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To the left was
the header used for

Issue 86 of the PJ
Mt. McKinley trying to
peak beyond the clouds


to the Alaska page.

Please enjoy the poetry

and pictures.

Opening Comments from Bob - This Page

Alaska: After only two days at home from Hawaii, I headed to Alaska on a photography trip. Two friends and I spent one week experiencing and absorbing the beauty of the fiftieth state. Despite the fact that it rained daily and dark clouds were in abundance, we still were able to capture some fine shots. Most of all, we had a wonderful time. The vastness of Alaska is almost overwhelming. Crossing the unpaved Denali Highway (slightly over 100 miles) took us almost eight hours. However, I must confess those hours included a few spent in stopping to take pictures and enjoying the views. As you read through this page, I hope you gain a feel for this beautiful state.

The River

Flowing, flowing,
...the Source
...that forever was
...that forever will be
In our veins
...in our steps
...with every breath
But there

Deep abiding love
...that raises the Spirit
...beyond self
All encompassing
...all forgiving
Surely humankind’s
...greatest gift

The Source
...flowing, flowing
Invites us to swim and bathe
...in the River of Eternal Being

Comments: I wrote the draft while in Hawaii and finished it while in Alaska. I will let you make the interpretations.

The View

Chairs aligned,
...people staring,
...when will it come into view?
Clouds lifting,
...majestic peak
...peeks through.
McKinley displays
...all her glory.

Comments: Each morning, for three days at the resort, tourists sat in the chairs mesmerized, facing Mt. McKinley. Each hoped to gain a glimpse of the U.S.'s tallest peak. Sadly, except for a few moments when part of the peak was revealed, clouds covered the summit during all three days. In fact, Alaska has had one of the wettest summers ever.

On the Lodge Porch

Others listen to lectures
...on dog sledding and gold panning.
The porch and rocker
...are all mine.
The sun shyly peers
...through the ubiquitous clouds
...creating a golden sheen
...upon vibrant leafed aspens and poplars.
Brisk, pure air,
...dares you to inhale
...deep and long.
The rustle and gurgle
...of the mountain stream
...soothes, enticing you to sleep.
Alone, peaceful.

Comments: We flew into Kanisha, the closest you can get by vehicle to Mt. McKinley in Denali Park. The trip out by bus is ninety miles long that take five+ hours. While there, I found a favorite place on the lodge porch and wrote the draft to this poem.

Stream on the way out of Denali
Tourists looking out in anticipation of seeing
Mt. McKinley peek through the clouds
Alas, no such luck!
The bus where a young adventurer Christopher
McCandless spent his final hours bringing
conclusion to his search for life's meaning
(Immortalized in Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild)
Part of the view as I wrote from the porch in Kanisha

Tundra in its fall glory along the Denali Highway
Near Denali National Park

Vignette: Denali Highway

Accelerate!  Brake!  Swerve!  Hold-on!  All are part of the driving experience on the one hundred and thirty-five miles of mostly unpaved Denali Highway.  In return for these physical discomforts are incredible views as one crosses through the heart of Alaska.  Our journey started upon departing from the Princess Lodge in Cooper River, a wonderful place to stay with views, fine food, and large comfortable rooms.  Heading north on Hwy 4 for about 35 minutes we came to the small crossroad town of Paxson, the eastern access to the Denali Highway.  The first ten miles were a breeze, paved and gradual twists with gentle hills.  I thought, “This is not bad.  Why do they say, ‘no rental’ cars on this road?”  I soon found out as the pavement turned to grave, and we proceeded to climb.  Luckily, despite the mist and occasional rain, the road was hard-packed so there was no danger of having our Jeep become stuck.  Also, Mike, who was driving, has visited Alaska many times and has driven this road several times.  However, for the three of us, this was the first time in the fall.  Our first photo stop was a herd of caribou moving near a stream as they crossed the tundra.  Stops became more frequent as we tried to capture the subtle colors of tundra flora that had morphed into hues of purple, red, and blue.  We took a packed-lunch break around 1 P.M., barely halfway to Cantwell, the western terminus.  The cold mountain water rushed by as the surrounding flora exploded in vibrant yellows.  As we drove further, passing other cars occupied by many hunters and fishermen, my comfort level increased.  Though the traffic was minimal, we were not alone.  There were also well-maintained picnic and rest areas with more than adequate toilet facilities.  Gone were the many cautionary signs that exist in the Lower Forty-eight.  Frankly, the experience along this magnificent stretch was mind-boggling.  About eight hours later, we connected to the main highway and headed north for thirty-minutes to our hotel for the evening.  Upon arriving, we discovered that our reservations were for another hotel about 2.5 hours south.  However, that wild drive is another story.

The jeep after 8 hours on

the Denali Highway.

Taken in the Denali National Park
Along the Denali HIghway
Another along the Denali Highway
Glacier near Alyeska Ski Area not too far a drive from Anchorage
Two tourists walking dangerously close to a small glacier


Add Alaska to your visit list: If you have never visited this area but are looking for spectacular scenery, then Alaska should be on your list.

Secondly, if you enjoy seafood, some of the freshest and best is available there. One restaurant I especially enjoyed was Ray's Waterfront in Seward. It is right on the water. Enjoy the chowder and halibut or salmon.

Pictured on the right, Sam and Mike, my travel companions are getting ready to enjoy their meals at Ray's.

Lunch stop location on the Denali Highway
Near the Kenai River