This morning Travalon and I went to Mass at Holy Family Cathedral, then we got on the road and stopped by another beautiful church called St. Andrews - I have a photo. We couldn't get into it, though. We drove along a beautiful road with breathtaking views of mountains covered in mist till we got to Chugach State Park by Eagle River. We hiked to Thunderbird Falls, which got me my steps for the day and the equivalent of over twenty flights of stairs. The trail was muddy and kind of scary because it had a drop-off on one side, and then the falls weren't that big. Our next stop was Eklutna, a Russian settlement from the 1800's with a little Orthodox church where they still have liturgies and a really cool graveyard that looks like a miniature village because each of the graves is covered by what looks like a dollhouse. Then we drove to Eklutna Lake, stopping at Rochelle's ice cream place, where we had a great view of a peak called The Miter. Travalon had fireweed honey ice cream, which was the best flavor we had ever tasted. It was fruity-tasting and purple colored. The lake is like Devil's Lake on steroids, with mountains around it, including The Miter with its snow-covered peak. We stopped at Reflection Lake, which had a path all the way around it. It was a pleasant, flat hike with sweeping views of mountains in the distance. It was a popular hike, and we suspect most of the people were locals, since they had dogs with them. We went to Wasilla, the hometown of Sarah Palin, and had dinner at a delightful Chinese restaurant with a very friendly proprietress. We also stopped at a megastore called Fred Meyer that has absolutely everything: food, clothing, camping gear, etc. We loved this store and wished we had one back home. Our final stop for the evening is the adorable cabin in Talkeetna in a place called Love-Lee Cabins where we are spending the night. We rolled in at 10 pm and it was still light out. It is only starting to get dark now around a quarter to eleven.
St. Andrew's Catholic Church
Mist rolling off the mountains
Mountain visible from the trail to Thunderbird Falls
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church
Close-up of a house over a grave, with a tiny icon visible in the window
Another view of the cemetery and St. Nicholas Church
Mountains behind Rochelle's Ice Cream Shop
Famous Hat at Elkutna Lake
Jagged peaks near Reflection Lake
Another view of Reflection Lake
Tomorrow we go to Denali, so hopefully I will have photos of that up sometime soon.