Saturday, July 24, 2010

From Seward to Hidden Lake--July 20-21, 2010

Tuesday was moving day....time to leave Seward and move to a new area on the Kenai Peninsula. Our original thought was to go non-stop to Homer. Of course, we were sidetracked as it was a beautiful day...we didn't want to spend the entire day driving. So, we stopped just east of Soldotna in Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

We chose Hidden Lake Campground as our base for 2 nights. We had a great site! Chris and DeAnna would have loved camping here.Not far from the campground was Hidden Creek which was filled with salmon. Double click on the picture and you will be able to see them. When we first arrived, the gulls and were feasting on salmon left by the creek side. The gulls were camera shy.We drove to a hiking area about a mile from the campground. The trail meandered through the woods to Kenai River and then to Hidden Creek. Near the river we spotted this windbreak--looks almost as if someone wanted a cabin on the riverfront.When we returned to our campground, the gulls were still feasting.

Later that evening we drove to Fred Meyer's in Soldotna to pick up milk, bread, and coffee. On our return, we saw a bear ambling down the road toward the creek--it was a grizzly! We watched him from a safe distance, but he soon spied us and ran into the woods.The next morning we left to hike Lower Kenai River Trail. As we were leaving, we spotted the neighborhood grizzly near the creek.

We hiked the Lower Kenai River Trail and part of Upper Kenai River Trail. We had a great view of Kenai River. Later in the evening, we drove to the creek to see if the bear was eating and sure enough, he was splashing in the creek trying to get a salmon. He was just out of sight of the camera lens or there would be a movie.

Thursday morning we stowed our stuff and moved on to Homer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Seward, Alaska--July 13-19, 2010

From Hope, Alaska to Seward it was a short drive. We tried to stop and geocache along the way, but they were on the wrong side of the road for us to pull the rv close to them. Once we got to Seward we headed toward the waterfront. Bob had read about campsites overlooking Resurrection Bay. We were lucky enough to get a site on the front row.What a view!We were parked next to the small park commemorating the Iditarod Trail--Mile 0.I put the shades in the front window so we could see out and no one could see into the rv.The first thing we did after setting up was to walk into the town of Seward. There was a nice walk/bike path all the way through town. One of the shopkeepers told us it was the coldest summer in the 24 years she had lived in Alaska!

Our first morning in Seward, we saw this out our front window....The eagle stayed and ate seaweed until he had his fill. People wandering down to take pictures didn't scare him away.
One day while in Seward, we packed a picnic lunch and headed toward Exit Glacier to geocache and hike. We found several caches on the way to Exit Glacier. One was at the overlook before entering the national park.Once we reached the park, we took the mile trail to see the glacier up close. At one time people were allowed to walk on the toe of the glacier, but the way the ice is melting now, you are only allowed to look. Along the trail, we noticed that the cow parsnip (which we have seen everywhere--lower 48 included) is taller than I am.From Exit Glacier we decided to hike a short way along Resurrection River Trail. There was a geocache located about a mile into the trail. One of the first things we saw along the trail was bear scat--and it wasn't from a cub, either! We turned a corner and there was more! We hiked the trail, got the cache, and hiked back to the car. We never saw any animals along the trail--just bear and moose scat.

Another day we spent visiting the Alaska SeaLife Center. It was located a parking lot away from our rv! They had interesting exhibits and hands-on displays of baleen, whale vertebrae, teeth, animal hides, etc.
We finally had a nice day-weather wise that is--so we went back to Exit Glacier to hike UP to Marmot Meadows. This is one of the bridges we had to cross on the trail. It went over a small waterfall.
It was a great hike! Right before we reached the meadows, we came upon a large group of people just standing around. One of them finally told us that we were stopped so a bear could clear the trail. We never did see the bear as we were behind 15-20 people on a narrow trail!From our lookout rock at Marmot Meadows we watched as a group honed their ice climbing skills on the glacier.We had another nice day while in Seward and used it to hike Grayling Lake Trail just north of Seward. The trail leads to 4 lakes--Grayling, Meridian, Leech and Long.

We took the trail to Grayling and then backtracked to go to Meridian. The trails were in great condition. There were bridges and boards where the trail was muddy. We had to cross a few small streams by walking on rocks. Once again, we didn't see any big animals, however, we saw a mother duck and her ducklings swimming near the edge of Grayling Lake.

When we backtracked to go to Meridian Lake, we saw a blaze for Iditarod National Historic Trail! We saw this blaze and one more--we have no idea where it went from that second blaze!Friday and Sunday were cruise ship days in Seward. A Celebrity cruise ship docked on Friday and a Holland America docked on Sunday. We took a picture of the Celebrity cruise ship as it left port.We enjoyed our visit to Seward, but we didn't enjoy the cool, windy weather nor the rain. We got out as much as we could, but this is what it looked like most of the days we were there!We did have entertainment while we were there. These two sea otters swam in front of our site daily.
We enjoyed our week in Seward. From Seward we planned to go to Homer, but you know how are plans are....flexible!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Detour: Hope, Alaska--July 10 & 11, 2010

