Day Six: Moose, bison and bears, oh my!

Thursday, August 15 was a busy day for me with meetings. I first met with the President of The CIRI Foundation, which was instrumental in my education. I was a recipient of CIRI scholarships through my entire college education, both undergraduate and graduate. I then met with the Communications Specialist at the NANA Corporation and the Senior Vice President of the CIRI Corporation. All three meetings went extremely well! I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of my meet and greets.

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Outside of the CIRI building
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Since Daddy is a shareholder, it was pretty cool getting to see the CIRI building.

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In between meetings, we stopped in at the Alaska Museum of Natural History and Science. It was a small museum and geared more toward kids, but they still has some interesting fossils and stuffed animals.

photo-17Thursday was an absolutely beautiful day! The scenery was breathtaking as we drove around Cook Inlet with the Chugach Mountains as a backdrop.

DSCN0386The Alaska Railroad tracks run right alongside the Seward Highway, so we were able to see a train as it passed.

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I have been dying to see a moose in the wild, but so far they have remained elusive. We decided to at least see one that’s alive and drove down to Portage to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The AWCC rescues animals that have been hurt or orphaned while in the wild and brings them in to care for them. We met Nelson and Gilly, the moose. We were told not to pet them; but they were so cute, it was hard to resist!

Gilly
Gilly
Nelson
Nelson

The musk oxen were pretty cool, too. However, one of them did not want his picture taken! I tried to take his picture, and he started charging toward me! I must admit even though there was a fence in between us, it did make me step back a little bit further!

DSC_1450DSC_1453We got there right about the time they were feeding the bears, so we were able to get up close and personal glimpses of J.B., Patrone, and Hugo as they ate their salmon, blueberries, and apples.

DSC_1462 DSC_1461AWCC is also developing a herd of Wood Bison that will be re-introduced into the wild in 2015. The wood bison were native to Alaska hundreds of years ago but slowly died out. AWCC has been working to build the population back in order to establish a new population. The wood bison are bigger that the Plains bison and are more suited to the colder climates.

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Some other animals at AWCC were elk, caribou and Sitka Black-Tailed Deer. Did you know that caribou and reindeer are the same animal? Caribou are wild, while reindeer are domestic.

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Caribou
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Sitka Black-Tailed Deer
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These elk were so docile. They were just lying around half-asleep.
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Besides Esther’s baby seal and Elizabeth’s penguin and puffin eggs, I’m going to have to bring me back a baby musk ox. Isn’t he just so cute?!

After the conservation center, we drove down a little further south to Portage to see what we could see of the glacier. It can now only be seen by boat, and they had already shut down for the day when we got there. But it was cool to see Portage Lake and see where the ice had been.

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We ate supper at the Alyeska Resort, since it was so close and about the only place near where we were. When we got there a piano quintet was performing in the lobby. I thoroughly enjoyed the classical music as background music to our supper. I ate their seafood chowder, which was the best chowder I have ever eaten! Man, I wish I had their recipe so I could make it when I get back home.

The moon was beautiful on our drive back to Anchorage. The perfect ending to a perfect day.

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