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ALASKA – Interactive Map
Click on the area that you want to visit in
On March 30, 1867, financial struggles force Russia to sell Russian-America to the United States. Negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State William Seward, the treaty buys what is now Alaska for $7.2 million, or about 2 cents an acre. The Russians believed that since they had brought the otter population to extinction, that Alaska and was not worth keeping. Thus the sale of land was made to the United States.
In 1927, Benny Benson, an Native American Orphan attending the 7th grade in Seward designed the Alaskan State flag. His design was selected over 142 others submitted to the committee that was charge with the task of creating the new flag for the U.S. Territory of Alaska. Almost a quarter of a century later, his dream for Alaska was realized as it was designated the 49th State of the United States
of America in 1959. After that the US Flag had seven rows of seven stars until the 50th state was added to the union.
“The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaskan flower. The North Star is for the future state of Alaska, the most northerly in the union. The Dipper is for the Great Bear — symbolizing strength.”
Benny Benson’s flag motto
Alaskan State Flower: Wild Forget-me-not
Alaskan State Bird: Willow Ptarmigan
Alaskan State Tree: Sitka Spruce
Seal of Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska MAP
Disembarking the ship in Seward
Visit to the Portage Glacier near the tunnel going into Whittier, Alaska
Anchorage Visitor’s Center
While searching for the elusive Northwest Passage
on May 30, 1778, Capt. James Cook explored the
waterway that downtown Anchorage now borders, Cook Inlet. We went to the
statue erected in his honor.
The Anchorage Museum
This museum was very worth while. The exhibits were arranged chronic
logically which made it very easy to follow which events came first in Alaskan
History. Our guide was very knowledgeable due to her close relationship
with three native regional cultures in Alaska.
Prior to June 27, 1940,
Anchorage is still a small, sleepy town but its strategic position attracts military interest. The first soldiers arrive to build an army base and air field, which become Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base, bringing rapid growth to Anchorage.
Cross-section of the Alaskan Pipeline
One out of four people in Alaska fly a “bush plane” for transportation.
The Weekend Market in Anchorage is located near 4th and C Streets across the street from the Holiday Inn. It is open during the Summer months. Get a load of the size of the cabbage. Guess what! $1.50 per pound.
On March 3, 1973, the first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race starts from downtown Anchorage with 34 mushers; 22 mushers finish the race with the last one arriving in Nome one month after he left the starting line. The starting location is near the oldest building in Anchorage. It now houses a premier art gallery with art from the masters from Alaska.
The Wendler Building was built in 1915. This is the first permanent building constructed in Anchorage and is now the oldest building still standing here. It was erected to house the Larson-Wendler Company. The city’s first general merchandising store.
On our way to Denali
Boy those dogs love to pull, so hang on!
Denali – MAP
The Iditarod Trail Headquarters
From the Starting gate for the Iditarod in Anchorage to the Headquarters across the river.
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
On our bus ride to Denali, we stopped for a delicious lunch at The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. In back of the lodge one can see the range of mountains that includes Mt McKinley in it’s list. Regretfully, we were not able to see the mountain on our visit there.
Talkeetna Lodge is one of the most interesting log cabins that I’ve visited in
my life. It is located off of the main road at the top of a small hill.
The grounds were well maintained and very picturesque.
USFS View Point for “The Mountain”
Denali National Park
At the end of this magnificent park lies the highest peak in North America, Mount Denali or Mt. McKinley. There you can see the metamorphic rocks that make up the billion year old range of mountains. In 1980 a geologist suggested that over a half-billion years ago, the land surrounding this great mountain was once on the ocean floor. It is suggested that “terrances” or landmasses were moved towards Alaska by the movement of the Pacific Plate.
This “conveyor-belt” like action caused the remote landmasses to be appended to the continent as they collided with it and were pushed underneath the North American Plate. Thus geologists have been able to explain why there are so many different types of rocks found within feet of each other. Other geological events also influence the area including volcanoes, glaciers, water
and large extremes of hot and cold through out the year.
“Park pioneer Charles Sheldon first came to the Denali area in 1906 to hunt the Dali sheep that most often appear from the road as white dots moving on mountain ridges. A Yale-educated easterner, he sought them partly for his own trophy collection, partly as specimens for museums. Sheldon scrambled up and around mountains, across creeks, and through dense willow patches, through mist and rain, sun and wind.
At first, Sheldon’s quarry eluded him. But he wasn’t disappointed. There was so much more to see, from tantalizing grizzly tracks to the flash of dark eagle wings overhead. He heard the murmur of braided streams and the crash of avalanches. By the time he left, the love he felt for Denali was more important than the sheep he’d bagged.
Sheldon visited again in 1907, wintering over in a cabin on the Toklat River. The time he spent here enhanced and expanded his ideas about wilderness. With future park superintendent Harry Karstens as his for months. He was concerned about the numbers of sheep being slaughtered each year by commercial hunters, and imagined a refuge where both wildlife and the rhythms of
this majestic land could be preserved.
Sheldon became one of several early conservationists who fought to preserve Denali. In 1917, in response to these efforts, Congress passed a bill to establish Mount McKinley National Park. Renamed Denali National Park and Preserve and expanded more than three-fold in 1980, it is now larger than the state of New Hampshire.
If Sheldon was the park’s founding father, then another naturalist, Adolph Murie, was its dogged conscience. In the 1930s, biologist Adolph joined his older brother, Olaus, at the new park to study wildlife, especially wolf—sheep interactions. At the time, Denali’s sheep population seemed to be in peril, and wildlife managers with less vision argued that predator control was
the only option.
