Archive for the ‘Travel Sights’ category

Alaskan Wildlife

June 16, 2013

A huge pod of Orcas showing off.

A huge pod of whales showing off.

Who doesn't want to see a real whale tail?

Who doesn’t want to see a real whale tail?

Last week I finished my blog post with a promise to post wild life photos taken in Alaska. Well, I keep my promise but these photos are a tiny fraction of what Alaska has to offer. Also, all of these were taken in their natural habitat. They were photo opportunities, lucky happenstances of being someplace at the right time with a camera ready to point and shoot.

Boreal Owl Denali NP

Boreal Owl Denali NP

I hope you enjoy them.

One time I was on a tour of Resurrection Bay, near Seward, AK, and a huge pod of Orcas swam very close. The captain cut the engines and announced we couldn’t move again until they left. The day was cold and drizzly and very overcast. Most of the passengers stayed inside the cabin drinking hot coffee and cocoa.

I’d brought warm rain gear and headed out to the deck and watched that family of about 15 Orcas of all sizes romp in weather they obviously enjoyed. Never got a photo. Too entranced with the show. That lasted for about 40 minutes until they did something like a synchronized “farewell” and took off.  AMAZING!!!

Dahl sheep enjoying warm temps at the roadside in Denali.

Dahl sheep enjoying warm temps at the roadside in Denali.

As I mentioned last week, photos such as these and lucky happenstances while traveling or in life can be the fodder that feeds a writer’s creativity. For those not writers, these sightings and memories of them either captured in our brains or by a camera, might inspire a painting, a collage, a mosaic, a screenplay.

Or perhaps most special of all—inspiring others with your memory and retelling. I think that’s part of why I was so happy to learn my friend and her sister loved their trip to Alaska and at least my friend hopes to go again. I’m sure she will. I’ll bring her with me.

And that concept inspired elements in the first two books of my Dessert Dames series, but most especially a chapter near the end of the second book, More Than a Trifle, that takes place in Alaska, in a very special place one of the friends decided would be the perfect place for her second marriage—starting it in a place new to both Katy, the friend getting married and her future husband Aidan.

You can see bears anywhere, even in Anchorage.

You can see bears anywhere, even in Anchorage.

But Katy brings her closet family and friends with her to share the beauty of that place and her second chance at happiness. I loved writing those scenes and all the time I wrote them I was surrounded by photos I’d taken of that place on several different visits to Alaska.

Have you ever listened to a friend or family member talk up a place they visited and then got lost in their photos? What did you do with that feeling? Those memories the photos or story embedded in your brain?

Caribou near Fairbanks

Caribou near Fairbanks

Bald eagles are abundant and always hungry.

Bald eagles are abundant and always hungry.

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Dreaming of Alaska

June 9, 2013

Whales of all types visit Alaskan waters.

Whales of all types visit Alaskan waters.

I had lunch this week with a friend who has just returned from in her words, “the most incredible, awesome, fantastic trip ever. What a beautiful state!”

Then she handed me her numerous photos and proceeded to tell me all the things she loved about the state.

I salivated at her memories—because, of course, I love that state also. Not only for its beauty and awesome sights, but most of all because my oldest son has made that state his home. Part of my heart will always be there.

But I also developed a serious case of lust for one of her photos. I found it incredible that she was able to get such a shot with her little camera. I want a copy of that photo. If she gives it to me, you will surely see it on this blog.

Why do I want it? Because while I’ve seen mountain sheep while I’ve been in Alaska on various trips, I’ve never been close enough to get a photo such as she did.

Waterfalls everywhere during snow melt.

Waterfalls everywhere during snow melt.

Where did she take it? Why Denali National Park which is a place everyone should see/visit.

And lucky woman that she was, the whole time she was in the park the weather was perfect and she had great shots of Mount McKinley or Denali as it is sometimes referred to. That mountain peak is so huge and high that it can create its own weather systems. Thus a visitor might be enjoying a sunny warm day in the Park but never glimpse McKinley because its peaks are shrouded in snow clouds.

