Thursday, July 30, 2009

Playing Tour Guide

Rebekah's mom and sister were in town this week - so we decided to show them as much of Alaska as possible during their visit. This meant two day trips each longer than 10 hours, but it was worth it. Here comes a long post...
On Saturday we drove up to Hatcher Pass (#65) which was FINALLY open. After the mine the road becomes all dirt and gravel for about the next 20 miles. You make your way up from the mine and at the top you reach Summit Lake. As you can see, the lake is gorgeous...
and the view down into the valley below is also spectacular.

Hatcher Pass was definitely worth the wait.

Rebekah and I hiked up the side of one of the mountains for a better view (#67).
And Sarah and Hildy played in the snow.
On the way down from Hatcher Pass to Willow, we pulled off the side of the road to stop at Albino Hare Gallery - Garden and Gifts. They sell some lotion that is supposedly very good for dry skin and mosquito bites - but it is around $20 for a small jar. I opened one of the jars to take a peek and accidentally spilled about $4 worth on the floor. The lady working at the counter was thrilled, but was nice about it and helped me clean it up.
The gardens out back had many different types of flowers and we explored it for a little while. They were having a flower sale...but we don't want or need any right now.
After we got back on the main road we headed north to Denali to see if the mountain was out today. Unfortunately, as you can see from all the clouds around the mountain - it was not. This is what the vast majority of people who travel to Denali see. After this brief disappointment we turned around and drove the 3 hours home for dinner. We ate at Simon's and Seafort's, which is one of our favorite places in Anchorage and one of the best for seafood in the city. I even got Sarah to try Halibut! We finally got back to the apartment around 10 and went to bed to get ready for another long day...
We woke up pretty late in the morning and headed south to the Kenai Peninsula ...
and the town of Seward (#49).

We started by visiting the Alaska SeaLife Center (new entry #91). The center has lots of information, diagrams, and videos on the sea animals in the area...and of course many of the animals themselves.
Sea Lions...
and Sea Otters. Getting to see the animals up close was really cool. They have behind the scenes tours that you can go on to get an even closer look. And once you pay to enter you can leave and reenter on the same day for free! This is really useful when it is raining outside - like it was on this day. Not much else to do around the small town of Seward (or Alaska for that matter) when it is raining out.
Afterwards we drove around the town and found the historic start of the Iditarod! It now has two starts: a ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage and the real start north of the city. One of the can't miss things to do in Anchorage during the winter is catch the start of this race - and one that we will definitely attend!
Next we drove over to Exit Glacier (new entry #92), which so far has been one of our favorite glaciers. It is very easy to get to and view - and you can hike right up to it.
The hike to the glacier is one of two you can do in Kenai Fjords National Park (#40). Hint - you may see details about the other hike in a not too distant post. Any other part of the over 700 square mile park has to be accessed by boat or air. The easiest way to do this is to take a glacier and wildlife cruise, which gives you access to more of the park and some wonderful sights. We plan on doing that sometime fairly soon as well.
Sarah and Hildy enjoyed seeing their first Alaskan glacier! The weekend went really well and we got to see a lot of Alaska - including a lot that Rebekah and I hadn't seen before. We enjoyed having Sarah and Hildy visit for a week and hope they come back and see us again soon!


1 comment:

  1. Finally! Great post. My favorite picture is the duck.