Alaska

Knik Glacier, Alaska – Flightseeing Tour

On 2017-08-08, we stepped out of comfort zones and took to the air for a flightseeing tour with Alaska Air Service, based in Anchorage, AK.  Our pilot was Bill who is also the owner.  We flew into the Chugach Mountains and were treated to awesome views of the Knik and Colony Glaciers.  Also included was a gravel landing with a hike to get closer to the water, glacier, and icebergs.

Glacier View, Alaska – ATV Tour

We spent August 7th with Glacier View ATV Tours at mile 99 of Glenn Highway in Glacier View, Alaska.  We were fortunate to have the trails to ourselves and be guided by Tommy, one of the owners, for 2.5 hours of ATV riding through open fields, forest and to the top with a view over the Matanuska valley.  The weather was perfect for trailing riding with temperatures in the 60’s, no rain, and no wind.

If you are in Alaska and looking for a fun way to spend time in the Alaskan wilderness, these is a great outfit to go with. Tommy is down to earth, easy to talk with, and provides a lot of knowledge and history of the area. One detail we were impressed with is Tommy stopped a few times to pick-up trash near the trail.

Whittier, Alaska – Past and Present

On a recent trip to Alaska, we visited Whittier. Accessible by auto through a one-way tunnel also servicing the railroad, tourism and fishing call people to visit and enjoy the gateway to Prince William Sound. Of note is the Buckner Building, a remnant of WWII that is off-limits.

Girdwood, Alaska – Rainforest

Into the rainforest we walk
with soft steps, silent voices, and open hearts.

Morning rain seeps through the tall trees
and the mountain side is shrouded in fog.

Deeper in we cross wooden bridges
over creeks following animal tracks,

we examine stones laced with scars,
and we marvel in being here, part of something larger.

In the afternoon, the sun clears the valley,
glaciers and avalanche debris will appear.

Mountains and Ice

Recently resurrected the domain and website at http://www.mountainsandice.com that will focus on stories, poetry, photography and anything related to Alaska. Two poems were posted today for your reading pleasure.

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Poem – Clearing

From the collection “Beyond the Border Kingdom“, the 13th and final poem.

(1)

threads hang openly
defining a life – what happens
when they are pulled
or cut?

does the puppet fall?
who will mend the broken legs?

one by one the headlights pass
through silence and growing fog
hidden unknown faces travel into
hidden unknown places.

the shadows that follow,
what fills the void and vacuum
the consumed space where light has left,
has forgotten the open fields?

give me truth
give me strength
to expose and kill
the false deity within.

(2)

one last look back
before the stampede begins
my feet in rubber boots
sink into virgin snow.

the tree line leads
thoughts grow beyond the river
past meadows and tundra
to the peak forever in a storm.

the trail ahead is obscured
whoever passed first
their footsteps have been lost
to the landscape…
winter sky
frozen movements
miles of silence
the setting sun and the cold orange and blue.

(3)

unknown moments never experienced
– things I will never know
the harvest moon covers
open fields of wheat and barley,
the open sea, wild horses –
simple beauty.

people around me circle closer
the space I have built
is shrinking, collapsing
I must leave, it is my time to leave.
black outline suspended in flight
one last moment here before my time passes.

the sea slows. light bends across
our eyes. rocks glisten.

(4)

events beyond control
the long black paved road
simmers in the distance
apparitions rise and fall.

the barriers erected soften
the layers peel away
exposing the true self within.

who are you when all else is gone?
what is left when each layer falls?

broken wings
above the blackening sea
merged into the shoreline
a pale hand moves methodically
over the flame releasing
jasmine into the room.
rain blankets the landscape.

over time the room and rain become one
as the being within falls into a temporal sleep.

early morning…
and the suns fingers extend to me.

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John Haines is Calling – Fables and Distances

As nature becomes essential to daily life and getting through the chaos, I have been thinking about John Haines.  Some of my most-often used quotes come his book “Fables and Distances” and so I have started reading it again and am reminded the impact his writing has had on my outlook in life.

Fables and Distances: New and Selected Essays

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Photo credit: Dorothy Alexander

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Poem – I Now Walk into the Wild

I now walk into your
arms, the words spoken
in passion, black wisps
of hair I brush away,
your eyes a light into the soul.

I now fall into your arms,
your breath against my neck,
I am vulnerable, exposed skin
waiting for your embrace,
I wait for you.

I walk into the wild,
the unknown territory
my heart longs for, the words
of freedom, swirling about,
motions in the air we reach
out to grasp, moments of
solitude, the chance to listen to
the wandering thoughts, the mind
opening up.

Into the wild, the backcountry
of my mind, the thoughts behind
actions of the heart, the soul
reaching out, a voice not
heard, but felt though vibrations.

Deafening silence as the wild
expands the further I emerge into
the tundra, lost and wandering
I keep close your scent and soft touch
upon my chest, the slight pulse of your
veins coaxing my heart to keep going,
during moments of weakness, when
the winter sun rises briefly and hurriedly
sinks, the horizon thinning and the darkness
returning.

I walk into the suns light
the golden sheet cradling me
with eyes closed I see your smile
and the words spoken without hesitation
and I am overwhelmed with pureness,
the honesty, the unflinching eyes.

I walk into the swift Sushana
river, with ice floes and glacial till,
you are there somewhere near the base
of the mountains I can see from here,
the rolling shadows frigid.

And I awaken next to you under
the flaring aurora borealis,
the flashes of opaque green and deep red,
sedge and willow glow and reflect
off the pure snow.

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Poem – Ocean

Across sullen waters
I watch the madness
play out each evening.

And in the morning
I watch land recede
until I am the ocean.

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Poem – In the Distant Valley

A wanderer of the frozen lands,
I stopped at the edge.

A silence wrapped in wind
and ice scattered across

the valley and we took
shelter beneath overhanging rock.

In the morning after the fire
we hiked 7 days to the distant valley

steeped in legends of living spirits
and the black wolves guarding the way home.

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