AUGUST 28. We left sunny Valdez during the last few days of the Fishing Derby, crazy with happy anglers pulling the last Silver Salmon and Halibut of the season. One hour later we were on the Worthington Glacier at Thompson Pass.
On the Eastern side of the Pass, one hour later, Summer was over, and we met Autumn…near freezing nights, aspens and birches aflame with color, and the call of wolf packs traveling the ridges at night. The Volcanos of Wrangell/St. Elias National Park (the largest NP in Alaska) like to hide behind clouds, even the smaller 12,000 foot Mt. Drum below.
At Kluane National Park, last night, we saw our first Aurora Borealis. Not the pink and purple swirls of the dramatic photos, but still amazing to us at 3 AM even in pale gray-green. Like the migrating birds, we are heading south with alacrity now as we are told it would not be unusual to get snow in two to three weeks. In fact, we hear that our HMO Kaiser-Permanente uses the array of influenza viruses that present themselves in Alaska in August as the basis for their choice of influenza viruses to attack in Winter in the lower 48. In the meantime, we Californians are really enjoying the autumn foliage and crisp air as a novel, dramatic, and unusual season.