Adolph Murie disagreed, arguing that predators are part of what keeps an ecosystem intact and healthy. Over time, his view prevailed. Today, Denali National Park and Preserve is rare among parks for allowing populations to be self-regulating, without herd or predator management.” (Denali: A Living Tapestry, National Park Service, Pages 19-20)
During our four hour tour through Denali National Park we saw moose, caribou and several small mammals and birds. I’m glad that we went to the park during the change of seasons from Summer to Fall because we were able to see the foliage changing from green to shades of yellow, to rust to red. I was also told that this is one of the most interesting times to visit because it is also mating season. The over cast day made helped me to capture the area in several interesting photographs of the wildlife and fauna that live in the park.
The “Savage Cabin” is a very primitive cabin that is stocked with food and provides travelers and rangers from the elements. It was the first cabin built by the first ranger over 100 years ago and rangers still use it today. During the Summer, tourists visit it as we did on our drive through Denali. During the long, cold winters, rangers use it as they make their rounds through the park to assist visitors that have cross-country skied or hiked in. Rangers also spend weeks traveling through the entire park to enforce the laws protecting the wildlife and search for poachers and others who have come in
unlawfully. The cabin is used to mark the park’s “designated wilderness” boundary beyond which the park is to be left in it’s wild state with only one road and a couple of rest stations on the landscape.
Below we see more of the interesting landscape with it’s braided river and a
small mammal watching us as we passed by.
An archeologist lectured on the theories that have been explored over the last
few years regarding the movement of people into North America. Historically we know that the land has been used over 11,000 years by Alaskan Natives and others moving into Alaska and on to the balance of North America
from Russia. Today the area remains much the same as it was thousands of years ago. We have discovered small bits of evidence to support the popular theories that inhabitants from the ancient Athabaskan people were hunting and gathering in the area as much as 3,500 years ago. Because of the harshness of the area these people became very familiar with the terrain and probably hunted in groups or bands of 20 to 75 people. They built fences in a U-shape then scare the caribou into the center where they used clubs, spears and bow and arrows to kill them. The most wise, fair and charismatic man in each group or band took charge of the distribution of food and resources to the balance of the band. Without this cooperation and leadership, the survival of their people would have been jeopardized. Today, decedents of these people continue to hunt and gather food in much the same way as their ancestors.
Several birds are known to use the park as their home including the Willow ptarmigan, Golden Eagle and chickadees. Willow ptarmigans, the state bird of Alaska, maintain body temperatures of 104 degrees even when the ambient temperature drops to 30 degrees below zero. They do this because of the winter feathers that they grow each year. Because of the insulating nature of these feathers, Native Americans used them on the back of their winter coats to protect them from the blistering cold. (People in this region have learned that it is better to walk back first into the cold wind and therefore the greatest insulation is needed on the back of their winter parkas.)
The Grande Denali Lodge sits at the top of the hill
Visitor’s Center at Denali National Park
Riding the Alaskan Rail Road from Denali to Fairbanks
Fairbanks, Alaska – MAP
The first night in Fairbanks I saw the Aurora Borealis. What a beautiful event – I stood outside for almost 3 hours watching the lights in the sky. For more information on Northern Lights refer to the following inserted page from the University of Alaska.
The Trans-Alaskan Pipeline – Mile 450
More info on the Alaskan Pipeline
On March 13, 1968, The Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) and Humble Oil and
Refining Company (now Exxon Company, U.S.A.) announced that they had found a
major oil supply in the northern part of the State of Alaska. The Prudhoe
Bay well was a success. Within a couple of months, it was determined that
a 800.302 mile pipeline would be the best way to transport the oil to Prince
William Sound and the southern coast of Alaska. Over the next six years
the work would take them to elevations as high as 4,739 feet and cover 16.3
square miles of the state’s terraine. To build a safe and reliable
pipeline they would have to consider ambient temperatures between -80 degrees F
and 95 degrees F. They would also factor the plants and wildlife
that might be affected into their calculations. Since it started operation
the pipeline has delivered an maximum average daily throughput of 2.136 million
bbl., avg. with 11 pump stations operating.
THIS SECTION STILL NEEDS TO BE FINISHED
Cost—Approximately $8 billion for construction of entire system, including Terminal and pump stations, at conclusion of initial construction period in 1977. Does not include interest on capital investment, or capital construction after 1977.
The following section is quoted from: “Trans-Alaska Pipeline System FACTS” June,
2001, Pages 70-73
Selection—Soil sampling and other means were used to determine soil types
along the route. Where
thaw-stable soils were found, the pipeline was buried in the conventional
manner. In areas of thaw-unstable soils, and where heat from the pipeline might
cause thawing and consequent loss of soil foundation stability, the pipeline was
insulated and elevated above ground by means of a unique support system.
Basic types and miles of each:
Conventional below-ground—376 mi.
Refrigerated below-ground-—4 mi.
designed vertical supports were placed in drilled holes or driven into the
ground. In warm permafrost (See Permafrost, p. 78-81)
and other areas where heat might cause undesirable thawing, the supports contain
two each, 2-inch pipes called “heat pipes,” containing anhydrous ammonia, which
vaporizes below ground, rises and condenses above-ground, removing ground heat
whenever the ground temperature exceeds the temperature of the air. Heat is
transferred through the walls of the heat pipes to aluminum radiators atop the
Conventional below-ground—The pipe is and covered with prepared gravel
padding and soil fill material, in a ditch from 8 ft. to 16 ft. deep in
most locations, but up to 49 ft. deep at one location. Zinc ribbons, which serve
as sacrificial anodes to inhibit corrosion of the pipe, are buried alongside the
pipeline. The Atigun pipe replacement section, 8.5 miles in length, has four
magnesium ribbon sacrificial anodes installed. Electrical currents in the
earth’s surface, called “telluric currents” and caused by the same phenomenon
that generates the Northern Lights, can be picked up by the pipeline and zinc!
magnesium anodes. The zinc/magnesium anodes act like grounding rods
to safely return these currents back to the earth, reducing the risk of damage
to the pipeline.
