Friday, August 08, 2008

A landscape of mountains

As promised, some Alaska scenery. Bear in mind that all these mountain pictures are within a 100 mile radius of Anchorage. Which means that I haven't yet seen The Big One!

When you're practically at sea level at the foot of a 6000-ft. mountain, it looms. And when you're in Alaska at 6000-ft. elevation (about half way between Prescott & Flagstaff, by the way) you're not only above timberline, but also high enough that mosses and lichens find it hard to stay alive.

A little bit of snow is showing and, if you look carefully through that pass (above), you might see a glacier. Often there's cloud cover (below).

Many of the mountains I have seen the past week are topped by Serious Teeth.

East of Anchorage on the Turnagain Arm, the mountains rise directly out of the sea.

Many of the lower mountains are so green that it almost hurts! Very wet country it is.

Others, such as these up in gold mining country in the Talkeetnas, display the skeletal rock.

Here is a view of alpine meadows reaching above tree line. The wealth of plants in these meadows is amazing.

But the greenery here is tundra -- thick, low growing mats of mosses, lichens with a few flowering plants. Between 3500 and 4000 ft. elevation, BTW.

Views from another trip in another direction, starting with the Matanuska Glacier, looking uphill.

Another valley glacier coming down from ice-covered hills (above).

More ice, visible above thanks to a good zoom lens. I wasn't anywhere near it.

This U-shaped valley above was made by a glacier long, long ago. Note the long ledge visible on the side of the mountain below -- it marks the height of the Ice Age glacier which passed through, carving the valley.


ericat said...

Stunning photos. The shades of green are so bright and clean. I get the feeling that the weather is on the cold side over there.

Anonymous said...

Simply breath-taking.

~Anon in AV.

Anonymous said...

GrannyJ: Have you seen the aurora borealis? Check out the link below.

~Anon in AV.

Melanie A. said...

Man, oh, man. Seems worth the long winters!

Does the cross mark one of the world's loneliest gravesites?

Granny J said...

ericat -- the green is almost overwhelming, particularly to an Arizona dweller. Thanks for your visit!

anon av -- does the aurora show up through the kind of clouds that we've been having???

melanie -- it is indeed beautiful, but those long DARK winters are a really high price to pay for the beauty. Just ask the dotter.

Granny J said...

BTW -- that cross sits above an old gold mine that's now a state park. It is indeed lonely, but there was a little company settlement at that location.

Anonymous said...

I find the Glaciers amazing. I would guess it would be pretty cold to be on one.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great images. Alaska is one of the places I would like to see someday.

Anonymous said...

Clouds and the aurora borealis...

...U R 2 funny, GrannyJ!

I thought the sunshine was continuing because U R there!

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

steve -- yes, indeed, quite beautiful in a very chilly sort of way!

anon av -- believe it or not, I actually did quite well in physics!

dagny -- It's worth the trip; I'm having a real gas!!

meggie said...

Some fantastic insights here! A lot of it reminds me of the South Island of New Zealand.
'They' do say, "Come to New Zealand, & see the world".
The more I see, the more I think it may be true.

Granny J said...

meggie -- my brief visit to North Island only I found quite fascinating, enough of a taste to make me want more...

Margaret Cloud said...

Again I have to tell you that your pictures you take are first rate, those mountains are really nice.

Granny J said...

cloudy -- credit it to the mountains! It would be damned difficult to take a bad picture of those slopes (or should I call them steeps?)

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