Wow, we got to Alaska & it's hot - in the 70s today! It made for a wonderful drive. The roads were better today - longer stretches of good road but still lots of 25-35 mph thru frost heaves.
We read in the Milepost that Black Spruce grow so slowly that a tree 2 inches in diameter may be 100 years old. Black Spruce thrive (think that's a relative term considering the previous statement) where few other plants survive. They spread their roots in the boggy, shallow soil (muskeg) above permanently frozen ground. So we decided if we see Black Spruce we can expect frost heaves because that will mean we'll be on permafrost!
We saw 2 moose - 1 cow - 1 bull - today but weren't able to get a picture of either one. It was a rather slow day for seeing animals. Kept expecting to see bear but didn't see a one.
We skirted around the Wrangell Mtns today - what spectacular mountains! Wrangell-St. Elias Nat'l Park includes 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the US & is the largest Nat'l Park in the US - the size of 6 Yellowstones. Most of the park is not accessible, with the high country covered with snow year round resulting in extensive ice fields & glaciers. So, while it's not very accessible, the views of its mountains are spectacular.
We found a nice viewpoint overlooking Willow Lake with views of the Wrangell Mtns behind the lake & decided to spend the nite. We had a glorious view as we ate dinner. Then we sat outside looking at the lake & the mountains thru binoculars & a higher-powered spotting scope.
Mt. Sanford seemed to move as we moved around the end of the Wrangell Mtns - first left of Drum & then right. Its appearance also changed from one side to the other. On the lake side you can see where the whole side of it blew out when a volcano erupted.
We can see a number of places on the lakeshore - 2 of which have float planes parked at them. We also saw a pair of Trumpeter Swans with 2 cignets feeding in the lake. It was strange to see the large swans tipped up to eat in the lake like ducks. Guess I just never thought about how swans eat.
The spotting scope really brought the glaciers & icefields up close so we could examine them. We could see big fissures in them & some overhangs look ready to fall off. The high peaks are so brilliantly white they hurt your eyes.
A great place to spend the night - & it's free!
Critter Count: Moose - 2 (5) - Trumpeter Swans - 8, including 2 cignets (14)