A Travellerspoint blog

Adventures in Alaska - Anchorage and Seward

semi-overcast 60 °F

Hey Chel you know it's kinda funny
Texas always seems so big
But you know you're in the largest state in the union
When you're anchored down in Anchorage

-Michelle Shocked

We took off from Texas on a hot and humid summer afternoon and landed in cool, bright and sunny Anchorage that evening. So far, so good. We drove to the Anchorage Grand Hotel ("Grand" used loosely here, but still a nice hotel in a good location). We didn't quite know what to do, as we were all exhausted and hungry, but it was a beautiful day outside. We opted to order pizza and went about settling in for two nights at the Grand. When we first took a look out our hotel room window, we were delighted to see the Alaskan railroad train station about a quarter of a mile away. As you might imagine, we were not thinking clearly. The first train whistle came a short bit later, and continued through the night. Ohhhhhhhh.

Day One
We all managed to get a decent night of intermittent sleep and rose the next morning to see the sights around 9am. We walked around the corner to the Anchorage Market (open weekends in the summer), but they were just starting to set up. So, we walked a few more blocks and rented bikes at Downtown Bicycles.

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Anchorage has some fantastic bike trails, including the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which runs along the Cook Inlet for about 11 miles. We decided to take on a 25-mile loop that went out on Tony's trail and looped back up by the airport and into town.

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For the most part, the trail was an easy ride, with a few challenging hills thrown in (says the girl not on the tandem bike with RJ). Eagle-eyed Jeff spotted a cow moose and just-born calf in the forest along the path just before Earthquake Park. (The largest earthquake recorded in the northern hemisphere occurred in Alaska in 1964 and measured 9.2.)

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We all sat down to watch the cow and calf and realized the bull moose was also in the area. He kept an eye on us for the first few minutes but kept his distance. After a bit, he started slowly walking toward us, giving us a "Move it along, folks" look. Jeff interpreted it as more of a "Move it along or I'm going to trample you" look.

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Can you actually get trampled by a moose? Uhm, yes. I had to have that confirmed by several Alaskans before I believed it.

Along the trail is a portion of the fun Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk, a scale model of our solar system. The planets begin downtown and are spaced to allow you to experience the relative size of the planets and their distance from the sun. Pretty cool. This was all the idea of an Anchorage high school student and funded by the Anchorage Rotary.

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Each planet has all sorts of fun facts, like:

- the 26 moons of Uranus are named after Shakespeare characters, and

- Saturn's moon Mimas was the inspiration for the death star. ("That's no moon. It's a space station.")

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The sun!
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Along the trail, we happened upon this unusual sign. As you might imagine, Lake Hood Seaplane Base in Anchorage is the largest and busiest floatplane base in the world.

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After our long bike ride, we returned the bikes and walked a few blocks back over to the Snow Goose to grab some lunch. Great view, decent food (bison burger for Jeff, fish tacos for me and beloved corn dogs for RJ) and a good time was had by all. We were happy to see the Snow Goose made it on the Perfect Places to Have a Beer list, at number 114. We agree.

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After lunch, we headed back to the Anchorage Market, which was now in full swing. RJ found the Market to be fantastic, as he was able to score a bag of fresh donuts and a snow cone at one stop. (Note the poncho - he got that free from a hotel gift shop and put it on whenever there was a drop of rain, including on the bike.)

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One thing I learned at the Market was that Alaska has some kind of rivalry going with Texas. Apparently, when Alaska joined the US as the 49th state in 1959, Alaska rejoiced because Texas was no longer the largest state in the union. So they have all sorts of funny things like this:

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I have never heard anyone in Texas complain about their big friend Alaska, so I think it's one-sided.

We finished Saturday running errands for things we forgot to pack, like bug spray (the joke in Alaska - there's not a single mosquito in Alaska, they are all married and have big, big families!).

Day Two

After another night of intermittent sleep, we headed out in search of breakfast. We asked a local on the street where to go and were sent to Snow City. There was a long wait (45 minutes), so we knew it had to be good. I ordered the kodiak benedict (eggs benedict with a crab cake), Jeff ordered the tundra scramble (reindeer sausage, peppers, onions, cheddar and eggs) and RJ ordered a prosciutto and cheese panini (he's a meat lover at all hours of the day). Big YUM on all three! (Reindeer sausage is good! Sorry Vixen!)

