He's The BOSS!

One afternoon I had whipped into a gas station on my way home from work. After I finished pumping the gas I jumped back into my little Volvo and turned toward the 4 lane road that would take me home.  As I was watching heavy afternoon traffic going left and right, all of a sudden everything stopped. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the traffic stopping problem coming straight at me from across the street! A full grown ENORMOUS moose, or should I call him Mr. Moose, was strolling my way and he expected all of us to wait until he had successfully made his cross!

Mr. Moose slowly walked at his own pace, ignoring the 40 or so cars that had lined up on both sides of the road either waiting or just watching as he made his way through the middle of the road in the middle of the city. I'm sitting on the side road in the direct path of this enormous creature feeling very small and wondering if he is going to walk across me or around me! If moose feel threatened they can and will attack. There have been many unfortunate incidents of such attacks. I decided to sit very quietly and still while I inconspicuously snapped a few pictures.

After this guy got more than an uncomfortable distance to me, he turned into the right hand side of the road as if he were just cruising with the flow of traffic and headed East. I breathed a sigh of relief and watched him as he walked to the side of the road, allowing traffic to flow once again.

See how huge he is compared to the car to his left?? My little car is even smaller than that. He was one of the largest moose that I have seen up close! I was for once, glad that I had to stop for gas, one of my least likeable things to do. I wouldn't have wanted to miss this!
He didn't seem to be lost or confused and we most certainly weren't bothering him in the least. Maybe he was just on his way home from work like the rest of us! Either way, he was definitely the boss today!

Seward, AK

Last summer, an old friend of mine from the south, came to visit me in Anchorage. It had been her dream to partake in the "Big Wild Life" one day, if only for a short time. As we made plans to be very touristy during her stay, something my husband cannot bring himself to do with me, we also included a trip to Seward. I was excited to finally be going on a wildlife excursion and hoping to see whales along with other sea life on a day cruise.
One thing I did not plan on was how much we enjoyed the ride down the Kenai Peninsula  and through the mountains to Resurrection Bay and the small town known as Seward.
      We left Anchorage and drove south for about 2  hours early one Saturday morning.  Though we were driving south, we were also driving up and over the mountains. The mountain air was much cooler and there was more snow on that drive in mid June than most southerners see in a 5 year period of time. My friend, Pat, was thrilled to see snow and it was such a  beautiful drive!


Finally, we reached the end of the road, literally! The road dead-ends right into this quaint town, you can't miss it! We found our little port community to be just as charming as we had been told it would be. Parking lots lined the land side of the town, we pulled in and left the car and then we were off on foot to find our boat for the 5 hour cruise into Resurrection Bay with eyes wide open not wanting to miss a thing! The bay smelled of fish, the air breezed with a chill and everyone was going out on one boat or another. With a multitude of tourist info shacks lined up alongside the docks, we walked up and down until we came to the one that we had booked through. 

There she is, The Star of the Northwest!
We are right on time and  can't wait to get underway!
Join us on our trip out to sea!
As we boarded the Star, we had our picture taken and then made our way up the ramp and into the dinning area. There was to be a Salmon and prime rib buffet served, but it was a little stuffy for me so we made our way up and out to the top tier of the large boat. The view was much nicer and it was not quite as crowded, the fresh air, sunshine and smell of the water felt wonderful!
From there we could see parts of the small town of Seward nestled right below the mountains edge that had not been revealed by car .
The fresh salmon was amazing for lunch and we enjoyed as much of the all you eat buffet as we could. The dining car made the waves feel as though we were climbing mountains and I was having a little trouble keeping my equilibrium in balance. As soon as possible we made our way back out onto the top deck of the Star, determined not to let the sea sickness set in.
It wasn't long and we heard the captain's voice instructing us to watch for an Orca that had been spotted portside. Suddenly, everyone was running around, bumping into each other and fighting for a place a long the railing on the portside. "There he is," someone shouted and everyone pointed out toward the splashing in the distance. What a show! He came up out of the water with a graceful force and back down just as graceful, but so quickly that we didn't get a shot. The excitement aboard that little vessel was buzzing and the captain was whipping the boat around to chase our sea friend. With one unexpected turn to the left, then a couple of waves to cross, it  felt like I was riding thunder road rollercoaster at six flags! Wow! I knew I would not last long standing on the edge eyeing that ever so rampantly moving water! I was glad that Pat was taking the pictures at this point.
It was so exciting to see this huge creature playing around in the water and deliberately putting on a show for his audience. Most of us were glued to the screen before us, except for the ones who were staring into their little white paper bags! I managed to hold it together and didn't use mine, but I quickly found a seat where I didn't have to see the movement of the water. Obviously, when we hit the main channel and began chasing our whale, about half of the boats guests began losing their lunch. YIKES!! At least I was not alone in my misery.  The crew was running around passing out the barf bags and these amazing ginger candies to settle our stomachs. Pat was the smart one who had had her doctor prescribe her a motion sickness patch and brought Dramamine. She wasn't going to let anything ruin her sightseeing excursion.
Pat thought it was cute to catch me feeling a little green on camera! Thanks, friend!
The motion sickness finally subsided and the sightseeing just kept getting better! We all ooed and awed as we watched the mountain goats climb on the cliffs, the puffins take flight from rock to water, and the sea lions bask in the sun.
And this guy just sitting back and taking it all in. Watching us, keeping an eye on his world from way up there and probably most of all,  watching for his next meal.
Taking it all in just like my friend, Pat, in her ALASKA sweatshirt!

