Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Seward Highway

Nobody said our Alaskan cruise vacation couldn't start before the cruise.  So we flew into Anchorage a day early and took a leisurely drive down to Seward.  First stop -- McHugh Creek at the recommendation of my friend and Alaska native Jana Reynolds.  A pretty spot that is undoubtedly even prettier on sunny days.

Next up was Beluga Point.  No belugas, but a revelation -- essentially monochromatic landscapes lend themselves well to monochrome photos.

Then came a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, home to many injured and orphaned animals.  Really nice facility, where you could drive through much of it then get out of your vehicle to walk right up to the enclosures.

Seeing majestic creatures like grizzly bears behind wire fences seemed somehow sad, even when realizing that they couldn't safely be released into the wild.

Musk ox are just odd-looking creatures.  This one reminded me a bit of a bison we saw in Yellowstone a couple of years ago.

I love how this young moose looked like he'd just been caught doing something he wasn't supposed to.  Drop that branch, you'll spoil your dinner!

Danelle got this nice shot of a bull elk.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  There's no such thing as a baby animal that's not adorable.

Interesting that a bald eagle can somehow still manage to look regal in a cage.

Two baby Sitka deer practically redefined cute.  I could have spent all day shooting them jumping around their little enclosure.

There was one very familiar sight all over Alaska -- fireweed!

Visiting a place like this helps ensure that you see all the animals you hope to, since there's no guarantee you'll run into any of them in the wild.  And if you can manage to keep the signs of captivity out of your photos, you can make up all kinds of stories. :)

Portage Lake with Byron Glacier in the background.

We spent about six hours covering the 127 miles, obviously with lots of stops for photos and stretching our legs.  A terrific start to our trip!

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