After filling tanks we were on the road to Seward, or so we thought. As we drove around Turnagain Arm toward Seward we decided, to stop in Hope, Alaska. As Bob said, it had to have more going for it than Hope, AR. As we drove, we picked up a few geocaches. I think every National Forest sign must have a geocache!We arrived at Kenai Peninsula and made the turn for Hope. After reviewing all our info on Hope campgrounds we opted for Porcupine National Forest Service Campground. We were very lucky and got a site that overlooked Turnagain Arm. I say that because 2 rvs were parked at the entrance debating whether or not to enter the campground--one would surely have gotten the water view site as it was the last one with a view! This is our rv from the edge of our campsite.And here is Bob on his way to the overlook. Yes, we always look windblown and cold here in Alaska.
This is a view to the right from our overlook.
After setting up, we decided to stay for 2 nights. We took the car and went exploring. We saw many people dredging for gold near the beginning of Resurrection Trail. But the most ambitious couple we saw was heading out on the trail on a mountain bike for 2! The trail starts near Hope and ends at Exit Glacier near Seward--over 19 miles away.

As we explored we drove past the Hope International--it had four planes on the ground.
Monday morning dawned early--can't say bright as most Alaskan mornings in this area are cloudy! Bob and I prepared to hike a portion of Gull Rock trail along Turnagain Arm. Along the way we found some caches and in one we rescued a travel bug that had been sitting since last summer.

After our hike, we went to the village of Hope which used to be a gold mining town. We ran into a group from Rome, GA, that we originally met at Muncho Lake Government CG in Yukon Territory.

After chatting, then completing our walk around town, we went back to the rv to rest. This is the view out the door of our rv. What more could you ask for in a site!We took a walk around the campground and stopped at the day use area near the entrance.
Then it was back to the rv to get ready to complete our trip to Seward and get those halibut tacos!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Anchorage Market and Moving Day--July 10-11, 2010

After having the best weather yet on Friday, Saturday dawned with clouds and rain. It was once again cool--no more 70 degree weather!

Saturday we went to the market in downtown Anchorage. It was pretty much the same as DeLand's art festival. There were a few booths with fresh produce and some food vendors--most with reindeer sausage. We were told that the halibut tacos were really good at the market....

...we couldn't find anyone selling halibut tacos! Then we heard that Eagle River was having their Bear Paw Festival and we figured the vendor went there instead of Anchorage's market. Well, hopefully we will be able to get halibut tacos in Seward. That is our next stop.

After leaving the market, we went to Sam's and the commissary to stock up on perishables and essentials. Saturday night was laundry night. All is clean! Did I mention that the laundry at Ft. Richardson fam-camp is free. Best bargain going!

Sunday morning we will finish packing, fill our gas and water tanks and head for Kenai Peninsula. The adventure continues.....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

More of Anchorage--July 7-9, 2010

There are a lot of things to see and do in the Anchorage area. One thing on our to-do list was the Alaska Aviation Museum. Wednesday we headed for the museum. The weather was a little warmer--notice we don't have our jackets in these pictures! The museum is located at Lake Hood near the largest float plane base, also near the international airport.The museum had many familiar planes and parts. Bob said his dad had one of these in his Cessna.The outdoor exhibits were also interesting.But what interested us most was the frequent take-off or landing of float planes. They make us go hmmmmm....As we entered the museum area, we spotted this truck across the way. Yes, it works, but it looks like it shouldn't! It is the tow vehicle for float planes.

After spending time at the museum, we headed to a local place for lunch. Our friend Doreen told us that Moose Tooth Pub and Pizzeria has the best pizza in Anchorage, also good brew. Bob used the GPS to find its location and off we went. Yes, it does have great pizza and the beer is also good. Bob had a pint and I tried a sampler--4 different beers in 4 oz. glasses.

Later that evening, we experienced our first earthquake! We were sitting in the rv and we thought a moose had run into the back of the rv! It really shook. Bob went out and looked around, but saw nothing. Later on the news we heard that there had been an earthquake! Alaska has a lot of them! Check this site: Recent Alaska Earthquakes

Thursday we ventured out of the Anchorage area to Wasilla. Dogs were on the agenda. Iditarod's Official Headquarters is located in Wasilla.In front of the headquarters is a statue honoring Joe Redington, the founder of Iditarod.The building houses a museum of winners and a gift shop.Outside we saw a sled....
....and a team of dogs hitched to a 4-wheel drive vehicle. They were ready to run.Near Iditarod headquarters was another interesting place advertising birch syrup. We stopped by to see what it was all about, but the shop is closed. The owner came out and explained the process. He said he gives samples and sells his product at the Saturday/Sunday market in Anchorage. We hope to see him there Saturday!

We found a place for a picnic lunch, then returned to the rv. Later in the afternoon, we took our bikes to Eagle River. We needed to geocache and get some exercise. We found a few caches, but we got a lot of exercise--the trail was up and down for the most part.

Friday we went back to Chugach State Recreation Area by Turnagain Arm. We found a cache on the snowplow that used to clear the tracks.We rode our bikes along the Indian to Girdwood Trail. We only did a portion of the trail since it is 13 miles one way.

We found several caches along the trail.The scenery was as great as was the weather! We were able to ride our bikes without jackets and the sky was a beautiful blue...very few clouds! We could see the mountains north of Anchorage.
Bob took this picture of me by a small waterfall......then he handed me the camera so I could get his picture with the mountains in the background.We had a great ride along the trail. Saturday we plan to go to the market downtown, hit the commissary, do laundry and other chores before we leave on Sunday.