Sunday, July 3, 2016

We spent a good part of Saturday in downtown Anchorage walking around and experiencing the city up close. Anchorage is known as the city of flowers and hanging baskets and flower beds abound.

Plants flourish in Alaska with the extended hours of sunlight. Total darkness by the standards of the lower 48 does not exist in mid summer. Today, Sunday, July 3rd, sunrise was at 4:32 AM and sunset is at 11:37 PM. My weather app gives the total daylight as 19.05 hours. I would estimate the visibility during the night to be at least four times a full moon back home. We have not used a flashlight when walking the dogs for over a month. Take a look at the size of this cabbage.

Anchorage has a unique visitor center and we have never experienced such an inviting visitor center. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The building is constructed of logs and has a soil covered roof with grass.

Visitor center in downtown Anchorage

Stepping into the visitor center you are greeted with a cozy fireplace with two leather chairs. Currency notes from many of the countries of the world decorate the top of two walls. We noticed some of the country labels are missing notes and we assume visitors from those countries have yet to donate a bill.

Sitting area inside and the fire is real

Pam asking questions - notice currency on wall

Narrated trolley tours of Anchorage depart from in front of the visitor center on the half hour. We took the trolley tour and was glad we did. We learned some interesting facts about the city and experienced a cow moose with her calf on the streets. The moose like the city because there are no predators and they feel safe. The driver said a cow moose gave birth to a calf in the Lowes parking lot about two weeks ago. Someone ask what happen to the moose and her calf and his reply was they just got up and walked off. The moose like the path of least resistance and can be a problem in the winter because they travel on the plowed roadways. Remember the winter is the opposite of summer and it is dark the majority of the time. The moose are hard to see and often struck by automobiles.

Our trolley

Cow moose with calf on sidewalk

She darts into the woods with her calf

The inlet that extends past Anchorage is Cook Inlet, named after the famed British explorer Captain James Cook. During the era of Cook it was speculated that a waterway, referred to as the North-West Passage, existed between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. Cook and his crew thought they had found this passage as they sailed into Cook Inlet but once more had to turn again. Our trolley driver said several things around town were named Turnagain, citing Cook's retreat back to the sea as the derivation.

Turnagain Parkway sign

We also visited the Anchorage Museum, a large modern museum with four levels, each dedicated to a different theme. We enjoyed level two on the native tribes, their culture, and how they survived the long cold winters in the Arctic.

Whales are common in the cold waters around Alaska but you don't expect to see them at J C Penney. Take look at this outside wall of J C Penny in downtown Anchorage.

Whaling wall

Buffy and Bo have an appointment at 8:00 AM at Petsmart to be groomed, so while they are at the Puppy Spa we will take in some more of the area.

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