Matanuska River Valley – Alaska

mat su valley (640x424)Here are some photos from our trip this summer through Alaska in a RV. Travel north of Anchorage and head east on the Glenn Highway and you will travel through the Matanuska River Valley. It is a beautiful area with a broad river valley and mountains on both sides. The Glenn Highway connects Palmer near Anchorage to Glenn Allan in the east. We also stopped by an old gold mine and were thankful that we did not have to live the gold miners life of deep snow, cold and one trip to town each year. Our travel in a RV was much more comfortable than what they had to face.

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The Matanuska Glacier

mat su 9 (640x424)More mountains…

manuska campsite (640x424)Our campsite along the Glenn Highway along the river

hatcher pass (640x424)Heading up the Hatcher Pass to the Independence Gold Mine

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Some buildings on the way up to the gold mine.

sheep mountain (640x424)This very colorful mountain is called Sheep Mountain

sheep (640x424)And this is the reason why

mat su 7 (640x424)And some final scenes on our way to Glenn Allan. Hope you enjoyed the trip!

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New Hampshire in the Fall

NH leaves 3 (640x420)One of my favorite areas is the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We spent several days in the Lincoln area at the end of September. It is near the White Mountain National Forest and Franconia Notch State Park. There are lots of hiking trails, waterfalls and other beautiful scenery. Looking forward to returning again next fall.

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Alaska – Denali Highway

DSC_0784 (640x424)Denali Highway goes east-west connecting Richardson Highway with the Parks Highway in Alaska. It can only be called a “highway” in the very loose sense of the term. It is 135 miles of washboard gravel but goes through a vast wilderness area. There are a couple of lodges along the road but otherwise you are just driving and looking at the beautiful scenery.

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DSC_0866 (640x424)This was an unexpected sight along the road but very nice surprise.

Alaska

mountains flowers (640x424)I have been absent from the blog for awhile – too busy with work, family and chores at home. This summer my husband and I spent almost three weeks traveling around Alaska in a RV. We had visited 25 years ago when we did a stop-over on our way to South Korea. It was as beautiful as I remembered. If you like mountains, nature and wildlife, it is a wonderful place to visit.

Here are a few random photos. I will try and do some more organized posts of the trip in later days. Thanks!

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RV (640x424)Our home as we toured Alaska. Great visit!

Lehigh River Gorge State Park

Lehigh RiverIn early October we spent a week on the Pine Creek and enjoyed the rail trails in northern Pennsylvania. We continued our enjoyment of the fall colors and rail trails in late October with a day trip to the D & L Rail Trail which goes through the Lehigh River Gorge State Park.

Lehigh RiverThe trail runs along the Lehigh River.

Lehigh RiverRiver on one side, colorful trees on the other

Lehigh RiverWildlife in the areaLehigh River

011 (640x424)Excursion trains go through the gorge, also

049 (640x424)The rail trail starts in the very scenic town of Jim Thorpe which is nestled at the base of the mountains

051 (640x424)The train station

057 (640x424)Another shot

047 (640x419)A great place to visit for riding trains, hiking, biking or just enjoying a scenic small town.

Tioga County in October

115 (640x423)Pennsylvania’s Tioga County is a rural county that borders New York state. The county is full of beautiful scenery including: The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

056 (1140x756) (640x424)Abundant wildlife – bear, eagles, elk (largest herd in the northeast)

251 (640x424)State forest lands

242 (640x424)Farms dotting the hillsides

248 (640x424)Roads that include creek crossings

051 (640x424)Pine Creek Rail Trail

330 (640x424)Colorful seasons

081 (640x424)Covered wagon rides

026 (640x424)Train rides through the countryside

203 (640x424)Water falls and small creeks

062 (640x424)A beautiful part of the state and great place to visit.

Pine Creek Rail Trail

060 (640x424)We spent a week in the mountains of north central Pennsylvania enjoying the change of season and taking advantage of the great rail trails. Pine Creek Rail Trail in Tioga County goes through the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, is 57 miles long and runs along the Pine Creek.

051 (640x424)In the early morning, the mist rises above the creek.

056 (1140x756) (640x424)As you are riding you bikes, you may see a bear or deer cross the creek or an eagle looking for its morning meal.

203 (640x424)Water falls and other small creeks run into Pine Creek along the trail.

081 (640x424)You may also run into covered wagons carrying groups of visitors along the creek.

349 (640x422)Rail trails are so great for biking (at least if you are of a certain age) since they are relatively flat and smooth.

106 (640x424)They also often follow rivers or creeks.  Definitely a great way to enjoy the changing seasons!

Local Sightings

farmer (640x424)There is always something interesting to see as you drive round Lancaster County and the adjoining counties such as a farmer preparing his fields for planting.

woman bicycle (640x424)Or a Mennonite woman heading down a county road on her bicycle…

covered bridge (640x421)Or a covered bridge…

corn field (640x424)Or corn starting to grow in a field…

stream (640x424)Or a peaceful stream at the side of the road. Hooray for the change of seasons, wonderful weather and beautiful countryside!