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Next we headed out to the Anchorage Zoo on our way to Seward/the Kenai Peninsula on Route 3. We saw lots of bears, wolverines and other northern type animals. Despite vigilant searching, these were the only bears we saw close up during our trip.

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After the zoo, we continued on our journey along the beautiful Seward Highway. We stopped about twenty miles outside Seward to check in at Teddy's Inn the Woods - a lovely, charming, warm and delightful cabin in the woods. Teddy and Tom, the proprietors, live in a cabin right next door.

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Teddy was making cookies for us when we arrived (Love!). Yes, they were as good as they looked. Yum Yum Yum.

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Fueled by cookies, we set out to go dog mushing at Seavey's Iditarod. Mitch Seavey won the Iditarod in 2004 and has a big property where he trains his huskies all year that's open to the public for touring and summer and winter dog mushing.

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The dogs are an amazing sight - they get extremely excited when it's time to go for a ride. (Pick me! Pick me!) The dogs are placed on the sled line in order - first comes the leaders (bright ones) then comes the leaders in waiting (swing), then team dogs (heavy lifters) and in the back were the trouble makers. This just begged a discussion as to which type of dog we all were. Jeff thought of himself as a team dog, RJ thought he was a puppy (see later) and I was thinking more along the lines of leader or swing dog for me.

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After the sled ride through the forest, we got to go pet some pups. The picture below was taken just before RJ dropped the puppy. Doh! Our guide gave RJ a different puppy after that. RJ said "Why is he shaking?", our guide said "Maybe because he just saw his brother get dropped on his head?".

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We asked if we could take one of the puppies home, but our guide said the huskies make terrible indoor pets. They have so much energy they will tear up the house, eat the furniture and your shoes.

After the puppy tour we had an Iditarod demonstration/video. It usually takes nine to fourteen days to complete the Iditarod. They sled for six hours, then sleep for six hours. The driver is not allowed any outside help. He has to take care of all sixteen dogs, including changing their little booties (that's a lot of feet!). Despite the puppy dropping incident, Ryan was called upon to take part in the demonstration. We really had a great time at this place.

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Day Three

Bright and early Monday morning we had reservations to go on a whale watching cruise out of Seward on the Major Marine Kenai Star. Teddy brought us breakfast before we left. Oh yes, she is a VERY good cook! Feeling a little like royalty at this point.

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After the tasty breakfast, we drove down to Seward to board the Kenai Star. On our eight-hour cruise, we saw glaciers, a sea otter, orcas, humpback whales, and lots of birds.
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RJ was pretty excited to earn his Junior Ranger badge on board the ship. He had to complete a workbook all about glaciers, wildlife and conservation. Here he is taking the "Junior Ranger Oath".

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After disembarking from the ship, we took a quick drive around Seward, then headed out to Exit Glacier. You can walk up to the glacier and just about touch it. Amazing.
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We finished up the day with dinner at the Salmon Bake, just down the road from Exit Glacier and close to Teddy's Inn the Woods.

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Day Four
We headed north to Denali State Park. To be continued in Part 2.....

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Please leave comments if you find this blog interesting or boring or if you have ideas on how it can be better. MANY THANKS!

Posted by Fun Susie 18:27 Archived in USA Tagged glacier anchorage bears peninsula seward exit kenai

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Comments

Wow - seems like you had a great time! Keep the new adventures coming!!!

by jmm

This looks like a great trip! Those puppies are so cute, I would totally sacrifice some shoes to have one!

by C.C Lanthier

Let's see...I'd like to eat some of Teddys baked goods, cuddle one of those pups, then eat some of that salmon! But nope, I am NOT jealous.

by Denise

I drive through Maine and Canada every summer and have yet to see a moose. I've heard that you certainly don't want to hit one with your car because the car will go under their torso and the airbags won't be triggered, but the entire moose will end up crushing you and the car.

by Maria

Your blogs would be incomplete without the food summaries. It is a toss up between the breakfast at Snow Park OR the lunch complete with tasty beer the day before! Thanks for the delightful pictures -your photographs are breathtaking (even the ones of the cookies and brunch menu).

by deanna moretz

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