Special burial, non-refrigerated——In areas of thaw-unstable soils calling
for elevated pipeline construction, but where the pipeline had to be buried for
highway, animal crossings, or avoidance of rockslides and avalanches, the line
was insulated, to protect the permafrost from the heat of the pipeline, and
Special burial, refrigerated—In some areas the line was insulated and
buried in a refrigerated ditch. Refrigeration plants at each of these
points circulate chilled brine through loops of 6-inch diameter pipe to maintain
the soil in a stable frozen condition. Under gravel workpad or road—2 in.
to 4 in. (limited areas only)”
(sign next to the exhibit)
This pig scrapped wax from the internal walls of the pipe when the pipeline first began operating. Once a system warmed up from the constant flow of hot North Slope oil, wax buildup ended. At that time the scrapper pig was replaced by the lighter and softer polyurethane version in the next picture. The polyurethane pig smoothes the flow of oil by reducing turbulence, making it easier to pump. The oil is approximately 100 degrees F. as it passes through this location. The scrapper pig weighs 2,600, almost 1,000 pounds more than its
PIGS IN THE PIPELINE (sign next to the exhibit)
Devices called “pigs” improve the flow of oil through the Trans Alaska pipeline in monitor or its condition. Pigs are launched and retrieved at pump stations and travels with pipeline with the moving oil. The orange polyurethane sample in this pipe segment is a cleaning and flow improvement pig. Other more
sophisticated pigs use magnetic fields and ultrasonic signals to detect small
changes in the pipes wall thickness and shape. Pigs are among the most important
tools available for protecting the pipeline and detecting potential problems.
Large Animal Research Station
The muskoxen, reindeer, and caribou are survivors from the last ice age. The shaggy muskox lived alongside the mammoth and today lives on the most northerly land masses in Alaska. The restless caribou maintain their year-long
migrations across the circumpolar North. Most species have made unique and fascinating adaptations enabling a long, shared existence in one of the most
extreme environments on earth. The research station is dedicated to better
understanding the biology of these animals and in making its knowledge available
for research management and in education. By maintaining colonies of muskoxen
and barren ground caribou, unique opportunities are afforded to scientists and
students from all the world.
The University of Alaska Museum
Dinosaurs of Alaska
“The record of dinosaurs Alaska spans approximately 65 million years from the Late
Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous. The Late Cretaceous rocks (83 to 68 million years ago) contained the most abundant and diverse record of dinosaurs thus far documented. The great balk of this Cretaceous record is found on Alaska’s northern slope from Umiat to Ocean Point on the Coville River. Dinosaur fossil czar known from Northwestern, Southwestern, and South Central Alaska although a single partial skull of the ankylosaur (armored dinosaur), Edmontonia, has been
described in the Central Talkeetna Mountains of South Central Alaska.
The dinosaur hunting grounds along the Coville River represent the richest accumulation of bones to be found in the Arctic. Work since 1985 is produced over 4000 bones and teeth. These fossils represent that we six different families of dinosaurs. The most common form is a herbivorous, non-crested, hadrosaur (duckbill) named Edmontosaurus. The usual ceratopsian
(horned) dinosaur, Pachyrhinosaurus, has also been found along the Coville river near Ocean Point. In addition, at least three families of theropods, or carnivorous dinosaurs, are represented by teeth and rear skull and vertebrae fragments. These bipedal, carnivores (Albertosaurus, Troodon, and Saurornitholestes) were swift in intelligent must have been the common predators
and scavengers of the duct bills and horned dinosaurs.”
BLUE BABE STEPPE BISON (Bison priscus) – Pearl Creek – Donor: Walter and
Ruth Roman and sons; Dan Egan
“This is a re-constructed carcass of a male Alaskan steppe
bison which was found in the summer of 1979 by Walter and Ruth Roman and sons at their placer mine near Fairbanks. The excavation was conducted by a professor at the Institute of Arctic biology, University of Alaska.
This specimen has a blue skull or over the entire carcass. This resulted when the phosphorus in the animal tissue reacted with the iron in the soil to produce mineral coating of vivianite, which became a brilliant blue when it was exposed to air. Hence, this steppe bison was nicknamed Blue Babe, after Paul Bunyan’s giant blue ox.
The steppe bison is one of the several extinct large mammals that Roman interior Alaska during the Wisconsinan glacial period 100,000 to 10,000 years ago. The same species has been found across Eurasia to Spain and France, were bison drawings were made on the cave walls by Paleolithic artists.
This steppe bison died about 36,000 years ago. It’s under fur and the remains of summer fat reveal that it died in early winter. Claw marks on the rear of carcass and to punctures in the skin indicate that the bison was probably killed by one of its predators.”
Discovery River Tour
A Bush Pilot can land on a dime.
Houses, houses and more houses. Each with a boat and/or
plane for transportation.
Susan Butcher (Iditarod Champion) talks to us about the challenges that one encounters trying to train and take care of 100-150 sled dogs that have more energy than 10 people.
They truly love what they do.
Sled dogs consume tons of salmon each year and it all has to be caught and preserved for the winter months.
What a nice ride is everyone’s comment……
We also visited a native village and learned about their culture first hand. Jessie Butcher (Iditarod Jr. Champion and daughter of Susan Butcher) commanded the sled team that raced around the village in front of the ship.
