Focal Point

Focal Point is an evolving blog from the ADN photo staff, Bob Hallinen, Erik Hill, Marc Lester, Bill Roth and photo editor Anne Raup. Email your ideas and news tips to photo@adn.com | About the blog

Mobile kitchens draw lunch crowds to Spenard - 6/11/2013 11:08 am

Hundreds gather to show support for family of slain Cambodian couple - 5/29/2013 9:37 pm

Party like it's 1922 at Sullivan's Steakhouse - 5/24/2013 10:37 pm

Launching the Classic Sailboat Orca at the Homer Boat Harbor - 5/21/2013 5:54 pm

One of state's best gymnasts headed to Junior Olympics - 5/9/2013 2:37 pm

A train ride across Anchorage - 5/9/2013 10:58 am

A Pool for Pooches - 5/2/2013 10:19 am

An Airports Heights family portrait - 4/13/2013 2:58 pm

Remarkable Places: A Butte-Palmer circle tour

The icy bank of the Matanuska River.The icy bank of the Matanuska River.Along the Bodenburg Loop Road in Butte, a barn has seen better days.Along the Bodenburg Loop Road in Butte, a barn has seen better days.It seems like it's been an unusually long stretch of high pressure weather across much of Southcentral Alaska these last few weeks. Though it's been cold, I'm not complaining. Clear winter days can be stunning. Nonetheless, Wednesday's temperatures might have made the day better suited for a scenic drive than a long walk.

On Wednesday, December 5, I took a few hours to make a circle-tour of some of the Matanuska Valley. From the Glenn Highway, I took the long way to Palmer by way of the Knik River and Butte. Later I continued back down the Glenn and meandered many of the side streets along the way. Starting deep in the shadow of Pioneer Peak and Twin Peaks, temperatures ranged from cold to colder. Water vapor rose from the surface of Eklutna Tail Race near a power plant at minus 12 degrees. By the time I reached downtown Butte (a flashing yellow light near the gas station), it had dipped to 19 below. That might not be impressive by the standards of Interior Alaska, but around here it's rarer.

At the south end of the Palmer Hay Flats, a lit Christmas tree alone in a meadow was the exclamation point on a nice afternoon. The battery powered tree has become an annual roadside attraction these last few years.

Of course this drive barely scratches the surface of places worth exploring in the Mat-Su valleys. But it's a good choice for a circuit tour that shows off some the loveliness that rises above and flows by us everyday. If you can't break away today, here's a few views of beautiful Colony country.
The sun peeks over the ridges near Pioneer Peak.The sun peeks over the ridges near Pioneer Peak.The open waters of Eklutna Tail Race.The open waters of Eklutna Tail Race.The Matanuska River from an overlook north of Palmer.The Matanuska River from an overlook north of Palmer.Bodenburg Loop Road in Butte.Bodenburg Loop Road in Butte.Jim Brown carves ice for the upcoming Colony Christmas.Jim Brown carves ice for the upcoming Colony Christmas.The distinct architecture of the Colony Barn.The distinct architecture of the Colony Barn.A tree near the Old Glenn and Glenn Highway intersection near the Palmer Hay Flats.A tree near the Old Glenn and Glenn Highway intersection near the Palmer Hay Flats.Remarkable Places is an occasional series highlighting unique nooks and special spots in our area through photos. Here's a collection from Freezeup at Potter Marsh. Click here to take a look around the Arctic Valley in Autumn. Click here to take a look around the Port of Anchorage Boat Launch.

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