Friday, May 23, 2008

Animals in the Wild

I heard that one lady didn’t like Alaska because “it is just scenery and wild animals.” Terry and I love to travel to Alaska to see animals in the wild.

We don’t always like the road conditions. As we traveled north to Alaska, we noted that there was much more snow on the sides of the road and many lakes were frozen that were clear last year. The dates we traveled were 4 or 5 days later then last year but spring has not arrived in many areas. The only snowstorm that we encountered was around Haines Junction. We drove for about an hour through flurries but the snow did not stick to the highway so Terry kept driving.

This was a hard winter on the roads. Frost heaves are everywhere. An area of the highway that was replaced south of Tok in the summer of 2006 now has frost heaves. Construction workers are continuing the movement of a mountain at milepost 97 to 92 on the Glenn Highway. The Milepost Book says, “A 3-year road construction project to realign and widen this section of highway was begun in 2007 and will continue in summer 2008. In the process, road crews will move over 2.4 million cubic yards of materials and blast through a solid rock hill.” I say they are trying to move a mountain.

The birds we saw were eagles, snow geese, Canadian geese, a red tailed hawk, many robins, flocks of swan, and several ptarmigan. One little fellow did a dance on the road for us as he puffed out his neck feathers.

Deer were plentiful in lower British Columbia. We saw more than 30 bears on the trip from Kitwanga, British Columbia to Eagle River, Alaska. One mama bear scratched her back on a pole while her black bear cub copied her. The brown twin thought it was safer to climb the pole. We even saw a mother bear with triplets but it was hard to get them all in focus at the same time. One moose changed its mind about crossing the road as we came around a bend. We were glad that we did not hit her. Another moose was only about 25 feet from the RV, which made great pictures as she continued to eat the buds off the tree. Caribou crossed the road in front of us. We saw a beaver den with two small beavers and their parents. The adult beaver slapped its tail on the water as a signal for the young to return to the den. We saw herds of mountain sheep on the hillside by Klune Lake and about ten mountain goats far up the mountainside by Little Atlin Lake. Only once before have I have seen a porcupine waddle across the road. Rabbits were getting their spring coats that meant that they had white feet, white bellies and white on the tips of their ears but brown backs. We are not sure if this animal is a small coyote or large fox. What do you think?

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