Wandering the Country Roads

farm scenary (640x413)I spent some time last weekend driving around the countryside and enjoying the farms and the scenery.  After the drabness of winter, it is so wonderful to see all of the “green” and the farmers working the fields once again.

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Rural Church Tradition

Mt Olive (640x480)I grew up in rural southeastern Arkansas and lived way out in the woods. The small church I attended until it disbanded was also way out in the woods but only a couple of miles from our house. Although the church stopped being active many years ago as the families who once lived in the area moved away, each year on the fourth Sunday in April we still have Homecoming.

arkansas road (640x480)As I said, I lived in the country… Go down this road about 8 miles and then take a right and go another mile. Or take a left and in a couple of miles, you arrive at the church.

singingHomecoming is when when the families gather once again at the little country church. The morning is spent singing the old southern gospel songs, I’ll Fly Away, Victory in Jesus, Camping in Canaan’s Land, Never Grow Old, I’d Rather be an Old Time Christian, etc. In addition to the old upright piano, recent years have seen the addition of guitars for the singing.

Lunch is “dinner on the grounds” – everyone brings potluck and it is spread out on boards on top of posts in the back of the church.

Homecoming used to be in July but the church has never had electricity (propane lights were used when the church was active) and after a couple years of people bringing generators in order to run some fans, the decision was made to move Homecoming to April when it is not so beastly hot.

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The day is spent renewing friendships, visiting the cemetery and chatting with family. And once a year, the old tiny church is filled with songs of praise and love among the people of Christ.

Auction Day

auctionWe stopped by the annual auction at the Fivepointville Firehouse last weekend. There was an abundance of farm and garden equipment for sale, along with household materials, bicycles and buggies. There is a large Old Order Mennonite community in the Fivepointville area plus Amish so many people arrived by buggy or bicycle. It was a beautiful spring day to enjoy the action.

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bicycles (640x424)Old Order Mennonites ride bicycles in addition to using the black buggies (Amish do not ride bicycles). While Amish only use solid colors in their clothes, Old Order Mennonites dress plain but use small prints and different styles. Head dress is also different between the two groups. The round large brimmed straw hats in the top picture are Amish, while the black and natural straw hats with the more narrow brim are Old Order Mennonite.

Braids (1140x755) (2) (640x424)Don’t you love girls with braids?

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Aution Day buggy (1140x755) (2) (640x424)People arrived using all types of transportation. In general the black buggies are Old Order Mennonite and Pennsylvania Amish buggies are gray.

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sign (640x424)And a reminder to the buggy drivers!

Goat Expressions

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“I am having a good day, chewing my hay and waiting for judging at the Farm Show.”

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“Forget about that other goat, I am pretty confident that I am going to win first place.”

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“Grrrrr… Step away from the goat pen!”

Frosty Morn

Mennonite buggy 2013 (640x424)With temperatures hovering around freezing, it was a frosty morning for the horse pulling the Old Order Mennonite buggy. (The Mennonite buggies are black while Amish buggies in this part of Pennsylvania are gray.)

Tractor Square Dancing

tractor square dancing 3 (640x424)Tractor Square Dancing at the 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show

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A Bit of Butter

butter sculpture (640x424)The 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show just completed a week-long celebration of agriculture in Pennsylvania with exhibits, lots of food, animal exhibits and judging (over 6,000 animals), special events and then there is always the butter sculpture. This year’s butter sculpture focused on Pennsylvania’s products.

The PA Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in America with over 400,000 visitors each year. The show includes 10,000 competitive exhibits and 270 commercial exhibitors.

A highlight of the Farm Show is that each state agricultural group is selling its products in the food court such as the Pork Producers, Potato Growers, Fruit Growers, Livestock Association, Mushroom Growers, Maple Syrup Producers and many more. I enjoyed one of the 100,000 milkshakes sold by the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association.

The Farm Show is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy and support the state’s large agricultural community.

The Drive Home

Autumn LeavesDuring the summer, my drive home from work looks like this. The green leaves meet over the road to provide a feeling of driving through a green tunnel.

This time of the year, the green has changed to yellow, red, orange and all shades between. It is a delightful time to be out of doors and driving through the beautiful ever-changing woods.

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

School’s Out

The Amish and Old Order Mennonite children enjoy a break from school during the summer. However, rather than spending time at the pool or playing video games, they are helping on the farm, working in the garden and manning the produce stands that are in front of many of the homes. Lancaster County has over 200 one-room Amish and Mennonite schools. More information on the Amish educational system and photos can be found here.

Tobacco Growing

The Amish farmers use tobacco as a cash crop and most dairy farms have several rows of tobacco  growing in front of the corn.The corn, which is plentiful in this area, is used to feed the dairy cows. While it has been a very dry summer, the corn is still green and our conditions do not compare to the current drought conditions in the mid-west. Praying for all of our farmers who face difficult growing circumstances but continue to work the land.

Getting Around Town

Some of the various type of Amish and Old Order Mennonite buggies in this area of Pennsylvania.

In the Adjoining Field…

In the field next to where the Amish farmer was baling hay in the previous post, his son was raking the hay in preparation for baling.