We just love it when we wake up in the morning and it’s sunny!! We are
so tired of rain.
This was a perfect-weather day with no clouds in the morning and only a
few clouds building up over the Chugach, Talkeetna, and Alaska Ranges by
To our delight it was clear enough to see 20,320-foot Denali today from
the Coastal Trail for the first time. Prominent 17,395-foot Mt. Foraker,
on the left in the picture below, was also visible:
The mountains were a long way away and we didn't have binoculars or a
super-long camera lens to see the details but we were excited to have
our very first view of Denali.
Temperatures reached about 70 F. in town. Our thermometer at the camper
usually registers a few degrees cooler because the receiver is in the
shade in the afternoon and evening. It’s usually in the mid to low 50s
at night. This is our preferred temperature range all year long.
Another view of Denali from the Coastal Trail
It was a lovely day. We realize that no matter where we are, we
much prefer the sun to rain or overcast conditions.
That preference is just magnified when we’re traveling and want to see
what’s around us – especially the drop-dead gorgeous scenery in Alaska.
I wish we could go back to Valdez and the Kenai Peninsula and have a
couple weeks of sunshine. We missed a lot of beautiful territory on
BACK ON THE COASTAL TRAIL
We went for a leisurely 22-mile bike ride on the Coastal Trail
before/during lunch. The hills to Earthquake Park, Point Woronzof, and
Kincaid Park were tough because we’re both tired from
all the hiking/riding we’ve done this week.
This was one of the
flatter spots along Cook Inlet:
In that photo, Jim is riding ahead of me. Point Woronzof is in the
distance, and we had clear (but even more distant)
views of the snow-capped volcanic
mountains to the southwest this morning. The tide in Cook Inlet is low;
at high tide, the water is close to the trail here.
I like this humorous reminder for dog owners at one of the trailheads:
We haven't seen many dogs on the Coastal Trail during several rides in
June or today. A bigger hazard for cyclists is oblivious clusters of moms with
baby strollers . . .
FLORA & FAUNA
I stopped for several pictures of scenery and flowers. I noticed some
differences from when we were here several weeks ago.
There are more fireweeds blooming now, lots of pretty wild roses, a pink
or blue long clustered flower I haven’t seen here previously (a type of
vetch, I think), and graceful pinkish grasses blowing in the wind:
Fireweed blooms open from the bottom to the top of
Fireweed and yarrow bloom along the Inlet with the
Anchorage skyline in the distance.
Yarrow and vetch bloom in a narrow strip of land
between Cook Inlet and the Coastal Trail.
Above and below: wild roses
There are a couple kinds of large shrubs loaded with red berries along
the trail. I bet the bears and/or birds are attracted to those.
This is one of the bushes with different stages of clustered berries:
This was a memorable bike ride in more ways than one.
Not only did we see Denali from Earthquake
Park and Woronzof Point, we also saw a female moose outbound on the long hill
going up the long bend in Kincaid Park.
She was standing in the brush
close to the trail, eating leaves:
She wasn’t the least bit
concerned about folks riding and walking past. She didn't even look my
way when I stopped to take her picture:
We were in Kincaid Park for several minutes. When we turned around and
went back down the hill she was gone.
We kept our eyes open for other moose and bears but didn’t see any.
There were plenty of people out enjoying the beautiful weather, though.
When we got done with our bike ride we went to the
House of Bread
at 8130 Old Seward Hwy. just north of Sam’s Club. We learned about his
bakery at the downtown Anchorage Farmers' market last Saturday. The
store had a booth and was offering free samples and loaves of bread,
muffins, and other baked goods for sale.
The samples were delicious! We were hooked. (Stores like Sam's Club learned
long ago that free samples help sell their products.)
I checked out the website and read about House of Bread's healthier-than-usual gourmet breads,
muffins, sandwiches, soups, salads, and other edibles. We decided to
have lunch there today.
This bakery/café has a nice, bright interior and excellent baked goods.
I got a bowl of turkey and wild rice soup with two slices of Dakota
bread. Jim got the daily special sandwich and chips.
We took a loaf of Dakota bread home with us. Yum!