Home Hosted Dinner by Richard and Jo Scott
and the Fairbanks Art Association
Susan Motter and Jo Scott greet the group.
I love the art in their home. I’m not surprised that they have some of the best that is available in Alaska. Jo played the piano as we waited for our cooks to finish grilling the salmon and putting the finishing touches on our salad and home cooked meal.
Our table enjoyed the home grown vegetables and grilled salmon with a bottle of
wine. Best salmon that I’ve had in a long time.
Time to visit and congratulate people with anniversaries and birthdays.
Shots of the Scotts yard and home.
Permafrost Pages 81-83
Definition—Any rock or
soil material that has remained below 32 degrees F continuously for two or more
years. The two-year minimum stipulation is meant to exclude from the
definition the overlying ground surface layer which freezes every winter and
thaws every summer (called the “active layer” or “seasonal frost”).
Cold permafrost- Remains below 30 degrees F, and which may be as low
as 100 F as on the North Slope; tolerates introduction of considerable heat
Ice-rich—20% to 50% visible ice.
Thaw-stable—Permafrost in bedrock, in well drained, coarse-grained
sediments such as glacial outwash gravel, and in many sand and gravel mixtures.
Subsidence or settlement when thawed is minor, foundation remains essentially
Thaw-unstable—Poorly drained, fine grained soils, especially silts and
clays. Such soils generally contain large amounts of ice. The result of thawing
can be loss of strength, excessive settlement and soil containing so much
moisture that it flows.
Warm permafrost—Remains just below 32~ F. The addition of very little
additional heat may induce thawing.
Depth along pipeline route—From a few inches to
2,230 ft. approx.
Continuous Zone—Permafrost is found almost everywhere in the zone, as
the name implies. Includes all of the North Slope and most of Western
Discontinuous Zone—Permafrost is found intermittently~ Includes much of
the interior of the state.
Sporadic Zone—Permafrost is found in isolated, small masses of
permanently frozen ground.
Pipeline, affected areas- Approximately 75% of
the line passes through permafrost terrain. The line traverses the
continuous zone on the North Slope and through the Brooks Range; it then
encounters the discontinuous and sporadic zones and passes through areas of no
permafrost in the immediate vicinity of Valdez.
Frost-heaving—When the active layer freezes, ice forms, pushing the
ground surface upward.
Frost-jacking—When heaving occurs as described above, if a structure
imbedded in the ground is not properly anchored to resist such movement, the
structure will be forced upward along with the ground surface. In most cases,
the structure does not return to its original position when the active layer
thaws during the following summer. The net upward movement is called
“jacking.” This phenomenon can occur whenever there is seasonal freezing and
thawing of the active layer, and is not limited to permafrost areas.
Thaw settlement—Structures founded on “thaw-unstable” permafrost may
settle if the large amounts of ice in the thaw-unstable permafrost are melted.
Melting is typically caused by heat from the structure or changes to the natural
Design solutions—The pipeline design is based
primarily on the soil conditions encountered along the right-of-way. There are
three principal design modes.
Above-ground pipeline- Where thaw-unstable permafrost was encountered,
problems associated with melting permafrost were avoided by placing the pipeline
above ground on an elevated support system. VSMs (pilings) used to support the
line were designed to resist frost-jacking forces. To allow animals to
cross, twenty-three sections were conventionally buried line-wide, each about
200 feet long.
Below-ground pipeline, conventional burial—Where either unfrozen or
thaw-stable permafrost were encountered the pipeline was buried in the
conventional manner with no special provisions for permafrost.
Below-ground pipeline, special burial—Where thaw-unstable permafrost was
encountered, but where the pipeline had to be buried for highway, animal
crossings, or avoidance of rockslides and avalanches, protection of the
permafrost from heat of the pipeline was provided by insulation around the
pipeline. Some special burials include ground refrigeration systems along with
Special burial locations—( about four miles)
MP 645-649 approx.—caribou crossing
MP 681 approx.—highway crossing (Glenn Highway)
Two sections (about one mile) in Atigun Pass were buried in insulated boxes to
provide protection from rock slides and avalanches.
Glacier-Bay – MAP
The Hubbard Glacier dropped into the bay, in pieces with a thunderous roar.
Just 50 miles north of Juneau, Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
covers over 3,300,000 acres and can only be reached by boat or plane.
Since 1986 the Hubbard Glacier has become one of the most active and fastest
moving glaciers in the world, in 2002, it traveled as much as 100-120 feet per
day. Earlier in our trip we had the pleasure of landing on the Glacier
while visiting Juneau, Alaska more than 90 miles away from Glacier Bay and the
Yakutat Bay. It advanced so quickly that it completely blocked off Russell
Fjord from the sea and created a fast rising freshwater lake. It was not
until a couple weeks before our trip that the dangerous situation in the bay was
alleviated when the wall of ice blocking the fjord broke. This allowed the
water that was dammed up behind it to flow into the ocean reducing the risk of
traveling in the bay. As a result our group was allowed to go closer to
the Glacier and any other tour in a longtime and we got as close as ninety feet
from the mighty wall of ice.
During our stay in the bay, crew members came out to take photos because this was the first time that the ship got that deep into the bay all summer. We were within 90 yards of the walls of cold ice.
What is a glacier and what makes the glacial ice “blue”?
Glaciers are made up of an accumulation of ice, water, the air and debris
covering hundreds of miles. They have the ability to flow on the thin
layers of water down mountain sides and into oceans.
It takes hundreds of years for glacial ice to form
from six sided snow flakes. Glacial ice crystals can grow as large
as a football. Over time, the snow that accumulates on a ice field
compresses and becomes so dense and devoid of air that it acts like a prism to
reflect only blue light rays, hence the color of blue ice.
