September 7, 2011

Patrick's Wild Alaska-Part II

After the epic week up on the glacier, we enjoyed a few days in Anchorage. School started for me while I was on the glacier so I had to catch up on schoolwork and attend a few days of class before we could embark on any further adventures. For those that didn't know already, I am taking classes at APU in the education department in hopes of getting my teaching certificate. This fall I am just taking two classes to keep my brain alive and running. As part of all the classes required for the certificate, we are required to spend a good number of hours in an elementary classroom both observing and teaching so my blog posts will undoubtedly feature stories from the classroom in the coming weeks. Back to Pat and Anchorage. On our one "off" day from training, it was actually sunny so we had to get out of the house. We did a little hike up Flattop mountain which is a real tourist destination and provides excellent views as well as people watching. Although it is only about a 45 minute hike, it gets you well above tree line and requires some rock scrambling so as you can imagine there are some "city folk" that get themselves into a tizzy on the trail and Patrick and I enjoyed a few laughs as well as some good views from the top.
On the way can see Mt. McKinley sticking up vaguely in the background. It's the one thats just a bit bigger than all the other ones.
The top-looking over into the Glen Alps valley
A not so flattering picture from the other side of the top, looking over the city of Anchorage Next, we checked out the sand dunes. We packed and picnic and walked out to play in the sand and enjoy the view over the Turnigan Arm, or Turnigan mudflats during low tide. Patrick also learned a valuable lesson, it's not a good idea to drink a large coffee, eat lunch, and then roll down the sand dunes. While he tried to blame it on Starbuck's coffee, I think we all know it was his bad decision making!
Costco is a big part of every Alaskan's life, they love it! So naturally, we had to make a trip there (us college and pseudo-college kids like it too). Vermont is not home to many stores such as Costco so they all marvel at the experience.
I also learned that Patrick loves airplanes so while on our way to get frozen yogurt at the airport (another strange Alaskan pastime) we got sidetracked by the Aviation Museum. For a small museum, they had an impressive collection of planes, mostly focusing on small planes flown to the bush of Alaska, but they also had exhibits on the role Alaska played during WWII, which is often overlooked or unknown about. This was our first of what turned out to be many museum trips and lots of learning!
This is a strange style of truck that is commonly seen around the airport and apparently is used to move around small float planes. Lake Hood is the lake next to the Ted Stevens International Airport where people can buy a shack, hangar, or just a dock for their planes. Owning a plane is not uncommon up here and almost all have the ability to have wheels or floats so many are just stored like a boat, tied up to the dock. It is very cool to see so we spent some time driving around the lake. The security is much less than what we are used to at airports and while we were so captivated watching all the planes, I found myself driving on the runway and not realizing until we were stopped by a gate preventing the planes from going onto the one seemed to care though!
Patrick wishing he was still a little boy!
A Huey helicopter used durning war. Boys love big machines! We also checked out Point Waranzof, the favorite for local high school kids to bring their dates......But I failed to take a picture there. We hit up the Sunday Market of local Alaskan goods as well. We tried the birch syrup, but being accustomed to maple and, ok I will say it, Vermont Maple Syrup, birch was rather gross. Not something I will be dressing my pancakes with here. So despite the sub-par weather and a few hours needed for school work, we were able to hit up all the classic Anchorage sights.