7/16 to 7/22/2019

Denali National Park to Anchorage, AK

Denali National Park! We camped outside the park above the Nenana River and ride-shared to the Visitor’s Center for all activities – and there were activities!

We went to a corny gold rush show, ate out, some went rafting while others went on day and midnight ATV trips. The sun was up for 23 hours, after all, plenty of time to play! We rode the bus into Denali and stopped umpteen times for caribou, bears, birds, and moose watching. 

The vastness of this park full of wildlife and wild lands, is astounding. Thankfully, most of Denali has no roads that could overwhelm natural resources and turn the park into just another tourist stop. The park is dedicated to Alaska’s animals, birds and fish that they might live unwatched, unmolested, un-photographed on untouched lands. Gosh. What a gift to the future of our planet. Lands and creatures that will evolve as nature intended in an area that has been set aside, protected, for them. Glaciers, peaks and waters following time without exploitation… 

My whole being celebrated the wonder of Denali. Everything we read, saw, and heard in the park spoke to the fragility and preciousness of our parks and planet. We must protect our city, county, state and national parks they are literally holding the past and future in their embrace.

On to Anchorage. Another very metropolitan city – glittering away against a backdrop of incredible mountains and the huge Turnagin Arm. Again, we had a busy schedule – restocking our larders, visiting the wild berry place, the Ulu Factory, and Fish Creek (watching folks flogging their fly lines into the water to attract the attention of silver and pink salmon and hoping for that rare King salmon this late in the year). It’s a small stream, in town, with LOTS of anglers and plenty of salmon trying to make it upstream to spawn before they die. 

The University of Alaska Museum. The group spent hours in the history section and art galleries. Barb and I spent hours and hours – 2 day trips – exploring the place top to bottom. Honestly, it is the best museum – well aside from the Kam Wah Cheung, Inc. National Historic Site museum, that one tops every other.

UoA Museum houses Otto – a huge mounted Grizzly that wears an innocently puzzled expression on his massive face. He is over seven feet tall, I would not like to meet him on a salmon run! There are several galleries of contemporary art mixed with art created for the tourist trade (a tradition since the 1870’s).

Throughout the art section of the museum I read a running conversation about whether beautiful or amusing objects created for practical use could be called art; whether objects created to make money from tourists could be called art and whether or not people untrained by and for the creation of “art” could actually create art?  I had reached my own conclusion and was not surprised to find the conversation arrived at the same point as I: untrained people create art, art is created to be pleasing and most artists will agree that selling their art can be a laudable goal, if not the goal.

The museum also houses the most unique space ever (go to this site and hear/see what it’s all about): Check it out

“The Place Where You Go to Listen is a unique sound and light environment created by Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams. This ever-changing musical ecosystem gives voice to the rhythms of daylight and darkness, the phases of the moon, the seismic vibrations of the earth, and the dance of the aurora borealis.”

It is visual, the colors of a wall change with heat, light and vibration ; and it is auditory, it brings the sounds of seismic activity, borealis sound and star noise into being. I sat in the room, stood in different parts of the room, with and without others. Being in the room induced a profoundly meditative state. I fell into the sound of Alaska.

Barb and I also did laundry, ate lunch out, shopped for food and stuff. Anchorage is a good city to play in!

We’ve had so much fun with this group of RVing women – most are RVing women from the eponymous group we enjoyed joining back in the 90’s. We’ve made so many good friends on this trip.  

Next – one of my heart places, Homer, Alaska.