When the snow was compressed into glacial ice it changes in form to interlocking
crystals and acts like a prism. The sun’s light comes down as white light, but
if you hold up a prism to the sunlight you know it is made up of the wide
spectrum of colors that look like a rainbow. When white light from the sun hits
the glacial ice, it is split into a rainbow of colors.
Glacier ice is very thick and lacks air bubbles so
the only color that has enough energy to make it through the ice is the blue
light. The red, orange
and yellow light is absorbed within the ice. The blue end of the spectrum and
some of the green and indigo, is refracted back to our eyes. Snow and new ice appear white
because they are less dense. A piece of ice
must be at least a cubic meter in size to absorb
and refract the white light of the sun so what will appear blue. The debris that a glacier picks up as it
moves around mountain peaks and into valleys create the moraines or dark stripes
in a glacier as it moves down a slope (In the picture to the right, you can see
an iceberg with evidence of a moraine in it.). During its downward descent
glaciers grind and pulverize the rocks and soil that it moves over into a fine
powder called glacial silt. As the Glacier melts it carries this silt into
streams and rivers causing them to become cloudy. This condition blinds
the salmon salmon that are its spawning upstream and passing through these
areas; they move upstream only through instinct.
Juneau – MAP
In 1880 Tlingit Chief Kowee and two of his guides brought gold prospectors,
Joe Juneau and Richard Harris to the area know known as Juneau, Alaska.
Initially, Juneau was known as Harrisburg because it believed that Harris was
the only one who knew how to read and write and he recorded it that way.
Once 300 prospectors from Sitka arrived, the area was renamed Rockwell.
Finally the name of Juneau was adopted. Alaska’s first significant roads,
bridges and electrical plants were built here, well before the Klondike Gold
Rush. By 1882 gold fever turned into gold production and the world famous
Treadwell Mine began it’s expansion. People associated gold with Juneau
and the town became an important center for commerce and politics. In 1881
the territory’s first political convention took place during the long summer.
In 1944, the government shut down gold mining and production because of manpower
and conservation issues. By the time Alaska became the 49th state in 1959,
Juneau replaced much of the commerce left by the closed mine.
Juneau is the seat of government for the State of Alaska. It is a small
but modern city with government buildings, museums, restaurants, shops and
historical buildings and cemeteries. As a matter of fact, the bodies of
the founders: Juneau, Harris and the chief are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery. All
three died penniless. Within minutes you can take a helicopter to two
famous near by glaciers. The Mendenhall and the Hubbard. Many people
go to Juneau to hike along over 100 miles of groomed trails and kayake in the
rivers and streams.
A small part of the Juneau Icefield, the Mendenhall Glacier is located just
13 miles from downtown Juneau. It’s massive ice face is 100 feet tall, 1.5
miles wide, and is over 6 miles long. It’s not surprising that the
Mendenhall is one of Juneau’s most popular attractions. During our trip we
flew over the Mendenhall and several other glaciers in the 1,800 square mile
Juneau Icefield to land on the Hubbard Glacier. The Hubbard is another one
of the interconnected glaciers that make up the fields of ice in the mountains
behind Juneau spreading from the Taku River in the east of town to Berners Bay in the
extreme western part of town. Just 37 miles to the west of Juneau, one can
see the Hubbard Glacier spill into Glacier Bay. A couple of days after
leaving Juneau, our ship brought us to the site and got the closest that the
captain has ever been able to maneuver the ship to the Hubbard Glacier, 90 feet.
What a site. As we floated in the bay, we hear the thunderous crack and
witnessed large chunks of ice fall from the face of the glacier to produce small
ice bergs that floated in the bay.
The following shots were taken on our helicopter tour with Ryan our pilot.
I felt special knowing that we were among the fifty groups of people that would
be allowed to land on the Hubbard Glacier in 2002. There we stood on ice
that was 800 feet in depth.
We continued our trip after visiting the Hubbard Glacier to visit an Alpine Mountain top and see Dall Sheep grazing in the fields on the side of the mountains below two glaciers.
HUBBARD GLACIER MAP
The mountains behind Juneau hide the immense glaciers that are in the region.
museum in Anchorage is worth seeing.
The “Legend of the Sea” sits in the Bay
A view of the “Golden Gate” like bridge that spans the water way that leads to Vancouver.
Ketchikan, Alaska – On the Inside Passage – MAP
Years before the arrival of white man, the native Tlingit people set up camp at the site of the present-day Ketchikan and they fished for the mighty salmon during the summer months. Overtime camp grew into a fishing village that spread along the shoreline in the shape of an eagle in full flight -hence the areas original name: Kitschk-him, or “Thundering Wings of an
Eagle.” Because of its proximity to the mountain range behind it, Ketchikan is no larger than four blocks wide and 14 miles long. Many homes in this area can be seen hanging off the side of steep cliffs and along the waterfront.
By the late 1880s, the pioneers arrived and tried their own hand at harvesting
the abundant salmon resource. But wasn’t until the turn-of-the-century,
with the discovery of gold copper deposits in nearby hillsides, that Ketchikan
went to its first major growth spurt. When the mines closed down during
World War I, Ketchikan saw a revival in lumber in salmon fishing industries to
support the growing needs of the town. By the 1930s more than a dozen
salmon canneries in the area were producing more than 2 million cases of salmon
every year. Ketchikan soon became known as the “Salmon Capital of the
World”. In ten short years, however, the salmon began to decline
dramatically due to every heavy over fishing. By the mid-1970s, Ketchikan
fishing industry was nearly wiped out. Due to the tremendous efforts of
many people, the salmon made remarkable comeback. As the city celebrates
its Centennial, sport fishing is a key importance to its economy.
