Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Epic Alaska, Part 1

Outside of Delta Junction, AK

In my very first post, I spoke briefly of my trip to the Interior of Alaska...and I said "but that's a blog for another day..." well, that day is today. The first two blogs, I'm taking from my myspace blog and importing them here...but I've been neglectful and not written of the whole excursion. I plan to rectify that over the next few days. So, let's begin, at the beginning...

The Tanana Valley

Epic: "Extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope"...

This is the description that Merriam Webster's uses for the word "epic" but those few words fail to truly explain the feeling that being a part of something epic instills in you. This past week, as most of you know, I was fortunate enough to be back in Alaska. To me, the place truly encompasses the word "epic" epic for its size, its beauty, its majesty, its difficulty, and its people.

Harding Lake...around Salcha

The Tanana River

Out in the woods of Salcha four wheeling.

No place I've ever been hits me like Alaska does. There's just something about it that gets under my skin. I loved getting to experience a new part of the state. The southeast is indeed beautiful, but I've found, the interior is equally as striking. The vastness of the landscape is absolutely breathtaking. How can you not appreciate the startling beauty set before you? It captured my heart seeing mountains, rivers, valleys and gorges, all set off by skyscapes of clouds and rivulets of sun that swept the heavens from east to west.

Me and the "end of the Alaskan Highway" in Delta Junction.

Sunset in the swamp at Camp Baldwin

The pipeline outside of Delta Junction.

I loved seeing the waters of the Tanana river churn and stir and strain defiantly against its banks, or the Salcha river lazily course along its way. A drive down the Alaskan highway brought us closer to one of the mountain ranges we could see from Delta Junction. They rose like giants out of the earth, snow capped and tremendous…and Donnelly Dome stood before them in all of its evergreen glory. We saw the pipeline, the "artery of Alaska" as it ran across the landscape like a silver thread. as far as the eye could see.

Sunset from the highest ridge in Salcha (It's around 1 AM here)

Kayaking on the Brink's lake.

The waters were so couldn't tell where earth would end and the sky illustrated by this reflection.

Flying into Fairbanks, this horizon greeted me.

The "Land of the Midnight Sun" also proved itself to be exactly that. It was a rare day that we saw the sun begin to set before 11 pm…but when it did, it was magnificent. Vibrant purples, deep oranges, and glittering golden hues streaked the sky; the mountains and rivers caught them up and blanketed themselves in the same shades. Watching dusk fall over the vastness of the Tanana Valley from the top of a mountain ridge is something I always want to remember. Night was never night as I know it at home, black and starry…it was that ethereal shade of blue that I think exist in only a few places on earth…the clouds in the sky were still quite visible, only deeper in color and I never saw the stars…

Well, that's my musing on the place itself, now as far as what I did...
...that is to be continued in part 2. As I upload these pictures, I realize how deeply this place captured me. I think there's almost a desperation in the way I miss this it.


K said...

Awesome post and photos! It is nice to see my stomping grounds on someone's blog!

The photos are breathtaking! It looks exactly like that too!

Love your blog!


Elizabeth Douglas said...

Thanks K! You from Salcha or Delta? I love the place. I'm hoping to get back this year. I miss it terribly! It really is one of the most breathtaking places I've ever visited.

Alaska Steve said...

Great photos! I kind of miss Alaska too, in some ways Unalaska seems more like another country than an island in Alaska, know what I mean?

Elizabeth Douglas said...

Thanks Steve! I can imagine that it has it's own feeling...the environment, transient nature of much of the work force, it's an extremely interesting place to me, your Unalaska. I would love to visit it someday...just to see it. Both the mainland of AK and the Aleutians have their own particular beauty I'm sure I've seen in person and through wonderful pictures like on your blog.

mm said...

You just need to come here Liz! I've never been past Fairbanks and North Pole in the interior, your pics were great and it IS a world away from Unalaska. --or even Kodiak and Wrangell where I go on vacation.

Elizabeth Douglas said...

Good to see you here mm!!! I know it! I'm sure I'll be back in Alaska at some point this year...and one of these days, out to the Island chain for sure. You'll have to give me the grand island tour and then I'll treat you to that Sunday brunch buffet at the GA! LOL!