Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I get to play tourist around the Mat-Su Valley



I’ve had good friends visiting this last week and we got to play tourist. Besides that I’m less busy in September, it’s also a gorgeous month to get out and see Alaska. We fit in a much as we could in the days they were here. Each of the guys had a different favorite—walking on the Matanuska Glacier, flightseeing around Denali, and ATVing to the base of the Knik Glacier. We had stupendous weather for all of it and the fall colors were going bananas in reds and oranges. They vetoed the Kenai Fjords whalewatching trip on that morning because we were all just too tired from doing so much.

In the first photo, I've circled where planes just like ours have landed on the glacier below us. You can see a bit of the "runway" tracks of where the plane on the right landed with the speck in the upper left of that circle being the plane. You get a little perspective on how large the mountains are around us. In the middle of the photos, I put a round circle around the Sheldon Mountain House. You can't see the house, just the outcropping of rock which is hundreds of feet tall. What looks in this photo like a small area is a butte with a flat top about the size of a football field where pioneer bush pilot flew in lumber and supplies and built a cabin. In the lower photos, these sheer granite walls are 4000 feet tall, well over a mile in height. It's very hard to get a true sense of what that means to us. It's only when another plane went by below us, looking like a speck of a fly, that we could imagine just how vast these cliffs are.
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