Alaska Part Trois: Glaciers in Kenai and Hippies in Girdwood

If you read my “About” section then you know that I get bored easily….especially now that I am on post #3 about Alaska. So, I’ll try to keep it brief.

 Glacier Cruise in Whittier

5 hour cruise was a bit long, but got my first glimpse at sea otters, playful porpoises, bald eagles, seals, and sea lions.  Glaciers were cool too- saw my first calving here!  Plus, the company we used (Phillips- 26 Glaciers) had a crafty idea.  They had holiday signs that you could hold up and a take picture with for holiday cards.  Ba Humbug!  Like I said, long, but worth checking out.

Seward

Go for 4th of July. Great small town, Americana feel with local parade and fireworks.  Annual Mt Marathon takes place them, which is wicked.  It’s only about 3 miles long, but it is ALL UPHILL.  It goes from sea level to over 3000 feet, so it’s a straight shot up.  It’s so steep that runners wear gloves to claw up to the top.  Legend is that on the way down people just throw their bodies down the hill and jump down.  Apparently there’s a special technique for that, too.  People are bloody and torn up on the final stretch. Totally inspiring to watch!

Mixed reviews on the glacier kayaking.  Boat ride out was neat since we saw our first humpback whale breaching and orcas, but weather was rough, which made me sea sick.  We kayaked while the rain was beating down on us (thumbs way down), but on the flip, we did get to see the biggest glacier calving of the year (thumbs up).  One entire mountainside of the glacier went bye bye.

Other tips:  The downtown area has good souvenir shops.  Holiday Inn Express is pretty decent with a solid continental breakfast (think automatic pancake machine).  Chinook’s (nearby Holiday Inn) has good American bar food, too.

Girdwood

Fantabulous cuisine at Jack Sprat’s and the Bake Shop has great soup and bread. Hotel Alyeska, the most posh hotel in the state, is nice, but spendy.  Not sure it’s worth it, but there aren’t many other options in this town and after a week of rough traveling, it’s nice to sleep in a king size bed with high thread count sheets.  Seven Glaciers, the restaurant on top of their ski mountain, is good, but more about the ambiance.

And finally, I’d recommend stopping by the annual Forest Festival (if you’re around then), a hippie fest with hoola hup swinging, tie-dye wearing tree huggers.  We even saw a black bear chillaxing in the trees.  Mostly crafts and food, but there’s also food and a beer garden.

Phew, that’s it. Here’s to Alaska and all the memories!

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