First Week of Adventures in Alaska – Inspiring and Beautiful
Hello from Alaska folks!
I am finally able to dedicate some free time to write a journal post about our first week here in The Last Frontier State of Alaska!! One thing before I get into detail about our adventures; Alaska will BLOW your mind away, and I am still in AWE about it here. I am so in love with this state already, and have seen MORE of Alaska in 6 days than a normal “vacationer” would have seen in their week-long trip. People who visit Alaska cram so much into their schedules, they don’t take the time to explore, and walk into the wilderness hiking, and or even climbing cliffs to see the views. If you visit Alaska, DO just that, explore and feel nature in your soul, you will be blessed and inspired. :)
April 30th – This day was my first day of FUN flights, and views from my seat on the airplane. The day was considerably long, tiring and full of excitement! The flights went very smooth with no problems whatsoever. My “neighbor” on my flight from MSP to ANC (6 hr inflight time), his name was Jim. VERY nice guy, lives in Kenai, a small community along the scenic Sterling Highway. Made great conversations and learned a few new things about Alaska. My flight landed, and I was SO anxiously looking and waiting for David to come find me. He arrives, and we had a very warm and special moment – not to mention bursts of happiness!! :) We had gone out to eat at Snow Goose Pub and Brewery in downtown Anchorage – with the most incredible view of Sleeping Lady.
May 1 & 2 – Today we drove down to Seward for the weekend, and what a friendly and small fishing community. The drive down on the Seward Highway was impressive!! Soaring mountains on both sides of the highway, delicate and light turquoise blue lakes and rivers along the way. The turquoise color comes from the glacier melt, which is called Glacier milk. Incredible color. Will have this gorgeous color in my future house someday, it’s so relaxing and calming. We left home at 11 a.m. and arrived at our lodging at a Cabin on the Cliff at 8 P.M. Cozy and comfortable place to stay, but we had some issues with the hot water, and well we made the best of it! :) We had made several stops along our journey to shoot dall sheep, a friendly stellar sea lion in the harbor, playful sea otters, and incredible scenery. We at at Ray’s Waterfront Restaurant, where I had my first 1lb of fresh Alaskan King Crab. O M G! Ate the whole plate clean, and will do it again. We met up with a professional photographer/friend of David’s. He and his wife met us for breakfast on Sunday morning, and we had a very lovely visit. Making many new friends along the way here in Alaska has been an absolute blast. On Sunday, we did the most indcredible 4 1/2 hour boat trip out into Resurrection Bay/Pacific Ocean on the Kenai Fjords Boat Tours. I never have seen such beauty surrounding the edges of Alaska, and into the Pacific Ocean. The weather was PERFECT – sunny and temperatures in the upper 50’s. I saw my first humpback whale (fin only), but it was an incredible sight to see and feel its huge presence near our boat. We finally started heading back home to Wasilla after our boat trip, and made a stop at Potter’s Marsh to shoot some lively Arctic Tern, and wildlife. Beautiful weekend, incredible food and many new friends. What can I say? :)
May 3rd – Today was a day of rest for me, as David had to return to work for the week. I simply slept and took the time to recuperate my energy! I had been on the go-go since I arrived at Milwaukee airport and went non-stop til Sunday evening. It was muchly needed. David made some delicious dinner for us, and we relaxed and watched a movie at home.
