across the mountains and the five moderate size water falls we can see from our windows. Intermittently, throughout the day we were able to watch two mother ducks coax their broods into the cold water, then teach their babies to swim and snorkel for food. A lovely, relaxing way to spend Independence Day.
We woke to rain and a temp of 46 degrees F. During the night, four more boondockers parked in this very large boondock site but everyone was quiet and there was plenty of room. We all left this morning without meeting each other. Two of the four had Canadian licence plates and two were RV rentals so we don’t know where the rental folks were from.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center–
Turned off the Seward Highway to see the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center that had been recommended by a Ranger. We had a coupon from our Toursaver book so it only cost us $5.00 each to visit. This is a huge, multi-enclosure wild animal rescue and is definitely a worthwhile stop. It’s a “drive through”, very large area on dirt roads and you can stop along the way to take photos of the animals. We wanted to see the “Wood Bison” that had been thought to be extinct but with the help of this center their number is increasing and, over time, they will be released into the wild. We also saw Musk Ox, moose, caribou, black bear and brown bears (grizzlies). The enclosures are just wire fences and barely seems adequate to keep the bison in their enclosure. The bear are behind an electrified wire fence which is good as they certainly get close to the fence and there were a number of children just on the other side. We were glad that each enclosure was very large giving these soon to be free wild animals a place to roam. We spent quite a while taking pictures and just watching the animals be themselves.
This place makes money on it’s gift/coffee shop. They had a lot of nice and some rather unusual items for sale in the gift shop. I admit to buying some earrings there. They’re small, light and easy to store so I frequently buy them. They had some lovely jackets for sale and if I hadn’t already used up my “jacket quota” (I have more jackets than most folks have) I would have bought a jacket there. Most everyone was walking around hold a cup of coffee from their cafe as it was still rainy and cold outside.
It turns out that we are not the only ones to recognize this as an interesting place because as we were leaving we saw a Tauck tour bus arrive. Anyone familiar with Tauck Tours knows that these are excellent but somewhat pricey tours.
Traveling up the Seward Highway toward Anchorage takes you along the Turnagain Arm the twin inlet to Cooks Inlet. The bore tide had already come in and was receding so there was a fair amount of mudflat exposed. These mud flats are up to 1000 feet deep and are made up of silt that is deposited by rivers carrying glacial silt and drain into the Cook Inlet or the Turnagain arm. There are some actual beach areas of sand and rock but mostly it is these mud flats that many an unaware person has walked out on and gotten very stuck (the mudflats are like quicksand) and rescue is difficult and sometime impossible before the tide returns. We’re told that sometimes you can actually see a bore tide wave but usually what you see is a rush of sea water refilling the shallow inlet. Also, sometimes when the tide comes in, you can see seals followed later by Beluga Whales.
We have returned to Anchorage on the way off the Kenai Peninsula. We’re long time Costco members so got $370.00 worth of supplies. Gas at Costco with the discount was $3.92/gal. regular. We’ll rest awhile here and then head out of town when their “rush hour” is over. While sitting in the Costco parking lot writing this blog post, Jerry commented that he noticed two police cars driving around the lot. Suddenly one of the police cars hit his siren and the chase of an old yellow pick-up truck was on! Whatever the police wanted with the guy, this guy wasn’t waiting around to find out. Out of the parking lot he roared with the two police cars in hot persuit. Through a stop sign, over a sidewalk and through a red light they went with the police going much more carefully but intent on the pick-up they were following. Just another day of wildlife viewing of the human kind!