Wanna go see some animals? Yes, Deer…

Today, we drove along the Cook Inlet for some more photos then headed to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Park about 45 miles south of Anchorage. It’s here that orphaned wildlife is nursed to adulthood and injured animals are mended and rehabilitated before being released back into the wild.

The tide in Cook Inlet was on the way and the mud flats were disappearing. In the distance, we could see a line of beautiful snow-capped mountains:

The Alaska Range in the distance

Nearby mountains weren't bad, either

In the late 1700s, Captain James Cook sailed up the inlet now named for him looking for a Northwest Passage that would allow ships to go directly from Asia across the top of North America to Europe. When he arrived at the present day location of Anchorage, the inlet split north and east. He first went north (up what is now called the Knik Arm) and, when he could go no further, he came back to the split and headed east. When he ran into the end of that tributary, he wrote that he “had to turn again” and that waterway is known as Turnagain Arm.

What Capt Cook saw at the end of Turnagain Arm

We stopped at Beluga Point to see if we could see any of the white whales:

Beluga whale

Although the view was great, no whales to be seen…

Beluga Point

We continued on to the wildlife park and were met by this prickly little guy –

Snickers the porcupine

There were some moose lounging about:

Bull Moose

Mrs. Moose

Not bad for a backyard view –

There were some various other animals there…

Mukluk, a one year old musk ox just recently released to the general population

Mukluk's know-it-all older brother

Caribou

This Bull Dozer

An orphaned moose...

Careful! I'm watching you!

Had a very nice time visiting all the animals. Lots more pics in today’s Photo Album. Don’t forget, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them!

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The earthquake in 1964 was quite an event here. It lasted nearly 5 minutes and registered 9.2 on the Richter Scale. It is believed that it was even higher than that as 9.2 was the top of the scale at that time.

Large amounts of ground sank as a result of the earthquake. Some as much as 15 feet straight down. Two coastal towns, Portage and Girdwood, were both heavily damaged in the quake. Girdwood was moved several miles inland and rebuilt. Portage was abandoned. Here are some of the original cabins that stood before the quake:

Another consequence of the quake: saltwater poured in over the now lowered land and the salinity killed trees. However, that same salinity helped preserve these trees permanently and they have become great nesting places and perches for eagles and other large birds.

These stands of dead trees are known as "ghost forests"

The tide was receding and we walked out into Portage Creek to look at the damaged shack above and checked out the mudflats:

Empty Portage Creek

I bravely prove that the mud flats are nothing to be afraid of:

Matthew doesn’t quite believe me and does his best impression of levitating across the creek:

Float like a butterfly....

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