The street seen from the ship is the main boulevard of this town.
Ketchikan is the fourth largest populated city Alaska with about 16,000 and is connected by water and land to the rest of the states. There is a total of 75 miles of roads on the island; about 31 of those our asphalt and tar roads, the rest are dirt roads.
The Tongass National Forest, covers more than 16 million acres, it is a national
forest that is the largest in United States of America. Located within a couple
of miles of the town of Ketchikan this forest has become a very important part
of the economy and life of people living in the area. Tongass national forest is
a temperate rain forest which means that it is more likely that it will rain in
this area rather select not rain. This did not disappoint us on the day that we
were in Ketchikan because it did rain the entire time that were there. We’ve
learned more about Ketchikan and Tongass national forest at the South East
Alaska visitor center.
Creek Street Entrance
(where according to popular saying “both men and fish went up to spawn”).
Access to the Internet was expensive on the Legend of the Seas, but we had a
full day at sea and the Inside Passageway.
Great Diner on I5 between Tacoma, WA and Portland, OR
Annalise Fagliano with Grandma Carol
The Olivers, Harrison, Fagliano’s and Pendletons
Elli with Great Grandpa Charlie from Virginia
Dedication of Annalise Fagliano to Jesus Christ
Portland, OR – Weekend Market
Godson Mark’s little girl Margaret with Grandma Carol
Monmolth Falls on the Colombia River
It won’t take you long to see why Multnomah Falls is the most visited natural
setting in Oregon. Millions of visitors come to thrill at the site and sound of
water rushing over the basalt ledge some 620 feet above and send crash to the
bubbling pool below. All around you – blending with the damp and mossy natural
landscape – are the good works of the road builders: the gently arched bridge
above the falls, the half-viaducts as you entering leave the area, the rock
guard rails protecting your drive toward Oneonta Gorge and Horsetail Falls.
CROWN POINT – has been designated a registered natural
landmark under the provisions of the historic sites act of August 21st 1935.
This site possesses exceptional value in illustrating the natural history of the
United States. U.S. Department of Interior National Park Service, 1972
Back in Portland across from where Rob works is a different type of falls,
Visiting the Wilczeks in Federal Way
Off to the Microsoft Corporate Campus, a decade later
Mount St. Helen’s Eruption
Pike’s Market in Seattle
The Space Needle
September 11th Rolling Requiem in Seattle
The people in Seattle started the entire project that was held in 26 time zones in memorial to the people who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on the One Year Anniversary.
and Mount Rainier, Washington
Volcano Hazards from Mount Rainier, Washington, Revised 1998
Every year more than 10,000 people attempt to climb to the top of the 14,410
foot summit of Mount Rainier. Only about 5,000 actually make it to
the top. It is a dangerous climb that most people underestimate because
thus do no not take into consider action the the altitude or rough and rocky
terrain. According to the Park Service paper for Mount Rainier, climbers pay a
Cost Recovery fee of $15 per person, per climb or $25 for an annual pass.
Information on climbing the famous peak can be found on the park’s website at:
http://www.nps.gov/mora/climb/climb.htm You can also call (360)569-2211 ext 2314 for pre-recorded route conditions.
Taking the 30 minute drive back to the gate from the visitor’s center
Old Growth Forest
Sitka, Alaska – MAP
Sitka, Alaska was once the capital city of early Russian
America. Until 1906, it was also the capital of Alaska; at that time
Alaska’s capital was moved to the City of Juneau. Sitka is found on the Baranof Island in Alaska and has many interesting sites buildings and monuments. It is one of the only cities
that lies outside of the Inside Passage on the western coast of the island.
The city is also the major city found on the famous island. It is
protected from the furious and violent Northern Pacific Ocean by the numerous
islands located in the harbor. First inhabited over 1500 years ago by
ancestors of the Tlingit people, the name Sitka comes from the Tlingit name for
their village, Shee Atika, meaning “people on the outside of the Shee.”
Dominating the city skyline is a 3,200 foot high dormant volcano called Mount
Edgecumbe. The cloudy day that we were in port, we did not see this famous
landmark. In addition to the cultural center the city has a vibrant
college community and is fascinated with its roots tied to three major cultures
of the native “Tlingit” people, Russia and America. Many people from the
lower 48, have chosen to make Sitka their home although nearly a quarter of the
people claim the native heritage as their roots.
More info on Sitka
“All signs point to down town.”
Watching the Russian Dancers at Harrigan Centennial Hall
For 33 years, Sitka, Alaska has celebrated the Russian culture by dancing for the
city’s visitors. During our visit we were privileged to see spirited
performances of traditional Russian folk dances by a the New Archangel Dancers.
During our visit they danced several of their over 30 dance repertoire that they
have performed for for audiences around world. Whether you’re from Russia, the Ukraine,
Georgia, or Belarus you would recognize your heritage in the dances performed by
this troupe. The all female troupe performed at the Harrigan Centennial Hall which also houses the comprehensive Isabel Miller Museum. In the Museum we saw several exhibits covering every aspect of Sitka’s rich history. It was a truly remarkable museum with very able, knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides. It was a shame that most of the people that attended the folk dance, missed the museum.
At that event, seniors who probably lived in the area for many years also
recited the history of the Alaskan flag for us. “The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaskan flower. The North Star is for the future state of Alaska, the most northerly in the union. The Dipper is for the Great Bear — symbolizing strength.”