We’d like to go back again before leaving Anchorage. We don't eat out
much and therefore have very few restaurant reviews on this website. We
can highly recommend this place, though.
Photo of House of Bread from the store's website
We got a truckload of food and supplies at WalMart and Sam’s Club, then
returned to the campground in the late afternoon.
CAMEO & CAMPGROUND MISCELLANEA
After supper Jim changed the oil in the truck at the auto hobby shop on
base and got some more ideas from a guy who works in the carpentry shop
about how to repair one of our wooden cabinet doors over the sofa (shown
It popped open and slammed shut when we were driving over some rough
roads in the Yukon or Alaska. It is cracked vertically and doesn’t shut
properly. Fortunately it’s not cracked through and it doesn’t show unless you know
it’s there and look closely.
Jim had some ideas about how to fix it but wanted advice from someone
with more carpentry experience. One of the guys at the shop
thought his ideas about gluing and reinforcing it were good so he got
Gorilla Glue as advised and several pieces of metal and screws at Lowe’s
and Home Depot.
While I was gone today he glued it, let it dry, and attached two
L-shaped metal angles at the corners on the hinged side. He swapped one
of the hinges he thought might have bent with a good one from another
cabinet we don’t use much.
The door is reinforced and fits better now but Jim plans to find a way
to keep it closed permanently so it doesn’t get worse. We really don’t
need the storage space behind it and we can reach what’s there from
doors on either side, if necessary. He did a good job fixing it.
Hopefully it will
stay fixed over all the bumpy roads in Alaska and Canada
on our way back down to the Lower 48. We've already put door catches on
several other cabinet doors to keep them closed in transit so this isn't
a new problem. This is the first time a door has cracked,
Meanwhile, the Black Spruce Campground is overflowing – literally – with RVs for
the huge Arctic Thunder Air Show this weekend.
There are half a dozen
campers in various overflow spots at the entrance and farther back, such
as the Class A with cargo trailer below. Overflow
(dry) camping is $12/night compared to $21/night for full hookups. Dry
campers AKA boondockers can still use the restrooms, laundry room, and
other facilities in the campground.
If we aren’t able to extend our stay in our current site on Monday we’re fine with
moving to an overflow site for several days. We just hope some of these
people leave so we can stay put. We’ve gotten spoiled with full hook-ups
at a reasonable cost and we'd prefer not to move. We really like our spot.
There was some sad news this week about a black bear and three cubs that
were deliberately shot by the police because they were getting into the
garbage cans in a neighborhood in Anchorage. They were no longer afraid
Because of the irresponsibility of the humans, they were the seventh,
eighth, ninth, and tenth bears shot this summer.
I hope they weren’t the bear family we saw last month on the
Sure hope it wasn't this family that was killed.
Wildlife officials said the cubs that were captured had to be shot because
“no one would take them.”
I just can’t believe that. There has to be a
zoo or wildlife preserve somewhere that would like three healthy
bear cubs. Here’s a
link to one of the articles about this incident.
I’ve got ambivalent feelings about several big issues in Alaska, including
bears (the others are fishing/subsistence rights of Native Alaskans and
mining/drilling for oil). There’s the “bears were here first” argument
about creeping urbanization and irresponsible humans leaving garbage out
versus obvious safety issues.
Young bear in our campsite at JBER in June
Jim says he’s become more afraid of bears since reading/hearing about
several attacks this summer. He’s concerned that I’ll risk injury or
worse if I encounter a bear with or without cubs on a trail because my
first thought will be taking a picture of them, not protecting myself!
I think I’d have the sense to be nervous and wary at
first, try to assess the bear’s behavior, then decide if it was
safe to stand there and take a picture while talking gently to the bear.
If I see a bear I’ll whip out the bear spray immediately but won't start
spraying it right away unless it appears agitated or aggressive.
I wish we’d see more bears in
the campground from the safety of our camper or when we’re driving
around. Ironically, we’ve seen more bears and moose in the city of Anchorage
and at JBER than we’ve seen out in the countryside!
Next entries: Tour de Town, with an emphasis on the
beautiful cultivated floral displays at the J.Z. Loussac
Library, Alaska Botanical Gardens, and various city parks
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the ultra Lab
© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil