We just spent our third summer in Alaska, where we are surrounded by the double joys of warm family and spectacular scenery.
Throughout our travels we photograph the natural beauty and, at home, we partake in the rituals of gardening and, naturally, of eating the bounty the gardens produce.
In the following sections we are sharing some of the best views of our 2018 Alaska stay, from the many glaciers we discovered to the footprints of wanna-be miners stampeding to search for gold.
Yes, the glaciers are receding from coastal Alaska. Yes, scientists report that 75 billion tons of ice are lost every year from Alaska’s glaciers, resulting in “sustained mass loss.” Glaciers are melting at the fastest rate in 400 years.
The warming trend brought by climate change could be reversed in time to stop the ice fields from melting but, pessimistic about the future, we have seen as many of these sparkling frozen rivers as we could.
Check out some Alaska glaciers here.
When we stay in Alaska, we’ve been living in a small apartment attached to my brother- and sister-in-law’s house on the outskirts of Anchorage. Their house is perched on a hillside overlooking Turnagain Arm, part of the Cook Inlet. Some of Janis and Jerry’s children live in the area and we often got together to share a meal. In July, their son Josh and his wife Tess came from NYC to celebrate an anniversary with us all.
See how the family enjoys Alaska together here.
We didn’t have to go far to see wildlife, they frequently visited us, grazing through the nearby woodlands. When two black bear cubs were separated from their mamma, we listened to the babies cries and the mother calling them.
The wildlife did not stop us from hiking in the outback where we found flowers, mushrooms, fungi and lichen.
Take a look at some sweet pockets of nature here.
Farmers in the Matanuska Valley are the major vegetable producers for south central Alaska and we visited the gardens in Palmer where we met the lovely Cabbage Fairies pictured at left..
At home, we had two green houses, six beds, many containers and a fruit orchard to tend to throughout the summer. Our niece runs a small urban farmer growing greens and flowers and saw them grow from seeds.
Click here to see what you can grow in a garden in Alaska.
Pioneers & Artists
White settlers first came to Alaska 120 years ago in a mad stampede for gold and displaced many of the Native peoples who lived there.
At a National Park Service display in Skagway, we learned about the thousands of people, largely men, who spent a year trying to get to the Klondike gold field only to find the gold gone by the time they got there.
We also visited the Anchorage Museum and want to share their splendid new exhibits tell the history of the state and highlight its artists.
To learn about some of the Alaska pioneers and artists we discovered, click here.
We have driven by hundreds of mountains in Alaska, and can testify that each one has its own special charm. That’s why we keep taking photos of mountains.
If you like them, too, click here to see some of the beauties that we found.
This year we took three trips on the Alaska Marine Ferry System and got a first-hand look at the waters where so many Alaskans make their livings on fishing boats.
From Bellingham, Washington, we spent three nights and four days in early May sailing past Vancouver then through the Inside Passage to Ketchican, Juneau and Haines.
In July we sailed seven hours from Whittier, Alaska, across Prince William Sound to Cordova, which is not reachable by road.
Finally, on our departure from Alaska we took a short ferry ride from Haines to Skagway on the state’s eastern edge.
Click here to see some of the views we encountered in the waters off Alaska.
Fire Island Bake Shop
My sister and brother-in-law, along with daughter Rachel, own the Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop, certainly the finest pastry shop in the state. When we arrived in May, they were putting the finishing touches on their third bakery, this one with a giant oven to meet the demand for bread and cakes.
In August, Fire Island opened its newest shop on a beautiful, sun-struck day. See the excitement here.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.