Guest Blogger Paula Lelansky

My husband and I recently returned from an Alaskan vacation.   This is a beautiful place to add to your bucket list! One of the first things I noticed was the clean, fresh air, and then the seemingly unspoiled beauty of Alaska! No matter where we were – in town, the forest or at Denali. The views were breathtaking.  Traveling through Denali National Park, we were able to see that “the mountain was out.” This is the locals’ term for being able to see Mt. Denali in all its splendor without cloud cover.

Traveling the White Pass trail to the Summit, blazed by workers in the late 1800s, we marveled at the harsh conditions with which they must have dealt.  Taking a kayak paddle near Hoonah, we watched a humpback whale right in front of us – spouting and breaching!  We were saddened at seeing the devastation caused by the McKinley wildfire – one of three throughout Alaska this summer.

Sailing near Hubbard Glacier, with its beautiful hues of green and blue, we watched as it “calved” – a chunk of the Glacier falling off.  Visiting at a dog sled camp and holding the puppies lifted our spirits!  Taking a hike through the Tongass National Rainforest, the serene beauty took my breath away.  We were enveloped by so much beautiful plant life in the forest. Fireweed, Devils Club and Horsetail, both with medicinal benefits, were abundant. Many different types of mosses, beautiful old towering hemlock and spruce trees, and muskegs (bogs) enchanted us.  At a river, a black bear was attempting to catch salmon.  After failing, she and her cub decided to follow the river downstream.

The experiences we had in Alaska will always stay with us. I’m ready to go back and spend more time exploring!

A mention about climate change.  Due to the extremes in Alaska, climate change is most noticeable there. Glaciers and permafrost are melting rapidly. Hotter temperatures carry into the autumn. Unfortunately, logging in some areas is being considered. A warning to us all to be more mindful of how we live and use resources.

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