The Great North: Day 1 & 2 In Alaska

The next couple of weeks, I will be blogging from Alaska — one of my favorite places on Earth. As a lifelong hiker and outdoor enthusiast, Alaska is simply unequaled anywhere in the world for its immense and wild beauty. We arrived late Sunday night and experienced the gorgeous wilderness from the air. Flying into Alaska is always awe-inspiring as the seemingly limitless wilderness unfolds before your eyes. We spent much of the first full day biking and enjoying the city.

Before going to breakfast, we stopped in a little antique shop on Fourth Street that I wholeheartedly recommend. It is called the Antique Gallery and its proprietor is a delight to meet. Walter Earl is a major collector of guns, Native art, and virtually anything from the quirky to the divine. He has genuine items of great historical and cultural significance from the dueling pistols of Napoleon to ancient masks of Native American tribes. His collection of vintage firearms is simply amazing with some weapons that I have never heard of, let alone seen. As a military history nut, it took my family every ounce of strength to get me to leave for breakfast.

We left Walter to go to one of my favorite places for breakfast: the Snow City Cafe. While you are likely to have to wait for a table without a reservation, it is well worth it. The food is amazing from it: stuffed French bread to what may be the best has browns in the city. I had the wild mushroom omelet, which was absolutely fantastic and their house jellies are spectacular.


Stuffed from breakfast, we went next door to rent bikes. Pablo’s rental bike has a parking area in the back and they are very helpful. The rate was $25 for three hours plus $5 for every hour after that period. We then took for the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which is the best known and loved of the four greenbelt trails located in Anchorage. This was my second time doing the trail which often features moose and black bears. It is roughly 13 miles from the bike store on 4th Street near the federal building. It was a few blocks down 5th Street near the Snow Cafe. You bike through marshland, forests, and past mud flats at the water’s edge. The last mile is a steady climb to the top, which many chose to walk rather than bike. You can then take your bike to one of the many mountain trails and find some breathtaking views of water and surrounding forests.

After a long bike trip, we went to an Anchorage classic,  Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse. It was a bar with a wide range of great beer and long menu. We had the great Calamari as well as the crab balls. (I liked the Calamari more). The fries are particularly good.

After some shopping for gifts, we then went to the New Sagaya City Market on 13th and I St. — a local favorite store. We loaded up for dinner and went back to our rental for badly needed rest and relaxation after a wonderful day in Anchorage.

16 thoughts on “The Great North: Day 1 & 2 In Alaska”

  1. Enjoy what’s left of the majesty of those snow-covered peaks and the glaciers while you can. With anthropogenic global warming, they’ve already drastically declined, and there won’t be many in a few years time.

    Even when they’re completely gone and the scientific evidence for it being anthropogenic is even more overwhelming than it already is now, free-market, unfettered-capitalism Republicans and Libertarians still won’t acknowledge human causation, or the need for a better, more sustainable economic system and proper stewardship of the planet.

    1. All systems in the Universe, including the Earth, lean towards shifting in response to changes and stressors. It does this in order to achieve anew equilibrium and thus self-correction. Le Chatelier said so.

      Whether you will self-correct is up to you. Your disposition appears quite fatal, though. Hari Kari might be justified along the lines of elimination of anthropogenic malignant growth.


      1. @Estovir:

        I’ll leave the harakiri to others. I’m not perfect and no ascetic, but I already live fairly responsibly compared to most in the developed Western world, and I bet my consumption patterns are better for the planet than those of most in the United States. My consumption patterns are also better psychologically — I don’t have any debt and its associated worry, and I don’t have to bust my balls trying to earn enought to buy the latest and greatest whatever. I could, for instance, walk into a car dealership today and pay cash not only for one new car, but for a whole fleet of them — but I have no desire to do so.

        A responsible lifestyle flows naturally from a realization that most of what unfettered capitalism produces is just crap, and even when not, is often unimportant and unsatisfying in the grand scheme of things.

    2. “The Arctic Ocean is warming up, the icebergs are growing scarcer, and in some areas the seals are finding the water too hot. Reports all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 9 minutes. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.” Published by the U.S. Weather Bureau in 1922.

      Keep selling fear. Here’s some examples of how it has worked out so far:

      1973: “By 1980 the life expectancy of all Americans will be 42 years.” – Paul Ehrlich, Stanford Biologist, at Earth Day

      1973: “280 million people in 2040 is likely to be too many.” John Holdren, “Population and the American Predicament,” Caltech Population Program, Occasional Papers. While the ongoing, perpetual illegal invasion makes it impossible to know what the current US population is, it’s probably over 330 million.

      1986: “A billion people could die from global warming by 2020.” – Attributed to John Holdren by Paul Ehrlich in “The Machinery of Nature”, (published 1986), p. 274.

      1989: “Entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” -Noel Brown, ex UNEP Director

      2004: “European cities will be plunged beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a Siberian climate by 2020.” -Paul Harris, UK Eco journalist

      2008: “We’ll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals.” – Ted Turner, billion dollar donor to the U.N.

      Only charlatans and religious fundamentalists claim they can predict the future. Both are usually wrong. Which one are you?

