"Worf, we're alone now, you don't have to act like a Klingon glacier, I don't bite. Well, that's wrong. I do bite." - Worf's Klingon Squeeze
After visiting the mining-deficient Tangle Lakes, it was time to head home.
One of the benefits to traveling the same highway going back the way that you came is that you see different things - at least in Alaska. I know that isn't the case in the drive from, say, Nebraska to Ohio (which, essentially looks like: corn), but it is in Alaska where we enjoy this thing called topography. It doesn't look all the same if you stand on top of your barn and look yonder in all directions.
The first thing we noted heading back is that we had driven right past a big honking glacier without even noticing it. It was sneaky, you see. Really, there had been a big ridge between us and it, and, given my propensity to drive while I look forward, I never noticed it until presented with the elevation advantage near the Tangle Lakes.
The glacier is called the College Glacier (pictured above - click on same for a larger picture - don't worry, I'll wait), which I guess throws off my theory that huge hunks of ice in Alaska can't be considered educated. I just wonder if it was named before or after John Belushi was in Animal House. Who knows, maybe all colleges in the world are named after College Glacier. Anyway, we saw a road heading that way, so we took it.
At first it was a road as good as any ever paved with gravel. Then, it became increasing obvious that at some points in the year said road moonlights as a creek bed. Then we saw the people. At first, given the pairs of men sitting together silently in pickup trucks, we thought we at some convention of "the love that dare not speak its name," but then we reasoned that the bows and arrows weren't for some elaborate love-game, but were actually for hunting moose. Maybe. Whatever. As far as I can see, few in Alaska really care who or what you drill, as long as you support drilling in ANWR. (see the dictionary under "cash")
So, we drove on. Above is the picture I took of the mountain The Mrs. Affectionately called "Butt Ridge." Is it just me, or does this mountain really look like Randy Moss? You can click on it for a larger picture of how Randy feels about Packer fans. What a class act he is.
I digress, and apologize for my indiscretion.
Anyway, we drove up this increasingly rough road until the family felt we had gone far enough. By far enough, I mean that The Mrs. indicated that she thought that it was a bad sign that the rocks we were traversing were taller than a California building lot is wide. So, big rocks. And, we had also reached the end of the road, an obvious point to turn around, given the splintered bones of past tourists littering the creek bed next to rusted out Hummers. Okay, I made that last part up. I saw Dawn of the Dead last night (the remake, which was better than the original), so forgive me this poetic license. Suffice it to say that we couldn't have gone further up the road without a tank.
Now, here I digress on purpose. These roads were put up by the BLM. Thanks. Memo: I want more of them. I like driving around the countryside, and these roads allow me to do it without tearing anything up. Again, thanks. Now, put in more.
So, I hoofed it over to the creek. It seemed like every creek we passed was a different color on this trip, and I imagine that this was due to the type of rock that the glaciers were crushing and infusing into the water. This powdered rock is called "rock flour," and unlike "rock candy," it is not hot, sweet and sticky. Baby. It is cold, wet and gray. Or, grey. You pick.
If you click on the picture you can see College Glacier lurking in the back. The water is from College Glacier. I guess that right now some of the glaciers are smaller now than they were at the peak of the last global cooling cycle (1940?). Slim-Fast?
As we headed out, I took the picture below, of a mountain called the "Hoo-Doos". Good call on the name.
We (successfully) turned around, and headed back from whence we came, ready to point our trusty 4x4 back on the road towards home. What happened next shocked me so much, well, I'll never be the same, and neither will you. Okay, that's a bit much. What really happened is we drove home and saw some stuff. But, there really is more stuff.
Thus endeth part the fourth.
Next: Moose on the Loose