Outside of the cultural center and museum sits the statue of Trader Alexander
Alexander Baranov barged into the area and established a fort which later
expanded into the town of New Archangel, now known as Sitka. In 1808, the
settlement became the capital of the Russian Colony, a wilderness empire that
extended from the Aleutian Islands to Fort Ross north of San Francisco.
Inside of the Isabel Miller Museum and gift shop.
St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral
One of Sitka’s most famous landmarks is the Russian Orthodox
cathedral on Lincoln Street. The church houses some of the most important
and treasured Russian icons in United States, including priceless paintings,
investments, and jeweled wedding crowns that are more than 100 years old.
Like many visitors, I took several pictures outside of the famous structure and
seat of Alaska’s Russian Orthodox church. St. Michaels was originally
built in 1840 and burned in January 1966. During the next decade the
church was rebuilt based on its original plans. The church was originally
designed and built by the famed in greatest Orthodox missionary in an Alaska
Bishop Ivan Veniaminov. The only difference between the original structure
and the current one is that it is fire retardant. Visitors are charged a $2 fee to
enter the church where there are no pews or chairs available for the
congregation to sit because the congregation feels that “in as much as that
person would not sit in the presence of royalty, neither would one sit in the
presence of God.”
The Sitka Pioneers Home (a convalescent home) dates from 1913, the current
four-story building with a red tile roof was built in 1934. It is one of
several homes built for this purpose in Alaska. Its sole purpose was to
take care of indigent men who came north with a Klondike rush to make
their fortune. These men never realize their quest to become rich as gold
prospectors. Many died penniless. The “pioneer home” in Sitka was
the first erected to take care of these people. Today, many people from
diverse backgrounds stay in homes like these.
A cemetery, local housing and Russian Block House are located behind the Sitka
Pioneers Home. It is located in the western portion of the city.
In recognition of the days of the pioneers and prospectors, “The Prospector”,
was cast in bronze and stands 13.5 tall. the statue is located in front of
the Sitka Pioneers Home, a convalescent home for the residents of Sitka.
The sculptor, Victor Alonzo Lewis, modeled the structure after one of Alaska’s
most famous pioneers, “Skagway Bill” Fonda. Lewis passed away before the
sculpture could be put in place in 1949.
In Sitka National Historic Park or Totem Park you find a wilderness of
Sitka Spruce trees as well as shrubs and huckleberries, ferns and flowers.
There you walk from totem pole to totem pole on winding paths and pleasant
trails. The park is located in close proximity to the center of the city
at the mouth of the Indian River and is visible from the harbor. It was at
this site that native Tlingit people build their fort for protection against
their enemies. One such enemy was Alexander Barron, a trader and captain of the Russian
Man of War, the ship “Neva”, manned by Russian naval men who killed their people
and destroyed their fort with their canon barrage in 1799.
Also located in the park in front of Sitka’s Pioneer Home is Totem Square.
There you see one of Sitka’s totems and
cannon aimed at the harbor to the south. The totem was carved with images
of animals, and ancestors, and supernatural beings representing the family crest
and clan history. Behind the square and to the west of the Pioneer Home is
the Tlingit Native Dance Center, you can see it below the Russian block house in
the center photograph. Every day, native dancers perform for audiences in
the replica of a traditional clan house educating all about their heritage,
celebrating with songs that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Proud of their Russian Heritage – banners decorate the light poles lining the
Sitka’s mosquitoes are some of the largest that I’ve ever seen.
Our ship and the islands in harbor near Sitka
Skagway, Alaska – MAP
In August 1896, a Tlingit man named Skookum Jim was washing a pan in a
tributary of the Klondike River then he discovered strips of gold so thick that
they looked “like cheese in a sandwich”. One of the greatest adventures in North
America history was on. By the next October, Skagway provided one of the
cheapest access points to the Yukon and became a thriving town of 20,000
inhabitants. From Skagway, the stampeders drove their pack horses mercilessly
along the Rocky but relatively gradual White Pass Trail. Over 3000 horses perish
along this route in the winter of 1897 to 1898, earning the name Dead Horse
Trail. On the other side of the mountains, miners built boats on Lake Bennett
and floated north on the Yukon River to the diggings. To prevent food riots,
Canadian Mounties would not let prospectors into the Yukon without a half a ton
of food and supplies; to carry this a person might make 30 or 40 trips over the
pass. When the Nome gold rush began in about 1900, Skagway dwindled, surviving
only as a port and the terminus of the railway over the White Pass.
- Volcano Hazards: “History and Hazards of Mount Rainier, Washington”,
- November, 1995 – Open-File Report 95-642
- by Thomas W. Sisson, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological
“Mount Rainier is an active volcano that first erupted about half a million
years ago. Because of Rainier’s great height (14,410 feet above sea level) and
northerly location, glaciers have cut deeply into its lavas, making it appear
deceptively older than it actually is. Mount Rainier is known to have erupted as
recently as in the 1 840s, and large eruptions took place as recently as about 1
,000 and 2,300 years ago.
Mount Rainier and other similar volcanoes in the Cascade Range, such as Mount
Adams and Mount Baker, erupt much less frequently than the more familiar
Hawaiian volcanoes, but their eruptions are vastly more destructive. Hot lava
and rock debris from Rainier’s eruptions have melted snow and glacier ice and
triggered debris flows (mudflows) – with a consistency of churning wet concrete
– that have swept down all of the river valleys that head on the volcano. Debris
flows have also formed by collapse of unstable parts of the volcano without
accompanying eruptions. Some debris flows have traveled as far as the present
margin of Puget Sound, and much of the lowland to the east of Tacoma and the
south of Seattle is formed of pre- historic debris from Mount Rainier (Figure
The northeast part of Mount Rainier slid away about 5,600 years ago as part of a
catastrophic collapse similar to, but much larger than, that of May 18, 1 980 at
Mount St. Helens. Debris from this collapse created the Osceola and Paradise
mudflows that traveled down the White and Nisqually Rivers, reaching Puget Sound
and pushing out the shoreline by as much as several miles. The scar from this
collapse was a horseshoe-shaped crater, about 1 .25 miles wide, open to the
northeast. Since the collapse, lava flows and avalanches of hot lava fragments
have erupted from the crater and largely filled it, forming the present summit
cone of Mount Rainier.
