Im pretty new to this blog stuff. My past self would have scoffed at doing this type of thing. But here we are. If you have read any of my other stuff it is most likely obvious I don’t really know what I’m doing. I suppose that is part of the fun of this project. Like most of the other tings in my life I am unsure about what this blog is supposed to be. Is it just a vehicle to get my pictures somewhere someone can see them and hopefully appreciate them? Is this a journal of my thoughts at any given moment? Is this blog personal or professional? Should I try to approach it as a strict marketing device or should I just approach it as a hobby? There are a lot of serious questions there. At this time, I am just going to do whatever I want with this blog at any given time. I suppose the purpose and structure will reveal itself in time.
What does any of this have to do with Alaska you may ask. I know my thoughts seem all over the place. Bear with me, I’m getting back on subject. I took a vacation with my family recently, see part 1. We flew to Seattle and met up with my Dad’s sister and her husband. This is the first time in my adult life I have met my Aunt Connie and her husband Mike. I met them once a long time ago when I was a little kid too young to remember anything that happened. Even the adults in that long-ago scenario don’t remember much about that visit approximately 40 years ago. It’s difficult to visit with family when they are on the other side of the country thousands of miles away. And pretty much all of my extended family has been very far away and I have seen very little if any of them. So it is very nice to have had this opportunity to in essence meet my aunt for the first time.
We spent a two days with my aunt before embarking on the Alaska cruise. My aunt was invited, but she declined due to health reasons. There was a lot of catching up to do and sharing of ideas and opinions among relatives who haven’t seen each other in a long time, and that was the bulk of the first day of the visit. Plus there was a little recovery time from a long day of traveling and jet lag. From that day, I present you pictures of my aunt, her husband, and my mother and father. I’d also like to add a picture of neat model ship they had at their house. I didn’t take a lot of pictures of their house, and I regret that. It was decorated with a lot of interesting artifacts and artwork. Unless I’m outside or specifically taking pictures for some reason I don’t often think about lugging around my camera. Part of me want to always have my camera with me, but part of me feels like a weirdo for doing so. In my experience, most people are not particularly excited about having someone around taking pictures of everything, especially with a big ole DSLR camera. Even the proliferation of cell-phone cameras and selfie-people, a lot of people are uncomfortable with cameras and think it is weird for someone to taking pictures of random this and that. I am sure I have crossed that “weird” line many times. I can feel it, and it doesn’t feel good. But I need to stop worrying about what other people think and just get comfortable doing what I like to do.
Beyond the general visiting we did with my Aunt Connie and her husband Mike, they took us on a trip to visit the Mount Saint Helens Volcano National Park. I was a kid when this volcano most recently erupted, and still remember how crazy people got at the time. If my memory serves, we got a little ash from the eruption where we lived in Oklahoma. But I was a kid, and my mind may have blown things out of proportion/imagined this into my reality. Regardless, it was a pretty big deal.
The park was amazing. It was pretty remote. It took about an hour to drive there from the interstate exit. There were quite a few people there, but it wasn’t too crowded. It was a very nice park with a very nice observatory/information center for people to visit. There was a good bit of parking, and probably a mile, give or take, of paved trails along a ridge for visitors to enjoy. There are also more rustic trails and camp areas for the people who want to spend more than an afternoon visiting this monumental park. I would love to camp out here and do some hiking at some point. I am very glad I got the opportunity to visit this majestic site at all.
Of the pictures I took at Mount Saint Helens I have a few comments and thoughts:
My first thought is that the small amphitheater you see here would be an amazing place for a small concert with your favorite band. Granted the noise pollution would be a factor, so it would have to be a bit dialed back or completely acoustic. And getting a group out that far would be a bit much to ask of most people, but true fans would certainly make the journey. Im not sure about the acoustics there either. The sound may just drift off into the expanse. I wonder if it has ever been done.
My second thought, did the builders of the observatory work around these old tree remains from the volcano blast, or were they placed there after construction? Both seem possible. That one stump looks like it may still have some roots in the ground. Not sure why I thought this, but once I did it really got stuck in my craw. The park makes a big deal about not disturbing the plants and wildlife, so I wonder how careful they were during construction. Just a random thought from a random mind. Also here is a picture of some uprooted trees and several tree stumps that were destroyed in the eruption. Pretty amazing the devastation that hit this area all those years ago.
Here are a few pictures of the park facilities. A few signs to let you know where you are, and where you are going. I like taking pictures of signs. There is a topographical relief map that plays a light show to educate and entertain. And the park has a nice film you can watch, and when it ends the screen raises up and reveals the volcano for a spectacular finish.
These are the photos I most liked of the mountain. I played around with some panoramas as you can see.
Finally here is a lucky volcano grasshopper for a strong finish.