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!