Sunday, 29 May 2016

Alaskan Journal Part 12

A nice relaxed day when we took our final longish hike. Glorious weather as we hiked the 6 mile 'moderately strenuous' Dew Mound Trail from the Eagle River Nature Centre. A great mixture of woodland and riverside views and the moderately strenuous description was pretty accurate. It was a good stretch of the legs. Surprisingly, it took a good four and a bit hours to complete which suggests that we took plenty of time to 'stop and stare'. No bears, no moose and, more importantly, no mosquitoes.

And after this, Mrs P joined some other ladies to arrange the flowers for the wedding in the church. A good time was had by all.
In answer to that age old question "do bears poo in the woods?". Yes, they do. And this looked like a fresh pile.
Given the aforementioned fresh pile of droppings, we redoubled our bear deterrent measures. Here is Mrs P demonstrating her stick waving procedure. If that did not work, step 2 involved the bear spray. And if that did not work, we had the ultimate deterrent ready - singing 'God save the Queen'. Bears, moose, British republicans, all stampeded from the woods when Mrs P struck up the National Anthem. I was halfway back to Anchorage before I'd realised what was happening and had to return with my tail between my legs.
There were lots and lots of these fluttering on the edges of the woodland. After our previous walk I had identified them as European Swallowtails, Duh. They are, more correctly, Canadian Tiger Swallowtails.
The adults  emerge at the end of May/early June which was very convenient for our visit. The adults feed on nectar whilst the caterpillars feed on birch leaves, of which there is an abundance in these parts.
Looking up the Eagle River, across the gravel beds, towards mountains in the Shugach Range.
Looking across Dew Mound Lake, the highest and halfway point of our hike. Secluded and tranquil.
Six of the eight ducklings trailing behind a male Teal. I just could not get them to cooperate and cluster together so I could get a good shot of all of them.

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