Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


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"Potter Marsh (Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge) is a very popular spot for bird-  
watching. From the parking lot, an extensive boardwalk with interpretive signs
crosses the marsh, a refuge and nesting area for waterfowl, including arctic
terns, Canada geese, trumpeter swans, gulls, and many small birds."
~ The Milepost, 2015 print edition, p. 527
Potter Marsh is also a refuge for moose, bears, and smaller mammals like fox, rabbits, and rodents. It's a beautiful place to take a walk, especially in the early morning or late afternoon when it's cooler and the birds and animals are feeding.

Today was absolutely gorgeous -- 54-73 F. temps and beautiful blue sky with some puffy white clouds, which increased by evening. There was a nice breeze in the city, JBER, Potter Marsh (next three photos), and Bird Ridge, and a stiff wind along the large body of water called Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage.




I was out enjoying the great weather with Cody most of the day. Jim stayed home to rest up for a long solo bike ride tomorrow but he did take Casey for a slow eight-mile run on his bike while I was gone, and she got to swim.  

On the way out of JBER I saw a bunch of soldiers training in the grass along Richardson Rd. Just before the RR tracks near the runways I saw a large moose run into the woods (no picture). Then three F-18s or 22s took off in front of me.

That was a fun beginning to the day!


My first stop was Potter Marsh on the south end of town. I enjoyed these wetlands when we were here in 2012 and wanted to walk there again since it was on the way to my main hiking venue today.

I went early because dogs aren't allowed on the extensive boardwalks -- over a mile total out and back in each direction -- and I didn't want Cody to get hot in the truck.

Only a few people were there when I first arrived but soon two tour buses pulled in. The passengers headed for the south arm of the boardwalk so I walked to the quieter, north end of the marsh first.

I saw only a few birds in that direction but the scenery was peaceful and pretty:


There are several large and small observation decks with lots of interpretive panels to read.


A volunteer who works at the refuge was showing other visitors a bald eagle on a tree about 200 feet away, and a type of falcon I've never heard of (Merlin).

I tried to get photos but they don't show any of the birds clearly.


End of the north boardwalk is highlighted; the eagles and falcons were in the woods beyond.

The woman said a moose had been visible about an hour before. She often sees them in the early morning or evening but I was there too late.

I'm glad I at least saw the JBER moose this morning. 


Everybody's eating!  I saw lots of duck butts in the air this morning.

By the time I got back to the boardwalk entrance the people from the two tour buses were either returning to their buses or were spread out nearby and not blocking the boardwalk any more.

Although I don't like the southern boardwalk paralleling busy Seward Hwy. because of all the traffic noise, I walked to the end of it, too. There were more geese and other birds along that section. I didn't see any chicks like we did three years ago in that area, though.

View SE toward the highway and lots more boardwalk

Birdhouse with an Alaska plate for the roof




Red leaves add more color to the marsh.

Lots of ducks right in this area, mostly hiding in the grass





Cute chicks!  (one of my favorite photos from 6-27-12)

After I got done walking at the marsh I continued heading east on the Seward Hwy., stopping at the Beluga Point lookout to hunt for whales and sheep.

I didn't see any whales or sheep but I was fascinated watching the water in Turnagain Arm. The tide was pretty high but receding. The wind was causing a lot of whitecaps, and the water closest to shore was moving a different direction than the main channel:

Driving east on the Seward Hwy. this morning (toward the sun, so not the best photo)

Alaska RR track along Turnagain Arm at Beluga Point

Whitecaps and water flowing different directions

It was interesting during my hike high up on Bird Ridge and driving back home along the water to watch as more and more mud was exposed while the tide went out. I had especially great views of the process from Bird Ridge, the subject of the next entry.

Next entrya new hike to me, up Bird Ridge

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil