Monday, August 13, 2012

                                       These are a couple of sea otters in Valdez harbor

                                      Bald eagle on the mountains surrounding Valdez harbor

                                Congregation of seal lions in the Prince William sound area

          Bill, JoAnn and Jim on the bow of the cruise ship Lu Lu Bell in Prince William sound with a large blue iceberg in the background

Bill and Jim at the harbor in Valdez

The first hint of fall in Alaska when the birch trees start to turn yellow on a single branch

Bill (Jim's brother) came to Alaska for a one week visit this past week. We began his visit by fishing for Arctic greying although that was not very successful on the Chatanika river. We borrowed some fishing gear from a local and at least Bill fished the interior of Alaska which very few visitors have a chance to do. We did have more success panning for gold and he brought home a few flakes of the yellow metal.

Bill had a chance to come with us to our institute class in the town of Healy, next to Denali park. He also attended our Pearl of Great Price Thursday evening class here in Fairbanks.

We also spent  a day in Denali park seeing brown bears, Dahl sheep and moose. The scenery is always spectacular and the is a definite change of colors in the park as fall approaches.  

We did spend a bit of time driving to Valdez harbor. We presented a fireside on the sacred objects of the book of Mormon to their branch Sunday evening. We had the opportunity of staying with a great LDS family that live there in Valdez. The salmon were running and filling the harbor and surrounding rivers. Black bear were coming down to eat their fill along with the seagulls that finish what the bears do not eat. Valdez is truly  a spectacular place with majestic mountains rising above the deep port city.  Thompson pass that leads into the Valdez area not only sports a glacier but holds the record for greatest snowfall on any road in north America.

We boarded a small cruise ship and spent a day visiting the Prince William sound. It is filled with sea life of all kinds including hump back whales. The tour concluded with a visit to the Columbia glacier that comes down to the sea and has a vertical wall of ice that calves (breaks) of into the sea. It is quite a spectacular sight. 

Bill felt like he had a small glimpse of what a senior missionaries life is like as well as seeing some of the sights of the vast state of Alaska.

 Jim and JoAnn

PS  We have been asked to speak in the Granite View Ward on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9:00 AM.  That will give us a chance to catch our breath after getting home.