Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Alaska Journal: Wasilla/Palmer and Mat-Su Region

Greetings from Alaska and Welcome to the first part of the Alaska Journal!

My husband and I are traveling a small portion of this enormous state and you are welcome to join us on this adventure. Please come along with us today as I share photos from our first stop, Wasilla/Palmer area and the agriculture rich Mat-Su Region of Alaska. Mat-Su is the shortened name for the region including the Matanuska and Susitna Rivers.

Our first view of Alaska--from an airplane
Three take-offs and three landings during our twelve hour travel from home to Anchorage and we landed easily at Anchorage Airport. The trip was seamless thanks to the great performance by Delta and Alaska Airlines. (Note to local folks--The Comfort Inn on 28th St., Grand Rapids, MI has friendly park and fly service. They even serve breakfast at 4 a.m. so guests can make the 4:30 a.m. shuttle to the aiport!)  

 The snow patches and the glacier iced mountains greeted us when we touched down in Anchorage. This city is not a city of tall skyscrapers nor contemporary architecture. It is plain and reflects the values of hard-working folks. The friendly people were cordial and helpful and soon we were on our way from Anchorage to Wasilla in our rental car. 

On the road to Wasilla
As we drove the route to Wasilla, majestic mountains guarded the highway. No matter where we looked, there were gorgeous views. I was in awe of the beauty. "Purple mountain majesties" the words from America, the Beautiful resonated in my head.

I was not prepared for the emotional experience of Alaska's landscape. I'm a writer and yet I cannot grasp the words to describe the beauty and the power I saw in those mountains. (Later I experienced more mountain vistas, so you may get sick of mountain pictures. I have taken hundreds of photos, but still have not captured the drama of these vistas.)

We spent two nights at Alaska Lake Lucille Bed and Breakfast...a charming home decorated with quilts and country paintings and coziness. Carol cooked up a deeee-licious breakfast each morning and started off the days with cheerful greetings and smiles.

Our aiplane--well, for half an hour at least, during the flight seeing tour
Flightseeing Tour
We flew over the lands drained by the "braided" streams of the Susitna River. Instead of one channel, there are many connecting to each other. What a sight to behold. So much water!

This is only a small part of the waterway we saw during the airplane ride.
Hatcher's Pass
We had quite an adventure finding Hatcher's Pass, but eventually we made it there. The mountains are amazing!
On the road to Hatcher's Pass
You will see snow patches on the mountain even at this time of year. There is a lot of snow still on the mountainsides because Alaska experienced a record breaking snowfall this year and a late spring. The icy glaciers are also visible and remain on the mountain throughout the seasons.

Our car was dwarfed by this snow bank along our route to Hatcher's Pass

The Musk Ox Farm
After our long drive through the awesome mountains we stopped at the Musk Ox Farm.

Musk ox Mama

Musk ox are unusual animals related to goats, not cattle. They can withstand the extreme temperatures of the Alaskan winters by growing a heavy coat. At this farm, their hair, called quviut is combed out in the spring and saved so Alaskan natives can use the material to knit gorgeous, warm scarves and hats, etc. I was going to purchase two scarves for my two daughters as a memento of our Alaskan trip, however, the scarves were $245. each! When I picked up my jaw from the counter, I thanked the clerk, but told her no. I was even afraid to touch the beautiful works of art.

The next destination is Denali National Park. Yes, there will be lots more mountain images for sure. 

If you have a question about our travels, please ask. If you have visited Alaska, please share your experience with us.

This is the first part in the series on our trip to Alaska. Please click the links below to follow the whole trip.

Part 3: Alaska Native Heritage Center 
Part 4: Ski Resort Girdwood
Part 5: Seward, Kenai Fjords, and Alaska Sea Life Center



Joylene Nowell Butler said...

As a frequent visitor to Alaska, I can understand how you feel. It's breathtaking. I spend most of my time speechless, with a camera always ready. You'll going to have a fabulous trip.

J.Q. Rose said...

You are so right, Joylene. Camera at the ready. Thanks.

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