Sunday, September 18, 2011

 This is a very large bull moose just inside Denali park. The bulls are in rut now and are very dangerous. This one had a antler spread of six or seven feet! It was moving away from us at about 200 yards.
 This is the same large bull moose with a great view of his back side. The Yukon moose variety is the largest moose in north America. They are very plentiful in the forests of Alaska. It is hunting season now and we see and hear of many being taken.
This is a view inside the Denali National Park. 
 The upper picture is a view inside Denali park in late September with the fall conditions. It is the Savage river drainage which is as far as you can drive in to the park in a private car. We saw a lone Dahl sheep on the high ridge just in back of where this picture was taken. He was too far away for a picture. The bottom picture is the ten thousand foot pinnacles just south and east of Denali s peak. They are spectacular peaks in and of themselves because they are so steep and pointed.
This is a view of Denali peak from the Park highway just east of the mountain probably about fifty miles. The picture was taken from a flat valley floor of about two thousand feet elevation. Then the lower mountains in the foreground are shorter peaks of eight or nine thousand feet. Then Denali is in the far back jutting up to over twenty thousand feet. With our binoculars we could see the snow cornices on the south face of the east buttress of the mountain and they appeared to be several hundred feet thick. Denali or Mt. McKinley is truly a spectacular mountain.

Life is wonderful in Alaska.  We were excited to have about 12 attend our Tuesday night class.  That was a big change from 2 the week before.  Since we are having guest speakers from the stake, we are anxious to have people there.  We even put up posters at Stake Conference inviting people to come.  On Thursday we got a new laptop and camera to help us begin to broadcast our classes on the stake internet site.  Travis Payton is helping us work out the technology, and we are very hopeful that things will begin soon.   We had a great group of young adults attend classes on Thursday.  It's always fun and challenging to bake cinnamon rolls for between classes and think of something more substantial for after class for munch and mingle.  The chili dogs were a hit, but the sauerkraut was not a favorite.  Good thing to remember.  On Friday, we had two new Relief Society sisters come and a sister call in from Wainwright, a village of about 700 people.  The sister and her husband are the only members of the church in their village, so they are used to using the polycom to join in meetings.  We hope more will join us.  Technology is so much fun! 

On Friday after class, we headed to Anchorage.  On the way, we drove into Denali Park as far as you can go.  It was about 35 miles.  We were very excited to see the bull moose in the pictures.  He was the second bull moose we have seen since we arrived.  It is so much fun to see the changes in the scenery.  The birch trees are yellow gold and it looks like the whole country is ablaze.  We were able to stay at the mission home again.  It is always a blessing to be able to spend time with Pres. & Sister Beesley.  Saturday morning we attended the temple.  Adam Dewey, one of the young adults in our temple preparation class, went to the temple for the first time.  We were so pleased to be able to be there.  He is leaving for a mission to Brazil in December.  It was a wonderful experience to be in the temple with several members of our stake.  Members from Salcha and Delta were there as well as a large group from our branch who came to do baptisms for the dead.  We are blessed to have a temple that is only 6-7 hours drive from Fairbanks.  The members here are hoping that there will be a temple in Fairbanks some day. 

Today we had the opportunity to speak in the Salcha Branch.  Generally they have about 100 people, but several stayed in Anchorage to see friends and family after attending the temple.  Pres. Price told us that they usually have about 90% attendance at their branch meetings.  What faithful saints!  They have even move a house of some of the members this summer.  They had been told that their home had to be moved because of the possibility of flooding from the river, and the community got together and moved it.  The father in the home has terminal cancer, but he was at church sitting on the front row with his family.  After the meeting was over, his wife brought their granddaughter up to the stand.  She told me that she had something to give me.  I was overwhelmed when she gave me the biggest hug and just wouldn't let go.  She was about 4 years old and thought I needed a hug from a "granddaughter."   She was right.  I truly miss all my grandchildren, but I know it will be a blessing to all of us through our mission here.  I feel like I am learning so much by studying more and teaching classes.  We all need to strengthen each other in our testimonies of Jesus Christ.  Through our faith in Him and our obedience to His commandments, we can stand against the evils and trials of the world around us.  Be strong and faithful and follow the prophet!

JoAnn and Jim