My recent post on Allen's Hummingbird - Ohio's first record - prompted an e-mail from my cousin Paul, who lives many miles away. Four thousand and thirty two miles, to be exact. That's twenty one million, two hundred and eighty eight thousand, and nine hundred and sixty feet. A long way by any reckoning, and Paul dwells in a land of sometimes midnight sun, offset by short dark winter days high in snow. The Aurora Borealis dazzles with an unbelievable laser light show, and there are far fewer people where he lives.
They've got Sarah Palin up there, should you need a blatant hint about where it is of which we speak. And Paul, my cousin, who leads an interesting life. And likes birds, as we shall see.
Paul Rupple, standing near Seward, Alaska. He's a long way from the cornfields of Ashland County, Ohio, and has been up in the Great White North for a long time. I become envious whenver I see pictures of Paul/Alaska. My first big independent travel adventure was the summer after graduating high school, when a buddy and I drove a '66 Volkswagon Bug from Columbus, Ohio to Alaska.
Fantastic, unforgettable expedition, and I've wanted to go back ever since. Alaska is true wilderness, and full of wildlife. Our VW broke down - for good! - on the way back, in a place called Haines Junction in Canada's Yukon Territory. We peddled it to some guy from White Horse for $200. Ah, the memories...
Anyway, back to Paul. This is an interesting guy. Here he is on his sail boat, which he often navigates solo along Alaska's coast. Not only is he quite the skipper, he is a professional airline pilot who flies big jets packed with cargo all over the world, for Fed Ex. He's also a sled dog afficionado, and has had scores of the beasts.
And Paul likes birds.
It's claimed that there are some 5 million Rufous Hummingbirds. That means that all of them together weigh as much as only 20 adult male polar bears. There. For whatever good that was.
It's probably a good thing that the hummers aren't 8-9 feet long and weigh 1,500 pounds. They would then most likely be the world's most dangerous animal.
Anyway, I thank Paul for checking in with the hummingbird photos, and other great shots from Alaska. And I hope he has me up to visit some time!