The wildlife (bears, moose, whales) is often what draws visitors to Alaska. But the plant life is equally intriguing.
The drive from Anchorage to Seward along Turnagain Arm took us through the Chugach National Forest, the second-largest forest in the U.S. We pulled out at one turnout to explore the forest, and stumbled onto a magical spot, with hundreds of mushrooms, bright red berries, lichen, vivid greens, all overlooking rushing blue waters.
I have a thing for mushrooms - they seem magical to me, popping up here and there after a rain--and this was the most delightful mushroom spot I've ever seen.
I think this might be Flaky Freckle Pelt (above). Other lichens with funky names included Witch's Hair, Fairy Barf, and Old Man's Beard.
Joan photographing the Chugach National Forest (above).
I think this (above) was somewhere near Sixmile Creek/Gulch Creek area, but we crossed so many creeks, I lost track.
Further south, colorful flowers complemented the Kachemak Bay Overlook.
The last of the fireweed bloom (above) in Homer.
Birches, aspens and spruce were the most common trees.
Periodically, we would see clumps of what looked like blackened spruce trees. We never did figure out what was going on with these - was it a fungus? Had they been destroyed by a fire? Is this their normal state once they die off? Whatever the cause, I loved the dramatic effect of black stalks against the sky.