Monday, September 15, 2008

Back in Dallas and final thoughts on our Alaskan Adventure

Wow, what a trip!! The Alaskan license plate on their cars says “ Alaska- the last frontier” and that just about sums it up. Everywhere you go in Alaska you are surrounded by beautiful mountains. There is wildlife everywhere but not always immediately visible. Alaska is so big that the wildlife has plenty of room to move around; however, it is everywhere. We saw some beautiful moose right in a forested part of Anchorage. Alaska is a total outdoor environment. That is why people live there. They love the outdoors. If you are into cities that is not the state to move to. When we were in Anchorage we went to REI ( an outdoor gear store ) and that particular day REI was having a sale and the entire parking lot was full.

The hunting and gun culture is alive and well in Alaska. The tip off was seeing trucks full with dead animals and antlers sticking out. We also noticed as we were driving around that practically all the road signs had bullet holes in them. Sara asks me “what’s up with that” and my reply was “the road signs make good target practice”. Driving around was actually pretty easy. There are only several roads and the driving distances were not that great. The vast majority of Alaska is remote and can only be accessed by bush plane.

We found the people to be very friendly and helpful. You can tell that they have a definite toughness. The winters in Alaska can be severe. You have to be somewhat rugged to handle that type of environment. Some parts of Alaska can get down to forty and fifty degrees below zero. Lodging and food was pretty expensive but we finally realized they have from May to September to make their living. The rest of the year a lot of places are closed for the winter. Plus Alaska is a good distance from the rest of the country. It took us as long to get to Alaska as it takes us to get to Europe.

I shot 7000-8000 digital pictures. Many of them were the same picture but with different exposures which can be blended together to capture a wider tone range. Alaska is definitely a photographer’s paradise. You do have to know where to go and at what time of the year. We were very pleased with our selection of places and time of year. Sara did a fabulous job of arranging the flights and accommodations. I keep telling her she could be a tour director in another life. As usual our total travel weight was about 250 -300 lbs. The majority of that was camera gear and camping equipment. I actually built my own rolling carry on bag which I managed to get down to 3 ½ lbs but still we had a load.

Here is our last slideshow: End of Vacation

Note: If you click any of the small slideshows on the Web site you can view them full size.

To sum our trip up - we accomplished our goals which were not to get mauled by any bears, don’t need a medi-evac or rescue, and see beautiful Alaska and take good pictures. We hope you enjoyed our commentary and pictures. This was Sara’s first blog and I think she did a great job with it and I know she had fun with it.

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