"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Saturday, July 31, 2010

ALASKA!!!! Or Back in the USA!!

We have crossed back into the USA. How wonderful!!!

I'll never forget how I almost cried when,
arriving in Miami from our trip to Ecuador, the customs official smiled at me and said, "Welcome home!" I wanted to hug her but figured I'd get arrested or something. I just took my passport and whispered a heartfelt, "Thank you."

I must admit that I was too excited at the Alaskan border to recall what was said.
I DID obey the stop signs and avoided hitting the workers, however.

Contrary to what many Americans believe, Alaska IS a state!
Road conditions improved immediately.

Same blue sky as we'd seen through Canada for days but completely different state of mind. American. Plus gas in gallons and distance in miles. (But still no GPS signal.)

Alaska is towering mountains, clear and cold rivers...

and delicate forget-me-nots, the state flower.

Alaska is 656,425 square miles (420 million acres) with approx. 1 person per square mile, thus it's a state where nature rules.
The town of Tok had been fighting forest fires and this is how the scorched and burned spruce look once the flames are gone. We saw the helicopters overhead, plumes of smoke in the mountains and some firemen. Pretty tough to battle several hundred thousand acres of burning forest, but these are some tough workers! And fires are part of Alaska's summer.

While driving through Tok, a firefighter flagman stopped us in the middle of the road. Mind you, there was not another person nor vehicle anywhere to be seen--just a long 2-lane road with burned trees on both sides. What was wrong? Why were we being stopped?
He approached the car with a big grin and announced cheerily, "Hello, Texas! What are you doing all the way up here?" We explained the reason for our trip.
His smile grew even wider as he said, "That's where I'm from!"
(Why were we not surprised??? Remember the state police in Wyoming?)
Then he squatted down by the car to see us better, still holding his STOP sign.
After a few minutes, Hillary inquired, "Why are we stopped? We're the only car around."
Grin intact, he replied, "I just like to talk to people."
Fortunately for us, a pick-up eventually pulled up from the opposite direction and the driver knew our flagman. He turned around and began a conversation with the truck driver.
Hillary called out, "Can we leave now?"
He waved over his shoulder, "Oh, yeah. Bye. Talk to you later!"
As we drove away, we began to laugh. See us later??? I DON'T THINK SO!

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