Sunday, 29 May 2016

Alaskan Journal Part 13

Our last full pre-wedding day in Anchorage and we spent the morning lazing about and dropping into a large hiking/camping/outdoor stores - REI. These places are interesting to browse around, as are DIY stores, as they give a real flavour of how the locals occupy their time. I like gadgets and this place is gadget heaven. Solar powered rucksack with three USB ports anyone? Need some kit to allow some ice-fishing in comfort? Or how about a combined saw/machete with a 24 inch blade? Folks in these parts take the outdoors very seriously as evidenced by the thousand and one things you could spend your money on. And they don't just do it in the summer time: gear for four seasons outside was there before your very eyes. Did I buy anything? I was tempted, especially by the saw/machete, but common sense prevailed when I thought of the possible hassle of getting it back through customs at Heathrow. Having to argue at 7 am after a 10 hour red-eye flight would not have been fun.

What was fun, however, was the 3 mile stroll we took in the afternoon along part of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. It's a trail alongside the Cook Inlet and follows the fringes of Anchorage. Spectacular views all the way with snow covered mountain ranges in the distance. Conditions were so clear that we finally got to see Denali/Mt McKinley, albeit a white speck on the horizon. But then what would you expect from something around 150 miles away! We saw a few wading birds that were new to us and I'm convinced there were a couple of black bears lurking on the edge of a wood at one point. Cue a few verses of 'God save the Queen'. That did the trick.

As did the food we had at the Fat Ptarmigan in the early evening. A lot of us over for the wedding are staying in the same B and B, with others elsewhere close-bye, so a nice house-party buzz has developed. It's added to our enjoyment of our time in Anchorage.
Looking over the Cook Inlet from the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail to snow covered mountains the west. Remember this is just a mile or so from downtown Anchorage.
At least a couple of the blobs in the distance were Black Bears. Again remember this is just a mile or so from downtown Anchorage.
Denali/Mt McKinley poking its head above the treeline. We couldn't see for the mist when we were a lot closer but a view from 150 miles is better than nothing.
A pair of American Wigeon.
A Lesser Yellowlegs poking around in the silt.
A pair of Sandhill Cranes. Big birds, about 4 foot tall.
Rather less elegant when they were picking up speed to fly.
We've come across libraries in telephone kiosks before but this is the smallest library we've come across. It was outside Fire Island Bakery, who make rather tasty coconut macaroons and blue cheese focaccia.

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