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Monday, July 2, 2012

Where the sea breaks it's back

Georg Steller was a man whose name has immortalized some of the rarest creatures of flora and fauna on earth. He was also the first white man to ever set foot on Alaskan soil. Whether or not that is a good thing is beyond debate, but he was a top notch naturalist and botanist and without him some now extinct creatures may never have even been known to man. Stellars sea cow being the prime example.

Fritillaria camschatencsis
The Black Sarana Lily
Turnagain Pass, Alaska

I am just back from 10 days in Alaska, having covered some 1200 miles in a rented car, spent 10 hours in a boat traverssing the Prince William Sound all the way to the Gulf of Alaska. Enjoyed wildlife, scenery and majestic beauty, lovely time with family and subsequently becoming annoyed with family. All in all a fantastic trip that will never be forgotten.

I did manage to see some plants along the way as well, like the meadows covered with the chocoloate covered Frits and spotted blue and white with Lupines.
Onchorynchus nerka
Kenai river Sockey salmon
Georg Steller gave this species it's name as well as the other 4 species of Pacific Salmon. With this trip I came one species closer to a goal of having caught all five of those species with my angling prowess. Only the lowely chum salmon, not often sought by sportfisherman, remains. The Fall rains of November and Oregons Trask river will solve that problem.

I kept wanting to call this a Hymenoxys but I think it's actually an Arnica,
Polychrome Pass, Denali National Park.

Georg Steller's story is at times fantastic, deeply saddenning and frustrating. If you read only one book this year, you really should read:
"Where the sea breaks it's back"
The epic story of early naturalist Georg Stellar and the Russian Exploration of Alaska
by Corey Ford


The trip up to Denali offers stunning alpine landscapes in spots.

Jack Poff taught me to appreciate what's in a name, he would often tell stories of Alice Eastwood and William Cusick and there plant explorations. After reading of his exploits one can hardly look the same at the Stellers Jay as it rumbles about the cherry trees in my orchard looking for the plumb ripe ones.

Either way you look at it, Georg Steller is deeply linked with Alaska and Alaska is truly "Where the sea breaks it's back"

If only some humans possesed such a will to survive and endure in such hard places as some plants do.
Georg Stellar certainly did, read his story and be amazed at a humans will to survive and what it takes to finally dry up the well of will power.

I may post some more of Alaska, since I have more pictures, in the mean time you should be on your way to the bookstore.

Cheers,
Mark


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