Alaska, USA • Trip

›› 21 Aug - 05 Sept 2008
We are But Visitors Here

Our Big Adventure in Alaska Plate

A subset of the pictures from the trip. As always, clicking on the picture will open a larger image.

This page covers the next two parts of the trip, a loop around south central Alaska and a visit to the Kenai peninsula.

After leaving Denali National Park, we drove across the Denali Highway. This gravel road opened in 1956 and was the original road providing access to the national park (the George Parks Highway from Anchorage to Fairbanks had not yet been built). I'm not sure if the road's condition has improved or worsened since then. As we drove east, the trees slowly disappeared until there was just open tundra with the Alaska Range off to the north. It was mostly overcast and sometimes raining during the drive. We stopped late in the afternoon and were rewarded with a bit of sunshine lighting up a glacier off in the distance.

The next day started with driving through low clouds as we climbed up to the highest road pass in Alaska. The clouds cleared up for some more nice views of the Alaska Range. The Denali Highway ends at the Richardson Highway. This runs from Valdez up through Fairbanks and beyond. As we headed south, the Alaska pipeline paralleled the road for a ways. It was temping to take a side trip east to Canada but we kept to the plan and headed west on the Glenn Highway back towards Anchorage. We camped at a state park overlooking the Matanuska glacier.

Morning brought another cloudy day. We headed back through Anchorage and turned south to Turnagain Arm and the Kenai peninsula. Driving along Turnagain Arm we saw what looked like Beluga whales surfacing. We stopped at a pulloff and another couple already stopped confirmed it. After driving around the end of Turnagain Arm, we headed south over the mountains down to Seward. At Seward, we picked a couple of waterfront sites in the community campground. We walked around a bit and saw salmon in a stream and a number of bald eagles hanging about.

For Friday, we had booked a tour with Kenai Fjords Tours. This was a six hour boat ride from Seward south through Resurrection Bay, out into the Gulf of Alaska. From there we headed into Aialika Bay, which is in the Kenai Fjords National Park. The boat cruised up to the Holgate glacier, which is pretty massive. The cold air blowing off the glacier was pretty impressive. Along the way we saw sea otters, sea lions, whales, porpoises, puffins and many other birds. The weather was great with clear blue skies and reasonable temperatures (although we had our long johns on for the boat ride).

Saturday was another travel day. As we left Seward, we took a side trip to Exit glacier, the only glacier where we could get close to the base. From there we headed north and west across the Kenai peninsula past the city of Kenai for a quiet night at Captain Cook state park on the shores of Cook Inlet.

Sunday was more travel, ending at Bird Creek state park on the north shore of Turnagain Arm. The tide was out and the basin was a giant mud flat.

Monday started with a short drive to Anchorage to drop off the RVs at Great Alaska Holidays and head to the airport. On the way to the airport, we were treated to a view of Mt. Denali.

Alaska Pictures

Denali to Anchorage

On the road again.
The Denali highway is basically a washboard gravel road for 130 miles. It connects the George Parks highway to the Richardson highway.
Caribou on the tundra.
Caribou butt.
Feeding time.
We stopped at a pullout to camp for the night. It was a great view.
The morning started with low clouds but eventually we had a great view of the Alaska Range.
Another view of the Alaska Range.
We survived the Denali highway. Not sure if there are any highways in Alaska with double digits.
The Matanuska glacier from a lookout.
A paper plate. No wait, it's a mushroom.
The Matanuska glacier from a state park.
Hiking among the aspen trees. The aspen tree can grow clones of itself from its roots.
Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage. Due to the glacial feed it looks like there are rivers running through the water.
We actually saw what appeared to be whales heading in the opposite direction.
The view across Turnagain Arm.
A friendly sea Otter in Resurrection Bay at Seward.
A Bald Eagle at Seward.
Overlooking Resurrection Bay.
Looking west from our campsite. The campground is on the shore and was created after the 1964 earchquake destroyed the waterfront industries.
Daybreak. Looks like a great day for a boat trip!
Drinking coffee and contemplating life and how small we are.
It's time for a three hour tour (well, six actually).
Chris. on board.
Our friendly sea otter.
Sea lion.
Sea lions.
Aialika Bay in Kenai Fjiords National Park.
Turning in to Holgate Arm.
Holgate glacier in Kenai Fjiords National Park.
We are getting closer.
The glacier dwarfs the boat in the foreground.
Two Humpback whales let us know of their presence.
A closer look.
Down they go!
A Tufted Puffin on the water.
A puffin swimming.
Whale tale.
Hope the boat doesn't tip over.
A view across the Gulf of Alaska.
Sea Otter floating in kelp while having a snack.
Sea lions catching some sun shine.
A Horned Puffin roosting on the rock.

Click on the picture for a closer view of the puffin.
Re-entering Resurrection Bay.
We are the two RVs to the left of the rock.
We had a campfire the night before.
On the road to Exit Glacier.
Exit Glacier.
Former edge of the glacier.
A closer look.
The Alaska railroad along Turnagain Arm. The railway runs from Seward to Fairbanks. Shot in the state park we were staying at.
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