Resurrection Bay was gorged with whales. From the rails of a fine tour boat, nature-lovers scrambled from one shout to another. I really couldn't see at all when I got this shot . . . just boldly stuck my arm and camera between two people and blindly snapped. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Orca with her calf alongside!
It's a grand privilege to be connected to Alaska through daughter Lynn Swanson, and son-in-law Ron Swanson. Their Son Aaron and family live not far from this magnificent park, and son Brian and family lives on the edge of the pristine, 5.4 million acre Chugach National Forest.
It was June, 2012 and freezing, and drop-dead gorgeous as we plowed through the frigid water toward this massive glacier. When it calved into the water, a sound identical to that of thunder struck our ears. It shocked me to learn that the miniscule white dots that moved across sheer rock, far above us were Mountain goats and their newborns! Thanks to daughter Lynn Swanson for the gift of a memorable 2012 trip.
Steller Sea Lions bask and bark, seemingly unaware of the striking beauty around them. Bald eagles and puffin, otters and many kinds of whale dot the landscape. The Kenai Peninsula and this park is said to be a microcosm of Alaska. It is a salve for the soul. Photos by Mary Martin Weyand
The big trees that grow in California's Sequoia National Park have great-great-great-great-great-great- (+ many, many more greats!) old fossil ancestors that can be found in Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado. Don't we hear of old guys being called 'old fossils?' These REALLY are.
In Sequoia National Park you sometimes see Giant Sequoia growing in clusters. This picture shows the only 'set of three' petrified giant trees known in the entire world. These stumps, turned to stone were preserved by nature near Colorado Springs. These fossils are now protected by the National Park Service.
How do trees become petrified? The fossilization process known as petrifaction usually begins when a tree or log is buried in silica-rich, alkaline volcanic ash or mud. Water seeping through the ash or mud dissolves silica. If silica-rich water soaks into a buried piece of wood, where conditions are more acidic, silica is precipitated inside the hollow cells of the wood -http://ucmp.berkeley.edu/tertiary/eoc/florissant.html.
The first excerpts from the enhanced e-book, Of Giants and Grizzlies, will soon be released including Sequoia 1 where we learn about the largest living trees on earth, the Giant Sequoia - Watch for it!