Hey there adventurers! I am recently back from my biggest solo adventure yet, and really one of the biggest of them all! When I first went to Alaska in 2017, I was not doing a blog at all other than the pictures I took on my phone and the GoPro videos I took. This trip was shorter but no less amazing and this time I get to really keep track of everything! I also want to take a brief moment to reiterate that there is no more amazing place in this country than Alaska and I don’t think anyone really gets it unless they have been there, so get there and check it out!
This trip is going to end up encompassing 5 (yes 5, and possibly even 6!) parts. I might be a little long winded…but this was another epic trip! You can also read about my excursion to Kenai Fjords National Park and also to Lake Clark National Park during this trip.
My flight to Anchorage was on the house, courtesy of my Alaska Airlines credit card! The outbound flight pattern was Tampa to Seattle then Seattle to Anchorage. This was an 8 am flight with arrival in Anchorage at around 3 PM. The flights were pleasant on Alaska Airlines. A pattern to Alaska via Seattle is probably the best one, heads up. The plane did pass by Mt. Rainier on the way which was very cool!
The Seattle to Anchorage leg kept us out over the ocean but the gorgeous snowy coastline was close enough to be seen! Protip, if you are on an Alaska inbound flight that leaves from pretty much anywhere west of Houston you are probably going to want to sit on the side of the plane that will face northeast for this very reason. If you are leaving from Chicago, or Minneapolis you probably want the side that will be facing toward the Pacific. You’re welcome 😉 The really cool part of our flight pattern was that the plane actually flew right over the scenic Seward Highway, and I was actually able to see Girdwood, the town I was staying in that evening, from the sky. Super neat!
Upon landing I picked up my rental car, picked up my bear spray from Alaska Outdoor Gear, and headed to Midnight Sun Brewing Company I got a couple delicious beers and some tacos and then headed on my way to Girdwood! I have stayed in Girdwood before, and this time I was only staying one evening since it would make my next morning drive 45 minutes faster. I got to my airbnb, a beautiful spot in the mountain woods just outside of town. After unloading I went to my favorite brewery of the trip, the Girdwood Brewing Company. I had flights of 8 of their 9 beers…and they were all good. The 9th was a sour. Sorry sour lovers, it ain’t my thing!
The next morning I got up and drove around Girdwood a bit and then drove the rest of the scenic Seward Highway all the way down to Seward. This is really some of the most stunning, untouched country you will ever find. As this is the only road between Anchorage and the locations in the Kenai Peninsula (Seward, Homer, Whittier, Soldotna, among others), this is a busy road. And, because of the scenic nature which motivates people to stop and take pictures, be smart. There are turnouts aplenty, but if you are driving you need to be really attentive to people stopped on the road and crossing the road, generally doing the wrong things. It’s a legit problem and many people are killed on this highway every year. A bit of a asterisk to the next couple pictures…these were taken on my way to Seward. In the next part, there will be more taken along, or at least very near, to this highway on my trip from Seward.
Upon arriving to Seward I boarded a Kenai Fjords Tours Cruise to check out wildlife in Resurrection Bay en route to a glacier viewing within Kenai Fjords National Park. At this point I do need to stop and talk weather. The weather during my entire trip was absolutely STUNNING, and alarmingly warm. I saw very few clouds my entire trip and every day saw high temperatures in the 70s and even low 80s. This is not right and there is something very wrong. Those temperatures are not even normal for the middle of summer. This was the last day of May and the first days of June…The NORMAL temps in Seward this time of year are highs in the mid 50s and lows in the upper 30s to low 40s. Meanwhile, I had to buy sunscreen for this 6 to 7 hour long cruise. That being the case I did bring some cold weather apparel. This is Alaska after all, and I have already done one of these cruises out of Seward in 2017. Despite how hot it was dockside, once we got moving, I was very happy to have my layers because that water is very cold in that wind!
In an effort to not recount something that I already did (although in proper fashion I typed it up anyway and it was entirely different!) you can read about this cruise and see pictures on my Kenai Fjords entry! Going back to a statement I made about people not “getting” Alaska until they actually go there – a lady about my age sitting next to me was there with a tour group, and told me Alaska was her last state. She said she wasn’t initially all that excited, but at this point she was totally enamored with it and basically said the same thing! She also gave me some tips for Seward – suggesting a stroll along the waterfront of the town. After disembarking from the cruise I did just that! It was probably a mile or two round trip along the shore. Of course, there were spectacular views of the other side of the bay and also of the mountains Seward is built along, Mt. Marathon among others. Not any type of proper hike at all, and it does basically walk right through in town campgrounds, but definitely a nice stroll to take in the bay and the mountains looming above the town! It made the news, even here, of a huge landslide in Seward in early May that totally blocked the road going from Seward into the little community just a mile or so south. Luckily, they had it mostly passable by the time I got there so I drove down and saw how immense that landslide was. For an FYI, that area is called Lowell Point, and there isn’t much going on there! To top off this evening, I stopped at the Seward Alehouse, grabbed some brews, and got some KILLER tacos at the Mexican joint next door, The Lone Chicharron Taqueria. This is the place if you are looking for low key relaxed beer spot and great food – good enough that I went there at least one more time!
This was all just, ahem, about 30 hours into my trip! Stay tuned for the next part!