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Bear season is in full swing in the Anchorage area, once again.  Sometime in April the black bear population comes out of hibernation and begins to wander around the city. I know that statement was rather matter of fact said, but honestly, it is just that; matter of fact. The bears are out and BEWARE! They are everywhere!
My husband was out in a neighborhood on hillside last week and caught this guy just crossing the street. I'm not sure if he was going home or going hunting, but for those homeowners in the area I'm hoping they have all of their small animals and trash cans secured!

He's a cute little guy and I love how free they roam even in our very domesticated city.
Mostly, the bears are going after your trash, (and chickens- but that's another story!) sifting through and finding something edible. If your trash cans are regularly attracting bear activity your neighbors and the city will encourage you to order a "bear proof" trash can to deter your smart bear from visiting your feeding station.
The first time I heard of an enraged neighbor demanding that the homestead down the street get "the bear proof trash receptacle" I was more than a little amused! However, I quickly disguised my smiles as concerns and realized what a big deal this really is. No one wants these cute little cuddly teddy bears hanging around. Sadly, black bears are dangerous and destructive. They are at their best in the wild and nothing more than a nuisance in the city limits.
 I will continue to enjoy watching for the bears that prowl around in the city, but also make sure that I don't do any of the things that might attract one to hang around.
Reporting from the city of "The Big Wild Life," Joann Walters signing off for now!


Is anyone missing winter? Definitely not me! Just because the temperatures have been off the charts and Alaska has made national news due to our little heat wave, it seems everyone is complaining! Well, the fact that there is no air conditioning in our homes or businesses doesn't help things much either. Funny enough, there have been reports of a fan shortage in the city as well as bug repellent!  But, if your loving the intense sunshine that is showering this great city lately, be warned! It will most assuredly pass as quickly as the midnight sun!
It's not that Alaskans like the cold or prefer it over the heat. It's mostly that we are not prepared for it. Our bodies, ( yes that does include me, unfortunately) acclimate to the cooler temps and our blood thickens to accommodate the extreme cold. Usually, the milder summers with only a few days with a 70 degree sweltering high, are tolerable.
This summer took awhile to take off, with snow even in May, but once it did it got serious and spewed wonderful hot and dry sunshine everywhere! There has been an array of upper 70 and 80 degree days all across the state of Alaska. Compared to the past 4 summers that I have spent here this is quite the event.  This southern girl is not complaining, even in my sweatiest moments, I'll take sunshine over cool and rainy any day.
Just in case you are missing the winter or think you'd rather have those snow days back, I have a few pictures to remind you. Although the snow makes everything beautiful, it also brings it's own discomforts. 




It's May, but it feels like a southern October!

I recently found this draft from last year this same time. I'm guessing that life got busy as it tends to do and I didn't find the time to finish this and post it.  I hesitated to post it now, then realized most of it was relevant for this year as well! Some things just don't change around here even when we think it will be different next time. I will say that we did not have those high accumulations of snow fall this year and definitely didn't set any records, thank goodness! However, it seemed to take forever for spring to decide to show up and find her place, but once she did we were showered with more sunshine than we've seen in many years!( Sunshine is a good thing!)

"With the new month of May rolling around you'd expect even warmer temps,right? It just doesn't work that way in Alaska. You have to wrap your head around the fact that it's back in the mid 40's and we shed our sweaters and are back in jackets.

Oh well, easy come, easy go. Only one problem, its really not that easy to come by! Back in mid April we found ourselves basking in some very intense sunshine. After 164 inches of snow, this winter, it was more welcome than anyone in the "lower 48" could imagine.  That much snow was actually more than most Alaskans could imagine and much more than we ever wanted!

Did I mention that the all time record for snow fall was broken this season? You'd think we'd be giving high fives or something, but no, just make it go away was more the attitude. (if nowhere else, it was the attitude at my house and namely from "me!")

It was pretty enough and definitely gave all the sportsman plenty to do, but mostly, it was a lot of work.


Now, that most of that snow has melted and we are all desperate for spring the week had delivered another disappointment: cold air and even snow flurries in some areas. As I pulled my jacket tighter around me this afternoon I was reminded of the fall air of an October in Alabama."