This week the temperatures here in Utah are going to be in the mid to upper 90’s so I was looking for something to visually cool down with and I thought of Alaska. During the summer of 2005 I made a trip to Alaska and the Yukon where part of the journey was a cruise and the rest was by land. The cruise started in Vancouver, British Columbia on a clear, cloudless day and as the ship headed towards Alaska the clouds slowly built up and by the time the sun was setting those clouds lent themselves to a dramatic sunset. That sunset was the last I would see for almost two weeks because the days are so long in Alaska during the summer.
I was delighted to sail up Tracy Arm and see the gorgeous blue silt laden waters, tree covered mountains and low hanging clouds. Later in the day I cursed the clouds because they were thick, low and blocked a lot of the light I had hoped for to photograph my journey. Those clouds also made it feel cooler than it actually was but in a polar fleece jacket I felt warm enough. It was July and I could still see snow up high.
Looking at this image I can almost feel the cool, fresh air on my skin. I saw several seals on the ice, this image shows one on top of the white speck in the water, I wish I had been closer to get a clear shot of the seal but I know it was there! The clouds hung over the mountains and I could barely make out some of the hanging glaciers. It would be lovely to get back there on a sunnier day.
There were waterfalls everywhere and there were trees and shrubs sprouting out of what appeared to be solid rock. The water really was this vividly colored from the glacial milk (silt) that flows into it from the waterfalls and glaciers.
I also visited Denali National Park and traveled by bus as far as the Toklat River and on the way there I was able to photograph this view from Polychrome Pass while a storm was clearing over the distant mountains. The rock (larger than it appears to be in this image) is a glacial erratic meaning it was carried there by a glacier and it may have originally been from an areas many, many miles away.
After leaving Anchorage by plane I was flying over Oklahoma and there was turbulent weather below and we were advised to keep our seatbelts on. I looked out the window to the storm underneath the plane and thought “That is the darkest, meanest looking storm I think I have ever seen”.
Then I realized that it was night time of course it would be dark! I had forgotten what that looked like during my time in Alaska.
Yes, I felt silly. But I can laugh at myself.
For those of you in hot climates I hope these images helped you feel a little cooler if only for a moment or two. It worked for me.