      The empirical objective evidence is that by most measures of human progress – longevity, health, literacy, affluence, infant mortality – there has never been a better time to be alive than now. The “average” American is breathing the cleanest air he’s ever breathed in his life.

      BTW, as that chart from the EPA demonstrates, emissions from the invisible, colorless, odorless trace gas CO2 that is essential for all life on planet Earth that frightens you so much peaked in the US in 2005. US CO2 levels will likely NEVER reach 2005 levels again due to ongoing technological progress. The biggest risk is political.
      If your side successful hoodwinks the people into voting for a bunch of central planing socialists, then technological innovation is likely to stagnant.

      Finally, if you are an environmental zealot like Turley, you should be doing cartwheels in the street that the planet is greening at a rapid pace. Some estimates are that 2 billion tons of additional land based biomass PER YEAR is being created.

      Don’t worry. The fear mongers are concocting “scientific” arguments why a greener planet is bad, too.

      1. @Scott:

        You may be able to cherry-pick some examples of faulty predictions, too-soon dates, or hyperbole in matters of climate change, but that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s well-documented as occurring (and in fact is occurring faster than most climate models of recent decades suggested, in part because many models didn’t adequately consider ocean or thawing permafrost effects), has mostly-known mechanisms, and has strong anthropogenic factors. Want to talk about flawed predictions? Few more flawed than the banking system believing that they were the masters of the universe and that all their derivatives and wheeling-and-dealing couldn’t ever collapse the system. Or Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld thinking that an invasion of Iraq would be easy, and a triumph for the United States. Compared to those, climate predictions are orders of magnitude better.

        It never ceases to amaze me how Republicans and Libertarians have made “responsibility” part of their ideology and political talking points — but it turns out that they only mean for it to apply to the poor and maybe the middle class, not to the wealthy, or the banks, or other corporations, or capitalism as an economic system, or U.S. military power, or in environmental matters. What hypocrisy.

        The sensible person operates on the basis of the best predictions available, plus some added prudence. Of course, if you are unshakable in the belief that unfettered capitalism can do no wrong, or that if it should, more capitalism and technology will come to the rescue, then unsurprising that you believe that there’s no need to act responsibly.

        1. Biologist…….and what about the “responsibility” of the Learjet Liberals who each week fly around the globe, polluting the air faster than you can say “no more plastic straws”? Talk about hypocrisy.

          1. @Cindy Bragg:

            You’re correct about that, no argument from me there. Just because many Republicans and Libertarians have flawed ideologies doesn’t mean Liberals can’t also be wrong. Especially rich, self-entitled ones.

            Just to get one thing straight, thought: most modern liberals are actually neoliberals, and in many matters actually to the right of Nixon and Eisenhower in their belief that the free market (or at least so-called “public-private partnerships”, which are often give-aways to the corporations) will solve everything. They are not at all FDR-style liberals, who knew that some goals require serious plans and strong action by government.

        2. Biologist:
          “Of course, if you are unshakable in the belief that unfettered capitalism can do no wrong, or that if it should, more capitalism and technology will come to the rescue, then unsurprising that you believe that there’s no need to act responsibly.”
          I always get advice on economic policy and the effect of technology thereupon from biologists. Just like I get advice on evolution of species from the writings of Milton Freedman. Apparently, biologists believe themselves experts in all manner of things because … well … just because.

          1. @Mespo

            You’re implying more than I’ve said or meant in those words of mine you’ve quoted. I’m not attempting detailed monetary or fiscal advice, just making one simple basic observation about economic philosophy, nothing that requires the competence of a PPE or economics degree.

            And no, you shouldn’t get advice on the evolution of species from the writings of Milton Friedman. (Interestingly, though, plenty of economists do in fact think that they know animal behavior better than biologists do, and human motivation better than psychologists and sociologists do. Probably an instance of “If all you’ve got is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail”.)

            But you shouldn’t look to Milton Friedman for your economic advice, either. He, with his slavish devotion to so-called “free markets”, along with plenty of other neoliberal economists, and even worse, “space cadet” economists such as Ayn Rand devotee Alan Greenspan, are to economics what Elmer Fudd is to rabbit or duck hunting — rather incompetent practitioners.

            1. “You’re implying more than I’ve said or meant in those words of mine you’ve quoted.”
              Without getting too epistemologically technical, my inference was that you implied some advanced knowledge of economics and thus felt qualified to judge the value of capitalism versus some unstated alternative. This is quite out of your espoused field of study/expertise and I questioned why anyone would accept your opinions of same over, say, the drunk at the bar of the restaurant I had dinner at tonight. Your opinion of Friedman’s contribution to economics is likewise suspect for the very same reasons. I pretend no expertise in either field but I do consider myself qualified to render opinions on fallacious reasoning and I rank an argument from false authority near the top of the bullshark scale.

    1. Great shots. …I like real America.

      Espresso shots. You were referring to liking great Espresso shots, a sign in one of the photos. For you see Mespo, you are a lover of immigrants and apparently “the blend of Central and South American Arabicas medium roast to bring out a round and very balanced bouquet”

      You like caramelized Latinas.

      Don’t we all!….except Peter “Grindr blocked me” Shill


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