And now the drive to Seward. We plan for about seven hours. We've already done the first 4
1/2, and this is no more exciting on the way down. A notable exception is the town of Talkeetna.
Can't say that Talkeetna itself is all that great, but it's an ironic granola hippy town in the middle
of nowhere, Alaska. We do get a few awesome views of Denali and a nice cup of coffee.
Talkeetna is a great spot for Denali adventure sports and is a hub of a lot of the air tours, rafting,
and other adventure tours. My favorite part of the town is that the mayor of Talkeetna is a fat cat
named Stubbs. He has been the mayor for 17 years.
From Anchorage to Seward the scenery changes. It is just breathtaking - picture book. We stop
at Beluga point and get some pictures of the water and the mountains. When we get to Seward
I am just blown away. Resurrection Bay is one of the top five most gorgeous
places I've ever
been. Blue, blue water surrounded by snowcapped stalwart mountain peaks with the sound of
waves booming in your ears. We went to the Seward Brewing Company for dinner and
although we had a gorgeous IPA the food was pretty poor. That night we retire to our cabins. We
are staying at Renfro's Lodge. It is a very rustic place with small, fully equipped lodges on a
lake. There are fire pits and paddleboats. Highly recommended.
For our next day we decided to split up. David really wanted to go kayaking among the glaciers
and I really wanted to do the Mount Marathon hike and take a boat tour. We wake up quite
early the next morning and David headed to the kayak outfitter and I head to Mount Marathon.
Mount Marathon is a legend of Seward and is home of a race every Fourth of July. It is a very
steep climb with very poorly marked trails, and there have been multiple rescues of tourists who
get in over their heads. So of course I have to do it. The hike itself is really awesome. There
are waterfalls and changing terrain, water and amazing views. It's fun to see the mountain
range shrink with each subsequent picture that I take. There's not really a sign to mark the top
of the climb. So I just assumed that the top is, well, the top. So I follow some tracks to a
mountain peak. By the time I'm at my last Summit, my legs are immersed in snow past my
knees. It is exhausting but exhilarating. On my way down I get turned around. Instead of
following my previous tracks I now realize I have been following moose tracks. And I have
landed in a streambed. I have a momentary freak out as I don't quite know where I am. But I
turn around and retraced my steps, which is painful to the soul as I have already climbed that
mountain peak and my jello legs don't want to
do it again. Fortunately, I easily find my way back
and I look at my clock and realize I had only been lost for approximately 11 minutes. Funny how
time can speed up and slow down with circumstance. I feel pretty freaking bad ass at the
bottom, I'm not going to lie, and I showed the locals the pictures of my hike at the coffee shop.
They all laughed and tell me I went way too far, and I actually summited the largest mountain
peak and not just mt marathon. Whoops. All's well that ends well.
Then I get on the boat. I had previously paid for a $150 boat tour which included lunch and 6 1/2
hours on the water that leaves from Seward and tracks through the fjords. At first 6 1/2 hours
seemed a bit much, but it was just right. I immediately meet two people who turned out to be the
friends of one of my work colleagues. Small world. One of them used to live in Alaska and
and his friend are doing a 4-6 week road trip. They started in San Francisco and are driving all
the way up to the tip top of Alaska to dip their toes in the Arctic Ocean. Pretty rad. Oh yeah, and
they're about 70 years old. Another bonus, one of them has an amazing bazooka lens, and
gets some awesome photos which he shares with me. Score.
Alaska fun fact: there is no property tax and no sales tax. All Alaska residents get about $1500 a
year from the oil companies. So it almost pays you to live in Alaska.
The boat ride is awesome and highly recommended. I saw otters, seals, humpback whales
feeding, glaciers, puffins, eagles, and more. Not to mention the scenery was just breathtaking.
I gather David up from his trip and he head to meet up with Malcolm and Alan. We share some
wine in the RV and then we have a nice dinner on the waterfront. We both go to bed tired and
satiated. Great days for both of us.
The next morning we hiked to Exit Glacier. We hiked to both the view point and the toe of the
glacier. So we are able to touch the glacier, which is neat. Unfortunately the glacier hikes are
not yet running as it shoulder season and there's too much snow. So we were unable to make it
to the Harding ice-field. Next time.
We drive to Anchorage and decide to have one last night on the town. We are staying at a local
motel and after trying five bars which won't serve me (darn license) we find the Bubbly Mermaid.
The owner is a gorgeous Australian woman who is married to an American. The bubbly
mermaid is a champagne and oyster bar and both prove superb. By the end, I'm feeling like a
bubbly mermaid, so from there we take one of the locals with us and go to a dance club. We
have a lot to drink and a lot
of dancing ensues and ultimately we just pick up our luggage from
the hotel and go straight to the airport for our 6 AM flight. David and I both sleep our entire flight
home and leave completely satisfied from such an amazing trip. I feel very fortunate to have a
friend and travel buddy like David. I think we both know that this trip to Alaska will not be out
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