Wilsons' Travels
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Welcome to our website. Read about our recent travels with Postcards, our on-the-road blog; check out a selection of our published stories on the Stories page; or, view a few of our photos in the Photo Gallery. Click on About Us to learn a bit about Janet & Stu. Happy Travels!
Jun
02

Alaska Postcard #4 - Northern Exposure

Our driver stopped and pointed.  All eyes turned in that direction and we soon spotted a Brown Bear (aka Grizzly) munching berries, moving down hill toward us. Camera shutters clicked continuously.  With the bear just a few feet away, Stu’s telephoto lens was nearly useless.  The bear remained totally unconcerned with our presence as he ambled across the road behind our National Park Service shuttle bus and headed into the brush. Wow!

A comfortable and scenic ride aboard the Alaska Railroad’s “Gold Star” service from Anchorage to Denali Station had brought us here the previous day.  Our rustic and cozy cabin at Crow’s Nest was a friendly, welcoming accommodation.

Our 6:30 A.M. shuttle took us 66 miles into the six million-acre park.  At Eielson Visitor Center, we ate our box lunches and enjoyed a closer, if partly obscured view of the 20,320 foot-tall Mountain.  In addition to our close encounter with the Brown Bear, we observed a coyote trotting down the road, more Brown Bears walking across the tundra, a group of Dall Sheep on a nearby ridge, and a small herd of Caribou grazing near the roadside and more.

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Jun
02

Alaska Postcard #3 - Susitna's Family Roots

    “That can’t be our boat,” said Janet’s cousin, Karen.  “It looks too small.”  Indeed, it did look small, but it was our boat.  And the 18' aluminum outboard, coupled with the skills of our skipper Mark, proved more than up to the task of transporting seven of us 15 miles or so down the Susitna River, and bringing us safely back. 
    We’re at Deshka Landing.  Mainly because so few roads exist in this enormous state, it’s one of the few public access points to the Susitna. Cousin Karen worked diligently with local archeologist Fran who arranged this trip down river to visit a place called Susitna Station–the place where Grandpa Cy lived in 1910-11 and where his eldest son, Karen’s father, was born. Mark navigated the braided channel of the Susitna at high speed, watching intently for snags, rocks and sandbars–carefully avoiding things that weren’t obvious to the rest of us. Just before our arrival he took us to Seal Island at the mouth of the Yetna River, and sure enough four or five Harbor Seals lolled on the gravelly bar, a good 20 miles from Cook Inlet.  He said they followed the salmon up the river.

 

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Jun
02

Alaska Postcard #2 - Juneau, Skagway and Anchorage

     Standing in our Sitka hotel lobby at 11:00 A. M. without a room or transportation, we quickly jumped on the motel’s computer and scored three seats on a 6:30 P.M. flight to Juneau.  Our relief, however was leavened with a touch of resentment when we calculated that the 20-minute flight would cost us $176 each, or nearly $9.00/minute!  Compared with our Misty Fjords flight in Ketchikan at a little over $ 2.00/minute, it was sure no bargain, but then beggars can’t be choosers. We were glad to keep our reservations in Juneau and our trip on schedule.

     At 30,000 or so people, Juneau is by far the largest city in Southeast Alaska.  It’s the capital and home to University of Alaska’s Southeast campus.  We toured the state capitol, the state museum, and met-up with Janet’s childhood chum, Alice Mauldin Tersteeg (a retired university art professor).  Alice showed us around and took us out to Mendenhall Glacier–very impressive, notwithstanding that it is receding rapidly.  After Alice, the highlights of our Juneau visit were our accommodations at the Silverbow Inn and a dinner at next door Zephyr Restaurant.  The rooms at the Inn were modern, clean and stylish though the place had sort of a sophisticated counter culture vibe, with great breakfasts including fresh baked goods from their own bakery and wine-tasting in the evening.  Zephyr was a revelation with homemade pasta (we all enjoyed one form or another), a surprising wine list, delectable  flavors, and memorable service.

   

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