July 23 – Palmer

Debbie and spent much of the day touring Palmer.  Our first stop was at the Visitor’s Center Museum and Gardens.  It continues to amaze us at the huge diversity of plants and the sizes of vegetables which are grown in Alaska.

As an example of the latter, the following records are astounding:

  • Carrot                                     18.99 lbs.
  • Cauliflower                          35.80 lbs.
  • Celery                                    63.30 lbs.
  • Lettuce Head                         7.45 lbs.
  • Green Cabbage                                127.00 lbs.
  • Broccoli                                  35.00 lbs.

Again, we thought the flowers were gorgeous.

Erigeron Azure Fairy

Plume Poppy

Mountain Bluet

Campion Catchfly

Caryophyllaceae Siberian Aster

Clematis

From there we stopped by the Tsunami Warning, one of two in the world … the other being located in Hawaii.  Unfortunately, the sign on the door stated in unequivocal terms, public tours on Friday (yesterday) only  – – –  NO EXCEPTIONS.  We were turning to leave when someone came to the door and must have taken pity on the tourists before him and invited us in for a private tour; including a chance to view the effects of both historic and modeled tsunamis resulting from real and hypothetical earthquakes.  He was one of the programmers of an amazing system for projecting tsunamis and providing warnings to people on land or at sea to an approaching tsunami.

We then took in the Church of a Thousand Trees (actually 999 trees were used, the reason for which escapes me).

An historic Presbyterian church built in 1937at the time the US Government’s Depression era colonization (moving 202 agricultural families from Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota to Alaska, complete with free transportation and homes build by the CCC) of the Mat-Su Valley, in which Palmer is located.

Birch pews

Altar

Next was an original Colony House, complete with original and period furniture.

Enroute to visit a reindeer farm, we passed several interesting homes.

We pulled up along one of the reindeer refuge fence lines, thus avoiding the need to pay admission to see far fewer animals.

Back to our campground for a trip to a Musk Ox farm; yet another interesting tour with facts and information we never had any inkling about.   Most interesting, their “down” or” under wool”, called Qiviut (pronounced KI-VEE-UTE) refers to the soft, grayish-brown wool … one of the rarest, finest and warmest fibers on earth.  It is 8 times warmer by weight that sheep’s wool and it will not felt of shrink.  For the Musk Ox, it provides them protection against the bitter cold of the arctic tundra which they naturally inhabit, where temperatures can reach a bone-chilling -80o.

Babies to

Adults

I can even see my reflection in this large male’s eyes.

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