And shroud is a great word to describe the clouds that can hide that beauty from a person’s view.

But all this reminds me of a note I received from my son recently. He was talking with a co-worker whose mother was reading and loving my book Fireweed which is mostly set in Alaska. Anyway, the co-worker’s mother wanted this message relayed to me. She loves my Fireweed book and wondered if I had been raised and lived a long time in Alaska. The mother said it reminded her so much of things she’d done when she and her husband first moved up there.

Glacier have deep crevasses in incredible blue.

Glacier have deep crevasses in incredible blue.

I was humbled and thankful to that reader for taking the time to send the message through my son. I got that message just before I left for the writers’ conference last weekend. And guess which of my books sold the most copies in the book sale there?

Right. Fireweed.

And how did I get those details correct so they would please a long time Alaskan resident?

My son gave her the perfect answer. Good research, long visits, and lots of phone calls to him and his expert friends.

I would have added one more item. Reviewing often the haunting photos of the state I’ve taken over the years or friends have shared with me from their trips. Photos help you relieve the moment. Find the essence. Feel the emotion and air. Smell the atmosphere.

And days can be moody and haunting...

And days can be moody and haunting…

They are memory’s friend.

Have a great week. 🙂

Anniversary Trip Inspiration

April 7, 2013

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

On our eleventh anniversary, my husband and I celebrated the event by taking a three week trip to Hawaii.

Now you might ask…why we chose that particular year and not 5, 10 or 20? You wouldn’t be the first. We got asked that a lot from people we met on the trip who were celebrating those anniversaries. When we told them why, they smiled and understood.

Well, take heart. I’ll tell you now. This marriage was a second one for both of us. I was divorced after 10 years of misery, well except for the wonderful 3 sons. My husband was a widower. He’d been married 10 years when his wife died. So we decided since we both knew we could manage 10 years, we should celebrate 11.

It was a great trip. We spent time on all the major islands–Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai. However, we spent a week in Maui. We left Wisconsin in a May snowstorm but spent the next 21 days in paradise. When we returned to Wisconsin, late spring had finally arrived.

Coastline

Coastline

That trip and that anniversary was very special for us. We’re still racking up numbers with the years but none of our anniversaries have been celebrated like our 11th.

Life and all its challenges have intervened.

So as I was writing the original draft of my Soul String Saga, that trip was much on my mind. As I’ve been going through edits with recently published Soul String: Passport and the last one in the series which I’m editing now. Both have several chapters set in Hawaii. Critical chapters.

Loved this view

Loved this view

So I pulled out my photo books to help me remember vividly ambiance and photographic flavor of Hawaii. They were very helpful. At time they inspired new bits and pieces of details. I think these photograph inspired details have enhanced my original book.

I thought I’d share some of them I took in Maui. After looking them over, maybe you’ll want to read the books. Or take a trip to Hawaii? 🙂

Have a great week…

Great waterfalls

Great waterfalls

Some Peope Travel

July 26, 2009

Some like me, stay home and write.

Picture 134However, I’ve been to Alaska several times since my son and his family live up there.  Anytime I can view photos or hear about someone’s recent trip there, I tell them. “Fire away.”  🙂 

Recently, my neighbor returned from a long trip up there. 

 She started out in Fairbanks, took the Alaskan Railroad to Denali National Park, got on the train again and traveled down to Whittier where she boarded a ship and cruised and did day trips on land to points south.  She flew home out of Vancouver. 

Alaskan Travel

Alaskan Travel

So today, I’m giving you a photo glimpse of her 21 day trip.  Enjoy.  Like I did.

 

 

 

 

 

Paddle boat Chena River

Paddle boat Chena River

Juneau

Juneau

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Alaska from the air

Alaska from the air

Humpback Whale pod

Humpback Whale pod

A Whale's Tail

A Whale's Tail

Waterfalls Near Ketchikan

Waterfalls Near Ketchikan

Vancouver Airport Sunset

Vancouver Airport Sunset