Back to Anchorage

Monday we drove back to Anchorage, ate lunch at Moose’s Tooth (yummy!) and then flew back to Kodiak. Thank God, our flight made it on time with minimal turbulence! We enjoyed our time driving, and had a few surprise extra animal sightings! In addition to more snowshoe hares, our in abundance this trip, we had a moose encounter:

One on each side of the road! A little further we saw four caribou!

And interspersed through the day were more great mountain views!

Sleeping Lady, across the bay from Anchorage:


Denali Adventures – Sunday

Sunday we started bright and early, ate at the lodge and then drove to the bus depot at Denali National Park (just inside the entrance). We had reservations for the 7am shuttle bus. Which I had of course gotten wrong in my head, so we got there for the 7:30 bus instead. Fortunately there were plenty of seats on that one, so we didn’t have to wait for a later bus to have room. And we had a great driver, so it worked out well! We were expecting frigid temperatures and cloudy skies from the weather reports I had seen in advance. Instead we got partly sunny and bearable cold, a very pleasant surprise!

Denali is well worth the visit, so very worth it. I’m going to give you a photo dump, some photos will have captions. Brace yourself!

This was our first view of Denali itself (Mt McKinley until recently). It is the bright white mountain in the middle, looking smaller than the other from this view. Because we were very far away. The road into the park (the only road) runs through a valley. To the south is the Alaska mountain range, to the north is the Outer Range.

Over the course of the day we saw a lot of animal, mostly too far away for a good picture. Some, though were very close! Here is a ground squirrel and a ptarmigan:


Here’s a better view of Denali:


And us with Denali behind us:


And one of several caribou we saw that day (all too far away for a good phone photo):




Us, our bus


Dall sheep (again far away, look for the horns on top of the hill)


Denali again and an panorama of one view of the range


The closest we got to grizzly bears!  We saw several from a distance, but these were on the side of the road about 10 feet from the bus.  A mother and her yearling cub, they are digging for roots.



The cub is standing up to get a better of the bus passing us, and them.IMG_5963

After the bus tour we hiked trail to Horseshoe Lake, a pretty easy hike near the entrance of the park.  There are several beaver dams:


A different view of the Nenana River and the resorts on its’ banks:


Better view of the lake (we saw a beaver earlier but didn’t get a good picture):


Such a great day!  The next day we got some good wildlife views on the drive back to Anchorage, so that’ll be its own post also.


Denali Adventures – Saturday

Jennifer is here! She is my next younger sister and we get her for a week! We decided to adventure in the rest of Alaska with her a little, because she has been to Kodiak several times and all of us wanted to go to Denali National Park, so Fred and I flew up to Anchorage Friday evening, miraculously with only a slight flight delay and little turbulence. We met her flight Saturday morning and picked up the rental car.

After a quick visit to Title Wave Books (a large used book store), Kaladi Brothers Coffee and Safeway (for snack food), we hit the road north. It was a beautiful day!

We enjoyed talking to each other, then listening to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy from Audible. And we took in the mountain views. If you haven’t been to Anchorage, it is surrounded by mountains. And the highway north has mountains on both sides. It is gorgeous. Truly.

We were having a blast and weren’t even there yet!

We stayed at the Denali Princess Lodge. The first evening we walked to the Nenana River and explored the shops in the Lodge complex and on the boardwalk across the street.

Sunday we were headed into the park itself!

This Have I Asked

“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

You called to me to seek you,
I answered that I would.
Here, I’m looking for Your face,
please answer me with good.

Your dwelling, my desire,
let me stay there all my days,
to look upon Your beauty
and Your Son of radiant gaze.

Please let me sit at Your feet
as You teach in temple’s court.
May I listen, ask You questions,
soak up wisdom from My Lord.

This then is my longing
and I know the answer true,
“If you search for Me, You’ll find Me,
and My glory have its due.”

Copyright Jonelle Liddell 2018

Throwback – Choice of Choices

Another taste of earlier writing, from June, 2009

To make the choice of choices
As louder comes the call.
Its echo drowns the voices
That distract me, one and all.
As the sound of battle carries
And one by one the soldiers fall.

Go running to the battle
Or stay and watch it rage?
As the swords and bucklers rattle
And the foe the saints engage,
Crying out for reinforcements
Who will stand and fight and wage.

Before them rides the General
Who cannot know defeat.
The Gospel is their banner,
And Truth makes light their feet
Until they see eternal vict’ry
Or stand at the Judgement Seat.

So many souls at stake here
And so few who deign to fight,
As the ones who claim His name
Live in the dark and mock the light,
By apathy supporting him
Who denigrates the Right.

I make my choice and answer
Knowing well the price I’ll pay,
For peace must come thru fire
If one hopes to make it stay
And ’tis suff’ring that brings glory
And pain burns the dross away.

Yes, I will join His army now
And jump into the fray.
Seeking first His glory,
As His summons I obey.
Clinging to the shield of faith
As with His sword, the Lie I slay.

Copyright Jonelle Liddell 2018

Sometimes overwhelmed…

We are looking at a lot of coming transitions. In our friend circles, as mentioned in an earlier post, at work, in housing and in hopefully soon in states. As we look ahead to leaving Kodiak early next year, Lord willing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Thinking about packing again, moving again, starting new jobs with new coworkers, settling into a new neighborhood, relearning how to function in a city (or anywhere larger than our little community), it makes my head swim sometimes.

I like our small town. I like barely driving. It is great to have a rush hour that consists of a 6 car delay at stop signs. One stoplight suits me fine and the scenery here is hard to beat. Being so close to so many good trails is wonderful. I like recognizing people everywhere I go and having so many of our circles overlap with each other. I like the cooperation between churches here. The relationships between staff at the hospital (where I work) and the clinic (where Fred works). We have it pretty cush in a lot of ways and I enjoy that.

So we are savoring the moments while we are here and storing up memories. Is this our last Crab Fest? Our last Alaska summer? Maybe. Maybe God has a surprise coming, after all we’ve thought we were moving from Kodiak several times before and we’re still here.

Regardless, we will soak up the sun when it breaks through on these long summer days. We’ll cherish the times of laughter, games and discussion with friends. We’ll relish the camaraderie with our coworkers. We anticipate the island turning green again, salmonberries and fiddlehead ferns and beach walks and mountain hikes. The future can be scary, but we are in good hands and this place God has put us is good.