Did you know that there is less people in the state of Alaska than there is in Denver alone!?? Do you now how wonderful that is!? It was so nice to get away from the crowds! I desperately needed a vacation. So desperately that I was dead set on telling my boss that I was taking a vacation and if he didn’t let me, I would’ve hands down put in my two weeks. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to go all dramatic and I still have a job. I may not like the job, but at least I’m still making some money while I figure out what to do with my life.
Ahhhh, Alaska! The last frontier supposedly and where I found a moment of sanity. I told myself to give my mind the whole trip to not think about work, or school, or life or anything. I was just going to have fun. And I did! However, the harsh reality was a slap in the face as soon as I got off the plane in Denver. Anyway, the entire trip was great. I lucked out and got great weather the whole time! It only rained once, and it was while we were driving so it didn’t matter. I guess it’s unheard of for Alaska Summer – they usually get rain all the time. I got a text when I got back that it had been nothing but gloomy and rainy since I left. I must’ve stolen all the good weather!
The most weird part of my trip was the constant sunlight. My days, times, schedule were all wonky. It was so strange! The most darkness we saw was in Seward because it was farther south, and it got ALMOST dark! When we went up north to Fairbanks, it didn’t even get dusk-dark. So weird. My body was all out of whack.
Well, I arrived in Anchorage on a beautiful sunny, summer Alaskan day! After getting picked up from the airport by my Alaskan Man and his family, we enjoyed dinner at The Peanut Farm Sports Bar and Grill. We sat out on the patio in the warm sunshine. It was quite refreshing because even though it was sunny, it was probably only about 65 degrees – such a change from the 100’s I escaped from in Colorado. I enjoyed an Alaskan Brew (I think I had the Pale Ale…not sure lol). I do recommend this restaurant – It was a fun atmosphere (we happened to join them during a “luau” to introduce some hawaiian brews, but the rest of the bar looks like great fun as well). It was a huge place! Big bar, plenty of tables, two outside seating areas; all right beside a pretty stream in the middle of Anchorage.
The next day, we made our way to Seward, Alaska. This is where that Mt. Marathon race is that I already wrote about. We took the scenic way there via the train!
It was a blast! It’s through the Alaskan Railroad systems that have trains going from Anchorage to Seward and another route that runs from Anchorage up to Fairbanks and through the connecting cities. I HIGHLY recommend this mode of transportation; at least once for a leg of a trip if you ever visit Alaska. It was very scenic! They make announcements of points of interest along the way, and slow down a bit when there’s wildlife to view out the window. We saw sheep, a black bear, a brown bear and eagles. It was a lot of fun! It takes a bit longer to get to your destination, but we didn’t mind.
We arrived in Seward. It’s a cute little costal town. It sits on the edge of Resurrection Bay and is a popular tourist spot for many things like hiking, glacier viewing, wildlife boat tours, and an aquarium. It’s also a stop on the major Alaskan Cruise route. We stayed in Hotel Seward; kinda expensive – ok REALLY expensive, but super pretty. The staff was wonderful and very accommodating. We got there way before our check in time, but they were nice enough to hold our bags and arrange a shuttle to take us to the Exit Glacier.
Exit glacier is in the Kenai Fjords National Park and the trail system allows you to walk right up and touch the glacier.
The hike itself wasn’t much of anything, but the final view of the glacier was intense – at least for me since I had never seen anything like this. You could feel the winds that are made by the glacier it’s self – they’re called Glacier winds and are caused by the temperature difference from the air and the glacier itself. What was even more intense was the signs posted for the years of where the glacier has receded from. From the point of where I took the above picture, I believe was 1998 if I’m remembering correctly! That wasn’t that long ago that the glacier was that big! There’s a trail that goes all the up to the top, but that is an all day hike; maybe next time I would hike that. They also offer ice climbing tour things as well. We followed the trail up to the side of the glacier then to the base of it where I actually touched it! Yep, it feels like….ice! To get there though….was a barefoot stride through fresh glacial melt water.
Yeah, not gonna lie, probably wont ever do that again for sure. COLD. But the only way to get right up next to the glacier is to walk through, knee high. Obviously you don’t want to get your warm socks and shoes wet, so barefoot it goes! My Alaskan Man was just there a month earlier and said there wasn’t nearly that much water. Then, they were able to hop on rocks and not get their feet wet. Well, I’m tough, and I wanted to touch the glacier. So I undid my shoe laces, hiked up my jeans, and marched through the water. Really, though, its not that bad; its about 15 seconds of numbingly cold water, but the instant you pull your feet out, the pain is gone. A few other people followed our lead and did the same!
This was the closet picture I got because….my camera died. Vacation fail. And guess what I forgot?? My camera charger. So, the rest of my pictures are from my phone. They’re not TOO bad, but I definitely prefer my Nikon. After Exit Glacier, we headed back to town to look around. Later that night, we had dinner at this delicious restaurant called Christo’s Palace! SOOO GOOD! We ate this:
The next day we toured the Alaska SeaLife Center. It’s a small aquarium focusing on the conservation of marine animals. We debated on taking a wildlife boat tour, but decided to save some money and do this instead. It was a cute aquarium. Decent fish tank displays. They even had outdoor animal habitats with marine birds, seals, and sealions. While we were there, we watched them train one of the sea lions offering the animal fish in exchange for putting a paint brush in its mouth and making a painting as an enrichment game. It was a cute little aquarium, but once was good enough for me!
After the SeaLife center, we did the Mt. Marathon hike that I previously wrote about. (It was brought to my attention by my biggest fan – ahem, my mom – that my pictures from my Mt. Marathon post weren’t loading. I fixed the problem, so you should re-check out that post!) We then went back to the train depot and headed back to Anchorage. We spent the 4th of July holiday in the valley in Palmer and had some relaxing days mixed with hiking – and I’ll leave you with that! I’ll make another post about the second half of my trip, including my race, next!