May 4th – Today I went into Anchorage with David on his way to work, and took his SUV for the day. My first day exploring Alaska by myself. I LOVED it! Driving down the Seward Highway being surrounded by mountains gave me goosebumps! I made several stops to shoot at Potter’s Marsh, Beluga Point, Bird Point, Girdwood, Portage Lake/Glacier, and some smaller stops along the highway to look for Dall sheep. The weather this day was beautiful – sunny and in the upper 50’s again. After I picked up David at work, we went home to make dinner and from our living room we can see Pioneer/Twin Peaks mountain range. We had the MOST amazing alpenglow view and the face of the mountains were a blazing hue of pinks and purples. A beautiful sight to end our day .. :)
May 5th – Today was another day of staying in and working on images and relaxation before we had our share of FUN on this Wednesday evening. David and I met up with our friends Tim and Marci for a cookout at their home, and we then went up to Talkeetna for the evening for a huge bonfire along the Sustina River, at Sustina River Lodging. BEAUTIFUL setting, and unfortunately we were not able to see Denali, but we felt her presence! The four of us, along with the owners of the lodge joined us for a lovely visit, and great conversations. We made S’mores and had Alaska Amber beer (GOOD STUFF!), and it was even raining off and on. Which made it even more rustic and fun. :)
May 6th – 9th – This was our long weekend in Homer, Alaska. We had another gorgeous day of weather and well into the weekend. Sunny, breezy and temps in the 50s. The drive was 4 hours from home, and we went along part of the Seward Highway and onto the Sterling Highway. Again, views that are awe-inspiring! This time we stopped at a few spots for photo ops and we came across a secluded spot right off the Sterling Highway, we shot there for awhile and it was so nice to hike and see views along the Six Mile Creek.
As we made our journey to Homer, we spotted our first moose up close! This was the FIRST time I have seen a moose so close, and they are absolutlely beautiful creatures. Not to mention BIG! We stopped along a coastal region along the Cook Inlet to shoot some sunset, and David got a few of me “werking” in the field with him. :) We finally reached to our apartment that overlooks the Katchemak Bay and Homer Spit, we stayed at the Fire and Ice Lodge. BEAUTIFUL place, and we felt like we were at home in a cozy apartment with many ammenities and gorgeous views. :) We were incredibly happy staying here, and will return another time in our future.
Our plan was to explore the Katchemak Bay Shorebird Festival which was held this weekend along the Homer Spit areas. We went out several times to different places and saw few shorebirds. Disappointing as we were hoping to capture some images of these delicate and beautiful birds, but they either came early or late this year as we didn’t see many. However, we came within walking distance face to face with a moose grazing for food. Talk about an experience and to watch them in their own habitat and observe their actions is quite incredible.
We woke up Saturday morning at the crack of dawn – 4 A.M. to go shoot alpenglow/sunrise along the Homer Spit, and even the moonrise over the Kenai Mountains, as well eagles and the beauty of this area. Our mission didn’t go as planned as there were clouds looming over the bay area, but that didn’t stop us from our day of exploring! We eventually had a full day of shooting wildlife and headed back to the apartment around 3 P.M. for much needed sleep and relaxation. David made us the best home made dessert EVER – fresh fruit w/vanilla ice cream and a good coating of chocolate sauce – and it’s a recipe we will be keeping in the books.
We left Homer on Sunday around Noon, and as we made our way back to Wasilla we stopped at a few secluded spots to shoot some beautiful scenery of course! There is never a dull spot here in Alaska, you have to find and explore your way around to capture and feel the serenity this diverse area of nature gives you. David and I are naturists at heart, and we love being out in the field shooting together and even taking a good 15 minutes to simply breathe in the fresh air, sunshine, and even if its raining lightly – we’ll enjoy it. :)
This upcoming weekend we hope to get up to Denali and do some scouting for photo ops, as well stop and see Matanuska River/Glacier – even going to try to attempt a small hike ON the glacier. That is something I’m really looking forward too, if it’s possible. We have a few other places we want to check out and explore as well, but only one day at a time here! OH – one other thing, I am told I gotta try my first Sushi. Yes, sushi is BIG here in Alaska, and the adventerous Jena here is willing to do that. I’ll keep you posted on what happens with that! Before I close this post – I will say this: Whatever you want in life, or wish to have – if it’s in front of you, grab ahold of it before it is too late. You may never have that chance or experience again. For me to be here is a life changing experience, and each day it just gets better and I am blessed for everything David has done for us, as well providing me such a beautiful experience here. We have an incredibly strong connection together, and it’s such a natural feeling for us. My life has been waiting for this for a long, long time and Alaska is my new home away from home. I feel it in my heart. One day at a time is the key to finding what you want in life, and simply wait for things to fall into place a the right time – it’s worth it.
More pictures and stories will be shared soon – I’m going to do a weekly post on the events and places we go and explore together, and Life is BEYOND Good for me and I cannot express that enough.
Keep smiling – I will be back soon, promise. :)