Figure 1. Map showing areas inundated by mudflows (black) from Mount Rainier in
the last 5,600 years.
Very little of this young lava can actually be seen, because it is almost
completely concealed by snow and ice. The summit lava cone is most clearly
recognized from the northeast (Sunrise), where it floors the large Emmons and
Winthrop Glaciers that slope smoothly up to Rainier’s summit (Figure 2). Broad
lobes on the glaciers’ surfaces show the locations of the youngest lavas from
Rainier’s summit, now buried under hundreds of feet of ice. The summit itself is
formed of two small overlapping craters, each about a quarter mile in diameter;
the younger of these forms a nearly perfect circle of radially-outward-sloping
lavas. The shallow floors of these craters are filled with snow and ice, but the
raised rims are snow-free year-round because of high winds and because much of
the ground is still hot. Steam or warm mist, at or just below boiling
temperature, rises from the crater rims in many areas and has melted an
intricate system of caves into the base of the crater-filling ice. On calm days,
a faint odor of sulfur can also be smelled. The hot ground, steam, and sulfur
smell, as well as the little-eroded shape of the summit craters attest to
Rainier’s recent activity.
Volcanic rocks older than the summit cone form all but the highest slopes
visible fr~m other directions and can be recognized by their craggy appearance,
caused by deep glacial erosion. The stair-step or banded look of these older
rocks is caused by ice and landslides having cut into the lavas and exposed
their dense interiors, that form cliffs, and their rubbly tops that form the
intervening ledges, often covered with snow. Many of the lavas that make up
upper Mount Rainier overlie, and are thus younger than, a lava that erupted
40,000 years ago (as measured by radiometric techniques), but are older than the
5,600-year-old collapse event. Many of these lavas were erupted during the last
great ice age.
Lavas on Rainier’s lower slopes formed flows to several hundred feet thick
that now hold up most of the ridges radiating from Mount Rainier. Many of the
measured eruption ages cluster in the interval 130,000 to 90,000 years ago,
perhaps indicating a period of particularly voluminous volcanic activity.
There is nothing to suggest that volcanic activity has ended at Mount Rainier.
Mount Rainier will surely erupt again, and this will affect people who live in
the surrounding areas or who visit Mount Rainier National Park. Experience at
other volcanoes indicates that renewed eruptions will likely be preceded by
weeks or months of small earthquakes centered beneath the volcano. These
earthquakes can be accompanied by swelling or other changes in the shape of the
volcano, as well as changes in ground temperatures and the amount and type of
gas released from the volcano. Earthquakes at Mount Rainier and other Cascade
volcanoes are monitored by the University of Washington and the U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS), and the volcanoes’ shapes are measured regularly by staff of the
USGS’s Cascades Volcano Observatory, located in Vancouver, Washington.
An eruption would probably begin with small steam blasts located at the summit,
but could escalate in size and intensity, perhaps leading toa release of new
magma (hot, molten rock). Depending on the amount of magma released, the
eruptions could have relatively minor effect on the surrounding area or could
produce large, destructive floods and debris flows, affecting areas far from the
volcano. The shaking by earthquakes or explosions will also dislodge masses of
unstable rock; the resulting rockslides could damage Park facilities.
Particularly large landslides could also create destructive, far-traveling
There is no immediate indication of renewed activity at Mount Rainier. However,
the rapidly increasing population in the southern Puget Sound region, and the
expansion of communities near Mount Rainier, has led to an increased overall
risk to people and property once activity resumes. Scientists from universities
and the government have responded by increasing the level of monitoring at Mount
Rainier. New studies have been started aimed at learning the style and size of
Rainier’s past eruptions to predict better the nature of future activity,
mapping the locations of particularly weak hydro thermally-altered rocks that
would be more prone to collapse, and determining the structure of the rocks
below the volcano so that any new earthquake swarms can be interpreted quickly
The potential hazards posed by Mount Rainier led to its inclusion as one of
sixteen volcanoes worldwide to be designated Decade Volcanoes. The Decade
Volcano initiative is part of a United Nations program aimed at better utilizing
science and emergency management to reduce the severity of natural disasters.
The Decade Volcanoes are the focus of coordinated earth-science studies and
land-use planning to learn the best ways to reduce the risks to life and
property from volcano-related hazards. Products from Decade Volcano studies at
Mount Rainier will include updated maps showing the areas and levels of hazards,
maps showing the locations and ages of Rainier’s lavas and debris flow deposits,
and reports on the style and size of selected eruptions and on the structure and
makeup of the rocks forming Mount Rainier and its underpinnings.”
For additional information about volcano hazards at Mt. Rainier or other
U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory
5400 MacArthur Blvd.
Vancouver, Washington 98661
Telephone: (36O~ 696-7693
Fax: (360) 696-7866
E-mail: email@example.com. usgs.gov
Figure 2. View of Mount Rainier from the northeast showing post-5, 600-year-old
lava cone and crater, buried edge of collapse crater (hachured line), and older
volcanic rocks (left and right of the summit and in the lower foreground).