Saturday, February 22, 2014

It Takes Some Time to Get Around Alaska

Seward Harbor, #Seward #alaska 2013
Seward Harbor
First days of vacation are the best!  You have the whole vacation to look forward to and, if you are lucky, nothing terribly bad is going wrong (at least for the moment).  On the order of terribly wrong, today didn't even come close.  A flight delay out of JFK and long lines at security for #JetBlue don’t really rise to the occasion.  Not being able to get a cup of coffee before my flight because of the aforementioned long lines – well that could be a little headache inducing if you have a daily triple shot latte #Starbucks habit.  Which I do.  But still nothing terribly wrong.

Road Warriers, #Alaska #SewardHighway 2013
Traveling the Seward Highway is
better than #Prozac
So, what do I usually write about when I’m heading out on vacation?  Normally the upcoming vacation but I appear to have not finished reporting on my vacation with the #travelingkristen back in July!  Now, how did that happen you might be wondering?  Hmm, let me see.  Life kind of intervened and then there was the not editing those photos very quickly because there are so many the first task was to try and cut them down a bit. 

I think I'll pick today where I left off in My Denali  -- Alaska is big.  The flight leg of our journey -- from Deep in Denali to the train station at the entrance to the park -- that I ended that post with was just the first leg of a 2.5 day journey that would take us into Kenai National Park.   Denali to the Kenai Peninsula because it gives one a sense of the vast distances that one covers when traveling in Alaska.  After the plane ride, we had a couple of hours to kill before our train left and we used those really well.  In other words for souvenir shopping and hot chocolate.  We pulled out of the station at 12:15 and we landed in Anchorage EIGHT hours later (yes, that does say eight).  The ride was spectacular but very, very long.

Upon arriving in Anchorage, we transferred to the Hotel Captain Cook.  Captain Cook is billed as the best hotel in Anchorage.  Not so much.  Our room was not per our confirmed reservation (one bed instead of two and so we had to order a cot) and there were used toiletries in the bathroom (yuck!).  Although we were in Alaska at the time of the midnight sun, the city has pretty much rolled up the sidewalks by 9:00 pm and so there was not much to see during our overnight.  Enough said?

Moose, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center #alaska 2013
Lazy Moose (or Mooses?)
The next day found us driving up the Seward Highway (confession we were being driven).  This is a truly spectacular road that takes you by mountains, waterfalls, and Turnagain Arm home of one of the biggest bore tides in the world.    Along the way, we stopped at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center which takes in injured and orphaned animals with the goal of releasing them into the wild.  It was the closest we would get to bears (black and brown), moose, and caribou on the entire trip. And the only time we would see Elk.  It was pretty cool wandering around and the bison herd (which they plan to release into the wild) had calves gambling about.  And where else could you run across a couple from the lower 48 who were motorcycling around Alaska on a bike with a Prozac license plate?

Black Bear, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, #Alaska 2013
Black Bears Love Red Apples
Brown Bear, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, #Alaska 2013
Glad There was a Fence between Us and this Brown Bear
Then it was back into the car for the drive to Seward.  Seward sits at the head of Resurrection Bay and is surrounded by Kenai Fjords National Park and Chugach National Forest.   We overnighted at the Seward Windsong Lodge, a lovely, rustic place that is a bit out of the fray of downtown Seward (if it could be referred to as fray) that offers free shuttle service into town.   Being independent women, we found our own way to our room and Kristen carried our duffels up to our perch on the second floor (thank god for young traveling companions they do come in handy).  We arrived in Seward in time to do three things.  First was to drop off what has to be the most expensive load of laundry that I have ever done in my whole entire life.  It’s a one Laundromat town.  Seriously, someone should open another Laundromat as based on the bags piled about in this one; there is surely enough business for that (at least in the summer months). 

Alaska Natives, #Alaska #mural #art #publicart #Seward 2013
Alaska Natives
The second was to wander around the center of town and the docks.  This is not a big walk as walks go -- the town has an aquarium (which we did not visit), a vibrant fishing community, and is a stop for cruise ships.   Day tours of Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Peninsula take off from here. Seward is probably not every one’s cup of tea but I loved it.  Like Tofino (My Tofino), it’s nestled in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and it’s a working town as opposed to just a stop on the grand tour of Alaska.  I like that.  Like Fairbanks and Anchorage, the town is populated by murals that we pretty much stumbled upon which is my favorite kind of way to see art.  It always makes me smile.

Say Cheese, #Seward #Alaska 2013 #thetravelingkristen
Say Cheese!
Seward was also the site of my first break up from Instagram (#thetravelingkristen).  We have since gotten back together (new phone) but I sometimes worry that they’ll summarily divorce me again.   But I digress.

The third thing was to eat dinner and I think the buttered noodles were finally too much for Kristen and she got a tummy ache.  Which was slightly cured by a very bright orange sweat shirt but not fully cured until after we got back to the lodge with some really big cinnamon buns in tow (plus the aforesaid laundry).  Kristen, I have found, does not like walking.  Although that seems to be changing as she enters the second semester of her freshman year of college where she is definitely taking advantage of what Boston has to offer.  That would involve walking – right?

If you are keeping track of time, you have likely realized that we just spent two days traveling, took three modes of transportation (plane, train, car) and we are only at the jumping off point for our next “mini adventure.”  Alaska is big.


Tomorrow, we get on a boat.  Or maybe that should read, last July 9th we were overnighting in Seward before getting on a boat?

Train Views, #Alaska 2013 #Denali to #anchorage
Train Vertigo

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