Archive for August 2016

Keeping an open mind, with an expectant heart

Too easy it seems we look for those things

that we think we will find

in those we’ve met,

things we’ve heard, or things we’ve read,

stories of those heard only and yet,

is it maybe we come with the thought of mind

that one, or a thing is expected to be

just what is said, and not what we find?

Can it be that our heart is too closed to receive

and our eyes not open

and we cannot believe,

that there is a beautiful person inside,

and they need your smile, or a word in kind

a heart given to love, not a nod in passing aside.

If you were alone, or became that one

and one walked in judgement

and refused to see

the person you are behind your cloak

that others see only,

not the treasure inside,

wouldn’t you wish to be loved too

for who you are; not the one they think you are?

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/open-minded/

 

Port cities explored in southeast Alaska

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A street scene in Skagway. Its history dates back to 1898 when the Klondike ‘gold rush’ brought prospectors by the thousands to search for a vein of gold that could be mined and lead them to their riches. Few found it, but the lure and the dream remained with those who stayed and carved out a place to settle down and form roots.

DSCN0796The above gray building is known as Camp Skagway, an establishment of the Arctic Brotherhood, restored in Skagway. It was built from 1,000 sticks of driftwood, and remains a historic landmark today.

DSCN0794The storefronts in Skagway are original; preserved and quaint. The buildings with the ‘Old Wild West’ look add to its charm with the mountain range seen in the background.

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Juneau, above is the capital of Alaska, a modern sprawl of commercial, residential, business and tourism offering attractions like deep-sea fishing and whale watching. Much of the residential areas can be seen with homes bunched up against the hills overlooking the waterfront. DSCN0821A view of Juneau’s waterfront from the Coral Princess cruise ship.

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A street scene of Ketchikan taken from a deck aboard the Coral Princess cruise ship.

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Ketchikan is known for its totem pole carving, a native art that dates back to the 1800s. The wood logs are often seen pulled through the water by boats and taken where they are dried and hollowed out before carving them to avoid the wood from splitting. Each carving tells a story of one’s history or folklore that goes back to the early days of exploration in Alaska, the native Alaskan tribes and people who settled there.

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These last two photos above are the port and skyline of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, a very large city of several million with a high percentage of immigrants from all over the world. Vancouver is also a city that strives to keep it an environmentally safe and green city with plants, gardens and foliage thriving everywhere, even growing on tops of their buildings, literally.

We pulled into port in the early morning hours,  disembarked from the Coral Princess, and once again waited in long lines to go through customs and security clearance. It was the end to an awesome trip, and unforgettable experience touring the great state of Alaska via cruise ship, rail and motor coach.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Frozen; Alaska’s Hubbard, and Glacier Bay

 

After the first day of cruising Alaska’s coastline we came to Hubbard Glacier. It is a scenic winter wonderland of ice floes and fjords nestled up against the gulf of Alaska’s Inside Passage.

 

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The water is almost transparent, like crystal blue glass mirroring the reflections of snow and ice formed on the ridges and peaks.

 

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The dark-colored water lines show sediment formed on the melting glaciers as water levels change.

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Chunks and pieces of ice floes from the glaciers dropped off into the water while the ship was stopped. Then the ship did slow spins and turns so passengers could see the glaciers from all angles to photograph. The noise was like a loud roar heard through the straight as chunks began to slowly break away from the icebergs.

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Cruising the Inside Passage of Alaska’s gulf to see this scenic wonder was my favorite part of the cruise. The scope and size of these glaciers, their beauty, magnitude and the quiet had a calming effect, an incredible, peaceful sight.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

 

What can be seen from the rails

A view from the train

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Capturing a view from the train is one hurried, like the flash of a camera lens, literally. Timing and preparation while racing past the intended object is essential, but difficult to get focused and shoot quickly. Some say a real photographer, professional or otherwise does not put away their camera for even a moment, lest they lose their opportunity to get what they set out to find, like the wildlife perched from atop a cliff like in the case of the Dall sheep seen in the photo below.

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And then the lighting, reflection and rays of bright sun showing through the cars’ viewing windows reflects back distorted images, like this one below, none of which one wants in their final edited image.

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That is what happened a number of times as we tried to get quick shots of scenes in passing. So, most of these images we quickly deleted and others that showed up with what looked like smudged or clouded areas on the windows. But, we worked with the options we had in getting what we ultimately wanted to photograph on a cruising train through Alaska’s dense overgrowth, forests and mountain ranges seen on either side of the rail tracks. The image of the couple seen in the photo above sat across from us at the table assigned to us in our domed rail car, with good food and service, and gave us opportunity to socialize. A Princess cruise guide shared much about Alaska’s history on the regions we traveled through. Having always loved train rides, I found the five and a half hour trip comfortable and relaxing.

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After passing through towns, river channels, across bridges and skirting the shores of marshlands we came into view of an open water mass to the port of Whittier, Alaska where the Coral Princess waited, and our check in and embarkation process could commence with the now much greater increased security measures in place.

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In a few hours our luggage sat waiting for us in our stateroom while we immediately headed out on an open deck to watch with excitement as our ship pulled out of port and headed for the open sea at sunset.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Alaska’s Denali National Park and Mt. McKinley

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A field of Fireweed blooms abundantly all along the Alaska range below Mount McKinley. It is said to have many benefits, used for making cosmetic products, medicines and chamomile teas. Everywhere we went there were beautiful gardens and flowers of all varieties in bloom. Although Alaska can dip down to -40 below zero in the winter months its summer temperatures can reach into the 90’s in Alaska, so they can plant and grow many different kinds of flowers.

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Rafters on the Nenana River below the Alaska mountain range. The waters from this and other rivers are fed from Alaska’s many glaciers as they begin to melt.

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A view of Denali National Park’s mountain range where Mt. McKinley can be seen from the distance covered in a fresh blanket of snow. Denali National Park totals six million acres.

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The peak of Mt. McKinley is partially covered by clouds above and below. Mt. McKinley is the highest peak in the United States and North America at an elevation of 20, 320 feet above sea level, and seldom ever seen without snow or cloud coverage. It is also called, Denali, “The Great One” by the Athabascan native Alaskan people.

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